B is for Big Brother
from 1984 by George Orwell
It’s always fun to imagine the future from the viewpoint of the past. It’s also hard to picture anything related to 1984 that isn’t filtered through the movie, Terry Gilliam’s Brazil or the Apple “1984″ commercial. But that’s a problem I’m going to have with a lot of these book entries. It’s also why I decided not to do all A Song of Ice And Fire (Game of Thrones) characters.
I don’t believe I read this book until I was a young adult but when learning about the story in elementary school at some point I think this is basically what I remember picturing: Big Brother watching you through an early 1980s-style television set in some depressing little living room.
I’m working on all of these AlphaBooks entries in my sketchbook with no intention of cleaning up or altering anything digitally. They always look much more striking to me in person than after they’ve been scanned in though. Something about viewing it on screen makes wonky or crooked lines look much less quirky and charming then they do on paper. That’s helpful if you’re digitally correcting your drawings but frustrating if you’re choosing not to do so.
We had a ton of fantastic entries for A last week. Check out them and all the Bs as they roll in throughout the week at Alphabooks.Tumblr.com
A is for April Wheeler
Revolutionary Road by Richard Yates
Here we go – the first entry in the new alphabet project (see previously: Animal Alphabet and AlphaBeasts). This time around we are drawing fictional characters from books and by “we” I mean arists from all over who will be adding their entries to this website: alphabooks.tumblr.com. Every Monday we’ll post a new drawing as we make our way through the alphabet.
For A I’ve chosen April Wheeler from Richard Yates’ 1961 novel Revolutionary Road. This book is a harrowing look at a marriage in the 1950s that is crushed by the expectations each spouse had for it. April, especially, is a dark and complicated character who is anything but what you’d expect from a 1950s suburban housewife and mother. She was played recently by Kate Winslet in an excellent movie adaptation that won her some awards but I highly recommend reading the book for the extra depth and nuance it brings to the relationship.
My plan for AlphaBooks is to draw characters from books that I have read and loved. I may have to stretch the “loved” and “read” part occasionally as some letters are going to be hard to fill. I’ll also warn you that I read a lot of books about depressed, middle class WASPs so don’t expect a whole lot in diversity among the people I draw. That said, there will be characters from classic lit, science fiction, contemporary fiction and various genres within.
I also planned to keep the drawings a little simpler this time out. I made an effort with AlphaBeasts to create a consistently designed set of images (although at this point I haven’t even decided what if anything I’ll even do with them). Although I drew the AlphaBeasts and inked them on paper I did a fair amount of production work in Photoshop afterwards. This time I’m out I’m going to try to keep it all on paper as is somewhat implied by the inclusion of my sketchbook itself in the scan. No titles or text, no coloring and no digital cleanup unless I really have to.
Be sure to check out the other entries on the AlphaBooks site as it’s going to be fun to see the various types of characters that get chosen each week. And if you want to join in and submit your own drawings please do so. Just look for the SUBMIT link on the top of the AlphaBooks page to see how.
I recently finished these portraits of the employees of The Water Heater Experts – a Carolinas-based water heater installation service. I was contracted through Concentric Marketing who are utilizing the illustrations as part of a rebranding initiative for the company. This was a really fun project to work on. Each piece is a combination of brush pen ink drawing and Photoshop coloring.
And that completes my AlphaBeasts run. For those of you coming to this late and don’t understand why I consider “M” to be the last letter of the alphabet, I had to skip a few letters in the middle of the alphabet while the AlphaBeasts weekly project was going on. After Z I went back and filled in my missing letters. You can see the whole set here.
I finished up just in time for the next alphabet project that starts next week! This time out we’re doing AlphaBooks – fictional characters from books. If you’re an artist and want to join in here’s everything you’ll need to know: http://alphabooks.tumblr.com/rules
As usual, I’ll be posting all my entries here each Monday.
This one is pretty staightforward I guess. View my complete set of AlphaBests here.
Still trying to finish up my handful of lost AlphaBeasts before the new project AlphaBooks starts (look for an announcement soon).
As for the Kraken, I couldn’t decide whether to do a Ray Harryhausen Clash of the Titans version or the more octopus-like mythological version so I kind of went both ways.
More of my AlphaBeasts here.