For Christmas last year, I received the complete series of Calvin and Hobbes, a comic strip by Bill Watterson that ran from 1985-1995. It was amazing. The way that Mr. Watterson was able to breathe life, creativity, and character onto a simple comic page was amazing. There were a few times when I found myself wanting to press the Pause button, before catching myself and realizing “No, these are static images on a page; there is no pause button”. It took me back to my childhood – not that I was like Calvin, but I remember reading his comic strips (usually when I was supposed to be reading a novel of some kind).
I have rarely attempted to draw his characters, so I decided to do so last night.
On one hand, I’m sad that Calvin and Hobbes only ran for 10 years. Many great comic strips have lasted for longer. However, on the flipside, many great comic strips became stale the longer they went. Perhaps it’s best that Calvin and Hobbes ended at its peak, and that I can remember the comic strip as being perpetually cool.
In mid-2013, I was given the opportunity to be part of a local art show celebrating Saturday Morning Cartoons. After considering a few ideas, I decided to create a piece called “SuperGeniuses”, updating my progress occasionally on Twitter. In mid-November I finished it, and here it is:
Want to see some more pictures from the making of this piece? Okay!
(click to read the rest of this post…)
I was diving into an old sketchbook, and found this little gem in it:
I’m pretty sure I drew this in 2000, possibly 2001. The man was a character I used in an animated short called “22″.
#4 of 4 in my series of chalk pastel art for an upcoming local art show.
GOOD SAMUS HUNTING
Samus from Metroid (1986)
Dog and Duck from Duck Hunt (1984)
Originally, I was going to do a character more modern, such as Halo’s Master Chief, shooting down the Duck Hunt duck. However, chalk pastels don’t lend themselves well to details, and the only thing distinctive about Master Chief is his helmet. In the end, Samus had a better silhouette, and it was more appropriate to use her anyway, since the ducks are used to being shot with a “light gun”, and it doesn’t get much better than Samus’ laser.
(Fun Fact: Duck Hunt and Metroid were both produced by the same man – toymaker and game developer Gunpei Yokoi. Yokoi was instrumental in Nintendo’s success as a game company, and was responsible for other classic games such as Kid Icarus. He also created many gaming innovations, such as the D-pad, standard on nearly every video game controller since the mid-’80s, and the original Gameboy and Gameboy Micro.)
#3 of 4 in my series of chalk pastel art for an upcoming local art show.
CREEPER GOT LOST
Q*bert from Q*bert (1982)
Creeper from Minecraft (2009)
Q*bert and Creeper both come from very cube-based universes, so it seems only natural that they would meet someday. However, true to form, Q*bert is running away from everything that might hurt him, and Creeper wants nothing more than to make new friends shortly before blowing them up.
(Fun Fact: Q*bert really did say that string of nonsensical characters in the game if it got hit by an enemy. It was briefly considered that the game be named “@!#?@!”, but marketers were concerned that no one would be able to tell their friends about the game if they couldn’t pronounce the name.)
#2 of 4 in my series of chalk pastel art for an upcoming local art show.
Red from Angry Birds (2009)
Various blocks from Tetris (1984)
Twenty-five years after the first iteration of Tetris for the Electronica 60, Angry Birds was hatched, and mobile phone gaming was changed forever. Both games have become cultural phenomena, embraced by gamers of all kinds.
(Fun Fact: The Я in this piece’s name is a reference to the Nintendo Gameboy version of Tetris, which had the letter R reversed in the word “TETRIS”. The Я is a Cyrillic letter, and sounds nothing like our R, but it made Tetris look more “Russian” to North American audiences.)
In January, there is a local art show entitled “Pixel Culture”. It will be showcasing art inspired by video games both past and present (but mostly past). I’ve had the good fortune to be able to have a space in the show, and so I’ve decided to make four pieces of art for the show. Each one combines two well-known video game characters that normally wouldn’t meet each other, and you guys get a sneak peek of what I’ve created!
THE WRONG GHOST
Ms. Pacman from Ms. Pacman (1982)
Boo from Super Mario Bros. 3 (1988)
While Pacman is more famous for chasing and eating ghosts, Ms. Pacman was actually the more successful arcade game, with over 115,000 arcade cabinets produced. Boo, the ghost who would only chase you if you were looking away, has appeared in nearly every major Super Mario title since 1988.
(Fun Fact: Ms. Pacman and Boo have actually been in the same video game together. Mario Kart Arcade GP was an arcade version of Mario Kart, Ms. Pacman was a playable character, and Boo was an item that could be used in the game.)
The medium for all four images is chalk pastel. I’ll be showing the other three sketches over the next two weeks.
I told my followers on Twitter that I was going to do a blog post this week. I intended it to be about something else, but that fell through, so I decided to sketch up an idea from my friend EditorGeek instead. This one’s his fault: