Disclaimer : I am not a native English speaker so sorry about the bad!English in the post.
Welcome to the Art Post for SMALL SMALL WORLD by dragonspell
The amount of illustrations for this prompt being completely RIDICULOUS, I had to cut the Art Master Post in two, so be sure to also check out PART II too.
Don't forget this is the spn_reversebang : the story has been partly inspired by the illustrations below that is to say that all the drawings are completely SPOILERY. You then have the possibility to leave now to avoid spoilers and to read the fic first or to check out all the pics of this post. To read the amazing fic by dragonspell , just click below :
Don't forget to leave a little comment, I am sure that dragonspell will be more than happy to have some feedback from you guys.
And because we all have a beta, let me introduce you mine. I don't know how the poor girl can still be alive with all the stuffs she had to beta! A big THANK YOU for all your efforts!
PART I : THE ARTS AND ONLY THE ARTS
I) ARTS CONCEIVED BEFORE THE ART CLAIM
Click on the links below to FULL VIEW
1) Cover Art
2) The Signing Session
3) It's a Small Small World
4) Inside the Comic Book
5) The Big Jump
6) Are you with me, Imbecile?!!
7) Jen's apartment
8) Everything you've ever wanted to know about sex...
9) A perfect vision
10) Title, Divider and End Title
II) ARTS CONCEIVED IN COLLABORATION WITH DRAGONSPELL
Click on the links below to FULL VIEW
1) "Nothing" Jared said...
2) You've got pretty eyes!
3) Hey, buddy, watch the merchandise!
4) The Machine
5) LAST MINUTE ART (not listed above) : Ross, the bad guy
PART II : TECHNICAL RAMBLING FOR THE PHOTOSHOP GEEKS AND MUCH MUCH MORE ♥
What was your main inspiration for this prompt ?
The A-ha video for Take on Me where the singer Morten Harket who plays the role of a comic book character jumps out of one of the pages and becomes a "real" human being. I though it was a good idea to adapt the concept to the J's for a J2 RPS AU (don't ask! ). I tried to imitate the style of the video in my drawings, that's why they all are drawn with pencils and look like rough sketches. However as it was a little bit too sad to have only black and white illustrations, I colored the sketches thanks to Photoshop CS.
And what about the creatures, the "Del Montes" ?
There were 3 inspirations :
1) The manga, drama, movie, etc...Moyashimon
The story follows a college student who discovers that he can see and communicate with the germs all around him. As you can see below, those germs (baikin) are incredibly cute...and very noisy : they talk all the time and the hero, Sawaki Soemon Tadayasu is the only one able to hear them. I used basically the same story line for Jensen's comic, It's a Small Small World. If you want to see the 3D version of the "baikins" (because they are just adorable ), you can check this video.
2) The manga Urusei Yatsura (Lum, the Invader girl)
And it's a story involving microbes again! One of the funniest ones in my opinion in the whole Urusei Yatsura series is Yôka, Sakura Sensei where Sakura, the school nurse who also happens to be a kind of witch casts a spell that makes the flu germs visible to the human eye. Of course, a LOT of problems ensue...
3) Green peas
No need to explain that one, it's obvious, I am sure you've noticed the "family resemblance"
Last minute edit :
I went to the Tokyo Disney Store yesterday and I found this toy from Toy Story III. I've never seen them before. Obviously, it looks like the green peas from Small Small World but I've never heard of them before!! Is it a popular toy in America ? Because in France, they aren't!
What about their name, the "Del Montes" ? Did you find it ?
Nope! This absolutely brilliant idea comes from dragonspell ! As the little creatures look like green peas, my author had the idea to give them the name of a famous vegetable (and green peas) brand : Del Montes. I am glad she found them a name because for me they were just "the guys"!
Jensen has a lot of drawing supplies!
They are mine...I mean, why should I look for reference photos of ink bottles and pencils when I had everything at home ? So basically, everything you can see comes from my "little" private collection. I am not even sure that Colorex is an ink brand sold in the US ! Never mind...
Ok...We have to ask you Petite-Madame...How the hell did you manage to draw ALL THIS?
- First, I had the time, the challenge started in late July so I had about 4 months to draw absolutely whatever I wanted to.
- I don't sleep at night. It's almost a disease, I sleep only 2 or 3 hours a night so it leaves me plenty of time to devote to fandom/geek activities. To cut a long story short : when you sleep, I draw.
- I live on my own in Tokyo and I know that when I have to come back to Paris in March 2011, the party will be over. I will have far less time to devote to this fandom so if I really wanted to have fun with a project like the RBB it had to be NOW because once in Paris even if I don't sleep at night, it will be more difficult (family, boyfriend, friends) so I enjoy my "geek status" while I can.
- I bought Manga Studio. Creating an illustration with Manga Studio (outlines + colors) takes between 1h30 and 2h (peanuts! ) so it explains also why I added so many additional illustrations for this prompt.
1) COVER ART
This one was the very first one I designed for Small World. As I told you above I tried to copy the style of the A-Ha's video so I drew just a pencil sketch and enhanced it with white highlights and sepia texture underneath. I tried to color it but believe it or not the result wasn't really good so I decided to leave it in B&W. As it was just the cover art, it wasn't a problem and it didn't create a discontinuity with the other arts.
The scribbling all around Jared is a summary of Jensen' life : a shopping list that includes ketchup and junk food, a reminder with a big "NO" just above to call Kripke back, a lot of Del Montes laughing, jumping, walking hand in hand, sleeping, etc..and of course the most important right in the center of the image : Jared.
I was lucky because my author has a pretty "visual" name : dragonspell. It was easy to create a logo that includes a dragon and little stars (for the "spell" part). I drew the dragon as a kind of plastic toy to stay in the childish tone of Jensen's comic.
Reference picture : Jared
2) THE SIGNING SESSION
Jensen is a successful comic artist typically in the tradition of Alan Moore of Jack Kirby but for once, his publisher Eric Kripke decided he should go mainstream and draw a comic book for a larger audience. This is how It's a Small Small World was born and how kids started to show up at Jensen's signing sessions. Here is a good example : Jensen and a bunch of kids at the 2010 San Diego Comicon, one of the biggest geek events of the year.
For this prompt, I didn't go for something 100% computer graphic. I tried to stay close to the spirit of the A-ha video and to draw every illustration (except the comic itself and one drawing) only using pencils and charcoal. However as it was a little bid sad and grey (and so far away from the light mood of the story), I decided to add some colors with Photoshop but also with the fantastic "watercolor tool" of Painter. Here is a little step by step of how I colored my drawings for the 2,3 CG painting geeks out there. I took the example of The Signing Session but it's basically the same process for all the drawings.
1) Scanning, grey shadows and clone stamp (Photoshop CS)
For this first step I scanned my pencil and charcoal sketch and changed a few stuff before starting the coloring itself.
1) I didn't draw the Comicon logo 6 or 7 times, it would have been boring and really too long. I drew it on its own on a piece of paper and added it to the picture later thanks to the Photoshop "clone stamp" so that I could repeat it as much as I wanted to on the wall.
2) The poster behind Jensen and the kids was practically empty when I scanned the image. The two illustrations of Jared and of the creatures come from ink drawings, mainly from the comic book page (See art #4). Here again, the "clone stamp" came really handy to avoid me to redraw already existing illustrations.
3) I add some grey shadows with a soft-edges brush as a base for the future coloring.
2) Texture (Photoshop CS)
Thanks to a layer set to "Multiply" I add a sepia texture I found on Deviant Art. It's basically an old sheet of paper in the sepia tones.
3) The colors, at last! (Photoshop CS)
During the whole process, I am going to work with 3 layers opened at the same time :
- the first one set to "Multiply" for the basic coloring
- the second one set to "Multiply" (again) for the shadows
- The third one set to "Soft Light" for the highlights
I worked mainly with a round soft-edged brush from the "Basic Brushes" set.
4) The colors...again...
I carry on working with my 3 layers (no change here) and add more colors and more details. Jensen has now a "beautiful" purple shirt.
5) More colors...(Photoshop CS)
I open a 4th layer to add even more highlights. I choose a pale orange to enhance the colors of the drawing which were a little bit too cold for my own tastes.
6) More colors and..watercolors (Photoshop CS + Painter Essential 3)
I finish the coloring process in Photoshop and switch to Painter Essential 3 where I add details, even more shadows and highlights thanks to the Digital Watercolor tool (with an opacity set to 15%). It's almost finished.
7) Color correction and highlights
It's time for the last 3 operations that will change everything :
1) Auto-contrast : the drawing is suddenly brighter (a little bit too bright, I had to fade it a bit)
2) Color balance : I add more yellow and more red
3) I open a new layer set to "Screen" and enhance the picture thanks to white highlights.
I also thought that Jensen's hand was too big so I schrinked it a bit compared to the first sketch.
Taaadaaam!! It's over!
Reference pictures : Jensen (well I think it's this one ^^;;)
3) IT'S A SMALL SMALL WORLD
The comic created by Jensen, It's a Small Small World surrounded by the artist's pencils and inks, and featuring Jared as the main character.
It doesn't seem like it but this one was a real pain in the ass to create because I was NEVER satisfied with what I obtained.... I think that the finished artwork may be the 6th or 7th version. The only things that remained the same were the general composition, the logo on the comic and the bar code. Don't worry, I am not going to show you everything but basically it started with this one :
I started to create what should have been the comic cover of It's a Small Small World. I used as a reference picture an image of Jared from the latest Comicon where he looked particularly hot. However, even if I loved the shadows and highlights, the face had something strange. Still, I decided to go to the end and to add the picture in the illustration below.
Everything was drawn with a Pilot pen. I just hated the colors, the drawing looked flat in spite of 68898 textures, not to mention the comic cover itself that was, after all, a complete failure. It was time for a new version, still with a photo of Jared as a reference, and still from this year's Comicon.
It's a little bit better and closer to what I want to obtain but there is still something wrong (I couldn't put my finger on it...). Time to add it to the "pencils and inks" picture but...
...it's still flat. It was time to face the truth, and start everything from scratch. In fact I was afraid of mixing colored pencil sketch and pure ink drawing so I thought that going for a drawing only made with ink would be a good idea... As it wasn't AT ALL, I then started again with pencil, Photoshop and Painter, and this time...
...it was far better but I don't know why I still wasn't convinced with the comic cover until, one day (alleluia ), I drew this at Mc Donald's...
...and I immediately decided to include it in the final drawing. I changed the colors thanks to the "color balance" tool and desaturated a bit. As I am a detail freak, I added Jensen signature on the comic too. The art was finished AT LAST.
4) INSIDE THE COMIC BOOK
Jensen's comic, It's a Small Small World and a short glimpse at its content and the story itself : Jared is a quiet guy with a quiet life and one day, his existence changes radically. He is able to see all around him little creatures, the Del Montes, because his DNA has special properties. It's hard to say what the Del Montes are exactly (micro organisms, molecules, even aliens) but what is sure is that they have a strong impact on the poor Jared's everyday life. They are absolutely everywhere, don't hesitate to turn Jay's apartment into their headquarters, drink his coffee, not to mention the fact that they are noisy, talkative and not always well behaved. A kind of "green peas" version of Joe's apartment if you want.
Unlike the fan art above this one went rather smoothly (thank God...). I reused for the background the scribbles of the Cover Art (Art #1) and even one of the first covers of It's a Small Small World (see Art#3). As far as the comic is concerned, I unfortunately didn't have Manga Studio when I started to work for this prompt so I created the page on a piece of paper, traced the panels with a ruler then inked the drawing with an ink pencil, Pilot and Staedler pens. I scanned the picture and added screentones for the sets but also for the shadows and highlights. Here is the page in black and white, just before I started to color it "comic style" :
After, I added some colors with Photoshop. I used the "Gradient Tool" a lot and enhanced the picture with highlights thanks to several layers set to "Soft Light" and "Hard Light".
As you can see here, the Del Montes are really different in the sense they are transparent. The whole concept wasn't set yet and but I already decided there would be various specimen of peas inside the species. Sometimes, I push things a little bit too far.
Reference photo : Jared
5) THE BIG JUMP
Here is the one you saw the day of the art claim/big reveal. I had this art in mind from the start but I drew it at the end because I thought it was the most important ones of the Small Small World prompt and I wanted to be ready technically speaking when it came to color the sketches thanks to Photoshop CS. The scene shows Jay coming out of the comic next to an exhausted Jensen.
This fan art is directly inspired by the A-ha's video, even more than the others. Just look at the screenshot below, you will understand :
At the beginning, I wanted to draw Jared completely (head, body, arms...) but finally, just drawing the hand gives something more intense to the illustration itself . Apparently, this art was "darker" than what I intended because when dragonspell received all the other illustrations after the art claim, she was surprised to see that the story wasn't creepy and dark at all but completely crazy with all these flying and talking green peas all over the place. I draw too much "gore stuff"...I don't even know anymore when something is dark and when something is not.
Reference picture : Jensen
6) ARE YOU WITH ME, IMBECILE ?!!
Jensen soon discovers that Jared wasn't the only one to be alive an kicking in his apartment : the "green peas" he created for It's a Small Small World were there too and let's be frank, they were not the cute and innocent creatures he thought they would be. Of course, Jensen can't believe what he has under his eyes. He thinks he's dreaming or maybe dead but certainly not that a giant green bean is talking to him and wanting all his attention. This "fat" Del Monte is bigger than the others because he's the chief. There is also one Del Monte who is a little bit different from his friends in this art, I wonder if you noticed him.
Most of the items on this pictures are mine (the inks, the pencils) or my boyfriend's (the mug). I added some antidepressants because I thought that a guy like Jensen, a successful comic artist, whose works weights million of dollars would maybe try to find a way to ease the pressure he has on his shoulders.
Reference picture : Jensen
7) JEN'S APARTMENT
When the Del Montes jumped out of the comic Jensen didn't need to tell them "make yourself at home" because they were already enjoying their new playground with a big preference for Jensen's drawing supplies and food.
I had a LOT of fun drawing this one. The inks, pencils, pastels, etc..are still mine and so are the hobby books at the back. To cut a long story short what you see here is my work station in my Paris apartment. Of course, I added some details to fit with the story and 53 green peas jumping everywhere but roughly, it's my desk.
I used the clone stamp for the portrait of Jared and the Polaroid of Jensen, the pictures coming respectively from Arts #1 and #2.
The title is of course a tribute to the fantastic movie, Joe's Apartment where the life of Joe isn't bother by jumping green peas but cockroaches who loves to sing the blues.
8) EVERYTHING YOU'VE EVER WANTED TO KNOW ABOUT SEX.....
A completely delirious drawing again or how to show a sex scene without...showing anything precisely. I thought that instead of drawing the guys having sex it could be funnier to have what can be called "the commentary version" that is to say the scene through the Del Montes' eyes. I imagined them witnessing what was happening and commenting every move. A little explanation about what you can see on the picture :
1) A bottle full of Aspirin tablets because when you have to cope with a situation like this one (your own characters becoming suddenly alive), you could never use enough Aspirin to ease your headaches...
2) A reference to our beloved fandom.
When paparazzi photos showing Jensen (the real one, not the "RPS!Jensen") playing soccer bare-chest with the show crew popped up all over LJ, the fandom was definitely cut in two between the "OMG!!! He's so fucking gorgeous!!!" and the"Yeah, he's gorgeous but his stomach is a little bit flabby, he should work out!". A "Yes he's flabby" / "No, he's not" wank ensued and I thought I definitely had to pay a little tribute to that in this drawing with one of the guys making a sharp comment about Jensen's abs.
3) 3D glasses. I don't know about you but here, in Japan, people are just OBSESSED with 3D. You have 3D glasses available everywhere for everything and anything and even Capitain Eo is back to Tokyo Disney Land , not to mention Nintendo and their "3D DS" that will be sold next year and of course, the movie Avatar. If everybody is in this "3D frenzy", why not the Del Montes ?
4) The "triangle creature". When I drew all the illustrations for this prompt, it was clear after a few tries that all the Del Montes would have the shape of a ball, except maybe the chief who looks like a bean. But when I looked at my drawings again, I noticed that on Art#6, Are you with me, imbecile?! one of the peas had the shape..of a triangle.
I absolutely can't tell you why!! I draw at night, usually between midnight and 5:00am, I must have been tired when I created this. Instead of erasing the poor thing, I decided to include it in the story : Jensen was drunk when he drew him, he didn't pay attention. Now this Del Monte is different from his colleagues, full of complexes and of course, has a pretty low self esteem.
I love this drawing but technically speaking I am not 100% satisfied. Unlike the others, I drew it in Tokyo which means I didn't have my super awesome Canon scanner. I just have my poor quality scan, hence the texture of the paper below visible and the colors that are slightly different from the other arts presented here.
9) A PERFECT VISION
Jared is alive, he's here, beautiful and smiling, exactly like Jensen imagined him and for him it's just a perfect vision even with the noisy and talkative Del Montes flying all around the house.
The one and only art drawn in the pure CG style...just because I didn't have my awesome scanner and because I loved Jared's smile. Look at all the stages this drawing had been through, you will understand.
1) I started with an ink sketch that I loved a lot, so much that I decided to use it as the It's a Small Small World cover on Art #3.
2) I decided to turn it into a real drawing that would look like the others, that is to say, a pencil sketch colored with Photoshop and Painter. I started to draw the pencil and charcoal sketch but...
3) ...but because my scanner in Tokyo sucks, I wasn't really convinced with the colored version. I can't explain why but it was different from the others.
4) However, I didn't want to drop the idea of Jared, smiling and alive, surrounded by the Del Montes. I then took the decision to go for a pure CG painting, never mind if the style was different from the rest!
Reference photo : Jared
Technical advice :
When I was kindly invited by missyjack to take part to the spnroundtable 's Ask the artist, one of the advice I gave was to give a name to your Photoshop layers while working. I should have listen to myself when I drew this fan art, I mean, LOOK AT THAT!! I had more than 20 layers opened at the same time and none of them had a name! I spent my time hiding the layers one after the others to find out precisely what little pea was where -_____-
That's it for PART ONE!! If you loved the illustrations of Small Small World, there 4 are more so don't hesitate to click on the banner below for PART TWO :