Wednesday, March 25, 2009
Ode to American Gothic
Another crazy anime related idea I couldn't suppress. This was probably sparked from an article Lindsay showed me about Taichi Takashita, and his online campaign to establish a law permitting marriage to fictional characters.
Regardless of my feelings on this very important matter, it got me thinking about a picture combining a 2d cel-style character with a realistically painted character.
"It might create an interesting juxtaposition." I thought.
Initial image concept: “The image is composed like American Gothic, except with two people outside of a modern Japanese house or apartment community. The male character is a realistic looking guy, drawn in a photorealistic style. I'm not sure if I want him to look flattering, ugly, or average. I suppose he should be the type of guy who would marry an anime character. The female character is drawn in a generic anime style, and painted like an animation cel. She has a baby in her arms, drawn in a semi-manga style and colored with soft shading. The background art looks like a colorized manga panel, that is to say, it looks like a rotoscoped photo with screen tone. Add a color wash overtop to finish, but don't paint the bg.”
To get the background shot, I ended up having to do extensive photo research. I walked the streets of Tokyo on Google Earth for several hours collecting reference shots of buildings. Since I didn't own any of these photos and none of them where from the proper angle, I ended up drawing the background from scratch. It took the better part of a night, but it integrated into the picture far better than a manga-style photo trace would have.
I tried to echo contextual and textural elements from American Gothic throughout the image, like the patterning on the schoolgirl uniform. See if you can find everything. :)
Characters sketched on 11”x14” Strathmore Series 400 Drawing paper. Background sketched on a 9x12 Strathmore Series 400 Sketch paper. Image finalized and painted in Photoshop CS 2. 2d character line art inked in Paint Tool SAI. About a week from concept to completion.