Sunday, September 11, 2011

Creating a Tribute: Tenth Anniversary of 9/11

George Washington, Greg Brady, and Abraham Lincoln Pay Tribute to America's Heroes

A few months ago, I posted this artwork I created in anticipation of the tenth anniversary of 9/11.  The original post is here.  Today being the actual anniversary, I thought I might post a few bits of artwork that went in to creating it.

Original sketch
This is the original sketch I made of my idea.  As you can see, I sketch pretty loosely.  I like to make up most of the details as I go, in the final drawing.

I follow that up buy searching out hundreds of images to use as references, to get the likenesses of the people correct, as well as for details of paramedic uniforms, the pre-9/11 New York City skyline, and things like that.

Then I create a file in Manga Studio, which is the software I use to do most of my drawing, that has all of my photo references in it on various layers, so I can look at them as I am drawing.

I draw all the different elements on separate layers.  So, for instance, I would have Greg Brady on one layer, the New York Skyline on another, the Vinnie Barbarinos on another still...   that way I can later move them around or resize them in Photoshop if I decide to make changes to it.

First version of drawing

This is the first version of the drawing.  You can see that it had Presidents Obama and Bush in it as well as Lincoln, Washington, and Greg Brady.  In fact, when I first had the idea for the drawing, it was only going to have Greg Brady and Barack Obama in it.  But then I decided to add George Bush to it, so that the drawing could better represent the entire ten year period from September 11th 2001 to September 11th 2011.  Also, I didn't want this drawing to appear partisan in any way, it's about bringing this country together, not taking it apart, so having a Republican and a Democrat on it seemed like a good idea.  From there I decided to add Lincoln and Washington as well, as they are our two most iconic presidents, and having them there (along with Greg Brady) seemed to make this all about America, and not any one political party or ideology.

Ultimately, though, I felt it was too crowded up there with so many heads, and ended up going with just the trio of Washington, Brady, and Lincoln.  Because I draw in layers, I didn't have to redraw anything, just click those two layers off.

Drawing with text

I had initially wanted to have some text in the drawing.  I wasn't sure if people would understand what they were looking at without some explanation.  I did leave some text on the T-Shirt version, but for my final artwork, I decided to let the images speak for themselves.

Final colored art

For the final colored version, I removed the text, then shifted the drawing up a little. this made more room on the bottom for the reflections in the water.  When I'm drawing something I plan on coloring, I will often leave areas unfinished so I can finish them in color instead of in black and white, such as the details on the buildings, and the ripples on the water.