- Lesson details
In this unique course, Mark Westermoe, the creator of feature film posters for blockbusters like Braveheart, Total Recall, and Home Alone, teaches you how to design a movie poster. This course will teach you how to go from developing ideas for your poster with thumbnail sketches, through preliminary drawings, all the way through to a finished poster. Mark will cover the business side of designing movie posters, including how to get into this rewarding field of work. You will also learn the history of advertising illustration, and learn many insider tricks and finishing techniques.
In this first lesson, Mark will go over stages of creating a movie poster, building a career in entertainment design, and the main concepts of movie poster composition. He will also show an example of developing a movie poster from a thumbnail sketch.
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what it's about, I don't have anything that draws me into it
and so what we try to do is build those factors into it.
Welcome to the class on entertainment advertising illustration.
It's an area not many people know about, at least
have trained for it. As the protégé to the famous Fred Fixler, who worked
directly under the legendary Frank Reilly, Mark Westermoe founded an illustrious
career in Hollywood movie poster design. He later founded Associates in Art
in Southern California, a top school for illustrators, from which many alumni
became the who's who in the fields of figurative art. We hope that that this series
helps serve as part of his legacy. This is really the first time that anyone that
I know of has taught systematically what the process
is, what the purpose is. So if you don't understand the process
or show that you do, I don't care how beautifully that you draw, they're
not gonna hire you. To get the story across to me you're not gonna bother
drawing the two by three format. It's up to me now to make this
work. That's why I'm getting paid. It's not just because I can draw a nice owl.
I'm gonna cover the business of it, I'm gonna cover
how the organization of it can be streamlined,
and how to meet your deadlines.
At the end, you might actually have the material to
show and possibly start getting some work in this business.
All it takes is to succeed with your first job
and then art directors will start talking about you.
entertainment advertising illustration.
And when I say entertainment in this case we'll be referring to
motion picture and to some extent
cable and television too but...
I've been - I started doing
this in the early 1980s and I continued
all the way up to about
at that point my school, Associates in Art, became so large
and consumed so much of my attention that I actually started
turning over some of the work that I could not do
because of my time, I turned it over to my best students.
And several of them did the projects that
I'm gonna have you do in this course.
And several of them turned their entire lives, literally not just
artistically around. Their financial circumstances bore no
resemblance to what they were when they started.
So it's very useful to understand these things.
It's an area not many people know about or at least have trained for it.
I taught it informally in my classes
at Associates in Art and this is really the first time that
anyone that I know of has taught systematically
the processes, what the purpose is,
how to get it done when it comes to creating
key art and that's the movie poster.
The movie poster itself and everything that spins off from it.
So I'm gonna cover the business of it,
I'm gonna cover how the organization of it
can be streamlined and how to meet your deadlines
and we're gonna go all the way from first stage thumbnail sketches
through comprehensive sketches
and black and white comps, which are the tight ones that toward the end of the
process. The process can take two and a half years. And then
the color comps which will looked like the finished posters almost.
And finally, the last session I will do
a portion of what would be a finished poster and
you'll learn the prevalent technique for
posters that are done by hand. However
it's not the only one. There's so much material to go over
that at least you'll have that. And I want you all to come out - if you follow class by
class I'd like you to come out with finished samples.
In fact I would like not just a dozen or
so comprehensive sketches and ideas but I'd like also
to have a printed one sheet or poster.
Not full size but quite large, maybe
20 by 30. So
with everything: the title, the treatment, your drawing, your painting,
either one. And so at the end you might actually have
the material to be ready to show and possibly
start doing some work in this business. All it takes is to succeed
with your first job and then art directors will start talking about you.
So it's a matter of getting in. And I'll
talk to you about that too. Okay that's too much for the intro because we have a lot
to cover. So let's go ahead and we'll get started.
of entertainment advertising illustration.
It's a field that requires really strong skills in drawing,
essentially people, background,
are important from time to time even more so. But as a whole
we're advertising with actors
and scenes involving
human beings. So your draftsmanship, your head drawing, your ability
to create the look that's appropriate for the movie,
these are the things that you'll need to acquire. And we'll be doing
exercises in that regard. What I have
at first is the most basic thing we need to know.
A movie poster is a different format than say a
paperback book cover, which is a four by five
format, or rather a three by four
and movie posters are two by three
format. All the way up to the full sized
one sheet. One sheet is the synonym
for poster or key art. Typically
for a movie, I did a few B movies but I
mostly work on A movies. They're gonna do
a poster. And that's called the key art.
Based on that poster, they will do other things like
point of purchase displays or standees
at movie theaters or the sides of buses advertising
or billboards or the back rests on
bus stops, all kinds of different angles.
And but everything keys off of
that one sheet, that finished poster. So that's
ultimately the most important thing. We could work on a film
advertising for it, for as much as three years.
Maybe more, I'm not sure. But I know for Total Recall
in 1990, 89 I forget,
with Arnold Schwarzenegger, we worked on ideas
for that movie poster for three years and it was pretty much
the same for some of the other big movies.
yeah and so on. Other times you'll work on
something, especially if it's a TV guide or
made for TV movie, might only work on that for
a few months. And then there are other
ideas that will be brought to you, such as drawing
story boards. Very nice, tight story boards,
not the loose ones that you might associate with
production story boards. No these are story boards for
teasers and trailers and so the company you work for,
a design studio, is trying to sell their
idea to the production company and
so the story boards have to be very attractive, powerful,
and appealing. They're almost like small illustrations.
We'll get into that little bit of that too. But we are gonna focus again on the key
art, the movie poster itself.
There are stages. The first stage
is to come up with a strategy for how you're
gonna market this movie. That's usually not the illustrator's
job. Sometimes but usually not.
So usually the production company, whether it's Paramount
or Carolco or whatever, they're going to
make appointments with a number of different design studios or
ad agencies around Southern California. And
each one will be asked to come up with maybe
20 or 25 drawings.
They might be enhanced with Photoshop, they might be
compositive with Photoshop and in some cases they might be drawn
on Photoshop. But there is a preference
for literally hand drawn work.
If they're gonna present, let's say, 20
ideas and 15 of them are drawn
and five of them are done on Photoshop, it's an uneven presentation
and drawing is actually
faster in most cases than Photoshop. For all
but the most simple concepts.
So to give you an idea of how this might work
at the beginning of the process, the film
poster not being released for two and a half years later,
one design studio
will come back and they will have 15 maybe 20 ideas
that they have to flesh out and then
present full size
with Photoshop title, tag line,
billing, all of it, to the two by three format
but large. And -
oh my gosh I think around 1993
I worked for a studio that was charging
$1100 for each
presentation on full sized foam core.
If they're doing 20 of those well that's $22,000.
In today's dollars of course, that's 23 years later
it's much, much more. Now at that
point, after the presentation to the production studio,
they'll get feedback and
generally speaking they'll be asked to do another round of
ideas. They may borrow parts of the first
presentation and incorporate into the new one, or they may just go
a totally different direction. Or, in some cases,
they may say I'm not sure you're really getting it so let's move on
we'll, you know, we'll book you up for another movie.
That's of course the one thing a studio doesn't really want.
They make as much money, by the way, on these presentations
and there are many of them over the course of two and a half years
for each design studio. In fact they spend
as much money on the design and
placement of movie poster ads as they do on the actual
production of the film. It's just that
the public often doesn't see the beautiful work that's done.
Well the thing.
finished poster, if the studio succeeds
in getting that, they won't make
any more on the finished poster usually.
They'll make about the same. But a finished poster is a real
prize and it does enhance any design
studio's prestige. If the poster
also wins the award for key art, that's
to say the best designed poster, well that's
even better. When Silence of the Lambs came
out, I remember seeing billboards on
Highland Avenue and it would show Jodie Foster or
Anthony Hopkins. And then strangely it's have a colored moth
in front of their mouths. What's this all about?
That's what we call high concept. it's not a scene from the movie,
it's not a montage,
but what it does is it draws you into it, because it makes
you wonder well what's happening. So by the time you find out
you're already intrigued. The movie did really well,
it won the Best Picture Academy Award.
Dawn Teitelbaum who designed that, she won the key art award
and I remember sitting with another artist
and we're working on ideas for their design
studio and when they brought thumbnails, the idea of
the moth in front of the face is - we just kind of
laughed and said well they're just padding the bill,
no one's ever gonna choose this because the people in the - who
represent the studios are generally conservative. They may be
experimental in their ideas along the way by by the time we get to the finished poster
it's often just a head shot. Like Fat Man and
Little Boy we did some really amazing ideas about the Manhatten
Project. But Paul Newman, who played
the General in charge, at the end they just wound up
doing a shot of his head with his hat and that was it.
So they do get concerned at some point
that if they come up with too esoteric of an answer
and the movie doesn't do well, whether because of
or usually not because of, then
you know someone's gonna get blamed.
And so everybody plays a little bit safe at the end so
if it doesn't do well at least they don't bear the blame. I have
here several drawings
by different artists and let's take a look.
and here we have what we call first stage sketches.
You might be asked to do
20 of these in two and half days.
If it's taken to this level. There's an earlier level
where you might be asked to do 20 of them in one day and then
there are other levels which are tighter where you might be asked to do seven of them in five
days. It just depends on the project and where they are
in the presentation. So for this one,
I think he did a brilliant job. He's
got his values: dark gray, light gray, white
and black. And he's organized everything around those. And
it's very dramatic and you notice the edges. And he we have a rim
light, that's a light coming from behind the figure so it's not just
lighted from one side. Very powerful. Here
we have another one. This is Tom Cruise.
And this is Al Pacino.
And Mike Butkus is the artist and
he is used the smoke to kind of weave
the figures together. So you know the art director doesn't say to do that,
you figure that out. You take the art director's
idea and you bring it into something wonderful. That's your job.
In England, the people who do this
work are known as visualizers. Or they were.
And you can see why, because you take an idea and you make a visual
out of it that people can react to and understand.
So if this were chosen, ultimately,
as the design for the poster, you might have a photographer,
generally you do, take the shot of Pacino
and Tom Cruise. So even though
hundreds of drawings or more may have been done along the way before the final
poster, the final poster for a movie
is usually a photograph. Because they figure
it's a cinematic process and so it's best
conveyed through photography.
There are examples, for instance the whole
Indiana Jones series of movies where
because of the subject and the success of the first one
and subsequent ones, they've gone always with
an illustration for the finish. There are other cases,
movies for kids for instance, The Muppet Movie,
those are frequently done with illustration.
And now with more and more sci fi
as some matter or comic book, then even more
finishes are being done manually and not by
photography. And then the
work at the point goes to somebody in the studio
who is probably the production manager.
You have the creative director who owns the studio,
then you have the art director or several of them who have
the interface with the illustrators and with production people.
And then you have production manager,
in charge of everything that goes on, very busy and
kind of work and so on. We also
have somebody who's known as a finisher. So when they're doing the
finished poster, that person is in charge of actually bringing
it up to the quality and involving everything beautifully.
And then it's ready to print and go. So it's really
a group project and the illustrator is part of it. But that
shouldn't surprise because that's true of video games, animation,
even book covers, which are done more and more with
photography. This is a viable field,
it really hasn't let up at all, even when there's been a writers strike.
They still have to advertise
for films. Remember if you wear out a
pair of shoes or tires or all four
you're gonna have to go and replace those products. No one needs
to tell you that you've gotta do it. You'll look around,
you'll decide which ones are the best looking, the most comfortable, you'll
buy something. In the case of a movie
you may like entertainment, you may enjoy going to movies, but how do you
chose the movie? It's very, very dependent on the
advertising for it. Otherwise, okay, that's
just another movie, I have no idea what it's about, I don't have anything that draws
me into it. And so what we try to do is
build those factors into it. If we have a movie
that's got a really hot star then we're probably
almost certainly gonna use that start as the dominant
image or at least a dominant image in a number of the concepts.
So now you've gone through the first
series with a particular design studio and maybe another one calls you up
to work on the same film. That's not a conflict of interest.
It happens all the time. And at the very least, if you're
working on one film for Studio A, you're probably
working on a different film at the same time for Studio B.
I turn down one job for every
two that I accepted. And it was all
word of mouth. I didn't have a business card even. So
remember if an art director is working with you at Studio A
and then he quits and moves to Studio C
you're gonna fret. Oh my I got so much work from that
art director and now he's gone. Don't worry,
Studio A still needs people they can depend on
and so there you are. They'll keep calling you. But now
he's moved to Studio C, they knew nothing about you and they start
calling you too. So it just expands. But you have
to be consistent, you can never miss a deadline
it's just something that we have here in Los Angeles or the
LA area. You know a lot of production has gone
to the east coast or to Europe or
Eastern Europe or to Canada, elsewhere.
It's much easier to do that now than it used to be so you might figure
well what's gonna become of me? You know I'm advertising all these films and
they're not even shot in Hollywood. Who cares where they were shot?
It makes a difference if you are working as a storyboard artist or a concept artist
or any other art job in the production of the
movie, yeah you're gonna have to move to North Carolina for six months,
or you'll have to spend, you know, three months
in Lithuania. And how does that affect you,
your family, etc.
But the film advertising has always been
essentially done in Southern California. Whether it's
in Wilshire corridor or West Hollywood
or Santa Monica or Burbank,
a number of other places too.
It's - everybody figures that in LA people know how to have fun.
So that's one of the reasons that
even the films that are produced by Asian companies
they look to American design companies to do their
advertising. Let's look at a couple
others. I mentioned at the end
this. This is the color comp. It begins
to look much more like the finished poster will look like.
You'll notice that there's also a preference in movie posters.
If I have a little footnote I'll mention it here and there.
They really like violet and they really like orange and
coral colors. If you look at the skies
they'll try to stage it so that it's at the
magic hour where dusk is turning into night.
And there's always this progression from yellow
to orange or coral, then into
purple and violet and then
dark, dark blue at the top. So what they try to
avoid are colors that get a bad reaction from marketing people.
Such as green. If you're doing Tarzan where
you're gonna use green. But otherwise it's just a - they think that there's
a public prejudice in favor of the other colors.
I mentioned. In this case though by
Mike Butkus, he's done this
tight painting using acrylic prismacolor
and this is of John Gielgud.
I'm not sure if he really did this for a job or just as a sample
or for one of the classes he taught at Associates in Art.
That's a good example of the level of finish that one
might find in a color comp. It's virtually the
same level of finish as you would find in a finished poster
done by an illustrator.
And if we go up here, we'll see
just another sort of a first stage sketch
but it's been photoshopped and created this vignette
so that the white space can be used and you'll notice
that he has a first read or focal point they call
it in fine art. First read is where your eye goes first.
Second read is afterwards. So here she's
the first read and then we see him behind.
This is very important. You have to understand what you're trying to
emphasize. You really have to lock in and think
like the art director. This is a great art director
and his name is Alan Hunter and he's
been the main art director at Seiniger Advertising for
the last 25 years. And he also illustrates
so he not only hands out assignments
to illustrators but he does a lot of it himself.
Not all art directors can do that. Their drawing skills
may or may not be there. Here
we have another area. Storyboard for
live action film, that is to say production work,
and for advertising. So
a big part of your clientele may wind up being
the advertising done in a video format
and this would be done again for
trailers and teasers.
And so we're gonna touch on that subject as we go on with the course too.
Now after the first
presentation, if the studio wants we continue. Or that is to say they want the
design studio to carry on, they're probably gonna hire you again.
And you'll do another set. And this could go on, as it did
with Total Recall for me,
for three years. I had, let's see,
two X ray files and
two other vertical large
format files, file cabinets, and
they were filled from front to back with different drawings or photocopies of them.
And that's just to ones I managed to pick up or bothered to.
Mostly they wind up, you know, some loose file at the design
travesty really how they treat them. But if you want them in your
portfolio you should go ahead and grab them. These days naturally
you're undoubtedly going to be putting them into your computer
and emailing to the studio.
I used to live in Canyon Country which is a 45 minute drive,
no even much more than that, probably an hour and 20 minute drive
to Melrose and Highland where I did a lot of my
work or other spots like that. But we had couriers
So if I did two-thirds of my work at home, using
fax and phone and I did one-third in house at the
locations in West LA,
if I'm working from home
they would send a courier and that person would pick it up
usually early in the morning unless it was an emergency job, it could be any time.
So there was no charge
to the illustrator but it certainly delayed the amount of time,
extended the amount of time that you have to work to get things
done. Now you can email what you've drawn
that's all they need. And so that saves a lot of time.
But anything that's a time saving technology doesn't necessarily
mean you have less work. They somehow manage to fill in those gaps
and you wind up working heavily. If I had more than two
or sometimes three jobs on the table
and they wanted something else, a different
studio or the same one but they had another movie they wanted to
get started on, I would say look
I'm too busy right now, but if you'll give me an hour and a
half I can probably find somebody who will work as my
assistant. And that person for instance would do my research
looking up any reference like Air America
with Robert Downey and Mel Gibson, that required
different photos of DC3 which
was featured in the movie. And we didn't have the internet back then
so you couldn't just look up DC3, so you usually
had a picture file or a morgue it's called,
and that is broken down into, my case, 18 categories.
you know, etc.
And they would be broken down into subcategories, like
dogs, large dogs, small dogs,
so you could look things up, you know, filing system that's well
organized. But it still really didn't always cover,
so an illustrator or an assistant like the ones I hired
they would have to actually go to a couple
of places that sell movie stills, one in
North Hollywood, another in Hollywood, and
also there are certain poses which just don't
succeed if you try to invent the pose entirely. So we used to use
polaroid cameras, much easier today with digital cameras
but, you know, if you had to have an upshot
then I would put the model on the diving board and I'd lay on my back
and shoot up or down from a balcony if it was
a bird's eye view. This is time consuming
and so it has to be budgeted into the amount of time you have.
Now as I said it's faster with the internet.
But back then it made a big difference in being able to meet
a deadline on a third job instead of two at a time.
And so I paid the students
eight dollars an hour back in the 1980s and early
90s and they got experience learning
how to do this process. And if we were ahead of the deadline a little bit
I would be only working with my students who could also really
draw well. That's how Gary Cornell
over here, that's how he got his
chops. And then eventually he was able to do it on his own.
So a number of them had this in their backgrounds
and used it and did quite well and do quite well in this business.
So research is an important factor,
the studio might give you some research. let's say it's Mission:
Impossible and it takes place in Prague Czechoslovakia
or Czech Republic now. They
might give you some shots of the city.
So oftentimes if it's a recognizable landmark
like St. Basil's or
the Arc de Triumph or the Eiffel Tower
or Westminster, these things they'll give you
reference. But you may need different angles and so on. So sometimes the
research is really important in order to make this an interest set.
Other times, if they come at you first stage and they say
look we need 20 of these and we need them today between 9:30 and
6, will you just do them? And you have to
make things up as you go. The more time they
give you, you use that time, you don't get extra time left over you
just make the drawings tighter and nicer. It's very
important to understand lighting and tonality. We're
talking about films, they're not line drawings. Although
I've been called upon very frequently to work on such
product as Pinky and the Brain or
Spacejam, other animated materials.
So that can happen too. They'll often ask you to mimic
a certain style. Alphonse Mucha,
Gustav Klimt, any number of other recognizable styles,
including Ralph Steadman who did the work for
Fear and Loathing with Hunter Thompson.
Very individual style or -
they even hired me to use a box of crayons and draw like a
child. They pay you the same rate no matter what.
And again, if your idea, or their idea, isn't used
it's no skin off of your teeth, you just
get paid either way. That brings me
to another main area. You have to be flexible.
You cannot be stiff. If the art director changes gears
in the middle of a drawing or in the middle of a series of drawings and says look
that actor is out. Well that happened with
hot shots. Originally it was gonna
be Leslie Nielson but then the contract fell through
and after I'd done all these drawings, they now wanted
Lloyd Bridges. So you had to go in and make those changes.
Changes represent a good chunk of income for
entertainment advertising illustrator. Because you're basically a
tool for the art director express himself or herself so
when the art director wants changes, even for bad reasons, things
that you might disagree with, you just happily go ahead and do it
and, you know, you bill, make more money. That's nothing
but that is a big part of the job. It's
less common that they will ask you to change something because
they don't like what you drew. After all they ordered it
and unless you make an outright mistake like forgetting to draw the hand
then they really don't, you know, they don't penalize you
or ask you to do it over for free. The clock is still running.
When I first started this work in 1986
the day rate for
a movie like I was doing A Fish Called Wanda and
and it was one or two,
some other films you'd recognize but don't come to mind right now,
the day rate was $400. But
I had to do drawings for a B movie
where there were four guys and their girlfriends
eight people, and then there were eight motorcycle
gangsters and drawn in extreme perspective from below as
the Oldsmobile convertible was barreling towards us
and the girls were sitting on the top of the seats and the guys were sitting on the seats
and they were defending themselves with baseball bats and nunchucks
and the girls were happily laughing away and then
these bald headed, you know, buff
mustachioed, leather vest kinda guys,
on motorcycles were like sliding underneath
an extreme perspective as they were being run over by
the Oldsmobile. They're swinging weapons. And in the
background was - what are they
call that? A fish eye view of Miami.
And they had to have eight of those the first day.
And I swore that night afterwards I'd never do this again the rest of my
life. It was so daunting. But then I
developed and I learned how to do a style that incorporated
wholly made up figures and elements and angles as well as some
that are more based on photo reference. And then it wasn't too
but there are all kinds of movies.
There are light romances, there's film noir, there's
comedy, documentary, science fiction,
and you'll be working on one genre
on a particular day, let's say it's Tuesday,
and then you're done Wednesday morning and you're already starting on
another one Wednesday afternoon and instead of working on
light romance, you're working on
action packed science fiction movie.
And then before the week is done, you've switched
over and you're doing a crime drama. So it used to be
infuriating because I could never find my comfort zone. Just as I was getting
into the swing of one genre, I would be lurched
and jerked into another one. And so
it was difficult. But after a time I began to
feel - and I was right - that this is a great thing for me because it's not
monotonous, I'm not doing the same thing over and over, I'm not working
on the same animated film or any of that,
and as beautiful as the work is these days, you're still
working on a scene maybe for many, many, many weeks.
And here you have to move from one
genre to another. Maybe a Western. It's just really
fun when you think of it like that. Sometimes you don't even know what
you're gonna work on when you report to duty at 9:30 in the morning.
And then the art director will go over you with it.
You don't generally read the script. That's another thing. First of all there's no time.
And secondly, that's what they want you to avoid. Because how can you
think outside the box if you've read the whole script? Your
natural inclination is okay, I'm gonna
kinda describe this the way the script was written. That's not how they
sell things in entertainment.
In fact, this is something to remember, I hope you're taking notes,
there are three different markets
as a rule that the industry tries to
appeal to. One, North American;
another, Asian; and another,
European. As a standard,
the American market likes to see a
scene from the movie, although it's not even in the movie,
but it kind of represents. It's an
icon for what the movie is about and the kind of scene you might find,
especially if it's an action movie. The Asian market
likes a lot of action and it's very common
to have a poster with multiple scenes from the movie.
And we call that a montage.
So but very action oriented, very
colorful if you're using color. The European
market, they tend to like high
concept like the original movie Alien
where you have an egg in space and it's oozing green stuff
out into the depths of the dark space.
And I think it said something like
in space no one can head you scream.
Total Recall with Arnold Schwarzenegger was a very minimalist poster, even -
I'll show you examples of an early part when we
I had to draw the girls and the red light district and all that,
at the end it was just a minimalist poster with the surface of the
Mars, a triangle,
with a prism, right, representing the volcano
that they were able to create an atmosphere with, and then the two
moons of Mars. And then just deep space
with white stars, nothing special, no nebula,
didn't want that, only the surface of Mars, and then
at the top was the title, Total Recall, and then
it said - and the tagline was "How would you know if someone stole your mind?"
So when you design these concepts, you
also have to think of, where am I gonna put the
title? Sometimes it doesn't really matter. Like in
this case. Other times you can see
it's been clearly left out so the art director
can do anything he or she wants with the title.
But you have to consider that in your
designs, in your compositions. So first off it's very important
that you have a template. This is just two by three.
I have another one that's two by three but
larger than this. And for thumbnails you might want to even
print this down another half. The
art director's concept is something he or she will sit down with you and
discuss. And then they'll show you drawings that are basically stick figures
and the frame will look like that, a blob.
They're not even busy enough or considerate enough
to try to work within the format. That's your job.
And if you sit there and you ask well, you know, I can't tell
what's the northwest and the southeast and I can't tell
anything from this then you know they'll just say well I don't know
you figure it out. And if you can't figure it out
then they'll find someone who can. And they gets me to how do you get
into this line of work.
into this line of work. The basic answer to this or
other areas of a career in art
is you have to be good at all
times. You have to be at your highest level at
any given moment so that when somebody gets sick
and they happen to be the number one guy
or gal on a particular
list of their favorite artists at a studio and they
call that person up and they say look I'm sorry, I need to
take a week off from anything. Well they're desperate.
It doesn't change the reality that the design studio has got to find
somebody to do the job because they can't not produce.
So then they're gonna plead with you:
I know you've got laryngitis but can you please tell me, please
who do you recommend because I've already looked at my number two and my number three
person and one's in Italy and they other one's
go too much work right now. So I don't have anyone. Is there anybody
you can recommend. And that's where you get recommended.
You've never done the work before, the art
director understands that but they trust the illustrator
they rely on to give them a reliable
referral. That means when you go in there, they're
gonna start you off with a really good rate. As I said it was $400 a day when I
started back in '86. That
seemed a lot at the point. Now if you're not at your
best you feel like oh I've got
to say no. Frankly I haven't done that before,
I'm not quite ready for it at this time. And then you spend
however long after that, believe me, regretting
that you weren't able to do that. Didn't
happen with me but I did experience a lot of pain having to
adapt to something I hadn't done. And this is
how artists very frequently get their work for the first time.
Sending in a portfolio in the old days meant that it would sit
on top of a file cabinet with many others gathering dust. They just don't have
time to look at that stuff. These are incredibly busy people.
And a portfolio doesn't necessarily tell them
if they are new artists at least whether you can meet deadlines
or are you easy to work with. So -
and now, even though you can do that digitally, you don't have to send a physical
portfolio, still nothing is
better than the combination of they're really being desperate for somebody and
giving you a chance. if the artist who
referred you to them, the poor person on his sick bed,
if that artist turns out
to have sent someone who fails miserably, well
then they're not to listen to future referrals when they're really up against
it from that particular artist. And that's not nice because they're
worked with that person and vice versa for quite a while. So
you really have to be ready and you can't let down
somebody who's kind enough to referred you to a lucrative career.
In fact, maybe even develop a conflict of interest
because you could outshine them. I've seen that too.
So always be at your best.
Weistling, who studied beside me with my teacher, Fred Fixler,
he worked for minimum wage
at a major art store in the San Fernando Valley. And he said he'd only do it
for two years, 24 months to the day. And on his last day
early in the afternoon, Drew Struzan,
most prolific and probably the best, modern
greatest movie poster illustrator of all. He came in
to pick up some supplies. Usually he just had them sent to his
place in Arrowhead but here he was
and another clerk was helping him, he found out who it was
and he said look, he pushed her aside, he said let me
take this one. And then he managed to show him
photographs of the work he had done in class and his paintings
outside and Drew didn't want
to look, he was a getaway kid, you know, I don't need this.
But he really forced him to see it. Then he said wow
this is really something, I didn't expect this. And when he started mentioning
the names of his influences, Dean Cornwell and others.
Nobody back then was talking about such people but they meant the world to
Drew Struzan and others in the field. So he said alright look
you know, this is interesting. He goes, let's go out to the parking lot
because I have a poster that I'm working on right now, it's on the trunk of my car.
So Morgan was thrilled to death. And he did that.
Later that night, to his surprise, got a phone call
from Drew and he said look I'm working for this
particular design studio in Burbank and they could use a guy
who can do first stage drawings and you can
and they also need someone to sweep up and drive the truck.
So it's $10 an hour, you do
all those things. And he jumped at it, he would have done it for nothing honestly
for the opportunity. And before long he was their number one
guy and Drew continued to do the finished
posters for Universal but Morgan started getting jobs for
other companies like Manson International, proved he could do it
and then he started getting the posters for Universal.
So this is exactly how he found himself
because he was ready when the opportunity came along.
And there are no two paths that I know of that are
the same for artists
who get into the business. Each one is a unique
story, it's not a matter of going to take the
law school exam and
the usual route, there's no ladder as such to success
at least in this field there particularly is not.
So you just have to be ready. What I'm gonna try to teach in this class
is a way for you guys not only to be ready but to do
relative portfolio work. In other words
I'm literally gonna have you choose a genre,
again I mentioned several major ones. And don't everybody
choose sci-fi. I know that that's the big thing but
if you want to really impress them, you'll do something that has light
mood to it to, very human. That's
actually more difficult and compelling to
draw. So you'll need to pick a genre, it could be
sci-fi, don't rule it out at all. In fact it'd be very good
in many ways, and then you're gonna do a specific plot
for your genre. This is up to you. It could be the lamest,
simplest plot ever come up with. It doesn't matter. It's just
something to hold your ideas. And then you're gonna
come up with the actors, you're gonna cast it.
You should have at least one male and one female actor
and they need to be current.
By that I mean, it could be Anthony Hopkins, not just because he's
still doing current work but, you know, he's recognizable
to everybody. It could be
any actor or actress. It's best to chose
a male and a female actor who both have what we call
the look. It's a hard thing to define
but I'll draw it as best as I can for you during the course.
A sense of glamorization, idealization, or
in the case of character actors, just
that, characterization. And you have to show
in about - I'm gonna have you do about 12
comprehensive sketches, that's pretty much the first
stage. I'll show you some examples after we take a brief
break but then you're gonna wanna do
a dozen of them and they have to conform to this two by
three. So you're gonna have to come up with
thumbnail sketches, you can do those with a marker for all I care
but the thumbnail sketch is the skeleton
of the finished comprehensive sketch.
You need to do one that's high concept,
I mentioned that's popular in Europe. You need to do another
in the Asian market, a poster with multiple scenes,
from the movie. And then the American market I already mentioned
they like to have something that's a scene that you've come up with
but it's emblematic of what the movie is about.
So - and you need to do the following:
take notes because you might as well start thinking about this
before the very next class. You need to want to have
one scene that is a seen from eye level
but that is the most boring camera angle.
So you need to have one that's called a bird's eye view, which is
a down shot of your characters and their environment.
You need to have a third which is a
worm's eye view. This is the most dramatic of all where you're looking
up at the characters and even the action.
You need to be able to compose for all three. You need to
show that you can do a little bit of perspective in at least one of your
12 drawings. But perspective for the purpose of advertising
is very minimal and if you look at this
it's really just a foil for the rest of the design.
It is not something, even anatomy is not
something that you have to be a slave to. If you're designing
a background for an animated film
or if you're designing backgrounds
for a live action film, you need to really utilize
your understanding of perspective. But here we just use what we
call illustrator's perspective. And so don't
get caught up in that. But you will need to do something that
identifies a ship on the horizon like this or maybe
the spires of a church complex somewhere
in Europe or America. And you need to do
something among your 12 drawings that shows you can draw
view. Here we have
a helicopter. And the artist - art director - gives you a thumbnail
to start, you're gonna find that they're gonna be
little raisins on the drawing and
the first time you ask, you have to ask, but after that you always know.
A little black raisin somewhere in the sky always means a helicopter.
Or it could be a car.
Or it could be a closer shot of ship.
But you have to be able to do something like that.
One of your drawings should be carried farther than all the rest to show you
can do something pretty tight like that. The others
can be looser. You should do one
that's a montage, that means even if it's
a simple as this, two figures, they don't have to have
any relationship and perspective or scale to each other than what you want
to focus the eyes, a first read. But a montage -
they always try a least one or several
montages in the presentation. So you wanna show that you can do
a good design with that. I'll show you examples in a few minutes.
You need to show something that has a really strong
emotion. It doesn't necessarily have to have an expression
on the actor's head but that's a good plan.
Now how are you gonna do this? How do you
take it from a thumbnail sketch that's not even in the right format
and how do you flesh it out into a beautiful drawing or design.
Well, I'm gonna show you some examples.
And then I'm going to show you how to design heads.
If you have an actress an an actor
you're gonna probably be using their
heads in all or most, the great majority of your drawing samples.
So you're actually showing a full campaign here, although
you're gonna find them at different angles, not just
profile, front view, three quarter,
but upshots and down shots, over the shoulder shots.
So what I usually do when I start a movie
campaign is I do multiple drawings
of my key actors. So I cover
the main three quarter profile etc., and then
maybe a couple others that could be called for in some illustration
where you could be running the actor away from
us with his head turned back. How are you gonna
actually attach likenesses to figures.
It's not easy to do, very awkward at times.
But you have to do it. So you'll be representing an action scene
using the likeness of a character. Instead of drawing
it on every single one of the twelve, it's best to design
a few of them and just size them to a scale of your figure
which has been sized already to the format of your poster
and then you can design them right on
top of the figure. If you're good, you should become good
in this class, at attaching the head and the neck to a torso.
And to make some shots that
perhaps don't have any emotion in them, how to make up
emotions. There's a lot to cover in a class like this.
I got, after Total Recall, I got a lot of work.
Everybody figured well he can paint a sky, a space sky, so let's
give him all the work for Star Trek and they did and let's give him the cover
for the video packages for Star Wars.
And all I had really done was just taken the airbrush and dropped white
acrylic paint on a black background. So they're very literal in
their thinking actually and very conservative.
I did a lot of work on Steven Segal movies and I'm not a
vigilante myself but I got hired them to do all
the film noir work. Which is cool because I like
film noir anyway, it's fun to draw. So those are the main
points now to start us off. And let's just
take a brief break and I'll come back and I'll show
some of my work and the process.
I will show you about how to do thumbnail sketches as if you were the
art director and then from that how you would
go about and do the drawing. Okay so let's just take a
five minute break now.
It's very successful but it's
not the only one. There are some really good people working in the field
who follow a different avenue from concept
to finish and I'll try to show some of their work too. I'm gonna
duck over and show you some samples of
various films and treatments that I've
on all kinds of different genres.
Let's start with this one. This is from
a movie called 1969 and it was
a relatively low budget movie I believe but
that was when there was confrontation
between protesters, usually at colleges, and national
guard or reserved sheriffs and somebody
famously put a flower in the muzzle of the gun.
And this is a case where it probably had to do about,
I dunno, at least 15 drawings in a day
at the studio itself and this is what we'd call a truly first
stage sketch. Notice how simple it is but how clear and
graphic it is with the goal of getting across the idea.
There's no time to indulge yourself and
prove you can draw like Norman Rockwell. I've seen people who
try to do that and they're quickly out of the business, so
remember you're not there to gratify yourself or to show off
you're there to get this job done.
This is one of the first ones I did, it's for A Fish Called
Wanda and it was really just a matter of getting
Michael Palin and Kevin Kline and John Cleese and
Jamie Lee Curtis. Her likeness is not perfect but
it doesn't matter. They know who she is and so - but to get the
idea across. And then they had a little icon of this fish which we had to reuse all the
time. And I just used a kind of a scribbly technique here,
it wasn't academic or anything. This was another early
one, it was
loosely based on David Grove's famous illustration for
the movie The Outsiders and that was a scene where
it had a strip background and you have the teenagers
arranged in a montage and there was a sun
somewhere up in here. And so
art directors are the greatest plagiarists of all. But really when they do that
that's fine, it's really doing an
homage for the other artist
that it's based on. Another point I've gotta mention,
let's see if I can make a better point on the next one. This was
a made for TV movie called Conagher and
this is Sam Elliot and this is Katharine
Ross and this is the simple idea for it.
It leaves plenty of room for a title, it's pretty early stage
but if you've seen what I try to do with my drawing of heads, I try to
express them in planes. Especially the male head. Chiseled.
The female head, glamorize the eyes,
mouth, it's all about the look. He's rough
and that's the role he's playing but he's rugged
and she's glamorous and beautiful
and I used reference for these that, if I may,
if I did a finished painting from these head references,
I would be sued for copyright violation.
But these drawings are not for public consumption.
Remember, they're basically a visual form of consultation
and so they get shown to the movie production company
as that and the design studio and the artist
work these out. In fact,
there's a little bit of gray area in these matters.
Do you have to charge sales tax for this product?
Or instead is it considered
consultation, it's not an outright product. And so for that
you don't pay sales tax. The answer almost always was -
in fact I can barely remember ever charging for sales tax -
it was always
consultation, so that's something you don't have to worry about. This is back
to the Future. Most people recognize this.
So here's Michael J. Fox
in the film Back to the Future. It's one of the
concepts - this is actually not the film itself but it
was later than the film came out and we were doing
something about Christmas, I'm not sure, so that's why he has
a present in his arm.
Again like I said the key art for one film, it can be
adapted for all kinds of ideas down the road. Documentaries
I did fewer of these probably than most of the other subjects
but this is very simple
and to create a texture I just held the paper up against the stucco
on the outside of my apartment building
and then Iaid down and created this tone. I'm not sure
why it was even important to do so but
stuff we do. Here, this was a concept
I think it was for one of the Frankenstein movies and
this one was done on gray paper. So it's a tighter
later version. So on the gray paper you can heighten
it with white prismacolor and black prismacolor
and gouache and you get give i even a little airbrush.
to smooth it out, if that's the look you're going for. So that again
is what we call high concept. It's not a scene from the movie, you can't
much of what's going on. This one
takes place obviously in Paris.
And it's a very rough first stage sketch. The likenesses aren't important,
especially at this scale, and it's very simple,
we just - when a figure is outside it tends to have
the light wrapping around it if you're seeing the shadow side.
So the figures have to stay very narrow, not too thick.
And we often do something that sorta indicated not just the shadow
but maybe some reflection. This one
is not too fun to look at but this was one of the
Frankenstein films that came out in the later 80s,
early 90s. And this too is done on the gray paper.
using white prisma, a little bit of gouache,
black prisma, and then you just
use a ruler and create these streaks but
it looks a little bit photographic because it's been overblown with the air brush.
So it gets pretty fast though, I think I did like eight of these
in one night but it was all night. I had other jobs during the day.
Here's another one for that film, Robert De Niro played
Frankenstein. And what I did in this case
is this is a different film, Frankenstein. Here
I did a drawing just on any surface I cared to
and then I photocopied the drawing onto heavyweight
tracing paper. And then
put down a little bit of black Prismacolor and I took
a Q-tip with some paint thinner or turpenoid and it goes
instantly pure black. And then I just used a very little bit of paint
and I filled this whole area like that. I wanted to have
a photographic effect. This was a little bit later stage. I had to do
eight that day. But that shows you how fast it can be done.
And with an electric eraser you can create simple effects.
That's one of the very good techniques.
Here we have - well
it's a bit controversial to say the least but this was good for
Ghost Dad and so the focal point was obviously
Bill Cosby, as we see
here. And again it's a matter of drawing the planes of the head
and understanding the structure of the head.
This one's interesting. This is for a film called Gladiator
about a boxer and this shows my process too.
I had probably to do ten or something in a day
so I drew the likenesses and
I placed them together as a unit and then
I showed all my drawings at this level, unfinished,
I showed them to the art director so that if he said, you know what
I want these figures spread farther apart or I want her to be in
the distance. He could tell me at that point
I would make the change, with very little pain.
If I don't do this then I fill in all my tonality and finish it
and then I show it to him, he might just say - and he has every right -
no I think I want her in the background more, etc.
Well that means I have to redraw everything. So this is a stage where
I show it to the art director and
after I've done 12 of these and show them then he might change
a couple of them, make those changes, and now I look at the clock
I see how much time is left, I divide that time by twelve since
there are twelve of them and I just knock them out.
But again notice the handling of the planes of the head.
This is a concept again for that Frankenstein film, which I
really like and I've used it, I've adapted
this into a couple of
fashion designs and they've been really successful
I might even have them on this computer.
Here, these are just figures
that are made up from imagination and we can see here in Hot Shots!
Part Deux, that they originally had
Leslie Nielson in that role
and then I had to redo this all with Lloyd Bridges.
Again I said I did a lot of Steven Segal stuff and
it's always of this mood.
You can see a close up of the head.
This was done with pencil. Usually I use wax
pencil but this was graphite and the reason was because
I had so much time, I had to do seven of them in
five days and graphite on a small scale will help you get
Actually what they did was, the studio
was in West Hollywood and they contacted the city of
New York and so they paved with
asphalt a platform and they actually got a New York City manhole
cover and they made it steaming.
That wasn't necessary for this sketch but when they did the final
poster, that's what they used. Here's another one.
Again the graphite is very good for detail.
And this is a much more finished sketch, it's later in the process.
This, as simple as it is,
was used for the finished poster. That's the design they
chose. And in this case, they had the place
paved in their large garage and then they had this New York City manhole
cover and it was done as a photoshoot
and I remember I was working on some other drawings
and I heard a scream from the garage
and it was Kelly Lebrock, his wife,
and she was screaming at him, you know, why'd you do that,
why'd you do that, why did you have to do that? And he said
well I can't do it otherwise. And she goes you don't need to have a loaded gun
Steven. You don't. He says I can't do it, it has to be loaded.
And so one of the weird things that happens. This is
a pretty cool one, I think it's graphite. It's
a sex doll and a couple of British comedians
and that's what it is, it's a British movie so.
Kinda has the ring of that anyway. Here's some
color comps before the finish for Total Recall.
This one I only had one or two
angles on Arnold's head so I had to make up the others.
But I think it makes a more interesting poster than
what they actually went with. And this
is just acrylic and airbrush
and prismacolor, which has a little
tooth and then overblowing it with more airbrush until it looks real.
But it's not a finish, it's just complete. Let's go to the finished
poster for Total Recall so you can see how minimal they wound up.
Here's an interesting design for
I guess it was graffiti bridge. So
they wanted a mandala with Prince and these
are the elements that they had.
And, you know, it's a little bit been printed a few times
so it's not good resolution but you can see I pieced
it together. All I had to do was draw one section of the mandala
and then I could piece it together like this
and then make a copy of it. So it looks like
it's time consuming but it's not. This one is
I think one of the better ones for Hot Shots!
And then they also hire people alongside the
illustrators to write copy and here the copy line is
A Hero so tough, a love so tender in a comedy so original
it's only been done twice. So it's Hot Shots! Part
Deux. Get it.
So you have to make room for the title treatment, the billing,
etc. This is a color comp
with Danny Devito for Other People's Money.
A little bit out of focus. So this is
just getting towards what they're gonna use for the finished idea. They're running
out of time and so they try - the ideas they like the most
and we do paintings. It's easier to work in acrylic than oil
because the thing has to get to the studio, it can't smear, mess up other work,
and it doesn't reflect funny,
it's matte, and it's fast, it's quick.
See if I can focus on the head. Yeah, it's badly
out of focus so I won't bother, I'll just go back.
Ransom with Mel Gibson. This is done on the
tracing paper that's run through the bypass and then
using turpenoid and prismacolor.
So he's supposed to look like he's on a tv screen. This is a very
simple one but, you know, you really better be good with your head drawing.
Sean Connery and Wesley Snipes in the
crime movie, Rising Sun.
This is another one for the - I showed earlier.
It's just a group of teens, right after World War II
in Hawaii. And some of
the issues that come up between Japanese and Americans.
Here's another film noir for the same movie.
It's called out for Justice, I showed you the manhole cover stuff.
You see at least it has
an element of a different camera angle. This is a bird's eye view.
Here's one that's an eye level view.
Just keep areas simple, like all this could be used
for title treatment. So you have to think about - this one's
badly out of focus but it's a color comp for
Radioflyer, the one I mentioned earlier, where
two boys are - one of them comes to a tragic end
but it has a charming thing happening with the wagon and the
dog. This is a really big painting, this is full sized. Here is some
real quickies. There was a TNT made for
television movie and it was about Michelangelo,
Raphael, and Leonardo. But you had to
also draw the likenesses of the actors.
So I did quite a few of them in this day. Notice the simplification
of these figures.
Sometimes we refer to these little incidental figures
as geeks. I don't know how that started
but if you talk to an illustrator and say so I drew the geeks,
he or she will know what you mean. Here's one with Meg Ryan and Andy Garcia
again. This one changed titles
in the middle. They often change title. I worked on a movie that
was called French Kiss with Kevin Kline and Meg Ryan
and they changed the title to Paris Match. Or was it
the other way around, I think it was the other way around. This one
with Denzel and Tom Hanks
called Philadelphia about a lawyer
and his gay client. And so you have all these little geeks.
back here. It's pretty easy to do. Here's another one for
Rising Sun. They're supposed to be in a high rise building
and they're actually reflected in the glass or
the city is reflected in the glass as we look in at them but
it has enough special effects to make it interesting and it leaves
space for title treatment. This is fun.
This is a movie called Spontaneous Combustion.
And I think we all get the point here.
The only thing that took any real time on this one was just filling in the dark.
But you notice I put it all in one direction so it doesn't
chop the thing up and so I'm always looking for rhythms or
direction in any of these drawings. These are interesting.
They needed 30 in one day
for Terminator 2. So all I did is
I did the drawings of Arnold's head and I put in some of the
dark tones and then I ran it on a bypass using the gray
paper, which we called - was known as TV gray.
It comes in a version that's light and another that's dark. This is the light
version and then I'd work back in using a white prismacolor
black prismacolor, a ruler, and they wanted
just a touch of red. So I just knocked these out all day long.
And there will be days like that.
Here this one is for
what's it called, Rising Tide or something like that. About
Sean Connery who's an out of control commander of a
I think it's a Russian nuclear submarine.
So always looking for different, interesting solutions.
In all these cases you can bet if you see one
there were scores of others. Here's another nice one for
And that would be a high concept, you know,
or low concept in this case but you get the idea.
And here's another one for -
she has drinking problem and so that's
what this glass represents. That's a first stage
sketch, very loose. Here
these children, their parents are trapped inside the t.v.
set. And I know people in their video
games are risking the same problem these days. This is a
Tracey Ullman show and she's
very good I think and she has all these different
avatars of herself tangled
up in her hair. See how I try to keep
the figures very simple. Look at that head
indication. We can see that it is Tracey Ullman, or it could
be at least and we certainly know from the concept
so we don't take a lot of time and render that. It's very simple, I mean look at
how simple this hand is. So
as for the head, we use certain conventions. For
a young woman we don't usually draw the bridge of the nose,
we just draw the base of the nose and the root of the nose. The teeth,
you don't put dark lines between them.
Teeth never have dark lines between them, well maybe some people, but
they reflect light from surrounding teeth.
So they become a uniform value and you just work on
the edges of the gums and the teeth.
It becomes simple.
And the hair is just a scribble, I mean after all
I have to get these things done quickly. Here's one
which has been used, the
copyright grossly infridnged upon many times over since
the movie came out. This was an earlier concept,
before the simple pyramid. And you can see he's a nebula now.
But in the foreground, you know,
he doesn't know who he is because his mind has been replaced.
I see this now on pinball machines, video
games, everything. And it started off
as just a black and white sketch, which you see here.
And nothing is really described in any detail
but you can see the forms of the head with the rim light. Imagine
this drawing without the rim light, see. Not
nearly as dramatic. So
illustrators, poster illustrators have been using the
rim light frequently all the way back to the earlier
part of the 20th century. J.C. Lyondecker is a good one to look at.
This is a color comp for Robin Williams in the movie
Toys. And his eyes,
eyes are space and then very
subtle touching with the airbrush here. Jungle Book
I said that I've done a lot of animated stuff too and
here you just have to pick up the style. It's kind of
angular but the shapes are still really simple.
I was doing this drawing overnight.
I had a lot of jobs on the board and it has
a little bit of air brush and the rest of it's pretty much hand done, a little bit
of paintbrush and I like to look at my
drawings in reverse, so I'll put them in front of a mirror
and I can see mistakes that I otherwise wouldn't.
sitting at my drafting table and it's three in the morning as it was
this time, even four, and
I just take the illustration board that it's done on and I'll just
flip it on the carpet so it lands upside down.
That way I can see with fresh eyes the composition.
If it works upside then it's probably working
right side up. But the problem was I was tired
and I flipped it in such a way that it nicked the
shaft of one of my paint brushes
and they were resting inside a big
can of water. And so when it did that
it caused the can of water to flip over, right on top of
the painting and this painting I don't think was
acrylic, it was gouache. So everything just spread like that.
And the messenger was due to pick it up at seven.
nothing you can't do, at least you have to. So I went back
in, cleaned everything up, and managed somehow
to make that deadline. But it didn't feel really good when it first happened.
This one is a sequel, it's called
Two Jakes. It came out in the later 80s
and its called Nicholson and Harvey Keitel
who's silhouette we see here. And it's about right
to oil. And
it's the sequel to Chinatown with Faye Dunaway
and Jake Nicholson and Roman Polanski and
Chinatown was about water rights in L.A.
So this is about oil. So what I did was I used that
technique where I just put the prismacolor down
and smear it with the Q tip and the
turpenoid and I created a very oily look
if you see these derricks. And that's exactly what they wanted.
This one doesn't really do justice to it but these figures are
held back in lighter values and only the warlock
is in full tone. So the idea is to put our
attention on the film star, the warlock.
Here's another color comp
of Arnold in a prism, similar
to the one I showed you. Here's a very basic one.
But see look at the background tone, I try to give movement to
it. It's not static.
This is a color comp for Star Trek 7.
And in this movie, the planet of the Klingons
is losing its energy. And so we
get all the star craft,
Klingon and those belonging
to our heros, zooming away barely to
escape basically the implosion of the planet.
This is a color comp, there were two other artists who
did color comps for this and one of them had a three shot
of Kirk and Spock and
Bones. And they were like in shafts of light.
I knew that was gonna be the one they chose because this doesn't even have
any of the stars in it. But they had to
try it out, I was already known as the painter of space, which is to say black
with a few dots. Pays the same either way.
That's another point. if you're doing a finished poster
the money you're gonna make on the finished poster in terms of the hours
you spend is probably no more, or not much
more than what you get paid for doing a series of drawings
But it's got a lot of prestige to it and that's why
the studio likes it too.
I mean there are many, many of these. And this is just a smattering
I had, like I said, so many hundreds, even
probably thousands of drawings in just the span
of about 15 years.
Here's another very basic - but look at the direction of the strokes.
It's about a Palestinian and an Israeli.
That's about all I know. Likenesses weren't important in that particular one.
And here's another one in that series of drawings.
Basic. Again look at the direction of the
strokes. This one's an interesting composition I actually think.
It tells the story in the mirror you see, here they are
in the sink but he's got the gun to this guy's back
and it's offset by the mirror. It's a pretty interesting design.
A very quick drawing. Here's another one for Conagher,
the one with Sam Elliot,
but that actually shows us how
they lay the typography on top before they present it.
This one is an interesting one.
You can see how almost photographic some of the elements can be
with your electric eraser and the prismacolor.
It's done on the
heavyweight tracing paper. These drawings were done
as a cross dissolves, there was supposed to be
the title treatment at the beginning of an animated film called Braveheart.
I did do a layout for animation, freelance,
especially for Disney, and I was doing 300 scenes a week
including the backgrounds. So I got to be
really good at inventing figures. And that was something that
was not part of my training. So
I picked it up in the process of doing that kind of work
and I'm really glad I did that. I did it for about
a year and a quarter. And here's
another one but in this case it's an eagle, not a
wolf. But you can see the importance of the way
it's - it has to be rendered in line for it to work. This one
is for Home Alone 2.
I've got another for that here
where we see the burglars and
MaCaulay Culkin. A lot of space for
title. Here we go. Chucky.
I remember having to draw these overnight.
It got a little weird. What you're drawing sometimes gets into your head.
No I'm not saying I was tempted to behave like this but
it's just a strange feeling.
I had to do - sometimes we have to paint
on top of photos. And so they provided me with a huge
photo of Freddy
his head really looks like a mashed up pizza.
And I had to paint that all night, you know.
And just looking at that like that, I didn't want to draw for a couple days
but like I said there is enormous variety in this material.
Now I mentioned designing heads, which I'm gonna
demonstrate this evening. Once they
switched over from Leslie Nielsen
to Lloyd Bridges, I had to design some heads that I could
introduce into the drawings that were obviously updated.
And so here's one, because they all kinds of
wacky expression in this movie. And so here we have
one of the designs for Lloyd Bridge's head. And I can reduce that
and use it in a smaller scale in a drawing where it calls for that
or I can keep it same size if it happens to be something like that.
This actually was use in a black and white
very tight comp toward the end of the process
and there was a jet stream running through all their ears.
It was a pretty cool idea actually.
And they were saluting. So we see just a number of a different
kinds of things that they come up with. Here's a head
that I had earlier designed for Leslie Nielson.
Same kind of thing. And I keep it really simple.
There's plenty of room for title here. You can even put a title over his forehead.
It follows a principle that's really important in
whatever genre of work you're doing is you
shouldn't have everything in equal detail or everything equally
minimal. So there are areas here for relief, like that
or his forehead or his shoulder. And then there are areas
of great complexity, like his features, his teeth.
These geeks. And so
we kind look for that in most of the ideas. And the art director isn't necessarily
gonna call for that but, you know, if you're a good illustrator
you'll do that very simple, clean,
idea can be just as simple as that last one.
Or here another one for Tracey
Ullman. Now I'm gonna show you some of the work
that others have done in this
field. There are a couple books that are out there
and a couple of them aren't in print but either way I'm gonna show you
some of the work of David Grove, Drew Struzan,
and maybe one or two others. Dan Gouzee.
These are really, really big people in this field.
When I started out, as I say, it was because -
well in my case Morgan Weistling, a good friend of
mine and fellow student under Fred Fixler, he
could not do, for whatever reason,
a set of sketches. And so
he recommended me and it was the day after I stopped
doing layout and I really just wanted to go to the beach
they offered me $400 a day, that seemed pretty good back then
that $400 a day.
If you're one of the top people it's closer
to $800 a day or even more.
I know one illustrator who does
the concept sketches and he does the
thumbnails based on those, rather he does
the drawings based on those. So he does the thumbnails and then the
drawings and he gets paid for both. So he's making thousands of
dollars an hour. So this book
came out in the mid 80s and
I mentioned Drew Struzan, you'll see several of his posters that you'll recognize.
He actually did
an Alice Cooper
music cover for one of his albums. And he did it in this
style of J.C. Leyendecker. And then he got some of the
Star Wars work and
the early stuff was also in Leyendecker's style. And then after that
he branched out and although he still has a great affinity
for that illustrator, he has his own
style. And I'll describe his technique as I show you some.
It's a technique that we've all pretty much learned.
And you can see here
this is some of the
early stuff, much more like J.C. Lyondecker.
He borrowed heavily
heavily from the design of an illustrator named Ted Coconis and he
developed this kinda stuff where you have a montage within a figure.
Okay then this is the -
here's his first Star Wars work again
heavily influences by Lyondecker.
If you don't know Leyendecker's work, it's L-E-Y-E-
And you got to understand him. Much of
the stuff that we do still stems from probably the most
influential illustrator ever and that is J.C. Leyendecker.
You can adapt it to all kinds of things. He was
asked to do something more in the line of a woodcut look.
And here he does a drawing, rubs it
with graphite, and does a transfer sheet onto the
illustration board. So very much of the process is
doing a drawing and then placing it into your composition, transfer
it. Here's one of his most famous movie posters.
Another one with
very much the look later on
of Harrison Ford in the Indiana Jones series
but here, notice the use of a rim light and top
light and special effects. And again the affinity for this
color range, the dark blue, violet, and
then purple and into orange. This one, because of the
subject matter is done in a different color key.
Almost dusty and sunny and
it feels hot. Here we see
the magic moment, the magic hour, yellow,
coral, and then all the way up through purple, violet, and dark blue.
Here, absolutely dramatic effect using rim light.
These are color comps.
They're not the finished poster. I believe this is.
And in these, you see different color schemes that are being sorted out
and different arrangements of a montage. I think these
are more interesting. Because look at all that, that's amazingly well designed.
Here it's been simplified and I find the two
heads the same size and he's a little larger but
just to be these are more successful.
But as I say they often go down and choose the least -
the most conservative one. This is one of David Grove's
greatest and this is for the film The Outsiders. I mentioned how
it had an influence on the design of that movie
and why. But if you look at the paintings of the head,
they're very sophisticated. Drew Struzan used
acrylic and it was airbrushed over
hot pressed illustration board with a light coat of gesso, so it had a
tooth, slight tooth. And what Drew would do is he would
then put in the overall
ambient tone in Tarzan for here.
And then he'd come back in and use prismacolor pencils, very sharp
and he would design all this and come back in with brushes.
And so -
and then he would airbrush over that in areas
that he wanted to simplify. Here is a color comp
for the same movie. As is
I mentioned The Muppets, classic subject matter
for hand illustration.
Alright, let me make a couple more points from this book.
You know, it was a great book, it was out of print, and that first day
that I worked for the studio was called Bacon Renwick in Burbank,
they printed this book too and they
said well you wanna come back and I guess I said
yes, which at the time I later regretted it for a night
but and they said well you take one of these books too
so that's how I got the book. You can see that when he wants to
you can take a finished poster to look absolutely like a
photograph and yet that's a painting.
color comps for Return to Oz.
They're kind similar to each other but a little different.
So you see how much exploration they do
of different ideas before they finally pull he trigger
and do the finished poster.
lives in Vermont, so - but he still gets
finished posters, he's a great illustrator. This is another one
of David Grove's most famous ones. It's called
a color key
or analogous color. In other words it has all of its color
in the warm tones. This one is
called a complimentary color scheme. It has cools
and it has warms.
I think this is a fabulous
fabulous, most beautifully drawn poster, one of the best ever.
Look at the design of the facial features. She's got the
look, she's as glamorous as they come. And all this
decoration, think of it as a frame. Here too, look at the
design of the hair, thinking of Alphonse Mucha or
or any of the number of artists who the hair by itself is fabulous
work of art. Here's the preliminary sketch for this movie
You can see it's about horse racing, I did never see the movie.
Yentl was another of David Grove's most
he follows a different approach. He uses hot
press illustration board, which is smooth, and then he
this is crazy, he
does this drawing and using an opaque projector he projects
from above onto the surface
of the illustration board. And then what he'll
do is he'll - he will do a
graphite drawing, he'll spray fix that
and then he'll get back on the projector and he'll go back using gesso
in places very thick, in places thin.
And so when something flares out, like this,
he puts the gesso strokes going away from it.
And when something needs to be contained as a shape, he
follows that shape with the gesso. So if you see the original
the gesso is really a big part of it and maybe you guys
later can zoom in on the hands, you'll see. And then having done that
he takes kleenex tissues and
soft brush and he goes over it with the
ambient tone. In this case, very warm.
Probably burnt umber back here and some cadmium red, crimson, in here,
And like a watercolor, he
does it wet on wet and then he takes Q tips
and kleenex tissue and he
dabs at it, pulling out the lights, painting in the darks
with a soft brush, and so he's got it to a certain point
where it's like a transparent water color. And then the amazing
thing is, even though this looks like oil it is not.
He never uses oil. Then he goes in finally with his
soft acrylic brushes and acrylic paint
and in very close values, opaquely and
translucently, he paints the lights
and it comes out so sophisticated.
Here we have some color comps for Back to the Future.
The finished poster is done by Drew Struzan and a couple of these
are Drew Struzan too. And then there is one by
Craig Nelson and another by Richard Farrell.
Here we have another David Grove and we see a preliminary
sketch for an idea. He likes to use continuous
line, an exercise where you don't really lift the pencil.
And he's a great draftsman.
Here's a good one. This
is an art director's thumbnail sketch.
And it's done by Jeffrey Bacon
of Bacon Renwick and he does better sketches than most and it does conform
to the two by three. And then this is
a black and white comp done by Richard Farrell.
And then the finished poster is done by Drew Struzan.
That's often the case. Several artists
are involved in the same job.
And here's a preliminary sketch for
what's it called - gosh this movie came
out when I was just starting to study seriously.
This was another of Drew's best posters I think.
The Temple of Doom.
Okay. So that gives you an idea
of what different artists in the same trade have managed to do
and some of the best stuff I showed you.
gonna do - wear the hat of the art
director for a moment here and I'll draw you what I typically
would get as thumbnail sketches from an art director.
Remember the art director is not just working on one movie that
I'm doing, he might be working on title treatments on a second movie
and then a third movie with some other illustrator
or all kinds of myriad projects and
they're going to keep him fully occupied.
So he doesn't have time - or she - to
draw complicated thumbnails. One of the things that's done too
is I know at least one art director of a major design studio
and she gets almost all her ideas out of
magazines. She'll come across something of a completely
unrelated subject matter but she'll like the composition
and idea or special effect and then she'll say okay let's
do this and
you know put Barbra Streisand in that role instead of this
fashion model or whatever. It's all fine, again there's
no copyright infringement, it wouldn't even be anyway if it were her print
because you can take any reference and
legally under copyright law if you change it 20 percent
that could be the color, it could be the actress,
it could be, you know, the setting,
it could be a change in lighting, then you're free
to do anything you want. But here with these kinds of thumbnails
and the sketches that follow, you're even more free
because they're not going out to the public. Alright so
let's try this here.
By the way
working as an art director in this business
can be a very, very interesting and successful career too.
I know a number who have been hired right out of
such places as Otis Art Institute or
what have you and they've never done it at all, they come in and they're
and then they wind up -
they wind up getting in
you know a paid position and before long,
they've done a few good campaigns and then they get hired
as a production manager or an assistant art director
and then it goes up from there.
This is exactly what
happens in the business. And again like I said there are art directors
who draw well and they can do both.
I just want
to remind everyone, this is our
two by three format. All movie posters
conform to this format.
Now I'll show you three typically art director thumbnails.
Let's start with
this one for the movie Frankenstein with
Robert De Niro and Kenneth Branagh. The will
explain, they might even write how
and then Frank.
Here they might write no.
And here they might write
John Ritter and Pam Dawber
and then they'll sit down with you and
explain. They'll do it for just one movie at a time but in this case
I've given an example for three different films.
What's going on I ask. And they say okay so the
parents are locked onto the tv screen, they can't
get out and the kids are trying to
rescue them or at least they're pretty horrified by
the whole thing. In this case
we have Frankenstein
and there's an owl,
they look like they're threatening each other.
And it's night time so we get lightning bolts.
Here we have Mel Gibson
for the movie Ransom and there should be static
lines because he's on tv and in the foreground
there's a guy just watching, smoking a cigarette.
Okay. So I'm gonna
give you these and another nine. They'll
all be on one movie, that's the only exception with this.
And so that's twelve and you'll be working and then along will come
you've already finished eight - and they'll say here's another seven.
And if you ask how many there's gonna be total
they won't answer, they'll just
walk away. And they reserve the right to give you as many as they want.
You're being paid. So you just
have to do everything you can do.
So the first thing you have to do here obviously is
you have to convert these thumbnails,
this is the movie poster format.
These don't conform to a two by three
format. There was a movie called the blob and it
kinda conforms to that. And this one is actually
a landscape format, not a vertical portrait format.
So you can complain, you can say well
are you supposed to do with this but they'll just look at you
queer and say well, I dunno, you tell me.
And then they'll do another ugly thumbnail and give it to you and so on.
And then you number them, if it's the same movie I used to just number them one
two, three, so if I had elements that had to
go into one, such as the Eiffel Tower would go into number three
then I'd make a little folder and it would have
the head of De Niro, it would have an owl.
It doesn't call for the Eiffel Tower but if it did it would have a shot of the Eiffel Tower.
And then the little folder would bear the number three. And if I had
15 to do I'd make 15 folders. It's the only way to stay
organized. If you're disorganized, no matter how good you are,
you're not gonna meet your deadline and they're
gonna ask you why you didn't meet your deadline. And you can't say well it's because look how
you drew. No. So in this
instance, the art director hypothetically gives you
a thumbnail sketch looking like that.
It could be larger or smaller but it
gonna looks really crude generally. And from that,
all you're gonna know is that this is the father John Ritter and
this is the mother, Pam Dauber, and the kids, they'll
give you reference on the kids. So
now what you have to do is making this work. They have to look like they're
in a t.v. monitor and the kids are completely
confused about what, if anything, they can do.
So my solution,
as you can see here on the monitor to the left,
is to make sure that this is a dark on light composition.
There are two basic compositions in all of the tonal art and
one is light on dark and the other is dark on light. Well
the parents are in the light field and the
kids are dark silhouetted against it, so we can see their hand
expressions and that helps and so forth.
And then we see the shape of the monitor, television,
so that helps get it across too.
And then the parents are looking at the kids
so both the parents and the kids are equally horrified by what's going on.
That isn't necessarily coming across in this sketch.
We do see, to remind us at least, the art dreictor
has drawn wide open eyes and this has lashes so she must be the girl
and then they've got open mouths. So it's just
up to us to make this work. Now I don't recall
if I had reference on John Ritter looking like that, with his mouth
open or Pam Dawber but in that case
you just have to make it up and
it's important that you understand head structure because
it can ring very, very false in putting
in an expression like that on, let's say, a simple,
shot that you might find in a file on John Ritter.
So that's how I came to a solution for this particular drawing.
Now if we want to go to the next one,
this is the movie called Ransom.
And Mel Gibson is out for
revenge and ransom, he doesn't want to pay the ransom of
course. I saw the movie once, I forget any details beyond that.
But, you know, it almost looks in the
art director's thumbnail, which once again does not conform to a
two by three format. That's gonna be routine.
But you see these lines and then the nose there, it almost looks like a
line of music, you know. If you didn't talk to the art director first
you know you wouldn't really know what to make of it. So you have
a little sit down. And by the way, on the corner
I'll frequently write down little notes. So that'll help me
during the sit down.
So what is this? Well it's Mel Gibson on the screen, he's got that attitude
and somebody in the foreground, probably the guy who's
kidnapped the kid is just watching.
So again this is gonna be a dark on light composition
because we want it to look like Mel Gibson is
lit up on a tv screen.
And so therefore he's not gonna go really dark. In the shadows, yeah,
he does. You'll notice on the left side. So that's all
staging. It's more interesting, I wanted to get the
nice dark blacks and make this thing really punch and
pop out and then I just did enough of Mel Gibson's
head and faded it off. If you wanted to draw the details
here on Mel Gibson's head, the silhouette of his head and so on, it would
only probably distract from this and take away from the fact that he looks like
he's on a TV screen. And then I just used
I think I just used an electric eraser
but a handheld and just went across these lines
all the way from left to right. So he's obviously on a field
that's a TV screen.
The electric eraser is a really useful tool, especially if you're using
as I did here wax pencil. Wax pencil doesn't want to erase
very easily. Originally I used to do these drawings
in graphite and for detailed ones I still sometimes did.
But graphite smears, it tends to get you more into
detail than really you have time for and the
prismacolor makes nice, strong darks. So I switched over to prismacolor
and that's why I work on top of vellum
or on top of tracing paper because they're
non absorbent. And what that means is
I can make changes. I can go
back with an electric eraser if it's a good one and erase this entire figure.
These days they don't make very good AC
electric erasers, they're not as strong as they were in the day
but I know Drew Struzan once said
one of his demonstration or lectures that he thought
the electric eraser was his most important tool.
Okay so finally, number
three, this is Kenneth Branagh's production of
Frankenstein. And De Niro played the monster.
You can see from the stitches above his ear.
What they want to say is it's gotta be kinda creepy,
it's night time so we see lightning.
Whatever you can do with this owl
and with Frankenstein, just to make it more eerie. That's
about the entire direction that I got here. And so
to get the story across to me
he didn't bother drawing the two by three format.
Could used anything. It's up to me now to make this
work in a two by three format, that's why I'm getting paid.
It's not just because I can draw a nice owl or De Niro.
You gotta do that but it's really
more important that you get the point across. So I tried to do both
in this face, and this is the case where I took heavy duty
tracing paper, I did a drawing beforehand,
I put the drawing on the glass, and then I ran a bypass
onto that heavy duty tracing paper so that I had toner
for the photocopy machine
and it was not gonna go anywhere.
So I didn't put a lot of drawing into his forehead, which is light, but
I did describe his nose, his eye, his jaw,
and so on. And the key portions of the owl as well.
Notice I did a lot of lost and found with the owl's wing
coming out and almost touching the lightning bolt.
And the other one is more full. So it's asymmetric, it's got a little more
real to it. And then I just put down
a little bit of wax pencil and I
smeared it with a Q tip or a kleenex and just using
turpenoid and dark gray goes black.
I do it in a few more places throughout this and you've got an entirely flat, black background
and it took you only a few minutes. And then I draw
into it and I take the electric eraser and pull out some of the
feathers on the front of the owl and the forehead
on De Niro and before long it took
probably about half an hour and I've got the drawing done. So we'll get
into techniques like that as we go into classes down the line.
So here we are, that's three drawings
for three different movies, all based on art director
thumbnails that really show the idea.
And not really any reference as to the composition itself.
That's your job. So it's very good to do
compositional studies of anything before you do this. I
recommend just freeze framing a
DVD and just drawing an interesting scene, a well designed scene,
and breaking it down into black, white, light gray and dark gray.
And they can be really small, doesn't matter. But you have to study
compositions. We'll talk more about how to do that too.
Okay, great. I hope that explained it,
this part of the process, the central part. So you can see
and you're gonna get strange material and it literally, this is no
anecdote - this is no apocryphal anecdote,
it's true, the art directors will go out
to lunch and come back after literally a couple of drinks
and they'll draw these - you'll get them on the back of a napkin
that's not a joke. Or maybe on the front of a napkin, what's the
difference? And so the key is then
you organize the elements that are gonna go into the
drawing. And that's why I say, if you have twelve ideas
bring twelve manilla folders, I always did this,
and then whatever elements have to go in there, your design of heads
or your owl or whatever it may be, you put them in
each folder. And then that way you can be very
organized. Otherwise you are gonna have a drafting table from
hell, it's gonna be covered like
city street with waste thrown all across it, it's just
waste paper, you have to be organized to do this work.
That's one of the themes that we're gonna be
covering. Let me talk - I think in the second lesson that's
what I'm gonna show you how to design the heads because we don't
have that much time left but there are some important points I need to make.
If you're approached to do these
kinds of jobs,
try to find out a little - well you don't really have time so
I was gonna suggest that you try to find out a little bit about that studio
because there are some that are legitimate - the great majority -
never had to take anyone to small claims or anything in my long career
but there are others who
might not follow the rules of the road quite so much.
What is required is the following. You need
to get a purchase order. That's a
written form. You and your client
keep a copy. And the purchase order
dictates when the job is
due, in other words completed, and it
also what the rate of pay is. So
if you're going in to work in house, usually you go from
9:30 to 6 with an hour off at lunch, often times I just
took a half hour and tried to get more work in. But that's up to you,
you just have to meet the deadline so take
your pick. A day rate today is no longer $400,
more like $800 and then
possibly well over $1000 for some of the best people.
If you're doing the drawings at home, it depends on
how many and what level they're being taken to. If I'm doing seven
in five days for a Steven Segal movie, really tight drawings,
well then the unit price is probably gonna be
at least dollars back in
those days, early 90s, probably be about
$700 a drawing.
More today. If you're gonna do first stage
drawings, we use to charge about $250
per drawing and so it adds a - you tend to make more
money if you're doing it by the unit rather than by the hour
in house. So the purchase order will dictate those terms.
It might not tell you how many drawings
you are to do in that span of time but
it will at least tell you the rest. Without a purchase order,
if you do the work and for some reason the job
falls through with the production studio or maybe they don't
like the work you did or they just want to have a different
direction, they can say well thank you very much, these are
lovely, it just didn't work this time, maybe next time.
And you'll look at them and say look I just did a week worth of work
I need to be paid and they'll say well no
we never agreed on that. A main studio won't do that
but there are others who do. You never
know for sure. And a main studio is gonna do that
purchase order with you also to protect themselves. So if
somebody doesn't give you a purchase order or are not willing to do it
well then you have a problem from the beginning. You're
taking a risk taking the job. And that
next thing the purchase order should dictate is
how long are they gonna take to pay you. It's pretty much
that you get paid about 30 days upon completion of the drawings.
or the drawing or whatever project it is.
Any more than 30 days is considered out of line.
I won't mention one or two studios that have a
bad reputation for paying 45 days
and there are some other studios that I've worked for on occasion that have taken
90 or 120 days. Fortunately I didn't do a lot of
work for them on any of their given jobs and I always got paid but
you know you gotta pay the mortgage or the rent
so if they're paying you that late, it makes life difficult.
It's also a little difficult for young artists starting out
because it's very exciting to get your first job and especially
if it goes well but in the mean time you have to wait 30 days
to get the money. And so you've got your own expenses,
which means that you almost have to
have saved up some money just so you can carry through
until you get paid for your first jobs.
But there really aren't any well paying
jobs that pay right away. I don't know of any.
So there's always a delay and if you're working in an animation studio
let's say, you know, you're gonna get a check every other week. So even that
is 15 days.
There isn't necessarily a correlation either
between the prestige or the difficulty of the
job and the pay rate. For instance, if you're doing
a Time Magazine cover, that's to say an editorial
job, you're only gonna get a few thousand dollars
even though it plays all over the world.
But the reason is because they know, they're Time Magazine,
that they consider it a feather in your cap.
And so they take full advantage of that kind of thing.
That on the other hand is not necessarily a bad thing because imagine if you did a
time magazine cover, it would look very good in your portfolio.
figure drawings, nude drawings, drawings
from life. Maybe if they're clothed
but they're just gonna look at you very funny and say why are you
wasting my time. You know here in America
we don't publish, we don't do print campaigns with nudity.
So you just wasted my time, I don't like you already.
On the contrary, if you're putting
an animation portfolio together, they love
to see nude figure drawings, especially quick sketches
a whole page of consistently drawn quick sketches is very
very meaningful. But if you've done a really beautiful
painting or a bunch of likenesses of movie stars
they're gonna say to you why are you wasting my time, we
don't do that kind of work here, we do the process
and that's animation, that involves many, many drawings and so
but no paintings. So what I used to do is, since
I did do it for animation and background design and a little bit of character
design, I would have separate portfolios. One portfolio for
entertainment advertising and another portfolio
for anything relating to
animation conceptual design. And then
depending on the client, and I always knew what the client was interested in,
you must find that out first before you show a portfolio
then I would show whichever
of the two portfolios was relevant. And sometimes
they'll say well you know, wow, your work is great.
While I have you here, you know, I'm an artist and so let's see
what you do with the figure. And then you can show that portfolio too if you like.
But go into it know that they're looking for certain types of work
that are relevant to the work that they produce.
When you're not working, and that happens too - I mean
you get really busy sometimes, you'll have three or four
even five jobs of which you might need to take two, three if you're
really good simultaneously. And then
suddenly, bang, nothing.
And this can go on for the better part of a month. After I bought my first
house I remember
not only was it at the peak of the housing market
but then on top of that I got no
job offers for the first time in my career. None. For like
four or five months. I was tearing my hair out,
like what's gonna become of this? But inevitably
and always, then it got busy and then it got super busy
and, you know, I never really had a low like that before
or after. And even if you do, so what, then you get a little
time off. When I had mini lags like that
I'd use those as a chance to go up north and visit my wife's
family or go somewhere around here.
If you have a lot of time off,
like on my honeymoon I spent five weeks, you just have to tell your studio
so that they're no calling you in vain and so
you can always keep working but when you're busy it's great
and when you're slow you take advantage of it.
It's also a change for you to do your own personal painting and drawing. So look at it
that way and try to see the long view. So as for tonight
I just wanna wrap up, making a couple
points. Always keep yourself at your top
because that's when you're gonna get your job offers.
And you don't know where they're gonna come from. There are other areas of the
business that you might like even more than this. Or you might get editorial work
which is generally pays the least, advertising
paying the best. So take advantage of those
opportunities too. But always be prepared and always
be organized. I alluded to how I prepare each sketch and
all the references that go to it. I'm gonna build upon that
on that next session and I'm also gonna show you
how to design heads and use them repeatedly
throughout your comps. I'm gonna start showing you how to
actually draw the comp as well as
some suggestions on how you can quickly
do the research necessary to flesh these are. These are
pictures. Some of them are montages, others
actually tell stories and you always want to get the art directors
story across. It's really easy to fall in love with
I'm drawing this really great owl or look at this on the car
I drew it looks so great. But then you're thinking in pieces
and I've actually lost the concept of the story, what
they're trying to say for the sake of, you know, the little pieces
so make sure every drawing you do
is getting across the point that the art director wants
and not just an exercise in showing off.
And you need to have a pace, one last note.
If you're gonna have, let's say, twelve drawings,
let's say you've done a long day in house and
they've said oh we want another twelve by seven in the morning.
They didn't even ask if you want to stay up all night, they just say here.
So now you've got twelve drawings to do, you get home it's seven, you have to
eat so it's eight. If you take a two hour
snooze it's ten, the messenger is coming at 7
so between ten a night and seven a.m. there are nine hours.
So you divide nine by 12, the number of sketches
and that's how much time you have to do each.
I like to do the easy ones first. I have
good friends that do this who like to do the hardest one first and get it off of their heads
but I don't like that because then I'm looking at the clock and
I've already used up two hours on one drawing. I'd rather do
five or six and get them out of the way, spending half an hour on each
but that'll be up to you, how you pace yourself.
But you do have to be clock conscious and so
it's just practical end of it. If you have
twelve hours, nine hours, and you have to get twelve of them done
well then you've only got about 45 minutes on each one.
Just do the math and then
you should be able to succeed at this, just along the way I'll give you
business points as well as
practical end of how to do the drawings. So thanks for your
attention tonight and I hope I piqued your interest and next time
we're gonna get really serious.
and then you're gonna do a specific plot
for your genre and then you're gonna come up with the actors. You're
gonna cast it. You should have at least one male and one
female actor and they need to be current
or both have what we call "The Look."
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3m 49s2. Course Overview
39m 9s3. Stages of Creating a Movie Poster
16m 33s4. Building a Career in Entertainment Design
49m 10s5. Main Concepts of a Movie Poster Composition
33m 37s6. Developing a Movie Poster from a Thumbnail Sketch
32s7. Introduction to Advertising Illustration Assignment Instructions