Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Chewbacca - 2016 Store Championship Kit - Process

Today I have for you the process and steps that went into my Chewbacca painting that was created for the 2016 Store Championship Kit of the Star Wars LCG. I first shared this piece with you last November of 2016 and I painted it in August of 2015. Here is how the final painting turned out...

Chewbacca
Star Wars LCG - 2016 Store Championship Kit
11 x 14 - Acrylic and pencil on board
Art Director - Taylor Ingvarsson
© 2016 Lucasfilm, Ltd. TM Lucasfilm, Ltd. Under license to Fantasy Flight Games

This was my second Chewbacca assignment in the same year and I had learned a lot from the first one. Approaching this second painting I wanted the likeness to be better and I wanted the overall feel to be more Star Wars-y. The latter was definitely helped by the fact the piece needed to depict a moment from Return of the Jedi that happened just off screen. The assignment called for the depiction of Chewbacca tossing the AT-ST driver out of the cockpit as Chewies Ewok friends prepare to go after the remaining driver inside the walker. Seems pretty straightforward and fun! As I did my research of this scene in the Return of the Jedi I noticed several details I never really gave any attention to before. One, even though Chewbacca and the two Ewoks swing over to the AT-ST on a vine together you never see them on the top of the AT-ST while Chewbacca is opening the hatch and reaching in and two, the Ewoks weapons change from the moments before they swing over to the AT-ST and the scenes where they are attacking the driver inside the AT-ST. Funny what you notice once you watch a single scene over and over and over and...

Once I reviewed my film reference I shot some photo reference using myself for all four characters and got to work on some thumbnails. Here's how those thumbnails turned out...

Chewbacca - Thumbnails
© 2016 Lucasfilm, Ltd. TM Lucasfilm, Ltd. Under license to Fantasy Flight Games

Option "A" was the winner and I was given the go ahead to move forward on the final drawing, granted that I add  little more bleed. No matter how much bleed I put on these piece I am always asked to add more. Here is how the final drawing turned out...

Chewbacca
Star Wars LCG - 2016 Store Championship Kit
14 x 17 - Pencil on paper
Art Director - Taylor Ingvarsson
© 2016 Lucasfilm, Ltd. TM Lucasfilm, Ltd. Under license to Fantasy Flight Games

The drawing was approved without comment and it was now time to get to work on the final painting. This painting, except for one part, was a straightforward and really fun to work one. The one part that was rather difficult and caused a lot of problems was Chewbacca. The background and the AT-ST were a lot of fun to work on and the rest came together with little effort. Unfortunately, Chewbacca made up for all that easy painting with a lot of stress and hard work. Here is the painting taking shape, it should be obvious where things go wrong once I get to painting Chewie...

Chewbacca - Process progression
© 2016 Lucasfilm, Ltd. TM Lucasfilm, Ltd. Under license to Fantasy Flight Games

As you can clearly see, Chewbacca got really beefy and weird and his face went into some really weird directions before I had to step back and paint it out and start over. Not sure how is body mass got all bulky and out of shape, but it happened gradually and then it was just all wrong. His face may have been off since the beginning, but along the way it got way worse. As I have said many times before here on the blog you need to step back, look at your work objectively (which can be really really hard), and correct the things that need correcting. It should not be up to your art director to tell you to fix all the things that are not working or that are at 75%. You need to be able to look at your work and be able to go back in and address things if they have gone wrong or are not working. Part of the job. Here is an animated process of the painting coming together so that you can better see the edits to Chewie that I did...

Chewbacca - Animated process
© 2016 Lucasfilm, Ltd. TM Lucasfilm, Ltd. Under license to Fantasy Flight Games

While I was working on fixing Chewbacca's face I made an image file using all my reference to compare it to my painting to figure out what was not working and how to get it to be more of a likeness to Chewbacca. Always interesting how subtle moments and slight changes to proportions can make or break a likeness. This took a bit of work and a lot of studying to get it across the finish line. Even though the viewer might never know about the trails and tribulations that go into some of these paintings, hopefully the hard work pays off in the end. Here is a real glimpse behind the curtain at what goes on to make my paintings...

Getting the face correct

I happened to take a photo of my work space as I was fixing Chewbacca. The controlled chaos that is where I paint...

Work space while working on Chewbacca circa August 2015

Once again, here is the final painting as well as the final production card...

Chewbacca
11 x 14 - Acrylic and pencil on board
© 2016 Lucasfilm, Ltd. TM Lucasfilm, Ltd. Under license to Fantasy Flight Games

Chewbacca in handy dandy card form

That's all for another exciting Monday on the blog, see you back here on Wednesday! Until then...

For more samples of my work or to contact me regarding my availability head over to my website: www.christopherburdett.com

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