Friday, February 20, 2009

Richard & Mark's Excellent Adventure

Leif's post about shooting boards got me thinking about a 'project' Richard Row & I did back in the fall of 2006. I'll let Richard take it from here:
'Mark has about 20 years experience doing advertising storyboards & I have about 26.
We have drawn everything from talking Pizza Pops..... Otis Redding selling laptops at Walmart.

We consider ourselves rendering slobs. Sort of Jackson Pollocks of storyboard art. As long as our figures look vaguely human, we're happy.
What we both share is a healthy obsession with airplanes. Mark's interest is perhaps a little more intense, having the ability to actually identify the various types of aircraft. I just think they look pretty.

Needless to say, when we discovered that Peter Jackson, of Lord of the Rings fame, was considering a remake of the classic 1955 film 'The Dambusters' (which, if you haven't seen it, has plenty of airplanes) we could not contain our excitement. Wouldn't it be cool, we thought, to work on this flick as pre-pro artists rendering stuff that didn't have to look 'aspirational' or 'delicious'. I have several years experience as a shootboard artist, so they wouldn't have to sweat the newbie factor and Mark's excellent concept renderings and quick b/w tonal sketches would certainly have them reaching for their Blackberries.

The question was, 'How to get our collective feet in the proverbial door"? We decided that, if anything, we needed to show that we were capable illustrators. What better way to do that, we reasoned, than by creating our own sample shoot and concept boards based on our own interpretation of this non-existent film. At this point we were already dreaming of being flown first class to New Zealand & spending our days drawing airplanes & our nights partying with the stars . Boy, were we naive. Finding a human contact at WingNut Films , the movie's production company, was like trying to find 34/36 size pants in a clothing store for Hobbits . We both squeezed what we could from what connections we had (which were, uh, none...), but in the end all we ended up with was an email address to a general mailbox. Undaunted, we put a package together which included these images.'
Mark: 'Because of Rich's experience with shooting boards we decided he would take a couple of random scenes from the story to board up & because of of my experience with.....drawing airplanes we decided that I would do some colour key frames:

.. and did I mention I like drawing planes? I had some 'down time' so I did some b & w keyframes too:'

'I'm not too sure what's going on here but I was attempting to show the fear the crews no doubt felt before they took off.
In retrospect I think I was venturing dangerously close to melodrama.

I based this scene on actual events....'

In the end nothing came of it, but what the hell, it was a fun diversion from talking Pizza Pops & Otis 'Walmart' Redding.
M & R


  1. In-f'ing-credible you guys! This is gorgeous work... if only it had somehow got in front of the right eyeballs. You know, in spite of nothing happening, I wonder - have you two ever considered doing a comic book version of this or some other air war stories? If its something you're both passionate about, it would be pretty easy and not terribly expensive to self-publish. I dare say you could render it in this same style - it doesn't need to be super-tight, traditional comic art. These frames are so energetic and cinematic, they'd be a great way to tell a comic book story.

    Food for thought - and thanks for posting!

  2. Thanks, Leif. I do like your suggestion. However, then my wife would get that look that would suggest 'You're 52 years old! What the Hell are you drawing pictures of airplanes for?'

  3. You know, its not that unusual these days for comics to be translated to the big screen - even independently produced comics. I know its a (very) long shot... but the image of a huge Hollywood royalty cheque somewhere down the line might convince the little lady to cut you some slack! ;^)

  4. You're 52?!!
    That comic sounds like it would be a ton of fun. Can we fast forward to us collecting the royalty checks? :))

  5. Beautiful Work!
    The compositions are really nice, nice style as well, very energetic!

  6. Great post guys. Love the illustrations.
    Trying to find humans anywhere these days is a right pain. Those info@ mail addresses may a well read unread@themomentoranytimesoon.pfo
    Pity it came to nothing, maybe next time - what about 633 squadron? Surely that's due a remake sometime about now!

  7. Beautiful stuff! Just wonderful.

  8. Thanks Josh. Couldn't resist taking a look at your site. You must have to beat directors off with a stick considering the amount of detail you put into your frames, not to mention your strong grasp of composition. Have you crossed to the digital dark side yet?

  9. Stunning! I love the line work/colour so passionate and full of energy. U are my Gods!