Saw Star Wars: The Last Jedi again today. Coincidentally, it is also exactly one year since Carrie Fisher’s death. It was great to see her on the big screen for her last and most iconic role as General Organa so I thought I would whip up a quick tribute to my favorite Disney Princess, Princess Leia Organa in a role that defined her career; the young and defiant rebel princess.
Illustrated Tribute to Steven Spielberg
As I continue to refine my illustration skills to digital equivalents of my hand skills I keep experimenting with techniques. One of the great places I get to try different exercises is with Planet Pulp’s rogues gallery challenges every month. I was honored to be part of the crew this year and have been trying new ideas out every month since I joined up.
This month was a tribute to Steven Spielberg so all of his work was fair game and I thought I would play with Indiana Jones. The first image is a vector spot illustration with a nod back to classic illustrators I studied over the years.
The second piece is the same image, but interpreted as an attempt to paint using the digital bitmap tools I have available to me.
Printing a “screenprint”
Having done screen printing a hundred years ago, I always wondered if there was a way to replicate that process using a printer and if it would make a difference to the final piece? This weekend, with a little spare time before the crush of the holidays, I took some time to experiment.
Breaking out one of the recent posters from my new The Buena Vista | Mountains of the Disney Parks series, I first had to split the channels into separate photoshop files. From there it was a matter of trial and error to rip the pieces so they would print only their respective color.
Most people would question why anyone would try to do something like this and my answer is this – because I can. There is a bit of the analog in me that loves some of the processes used to create art. Many of those are eliminated through the use of digital products that has enriched many aspects of working as a creative professional. However, there is still a thrill to a handmade or bespoke piece of work and the imperfections that spring up or to quote the jedi master Bob Ross, “happy little accidents”. I was attempting to see if there was some difference to the printed piece when produced in this manner that would justify turning a simple print job into a more drawn out process.
When I compare the two versions of the print, one printed traditionally in a single pass versus the image printed in multiple passes there is a noticeable difference in the color of the screen printed piece; there is much more of the white of the paper showing through the image which brightens up the whole piece. While the single-pass print does not possess the same level of brightness. They are both excellent prints in quality, tone, and consistency but the difference is noticeable. I would not use this process in a daily routine, but for specific pieces this is actually a worthwhile endeavor for me.
The lads over at Mof1Podcast were kind enough to have me on the show. We talked about art, design, Disney-geekery, and my work. You can check it our here; give it a listen and let me know what you think.
Pirates of the Caribbean
Here’s to one of the iconic attractions from the Walt Disney Imagineers and the very hand of Walt himself as it celebrates 50 years in Disney’s Parks, Resorts, and now Films. The original Disneyland attraction was the last ride Walt personally participated in developing before his death in 1966.
The piece above is an older illustration, and one in a series of the “Carry On” memes requested, I did for the Disney Parks and Resorts Social media team for their Facebook page ad other outlets. The illustrations proved very popular with the campaign gathering well over 35,000 likes on Disney’s posts.
Although not an original attraction when the Magic Kingdom opened the Pirates of the Caribbean quickly became one of the most popular attractions when it opened on December 15, 1973. The reason why this ride was not in place for the grand opening of Walt Disney World, was due to Florida’s proximity to the actual Caribbean. Walt’s team thought being so close to the historic origins of these pirates, the audience would have no interest in the ride; a Western themed cowboys and Indians attraction was slated for the park.
The Imagineers changed their plans, however, when word got out that there were no pirates at this park. They quickly drew up the plans, based on the original design. Although not as extensive and immersive as the original ride in California, the Pirates of the Caribbean maintained the same story line and major features of the original.
The attraction has gone through some refurbishment over the years. The first, and most controversial, was eliminating the lusty rapaciousness of pirates. No more chasing women, only food and drink. This lead to a lot of criticism from longtime fans even from Imagineers themselves.
The second major refurbishment came in 2006 when the ride that inspired a movie was now being updated to include that film’s characters in the story-line. Including all new characters from the film in the ride: Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp), Hector Barbosa (Geoffrey Rush) and Davy Jones (Bill Nighy). These new parts are all voiced by the original actors from the films.
Fun fact: the position of the pieces on the chess board were carefully arranged by Marc Davis so that any move results in a never-ending game.