Sunday, May 05, 2013

Gallery999 Haunted Mansion meets Star Wars Blog Dump

The fancy framed version with a lovely black velvet mat.

So, contractually I was forbidden from showing any progress photos or the finished piece until after the Bats Day Gallery999 opening/event.  Since today is officially the day AFTER the opening I can now post everything online.

"Help Us Master Gracey, You're Our Only Hope"; 5"x7" Gouache 

As my regular followers know, I LIVE for progress updates.  I do it because, honestly, I just get so excited as things start coming together I want to show it off like a little kid!  Every painting is an opportunity to learn something new and expand my knowledge and I skill base and now that I'm not in school anymore I LOVE learning!!  When I was working on South Park they called me "Ask Jeeves" cause I was the inferior search engine.  It may sound slightly insulting, but it just means I know a bunch of random stuff, but I don't know everything and some of the things I do now aren't always useful.  And you know what, that's totally fine with me, cause then I get the opportunity to learn MORE. . . but let's get back on target.  Here are a couple progress and detail shots of the new Haunted Mansion Meets Star Wars themed painting "Help Us Master Gracey, You're Our Only Hope".

Halfway there!  Getting a nice glow on the tombstones.

The Bride's Glowing heart.  Master Gracey's tombstone was slightly altered the next evening so she would "pop" a little more.

For this piece I really wanted to try doing a limited color pallet so I could try to work on light sources.  Granted this has a few errors, but overall it turned out pretty damn good for trying something new!

Some things/problems I stumbled across during this painting that I hadn't encountered before:


Once again, too many ideas!  As with most people my age, I'm a huge nut for the Original Trilogy.  My favorite has always been Return of the Jedi because that's the one I remember my Parents taking me to the Drive In to see.  I will forever have the final battle between Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker embedded in my memory.

Both the Haunted Mansion and the Star Wars Films are so iconic, so I really had to ask myself a million questions when I was trying to narrow my subject matter down.  Questions like: "Yeah that's funny, but how many other people are going to have the same idea?"  I admit, I did have the had the typical "Yoda, ObiWan and Anakin as the Hitch Hiking Ghosts" idea.  Also had a variant where it was a Gammorean Guard, Bib Fortuna and Salacious Crumb as the Hitch Hiking Ghosts, but the problem with those ideas is that they're very iconic and you can BET that everyone had the same idea in their heads.  Another idea that I knew would be overused by the other artists was the stretching portraits when it comes to Haunted Mansion tribute artwork.  I also had a few funny ideas for those too, but at the end of the day I really wanted to do something that didn't involve a pin up or Slave Leia or something I'd seen a million other people do already.  After a month of throwing ideas around in my head I decided to just settle on R2-D2 delivering Master Gracey a message from the 80's/90's version of the Attic Bride in the original Haunted Mansion's lost cemetery.

Bride and R2-D2 sketch (before the redraft).

Background layer of the first draft of the Lost Cemetery.

Second problem encountered: Horizon lines truly can make or break your composition's "story".

My thumbnail had such life and this 'feel' to it that was just perfect.  When I started my inital sketch I lowered the horizon line because I thought putting R2 and the Bride center stage, unobstructed would tell a better story.  WRONG, totally KILLED the feeling I was going for.  I wanted the viewer to feel like they were looking in on some private moment, not much different than when a viewer first sees Princess Leia and R2's interaction on the Alderranian Cruiser in the first Star Wars film.  You need to feel that separation.  As you can see in the first sketch, you were right up in their faces with them, and it just didn't feel the same.  Not to mention, R2 looked like he was towering over the observer, which is just silly.  After completely redrawing my sketch, using a blown up version of my thumbnail, things felt MUCH better.  And then it was off to color comps.

Digital composite and crop of corrected original sketch.

Third thing I learned on this painting:  the better the color comp, the easier the completion of the final piece.  I invested more time in my color comp, and I admit, it's still rough, but since I spent more time on it the thought did run thru my head of just turning the comp in.  So glad I didn't.

Photoshop color comp.
So, yeah, R2-D2 in the Lost Cemetery (which you can learn more about here if you're interested) with the tribute stones and the Round Eyed Attic Bride (which you can read more about here as well).  Having said that, I'd sincerely like to thank HGB2 over at the blog Long-Forgotten for all the wonderful posts he writes analyzing the different aspects of the Haunted Mansions and their histories.  A sincerely fascinating dissection of the ride.

Although the artwork was only on display May 3rd and 4th as part of the Bats Day Weekend festivities, artwork will be viewable on the Gallery999 Facebook page.


Tony Aguilar said...

Have you checked out the DoomBuggies website? Practically everything you could ever want to know about the Haunted Mansion. And I've recently become obsessed with it.

Boogervampire said...

Yeah, I've checked out DoomBuggies, Tony. Very cool site. But, as I'm sure you noticed in the end of the post, I'm addicted to the Long-Forgotten blog. That painting wouldn't be nearly as awesome if I hadn't had that blog as a resource. I don't think the new owner will know all the crazy hidden dorky Haunted Mansion history in that piece, but I do and that's all that matters. ;) **Fun Fact: I guess the DoomBuggies guy was actually at the Black Market on Saturday!!"

Jennifer Aaliyah said...

what a wonderful blog, Your efforts are appreciable.