Friday, April 27, 2012

Yellowstone Memorial Day

Like I said before, "Lost In The New Real" is probably the most richly illustrated album I've ever participated in.  The booklet alone seems like a mini graphic novel!

This particular image illustrates the song "Yellowstone Memorial Day", which is about a massive volcanic eruption in Yellowstone Park.  The moment Arjen told me about the subject of the song I knew how technically difficult it was going to be;  I've never painted neither a volcano or lava before, so as usual, in preparation for this task I reviewed tons of photographic material.  This is what is illustrators call research; I saw countless pictures of volcanic eruptions like the ones of Etna, St Helens and Krakatoa.  I really wanted to get it right but obviously with the fantasy touch on scale and atmosphere.

Te result speak for itself... I think it took me around four days, 8 hours a day.  It is an extremely detailed painting.   Hopefully, Arjen will print posters someday to take advantage of its full resolution.

Enjoy the armageddon!!!


Thursday, April 19, 2012

Sic Semper Tyrannis

Colonization and cultural contamination are two subjects (or maybe just one) that I always been interested in. Nothing good could result when a developed society invades (either in a friendly or unfriendly manner) a more primitive culture. 

There is plenty of examples for this in history but this image deals specifically with the colonization of South America. It was commissioned by chilean band Huinca (term for the non-aborigine in Mapuche language) as cover art. The concept is a mix of a little bit of mythology with modern politics... it blends the ancient battle of the common man against an impossible adversary (like David and Goliath), which in this case is represented by a massive Lovecraftian creature; in its back, it carries what I call the "unholy trinity" of powers... war (missiles), religion (a cathedral) and economics (oil plants + Wall Street).

Our heroes, are representatives of the three main aboriginal cultures of the lower part of South America: Mapuche, Inca and Rapa-Nui (Eastern Island).  All three against an all-powerful and evil adversary... will they succeed???

This was the second of two sketch proposals; the original concept was a rendition of David and Goliath; a regular joe against a super-powerful foe.  The Cuthulhu-like creature came out almost naturally.    The three aboriginees, represent the three main cultures of the chilean territory (even though Rapa-Nui or Eastern Island is in the middle of the Pacific!!!).  I wanted it to be really epic!   to achieve this I new I needed a very dramatic lighting treatment and a spectacular angle view to take full advantage of size and scope!  It was painted in adobe photoshop; I used very thin brushes for the all the details of the main characters and really thick hairy brushes for the landscape, which is rough and texturized...  this is a classic Frazetta trick!   

I had a lot of fun making this one...  enjoy!

click on each image to enlarge:

Original wide view composition.

Album Cover

Concept Sketch

Unused Concept Sketch

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Dr. Slumber's Eternity Home

This image was produced for Arjen Lucassen's "Lost In The New Real" album.

Not every day I get the chance to explore humor in my art commissions.   Most of my clients have an interest for the darker side of life, which I always try to approach with some irony; I couldn't possibly go dark all the way (well, not all the time!)...  I need at least a little bit of dark humor.  Well, this image goes way beyond your usual sarcasm...  it embraces it.

One good day, Arjen sent me this really happy song about a euthanasia clinic in the future...  only Arjen could get away with something like this!    "I want a twisted Doctor and two hot dancing nurses in front of their clinic", he said.    I thought this concept was insane!  But immediately regarded its endless graphic possibilities.  I envisioned the classic "mad scientist" in his creepy Art Deco laboratory;  tesla coils everywhere and a stormy sky!

In Arjen's words: 
"This is a very happy song about...suicide! I wanted the image to look like a campy advert for a 'euthanasia home', where (in the far future) people could voluntarily end their lives in a humane way. But of course I wanted it to be very tongue-in-cheek so we could get away with it, it's such a delicate topic! There had to be an evil doctor holding a syringe, some dancing nurses, a building with sleazy neon letters and a menacing sky. But I expected that would be impossible... Imagine my surprise when Claudio arranged a REAL doctor holding a real syringe and two hot nurses! This image is amazing, just look at all the intricate details that Claudio came up with. A both funny and disturbing image, not easy to make! Claudio did an amazing job with this one, I think this is my favorite image in the booklet"

Concept Sketch #1 

Concept Sketch #2

Behind The scenes with "The Nurses"