I spend a lot of time listening to podcasts. Most of these are radio programs from the BBC that are handily delivered through RSS, but over the years I’ve found that while cooking, drawing or sitting at the computer plugging away at a design, nothing works quite as well to pass the time and alleviate work tedium than a bunch of people talking.
My go-to Bunch of People Talking podcast for years used to be Around Comics — sadly they’re semi-officially ended (though they do bring out a show every month or two), but for the past year or so I’ve been listening to the Sarcastic Voyage, a fun hour-or-so of general geeky banter. Run by two very funny hosts, SV is the kind of show that doesn’t need to be about anything to be entertaining, and before long you will be sucked into it, and will pick up its lexicon of in-jokes. That the hosts and many fellow fans are on twitter also helps, like some kind of perpetual fan convention.
I’m also a huge fan of Futurama, so when I heard that Sarcastic Voyage was doing an episode about it, I basically talked them into letting me do an illustration for the cover. That image is what you see above, but overachiever that I am, I was thinking a little bigger. How big? This big:
(Click here for a Wallpaper version at 1920×1080 resolution*),
This handy wallpaper-sized illustration isn’t quite as grand as I intended — the monster isn’t as elegantly bloodcurdling as I would have liked — but I did manage to successfully:
1) Make Futurama robot versions of the hosts (even though they’re just Bender & Hedonism Bot with wigs — er, metal hair… um…)
2) Make a bad pun on the guest’s name
3) Include one SV-specific in-joke (a very large, cupcake breathing-one, in fact)
4) Insert myself as a giant statue head. I have always wanted to do this in an illustration.
Here’s a couple of WIP shots:
Above are the pencils for the main figure set. I drew the image in stages on four separate A4 sheets — it was a relief when they all sort-of fit together in perspective (the cartoony quality of the image helped). You can also see corner right the smudgy bit where an other discarded version of the Chris Pager-bot was drawn, then hastily rubbed out to make room for this one. Also, the shape and course of the rope kept changing as figures moved around and were drawn in.
Here’s a little shot showing the pencils in-progress, as well as my initial rough sketch. A lot changed in-between; many poses were tightened up, character designs too, and the overall ambition of the piece was brought down to fit the deadline. Ideally I could have worked on the piece for days and days (this took me about 8 hours over two sessions).
Coloured in inkscape, of course, since I’m not very confident in colour theory and like mucking about with things until the very last minute.
*(I would be arsed to provide further resolutions for other aspect ratios and iPads and whatnot, but I am lazy — gimme a shout out on twitter.)