Here’s the latest background I did at Plain Joe Studios for River Valley’s Go Kids program. This is by far my favorite background I’ve done for them. Or maybe it was just the most fun to illustrate. I think I just have a dark side to me that I enjoy something a little more spooky in a fun, Saturday-morning-cartoon sort of way (though I don’t at all care for ‘horror’ as a genre).
River Valley Go Kids “Valley of Shadows”
To be entirely frank (because, like Groot, “I am Frank”), I’m lazy about geometric precision. Give me a jungle to draw any day over a city scene with skyscrapers and bazillions of windows and everything needing to be in perfect perspective — forget about it. The fun thing about a cartoon ghost-town like this is that I can get all wonky with the structures, which is really fun. Throw in a hint of swamp and a giant skull rock and you’ve got the makings of a Scooby-doo episode. Now this is my cup of tea!
Here’s the final installment of background illustrations done for Plain Joe Studios‘ client, for their Go Kids cast of characters. I prefer illustrating organic backgrounds to artificial structures because, well, because I’m lazy and it’s easier to draw a jungle than to draw a giant city in perfect perspective.
Actually, creating organic forms is just so much more fun, what with all the wild foliage, vines, and such. Plus I like drawing gnarly tree limbs, twisting trunks, and tangled roots. If I had my druthers (I keep using that word without really knowing what a “druther” is), I’d be illustrating little fantasy stories that take place in all sorts of forests and wacky worlds. Honestly, I love creating charming artwork for children. My preference for the innocence of children’s media is probably why I prefer the fantasy wonderland of Disneyland to a “fast-ride” theme-park like Magic Mountain.
This lava city is another Go Kids “worlds” illustration done for Plain Joe Studios‘ client, River Valley Church. The smaller inset rough shows just how far I go on the roughs to convey the concept to the client before doing a final rendering. I probably could get away with doing a far more crude rough, but I’m always afraid that if I don’t convey enough information in the rough, the client may think the final art strayed too far from what they imagined.
I’ll post one final Go Kids “worlds” illustration next week, at which time we’ll move back above ground.
The creativity never stops at Plain Joe Studios. If I could post everything we did, I’d be posting every day, but then I’d never get anything else done. In any case, I only have a couple more of these I want to post in upcoming weeks and then I think I’ll start posting more Procreate “doodle” videos.
This week’s Go Kids background follows last week’s illustration, which was the exterior of the underground part of the Go Kids’ “world”. Each of the larger world areas are themselves made of of a few smaller cities or districts. This is one of three underground locations.
The smaller inset image in this case is not a rough of the larger image but is a previous variant done in a simplified, flat, graphic style that we initially tried. While I like the look of a flat, graphic style, I don’t go to that style naturally when I decide to do something for myself.
Here is yet another illustration I did at Plain Joe Studios to serve as a background for one of our client’s Go Kids characters. The character below is Adi Mole, so this rendering is an exterior of an underground “world” which this character inhabits. I enjoy creating these wonky sort of perspectives sometimes for backgrounds. I just think it makes them a little more interesting, especially when doing any kind of continuity storytelling, like when I create storyboards or comics. In those latter two situations, things would get stale if every shot was from a straight-on POV.
Here’s yet another sampling of an illustration done at Plain Joe Studios as a supplement to the spacial story characters created for River Valley Church’s Go Kids ministry. The smaller versions show the different ideas before arriving at the final rendering.
When Plain Joe Studios does spacial storytelling, that often involves creating characters to aid in telling the client’s story. One of the characters we created as part of the Go Kids cast was a squirrel named Tom E. Over the years I’ve had to create different iterations of this character for different applications. Justyn Smith of River Valley Church took the various renderings I did and assembled this for a side-by-side comparison.
That one on the bottom-left was supposed to look like TomE. if he were in the world of Minecraft. You might think it should be easy to copy a character made up of blocks, but it was actually more difficult than doing something organic; it was very time-consuming to get all the angles and shading precise enough to fake a character made of blocks in a 3D digital space (I hope to learn SketchUp and/or some 3D program in the future to streamline these kinds of tasks). In a future post, I’ll share the entire image with the faked Minecraft background illustration.
That iteration on the bottom-right was a sketch I did when asked to imagine the character in the wacky style of Nickelodeon’s Ren & Stimpy. It was never used because, well, I guess after seeing how goofy the character looked when adapted into that style, they decided it wasn’t a direction that suited the character.
How about that version of Tom E. on the blue stand; can you guess what that was done for?
Here’s a rough sketch and the final art I did at Plain Joe Studios for our client, River Valley Church (RVC). Go Kids is a children’s ministry featuring a cast of characters we designed at Plain Joe Studios as part of the spacial storytelling done for RVC. This was one of the many “worlds” illustrations which provide a backdrop for those characters.
A couple posts back, I shared some of Justyn Smith’s photos of some products RiverValleyChurch produced based on the Go Kids artwork I created. After my wife saw all of the cool stuff, she said she’d like some of it and so I asked Justyn where we could purchase some of it. He was so kind as to ask for my address and offer to send us a box of goodies. Well, the swag arrived last week! Here’s a few pics of all the cool stuff Justyn sent us – Thanks, Justyn!
Plain Joe Studios commissioned me to illustrate a children’s book, Cyndy Squirrel’s Change Of Heart, in 2016. The book was written by Justyn Smith and Aaron Cole for the River ValleyChurch children’s ministry, Go Kids.