Illustration Friday: Routine [Drawing and Video]

August 28, 2008 at 2:23 AM (Art, Movies) (, , , , , , )

This week’s Illustration Friday topic is "Routine".  And when I saw that, there was only one thing I could think of — the song "Every Day is Exactly the Same" by Nine Inch Nails.  This is an amazing song, I can relate to it quite well (heh)!  Anyway, here is a page with more details on the song and the lyrics.  Without further ado, here is the drawing I did —

That’s Trent Reznor, the man behind Nine Inch Nails.  The picture was done with ballpoint pen on a small notepad actually!  You can click on the image above to see a larger version.

But wait!  That’s not all!  In addition to the above drawing, I did a bunch more inspired by the song and by movies that kind of follow a similar theme.  And what’s more, I filmed myself drawing them and put the footage together into a video.  So here’s a fan-made music video for Nine Inch Nails’ "Every Day is Exactly the Same", directed by yours truly, Karthik Abhiram —

You can go to the YouTube page here.  Feel free to comment either here or on the video page!

By the way, I’ve scanned the five other drawings that are visible in the video (one is visible VERY briefly, the others have considerably more screen time).  I will put them up later.  I actually did all this over the weekend but didn’t have the time to make this post.  Thought I’d go ahead with the Reznor drawing alone because I didn’t want to go too far away from Illustration "Friday"!


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Drew Struzan Website Updated

August 19, 2008 at 10:55 PM (Art, Movies) (, , )

I have written about movie poster artist Drew Struzan a few times on this site.  Today, I noticed that his website has been updated, and the best part is that high quality pictures of his artwork have been published there!

Above is a detail from Drew’s poster of the Kurt Russell starring, John Carpenter movie Big Trouble in Little China.  Amazing art, right?  Below, is a poster for Blade Runner

That image was used for the poster and DVD cover art for Blade Runner: The Final Cut (by the way, I bought the DVD sometime back).  According to the Drew Struzan website, the original art is done with acrylic paints and coloured pencil on 30" × 40" gessoed board, and can be purchased for USD 125,000!  The three posters for the Back to the Future movies are sold as a set, for USD 350,000.  Obviously, only very wealthy art collectors can pay that much for the originals — but I’d love to have large size prints of these posters.

You can have a look at his works here:

And, I also found this 7 min 30 sec video on YouTube: Drew Struzan: The Appreciation of an Artist, which is really worth watching — it has directors Frank Darabont and Guillermo Del Toro talk about Struzan and even shows Struzan himself working.  Really amazing stuff.

EDIT [23:08]: Speaking of DVDs, I should mention that Sekhar Kammula’s film Happy Days is out on DVD.  It is released by Sri Balaji Video (this company puts out good Telugu DVD releases) in a region-free NTSC version, in anamorphic widescreen, with English subtitles and a Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround sound mix.  Unfortunately, there are no extras or special features to speak of — I kind of expected that a hugely popular movie like this would get a more special treatment!  Anyway the DVD only costs Rs 125, so I bought it.  I also got the DVD of this thriller called Anasuya.

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Hostel and Hostel: Part II (Drawing, Review)

August 11, 2008 at 4:16 AM (Art, Movies) (, , , , , , )

I watched both Hostel (2005) and Hostel: Part II (2007) back-to-back, this weekend.  The first movie begins with three friends, Paxton (Jay Hernandez), Josh (Derek Richardson) and Oli (Eythor Gudjonsson) heading out to a hostel in Bratislava, Slovakia, in search of beautiful women who will "do anything" with an American tourist.  Once there, things take a turn for the worse when one-by-one, they disappear — we realise later that they’ve been abducted by an underground "Elite Hunting" club, who kidnap tourists and offer them up to rich people to torture and kill in any way they see fit!  The sequel is more-or-less a retread of the first film, except this time we have three female lead characters — Beth (Lauren German), Whitney (Bijou Phillips) and Lorna (Heather Matarazzo) who go to the Slovak hostel, and we get to see more of what happens "behind-the-scenes" at Elite Hunting.  Both films also have the appearance of the "Bubblegum Gang", a group of little kids who are very, very dangerous.

Both movies come from writer-director Eli Roth and are executive produced by Quentin Tarantino.  The movies became well-known due to their extremely violent and bloody content — these two, along with the Saw movies are commonly referred to under the "torture porn" genre.  Of course, both are well-done movies and if you like this sort of thing, they’re highly recommended!  I thought the Saw movies were a notch better than this series, though.

I did a drawing today based on Hostel and Hostel: Part II.  It was done with ballpoint pen and I added some colour to it on computer.  The drawing features Rick Hoffman as the "American Client" from Part 1, the Bubblegum Gang leader from both movies, Lauren German as Beth from Part 2 and Jay Hernandez as Paxton from Part 1.  You can click on the images to see larger versions (warning: black and white image large version contains profanity).

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Wanted (Drawing, Review)

August 10, 2008 at 10:32 PM (Art, Comics, Movies) (, , , , , , )

Wanted is a movie adaptation of a comic book miniseries by Mark Millar (writer) and J G Jones (art).  James McAvoy stars as Wesley Gibson, a nobody who leads a pathetic life as an office worker.  Life seems to be going nowhere for him (this part of the movie reminded me very much of Fight Club in terms of dialogue and tone, which was awesome — plus, one sequence has the Nine Inch Nails song "Everyday is Exactly the Same" playing in the background!), until one day, he meets Fox (Angelina Jolie).  She tells him that his father was one of the greatest assassins in the world, and that he was killed the previous day.  She leads him to an underground "Fraternity" of assassins, led by the mysterious Sloan (Morgan Freeman), and this is where his training begins.  Wesley is trained to be part of the Fraternity, so that he can avenge the death of his father.  Of course, the movie has a few twists up its sleeve as well, beyond this.

The movie is a loose adaptation of the book — some of the elements are retained, while much of the fantastical elements are removed.  In the book, the Fraternity are actually a group of supervillains (all superheroes having been eliminated in 1986), and there are a group of warring factions within.  Some of the scenes from the book make it intact into the movie (for example, some of the training montages).

The director of the movie version is Timur Bekmambetov, who made the Russian films Night Watch (Nochnoi Dozor) (2004) and Day Watch (Dnevnoy Dozor) (2006).  Like in those movies, the visuals are stunning here — there are some jaw-dropping and "Whoa!" inducing action sequences.  The movie has a nice demented sense of humour too (one example which you can see in the red-band trailer — Wesley smashes a computer keyboard on the face of a coworker, and momentarily, as the keys fly out, they form the words "fuck you", the last "u" being a tooth!), and one point that is to be really appreciated is that they didn’t tone down the violence — there’s quite a lot of bloodshed here.  The acting is all good, and fans of the "Watch" films will be glad to see Konstantin Khabensky in a small role here (he played Anton Gorodetsky in those movies, and appears as a character called "The Exterminator" here).

I watched the movie in a theatre and had a big grin on my face when the movie was over.  Highly recommended.  Rating: 9/10.

And that brings us to the drawing above — which I actually did before watching the movie.  It was done in pencil, and I added the brown colour in the background in Photoshop.  You can click the image for a larger version.

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Tetsuo: The Iron Man (Drawing, Review)

August 10, 2008 at 6:06 PM (Art, Movies) (, , , , , )

Tetsuo: The Iron Man is a film from Japanese director Shinya Tsukamoto.  It begins with a character called the "Metal Fetishist" inserting rods of metal into his body.  Subsequently, the Metal Fetishist is run over by a Salaryman (an office worker).  What follows is a bizarre sequence of events and images, where the Salaryman apparently starts mutating into a metal creature, with wires and other objects of metal emerging from his body.

This is a nightmarish film that is shot in black-and-white, with very little dialogue and a grungy, decayed look.  Shinya Tsukamoto wrote and directed the movie, and also stars as the Metal Fetishist — which makes one question his sanity!  One could compare this with a David Cronenberg movie, where "metal is the new flesh".  The movie is well made and has some very good effects and visuals, all accomplished on a low budget.  It is one of the weirdest movies I have seen (the weirdest would be David Lynch’s Eraserhead, but this also comes close), and I would recommend watching it if you have a taste for stuff like this.  Beware though, that it contains some explicit content and is definitely an adults-only film.  Shinya Tsukamoto made a sequel to this, called Tetsuo II: Body Hammer which I have not seen.  Rating: 7/10.

And as you might expect, I did a drawing based on this movie which you see above.  It was done in ballpoint pen and shows the Metal Fetishist on the top right, with the Salaryman in an advanced stage of "metal mutation" on the bottom left.  You can click it for a larger version.

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Illustration Friday: Sticky Alien Goo

July 2, 2006 at 11:44 PM (Art)

Illustration Friday

Well, it’s that time of the week again… this week’s topic at Illustration Friday is Sticky.

And here is my interpretation of the theme, called "Sticky Alien Goo"!

Sticky Alien Goo by Karthik Abhiram

Now I love chewing bubblegum (favourite type is Fusen gum).  And as we all know, if you chew bubblegum for a while, then take it out and start playing with it, it gets really messy and sticky.  So the idea for my illustration was just that, show someone who had made a mess of things, and had bubblegum stuck on the fingers.

But as I was painting my image (yes, that is my own left hand in the picture, and no, I did not have any sticky stuff on my fingers), I wasn’t able to get the bubblegum to stand out properly from the colour of the fingers, therefore I decided to change things a little.  I painted the bubblegum in blue colour.  And obviously then it didn’t look like bubblegum any more, so I decided to give more of an SF-slant to my image, and call it, Sticky Alien Goo!

This is my third watercolour painting for Illustration Friday.  I think this turned out better than my previous two attempts.  Oh, and the title sounds like something my friend Pablo Dictter would come up with!

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Illustration Friday: Rain

June 24, 2006 at 10:07 PM (Art)

Illustration Friday

Didn’t take part in Illustration Friday last week (the theme was "Dance"), but as I posted the Hellboy and Manson drawings, I thought I made up for that!  Anyway this time the topic is "Rain", and this is the picture I came up with:

Rain by Karthik Abhiram

Once again, the picture turned out quite different from the idea I initially had in mind.  When I saw the topic "Rain", I immediately thought of action scenes in movies, taking place in heavy rain.  I would have to have a light source to add interest, so I thought of having two people in the drawing against a car, with the headlight on.

I decided to do this one also in watercolour, like my last Illustration Friday drawing.  I’m not too good at using watercolour as a medium so the final image doesn’t look the way I wanted it to.  Here I have one character standing in front of his car (yes, that is supposed to be the headlight of a car), on a rainy night.  There’s lightning to the left side as well, showing just how unfriendly the weather is.

As far as the quality of the picture is concerned, I think this is just an "okay" effort.  Anyway, do comment and let me know what you think.

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Drawing: Mike Mignola’s Hellboy

June 18, 2006 at 10:18 PM (Art)

As I was mentioning in an earlier post, I did a couple of doodles in my notebook over the last couple of days.  One was a picture of Marilyn Manson (inspired by the song "This is the New Shit"), and the other is a picture of Mike Mignola‘s Hellboy.

Hellboy is an amazing creation — I can probably say that the big red demon ("The World’s Greatest Paranormal Investigator") is my favourite comic character!  The stories in these books are great, but even more than that, Mignola’s artwork is fantastic.  Lots of solid blacks and clear line work, images of statues and monuments as a backdrop to the action are some of the highlights of the Hellboy artwork.  Obviously, it’s all very inspiring, and that’s why when I wanted to draw something in my notebook, I did a picture of Hellboy.

I did a (very) rough sketch in blue ballpoint pen first, and then directly inked over it in black gel pen.  Pictured is Hellboy standing near some fire, and he is holding the Spear of Destiny in his right hand.  The Spear briefly makes an appearance in the Hellboy movie, but I don’t remember how it looked there, so I just made up my own.  Anyway, the movie (from director Guillermo Del Toro) gets a 9/10 from me, it is that good!  Ron Perlman was perfect in the role, the movie had action, drama, humour, great visuals and was very much in tune with Mignola’s comics.  A powerful music score by Marco Beltrami was the icing on the cake.

Once I was done with my drawing, I decided to do some "post-production" in Photoshop.  The result is below (click for larger image):

This post-production isn’t an exact science, so there is no fixed technique that I follow.  I usually experiment with different effects to see what works best.  This time, I copied the "Blue" channel into a new image (which got rid of most of the ballpoint pen marks), and boosted the contrast.  Then using curves, the whole thing was made cleaner.  After this, I applied colours.  The background is an airbrush using a clouds texture.

I think the final version came out rather nicely, so I am going to make a desktop wallpaper out of this.

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Drawing: This is the New Shit

June 18, 2006 at 7:22 PM (Art)

I recently attended a two-day workshop on Negotiation Skills at office.  Now it has been a while since I’ve been in a classroom environment, but this gave me the chance to do some serious doodling in my notebook.

I did two pictures during the course of the two days, below is one of them (click for a larger image):

I had been listening to the song "This is the New Shit" by Marilyn Manson the day before, and that is what inspired this drawing.  Done in black gel ink pen on notebook paper (I erased the lines as much as I could), with the "background" (consisting of a scribbled version of the lyrics to the song) in blue ballpoint pen.

The other drawing is one of Mike Mignola’s Hellboy.  This one turned out much better than just a simple doodle, so I am doing some post-processing in Photoshop and adding colour.  Will post that later tonight.

And to those of you who are thinking otherwise, I did participate well in the workshop and found it to be a good one (the faculty, Mr. Chendil Kumar was excellent).  Drawing during training sessions (or classes) does not mean that I am not paying attention!

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Illustration Friday: (Surreal) Jungle

June 11, 2006 at 7:43 PM (Art)

Illustration Friday

Last week the Internet connection was misbehaving a bit, and I was also pretty busy with work, so I didn’t do an illustration for Illustration Friday.  Last week’s theme was Portrait, by the way.

This time, the theme was Jungle.  The first thing that came to mind was the movie Predator, as it is set in the Latin American jungles.  But I didn’t draw anything based on that, this picture is what I came up with (click for larger image):

Jungle by Karthik Abhiram

This is a picture of a clearing in a jungle.  It’s very warm and the powerful sunlight cuts through the trees like a knife.  Originally, this was supposed to be some sort of alien landscape, that’s why the leaves of the trees are blue.  Instead of leaves, the trees were supposed to have gaseous red/blue emissions at the top.  It didn’t turn out that way, so what you have now is a more or less normal (earthly) picture.

Still, I like the way the trees seem impossibly tall and the sun seems impossibly large.  If I were to draw a person in the middle of all this, he/she would be the size of one of the letters in the text (at the bottom of the picture).

This picture was done with watercolours on drawing paper.  I bought a drawing book some days back.  The images come out much better on this paper, which is thicker and nicer compared to the standard A4 printer/photocopy paper I was using earlier.  I’m not at all used to watercolours (this is probably the second picture I’m painting with them), but I’m happy with the result.

As usual, comments welcome…

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