Wednesday, July 7, 2010

These Are Their Stories


Are you familiar with the art of Brandon Bird? He is in a lot of ways what I hope to be: a super nice guy who creates stunning artwork that also happens to be hilarious. Brandon is known mostly for creating artwork that incorporates his love for the Law & Order TV franchise.

Earlier this year Brandon asked me to participate in a Law & Order themed group show! For this show, each artist interprets a one-line episode summary from the DirecTV program guide. Here is all the info:

"These are Their Stories"
runs July 24 to July 30, 2010
Gallery Meltdown, 7522 W. Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles, CA
Opening reception July 28th, 8:00 to 10:00 pm

I chose Killer Has a Foot Fetish for my piece. I took some artistic license and changed it to The Killer Had A Shoe Fetish. This sounds better as a men's adventure magazine title which is the direction I wanted to go with this one. Keep reading to see how it all went down.

My Day in Court

I was summoned to serve jury duty and I knew how much waiting is involved so I thought it would be fitting to bring my sketchbook and my little man-bag full of pens to the courthouse and start sketching out ideas for my Law & Order piece.

Tangent story: If you have never been to a courthouse, in order to enter you have to go though "airport security" with the armed guards, metal detectors and X-ray machines. I set my man bag on the X-ray conveyer belt and began emptying my pockets when the cop in charge of watching the X-ray display started shouting "Whoah! Whoah! What is that!? Who's bag is that?" More cops started filtering in as they pulled out my man bag and started rifling through it. I thought "What could they have a problem with in there? is my phone so old it's unrecognizable?" They dumped out the contents on the counter and out fell two miniature guns.

I had totally forgotten those were in there. They were originally key chains. I had gotten from a vending machine and popped the chains off.

"Oh those are for drawing reference. I'm an artist. I uh, draw bears with guns and stuff..."

Trying to explain "drawing reference guns" to people who look for weapons as their full time job is awkward and futile. Luckily the cops laughed and showed the guns to their cohorts and did not step on my neck at all. I was allowed to take my "drawing reference" back to my car.

Anyway, there was indeed some waiting involved in my day at the courthouse and I got some decent thumbnail sketches done.

Shhh, TV....

I have to say, Netflix - Watch it Now is such an amazing resource for illustrators! To practice getting a likeness for Goren and Eames I just put on episodes of Criminal Intent through Watch It Now and paused whenever I saw a pose or expression I liked. I love the fact that I can choose from a pretty decent library of TV shows and films and stream stuff instantly to my TV. Streamed on my laptop, I can grab clear, still images of whatever I want! Remember Snappy, kids?

Sometimes I like to do a mockup of everything in Photoshop. Obviously it's not something I copy exactly, but a mockup can help me "pre-visualize" pieces that have to be composed just right. Text can be figured out at this stage too.

Closing Arguments

Here is the final piece. It was done with ink, acrylics and Dr. Martin's dyes on illustration board. If you are in Southern California come witness "These are Their Stories" at Gallery Meltdown July 24 to July 30, 2010.

Thank you,

Ben Walker


The Killer Had a Shoe Fetish sold to the creator of Law & Order: Criminal Intent, Rene Balcer! I am proud to know that my piece will be hanging in the (home? office? limo? not sure) of the man who brought us Detectives Goren and Eames!