Saturday, November 14, 2009

Iron Giant Project submission: Class of '66

This week my side project has been a piece for the excellent fan art blog The Iron Giant Project. I'm titling my piece "Class of '66," since it is an imagining of Hogarth's high school graduation in Rockwell, ME.

The original idea was of Hogarth walking along the lake where he swam in the movie and holding the Polaroid photo first taken of the Iron Giant. It evolved to a piece that contained the two other main characters, as well as the Iron Giant statue, which is showing some signs of age by this point (notably in the form of "visits" from birds). In the sky is the recycled glowing star of when the Giant exploded with the nuclear missle at the end of the movie. I thought about framing the piece as a Polaroid picture at first, but I wanted the full Iron Giant statue with the glowing star, and the aspect ratio was too rectangular this way. The background started with screenshots I took of paused YouTube clips, combined with a lot of Photoshop painting to establish the trees and grassy hill.

Here are my "model sheets" for the reconceptualized characters, which were made by digitally painting over the existing ones from the movie (thanks to the amazing Ultimate Iron Giant site):
It was very enjoyable making the clothing and style choices for the reimagined Annie, Dean, and Hogarth characters, and I did a lot of research into 60s clothing to help the accuracy. Dean's look was heavily inspired by the Beatles, who I think he would be listening to in '66--jean jacket, bell bottoms, round John Lennon glasses, and shaggier hair that's greying at the temples. Annie has a Jackie Onassis haircut and a fairly straightforward bright '60s outfit with a color palette similar to the waitress uniform she wore early on in the movie. Hogarth is in his high school graduation cap and gown--his ears remain big, but his jawline was reworked to be a bit more square like Dean's. Line quality is always crucial to making animated drawings like this successful, and it was tricky to accomplish it on a tablet.

Big thanks to Dan at the Iron Giant Project for continuing to allow submissions after the original deadline.

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