I really like when I can see someone's progress on an image, so I decided to post my progress on this Thunderdome entry.
Space Ghost has always been a favorite of mine, what with the travel to other worlds, battling space pirates, buggy aliens, and despotic robots, it reminded me a lot of my own family. As soon as the announcement came, I developed this concept for the redesign:
Long ago, it was Captain Cosmos, Defender of the Galaxy (always referred to thusly; never just "Captain" or "Captain Cosmos") and his Sexually Ambiguous Troup of Space Caballeros who protected the universe and its inhabitants from the scourge of space, the minions of evil, the telemarketers who call during dinner about time shares on Arctus XII. After many years of playing whack-a-mole with the nastiest villains in space, things had quieted down and the entire crew had slowly settled into retirement (with a heretofore unknown pension system of vast depth). Unfortunately for all, Captain Cosmos, Defender of the Galaxy choked on a chicken bone and died while barbequing on his first official day as a civilian.
Decades later when evil once again was powerful enough to force the galaxy to turn its head and cough, the peoples lamented for their lost champion. His great-nephew and great niece-in-law, Josh and Jen Johnson had twins, Jan and Jace, who were very adept at the new and mysterious science of necrology. The twins crafted a clear vessel, a body to house it, and raised the dead hero from beyond, who dubbed himself “Space Ghost” (he’d learned from before that printing costs can get wildly out of hand and a shorter name can save a galactic hero thousands). Along with their space monkey, Blip (whose point of membership is in contention, but seems to coincide with a fuzzily embarrassing weekend on Tijuana IV in the Tequila Sector, but is highly valued all the same, since they’d all been saved a number of times by a well thrown bit of monkey feces), they fight the never ending battle to bring justice to the galaxy and keep Jan's pants on.
Initially I wanted to just show the redesign, focusing on the opening shot of SG from the cartoons and adding the rest, standing around him. After several sketches of the characters individually, I settled on a couple basic elements. I wanted several things to be consistent: no weapons for anyone but SG (and those mounted on the forearms), two-toned costumes for the Twins and Blip, and a couple of other minor similarities (the little SG triangle and mask-like things for the others). Additionally, they all have inviso-power via the small "ghost cannisters" they wear (same as the show).
After I got these down and spent some time working the second one for a while, I realized they were pretty boring. I happened upon a shot of the whole crew flying and decided to modify that. Jan turned out much better (composition-wise) flying in a "delta" similar to Jace's.
I decided to have them in basically a circular formation (when seen from above) and to have SG where the front seems to be.
Then I worked up a few value studies in search of a suitable background, one that could add to the composition, vice just be back there.
That’s a debris/asteroid belt in the first two. I finally decided it would make it two busy and remove from the focus. The first showed them leaving the planet, but I though it might add to the tension to have them almost at the planet (which would obviously be evil), but it put too much contrast on Blip's rocket and removed a lot from SG. The third one could have worked, but there wasn’t enough tension just having them fly past a planet, so I decided to take elements from the first and third to make the fourth. This one fit several different criteria: it decreased the contrast of the lower portion of the characters and the rocket tales and increased that of SG and the upper body of the twins.
I had also worked up a couple color studies, but they were less conclusive and I decided to go with the Purple/Green and Blue/Red with a couple other colors for tension.
From there, I just started blocking in the large colors
Then I started working the shapes. I'm still looking for a good method of working, so I'm generally just fishing around. I liked the shadow on Jan's thigh, but meant to use it only as a placemarker until I tightened up the lighting effects. It ended up there until almost the last step (as I'd gotten used to seeing it and forgot to redo it). Long pieces usually get me that way, I look at them so long that I begin to lose sight.
Refining the shapes.
I finally introduce the rocket blasts.
This is what I was hoping to achieve with regards to eye path in the composition. Actually, this whole piece was flipped horizontally. About half way through, I discovered that it was a more comrehensive composition when viewed this way. I would be very interested to hear from any "right-to-left" readers on whether it flows better for them flipped back.
And here's the final image:
And a link to the high res image:
I'd be very interested in any C&C's.