Thursday, 25 February 2010
This is quite an old piece now (though not as as old as the fake patina would suggest). I first got the idea when Jackson and Spielberg announced they would be doing a Tintin movie - so some time in late 2007. I think everyone assumed it would be a live action film back then (turns out its going to be motion capture - presumably along the lines of Beowulf or Christmas Carol), so it got me thinking about what a realistic rendering of Herge's characters might look like. At the same time I was immersed in a lot of 1930s Pulp covers, and as Tintin was another product of that decade I thought a combination of the two might work.
I chose 'The Blue Lotus' as the subject partly because it was the only Tintin book I had to hand and also I'd wanted to draw a chinese dragon for a while and this story with its Shanghai setting gave me an excuse to do just that (so a green smoke dragon doesn't feature in the story, but since when has story detail meant anything to cover artists?).
I'm sure the final result is an abomination in the eyes of true Tintin fans, and having completed the work I have to say that the character should probably only be portrayed in the pen and ink style of his creator, or at least have two black dots instead of eyeballs - its what makes him Tintin I think.
Below are three steps to the finished version. The original pencil sketch (yes with real world pencils and paper). The scanned pencils taken into photoshop on a multiply layer with flat colour on a layer beneath (maybe better than the finished piece). And finally the fully rendered version done in Painter, prior to having type and digital dirt flung at it.