Sunday, May 30, 2010

Sheer Madness for a Good Cause, with Scalzi and Wheaton!

Behold, the madness we have wrought:

Yes, that's TV's Wil Wheaton in the Infamous Clown Sweater, flying a giant unicorn-pegasus-kitten and about to attack an Orc version of SF writer John Scalzi with a spear.

This image is to inspire writers to create a story based on it, which will eventually be put into a book whose profits will benefit Lupus Alliance of America! John explains it all on his blog. I have a good friend with Lupus so I'm double-happy about the whole thing.

Here's the process, if you're interested...

John called me up and described the idea. Of course, I freaked; how could I *not* try to make it happen? So I whipped up a few pencil sketches (digital, in Painter 11):
John liked the first one, so I did a more finished sketch:
With this approved, onwards to painting! Here's the first rough color pass. I reversed the image per request from John:
Next stage, I was pretty sure I wanted volcanoes in the background, but decided to try some lightning to see if that worked:
Next, worked on the unikitten's face and a bit more on the orc:
Next, more details on kitten, orc and the INFAMOUS clown sweater:
Continuing, let's get those volcanoes in there, shall we?
Now, it's time to really try to nail the faces. I had photo reference for Wil from the Web, and John sent me some truly epic photos of himself making awesome orc faces:
Eh, still needs some work, keep going...
There we go, that's a lot more like it. Tweaking details and messing with brightness, color and saturation; the blue-gray kitten wasn't doing it for John, so he asked me to try another color. I settled on a warmer brownish look:
Almost finished, just dealing with the last bits and the background:
And there you have it. This was seriously fun, though the timing, coinciding with the somewhat early birth of our son, made getting it finished a major undertaking. Thanks John and Wil!


Unknown said...

"John sent me some truly epic photos of himself making awesome orc faces..."

Which really need to be posted. No, really...

John Tells All said...

This epic work makes me cry from the incandescent awesomeness; I salute you, sir.

Laurence MacNaughton said...

This has GOT to be one of the greatest fantasy paintings of all time. Move over, Boris Vallejo, here comes the sinewy might of the clown warrior astride his epic kitten steed! Now THAT'S something you don't see every day. Good for you, both for supporting a good cause, and for redefining the face of fantasy art . . . forever.

Big Daddy's Blog said...

Hi Jeff! Great job! Looks like a lot of work!

Wouter said...

Fantastic, thanks for sharing the process and congrats on the birth of your son!!

Lee said...

Jeff, are you considering selling prints/posters? From Scalzi and Wheaton's blog, it seems like it could be a great way to raise more money.

I'd buy one for the man cave, for sure!

Nice work.

bella said...

I cannot wait to read the winning story to accompany this awesome work of art.

Patch said...

i dont even know what to say about that.
but i'm left rather warm and squishy.
possibly in several different ways.

Anonymous said...

Fabulous brain-searing, actually brain-branded (?) picture with amazing execution!

Just a quick question regarding the "John called me up and described the idea" bit. Did John specifically want the clown sweater, Scalz-Orc, and unicorn-pegasus-kitten on a volcano background or did he want come up with something... well... you know brain-searingly-epic?

Elizabeth Donald said...

Strongly second a) the request for prints to be sold for more fundraising and b) holy Zod, you must post the photos of Scalzi making orc faces. Please. We beg you. The internet demands it.

Jeff Z said...

Thanks for the kind words all! I definitely took inspiration from Boris Vallejo's work, and even more from the late great Frank Frazetta. I'm beyond flattered by any comparison to those two giants, so most humble thanks indeed.

We are talking about doing prints and posters, will let you know what we come up with.

I've asked John if I can show a couple of his orc-face shots, will let you know that too.

Meanwhile, any help you can provide to get the word out via Twitter, Digg, StumbleUpon, Facebook or whatever would be most appreciated! Thanks again. :)

RĂ©gis said...

Hawtness! Awesome illo man, thanks for sharing it in all your social network media. Also, great site redesign! Totally worth it! Let's get back in touch!

Anonymous said...

Will buy the poster when it's available!

Van said...

Jeff, it's epic and you are made of awesome (and congrats on the new baby). I think John made a good call on the colour of the kitten; Sets apart the domestic mundane in a background of crazy. ;) Thanks for the screenshots of the wip!