Saturday, July 11, 2009

"Michael" -- and My Adventures with Digital Painting

As if the market isn't already saturated with all kinds of MJ news, criticism, tabloid sensationalism, tributes and art .... here I go adding one more small tribute.

Believe it or not -- I hadn't really planned on doing any more Michael Jackson related art beyond my original post-mortem tribute for the reason that I alluded to above -- it's being done to death right now.

However, I sketched out this little stick figure-ish version one day while I was tuned into the news (and the marathon Michael Jackson death coverage). He's a quirky little thing -- not unlike the real MJ -- but I liked him enough to go ahead and flesh him out in Photoshop.

I'm kind of excited about how this one came out. As I continue to play around with Photoshop and digital painting techniques, I am having a pretty good time trying to find new ways to re-interpret old ideas as well as trying to find ways to use Photoshop and Illustrator together to begin pushing my work in entirely new directions.

This illustration recalls a little bit of Mark Romanek's eerie deep space isolation that was conveyed in MJ's "Scream" video. Honestly -- that was a happy accident on my part.

I wasn't really looking at one particular Michael Jackson video or era whenever I began filling in the line art for this one. I just played with idea that Michael was much leaner (some have reported "emaciated") towards the end of his life and added in his usual iconic underpinnings (the white glove, the mask, the aviator shades, and the black loafers).

If it happens to bear any resemblance to "Scream", then I feel good about that-- but that was not what I originally intended. :)

As I continue to delve into more and more pixel based (as opposed to vector based) artwork , one tool that I am wishing that I had more than ever is a Wiacom tablet.

I do not currently own a tablet , but now that I am working in Photoshop more and experimenting with creating textures (such as hair -- which is damn near impossible without at least a mouse) I find myself running into issues in that department.

I don't even currently own a mouse --everything that I have done to date involving digital shading and texture is being done with the touch pad of my Macbook Pro. While I am making do with what I have on hand for now, my wrists and hands certainly begin to lose momentum after several hours of manic shading.

Plus -- without pressure sensitivity and the control that a tablet would afford me, it's difficult to do some of what I would like to do without the tablet.

For right now, I'm window shopping for a tablet (although, I may not actually purchase one until my finances improve some). Hopefully, I will have one in my creative arsenal before too long . :)

Meanwhile, I am *not* going to post the "Scream" music video (because seriously -- who hasn't seen it?).
What I am going to share is one of my very favorite live Michael Jackson moments. I apologize in advance for the extremely horrendous quality of this clip.

However, this break-neck synthesizer drenched live version of The Jackson's classic "This Place Hotel" (also referred to as "Heartbreak Hotel") is by far one of my favorite memories of seeing Michael on TV as I was growing up. :)


  1. wow!! awesome MJ... its so different from the others I've seen.

    3 cheers

  2. Thank you very much, Damion. I'm glad that you dig it :)