illustration process, stage one – thumbnails

(Jan 06, 2009)

so i just finished up some work for hollywood entertainment, doing illustrations for the boxes of the used games they sell at their game crazy stores. the whole thing was pretty fun and i learned a lot from it as i had never dealt with a client this large before and i definitely had my stumbles. it was a lot of fun though, and it’s been awhile since i’ve done freelance illustration work, so i thought i might post some of the process along with some notes.

the first thing i had to do was come up with the a bunch of thumbnails.

like i mentioned, the illustrations were to be used for the boxes of the used games at the game crazy stores, which are currently blank purple boxes, so basically no matter what i did it was going to be a lot was nice to have the bar set so high.

they wanted two sets of illustrations – one for an older group of gamers, directed more for the xbox and playstation games and another one for a younger, kid oriented group that was for the nintendo games.

so i played around with some ideas, trying to use some classic video game imagery like the hills in the background of the mario games, tetris blocks, power-ups, etc…

it was pretty hard for me to come up with six different ideas. i know this sounds stupid, but i HATE doing thumbnails. it’s one of those things that i understand why we do them and why they’re important, but i would rather just be drawing… the funny thing is that when i skip or rush the thumbnails, i am basically wasting a bunch of time because i’m fleshing out the ideas when i’m drawing and keep erasing and redrawing, erasing and redrawing, instead of spending the time at the beginning in the thumbnails stage like you’re supposed to.

having to answer to other people that need to approve them was good because i knew that i couldn’t skip them or rush them. i had to make sure the concepts were abundant and crystal clear.

so in that sense, i think it was really good for me to have to sit down and really have to rack my brain on these and conceptualize. it’s a good habit that i need to get used to doing more.

my original plan was to try to just have them all have the tetris elements with the gamers and the video game characters and change the architecture of the blocks and the characters in each illustration. but then i ended up coming up with an idea for the ‘youth’ set of the couch and the gamers being in different environments and worlds with the video game elements surrounding them in these worlds.

they liked this idea and the tetris elements, but i did some extra ones just in case:

they ended up going with numbers 1, 5, 6, 7, 8, and 9. you can see throughout the thumbnails how certain concepts were kept and refined and how other ones were just ditched all together based on the feedback they were giving me.

when that was all said and done, i had approval to move onto the next stage – the pencils – which i’ll be posting soon. thanks for tuning in!

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