Heavy Metal Magazine
|The Lunar Bell Jar|
"Heavy Metal Magazine", along with Threadless (they are mostly known for T-Shirt and art designs), had a contest and the Winner gets to do an actual cover for "Heavy Metal Magazine" and various other cash and prizes. There is a soft spot in my heart (and head) for "Heavy Metal Magazine". I have a bunch of random issues I bought in the late 80's and early 90's, and have a fondness for the European Sci-Fi/Fantasy aesthetic. The animated movie was OK, but the magazine was where it was at.
Of course, I found out about the contest on Sunday evening, May 8th, 2016, and had until Wednesday, May 11th, 2016 at 23:59:59 (CST) to get it done and submitted. Hey, no sweat, right? I mean, sure I wasn't going to be able to start on it until Monday afternoon at the earliest, and was going to be out of town for a few hours on Tuesday and Wednesday. Plenty of time, right?
I spent a few hours sketching out various ideas that would fit with "Heavy Metal". I had settled on a semi-surreal image of a person's face just beginning to fall away to reveal some sort of alien horror, with various objet d'art in the background. One of those objects was the Moon in a bell jar, which is an image I've kept in my head since high school (that's a long, LONG time ago, folks!).
Once I drew the moon under glass, I thought about the backstory involved and I saw an astronaut reaching out to the moon and taking it in hand. I immediately decided to toss out my original idea (well, it's not like it was all that original) and go with the Lunar Bell Jar idea. It made for a better story image and amused me... well, I'm first to admit I am easily amused.
I almost gave up several times, figuring I just wouldn't have time to get it done, so I was wasting my time. But, I kept going and did get it done with plenty of time to spare. Yeah, I couldn't believe it, myself.
After it was finished and submitted, it looks like you are supposed to promote your design through Facebook/Twitter/Social Media (I don't truck with those things, assuming--correctly for the most part--no one really wants to contact me that badly). And, since you have to sign-up for their website to vote, I'm not going to push that, either.
In fact, I wasn't even sure I was going to post my submission because of it, but I am trying to post more pictures to this Blog and I'm not going to bother promoting it--just putting it up for its own sake. Knowing that I got it done in time and it was possibly stared at for a few seconds by Grant Morrison (one of my favorite comic book writers and the Editor in Cheif of "Heavy Metal Magazine") is good enough for me.
Besides, looking at a bunch of the other 500+ submissions, whilst mine is nowhere near the bottom, there are quite a few which I think are much, much better. Also, I saw a couple submissions involving human-shaped masks sliding away to reveal monsters, and a whole bunch of astronaut-based designs--several of which were fantastic! So, there you go. If I somehow win (SPOILERS: I won't), y'all will be somewhere in the top 15 to 20 to know about it. ;-)
Anyhoo, below are the steps involved in creating the digital painting for those who are interested. Or even those who aren't interested, they are still there for you to skip over. :-D
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STEP ONE: I opened the template they supplied in PhotoShop (2,475px x 3,338px / 300dpi), I roughly sketched out the design using a Chalk Brush. They provided the Logo among their submission kit and used just a simple outline and turned it white. It seemed more fitting that way for a space-based picture (see below).
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STEP TWO: I roughed in some more of the painting. I decided to do the Moon and Earth on separate layers, as well as the astronaut. With that much done, I tricked myself into thinking I was almost finished and decided to press forward. Yeah, I still had LOTS of work to do, yet. It also took me a long time to get the Moon painted correctly; lots of me going back and forth with various gray scale tones until I got it right.
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STEP THREE: I finished up the astronaut and worked on the highlights and shadows, as well as the shine on the mirrored helmet. Overall, I'm mostly pleased with it (the titular Bell Jar is a bit off, IMHO). It could always be better, of course, but for the time I had to finish it, I'll just take the fact I got it done as a "W" in the "Win" Column. Take your victories where you can get them, folks. :-)
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This was done in Photoshop.