Below is a comp draft of the WillyCon III 2001 poster, 11/22/00.  The final version will be in color.  The type arrangement is a reference to the original Amazing Stories magazine.  The arrangement is comped from three separate fotos from 2 different foto shoots.  My friend Andrea will appear twice, standing and sitting.  The two girls, Andrea and Melissa, have never met.  In real life.  Only in my mind's eye.

Spacebabes.  I usually don't do spacebabes, but, what the heck.  You only live once.  More detailed portrait studies for the poster:


Melissa in paint, 11/27/00; and Andrea in pencil, black marker and gel marker, 10/4/00.  Each was done in about an hour; I did Andrea's portrait riding home to Sunnyvale, back from San Francisco on Caltrain.  As is my S.O.P., Melissa's portrait was done at 1 am, on a work night. This was also the first real painting (not digital painting) I'd done in many years.


My painted sketch of a Frank Frazetta painting I'm using as an inspiration for the WillyCon poster art, 11/28/00.  Both Melissa and the Frazetta study are done with a $3 set of "kids' paint" I got at Walgreens, known as purveyors of such fine artists materials.  I used all 18 different color paints in the set to do this one.

A prelim painting for the third space babe, also played by Andrea, 12/4/00:

Andrea's hair, btw, is normally dark brown. I heard from one of her friends that, coincidentally, she plans to wear her hair this color for New Year's Eve.


12/11/00: The first full-color sketch of the whole image.  Done in Photoshop, with only the paint tool.  Nothing, particularly the faces are done at all.  This is basically for placement of blocks of color.  Guns, ground, deep background (horizon wreckage), ripped clothes, and esp. faces will be perfected in later versions. You can also see the palette colors I chose.

comp 9


Now, after the chaos of Christmas, I can work on this again.  Here is the latest version, posted on 12/28/00, at 4 am:

comp 14

The ground is more well-defined (perhaps too well defined compared the rest of the piece).  For a model, I molded the background from Play-Doh. So, combined with the kids' paint, that brings it up to $6 I've spent on artist materials so far.

Two of the faces are cleaned up a bit.  I once read about this religious medieval fresco.  Fresco is a technique where you paint in wet plaster; you can only work a small area and have to finish it before the plaster dries.  This artist worked bit by bit - and in one day painted three sheep; another day he painted two cows.  On another day, he spent the entire day working only on the face of Mother Mary.  Three sheep or two cows equals one human face.  Seems about right.  Faces are the most important part of any illo.  For any given piece, I usually spend at least a quarter of my worktime on the faces, even though they make up a tiny part of the surface area - and a quarter of face time is spent on the eyes.  It is also important that no part of the piece gets over-done compared to others; so I alternate working on various areas and on the faces.  Thus, although the two cleaned up faces need more help, the next thing on the slate is the standing figure's face and all the hands and guns.


12/30/00:  I lied.  I didn't work on the guns and hands, I worked more on the faces instead.  Could not resist.  I changed the seated Andrea's hair, and made it bluish/purple with green highlights just for the heck of it - and changed her eye and lip color to match.  Removed her ocular enhancement, too, but I can't promise I won't return.  Heavily reworked the face of the standing Andrea.  Also need to work on making the heads rest correctly on the bodies - a figure drawing instructor once told me that you can really tell a good portrait from a poor one by the way the neck is done, if it looks constructed right.  Well, right now my necks are all kinda screwed up...  That'll be on the list of stuff to do too...

comp 16


01/01/01-0/1/05/01.  More detailed work on hands and guns; bodies now correctly attached to heads. Proportions generally corrected. Then: More work on faces to clarify expressions (they needed to look a tad angrier); worked on hair; changed the posture of the standing figure to give the composition some more energy.  Still need to work on hands, guns, shoes, costumes, sky, and over-all polishing and unifying the elements.  1/06/01: The sky, not working for me.  Fixed that, too. Totally inspired by J.M.W. Turner.  Ah, that's better.  Activates the whole piece.  Check it out:

Comp 26.


01/07/01: More work. Close to being done. Still need to work on clothes/bodies, but most everything else is done.  1/10/01: More work on faces and tops and shoulder armor. Pants and footwear left to do.

comp 37

1/11/1: A friend of mine, Aglecia Taylor, took one look at this piece and said, the girls don't look angry enough, and there isn't enough emphasis on the one with the blue hair.  I hate to say it, Aglecia, but you are totally right.  Darn.  Isn't that the way - the artist slaves and slaves and slaves, and doesn't see the critical flaw until some... non-artist comes and points it out? Well, the artist has two choices: to be defensive/angry/indignant, or to admit that there is a flaw because the truth is the truth no matter who says it.  In this case, Aglecia was totally right.  Darn.  So I totally changed the composition around...  Oh, and I wanted to see what the logo looked like with the piece...

Comp 43

1/16/1: It was becoming clear that Melissa's expression simply wasn't working out; wasn't angry enough.  So it was replaced.  Also, the white logo - not working for me. A lot of people didn't like the electronics-revealing wound, either.  Sheesh.  But I did get some positive response for an idea I had that a power cord for one of the laser guns actually plugged into one of the girl's arms, thus suggesting that the girl was a cyborg or android. 

Comp 50. AND DONE!


I eventually decided that this piece needed a title, so a couple months later, it got the functional and descriptive title, "GIRLS/GUNS".  So now you know.