Friday, August 22, 2014

Facets of Jazz

Those of you who come here know that I love music, Jazz in particular. With that in mind, I started out with a simple premise; What if the great personalities of jazz existed in a Pixar-world? Trying to capture their likeness, while keeping them cartoon was tough challenge for me. A most frustrating endeavor, I assure you, but the love I have for the characters and their stories made it worth it. I don't know if I managed to get close to capturing their likeness or convey their personality, but I gave it my best shot :).

Jean-Baptiste "Django" Reinhardt, 1910-1953.
A french jazz-guitarist of Romani heritage. He is credited with inventing a new distinctly European style of jazz, known as "Hot" jazz guitar, or "Gypsy Jazz". Oh, and on one of his hands he could only use three of his fingers, because the others had been paralyzed in a fire. He managed to be successful, and avoid being sent off to concentration-camp (because even the nazi-officers loved his music so much), during the Nazi-occupation of Paris.

Chet Baker, 1929-1988.
One of the best trumpet-players I've heard, with a marvelous singing-voice to boot! His style is very melodic, romantic and lyrical. He was a broken human being, with a heavy drug-habit. He would con, manipulate, lie and deceive to get what he wanted, and at one point he got his teeth smashed out by hired thugs, because he owed the wrong person money. He died falling out of a window of a hotel in Holland with a mix of cocaine and heroin in his body.

Sarah Vaughan, 1924-1990.
Also referred to as "The Divine One", her voice makes me shiver with joy. She's got such depth and character. She grew up in a religious family and started practicing music at a very early age and eventually dropped out of high-school to pursue singing. She suffered from stage-fright and was shy in public.

I'm using the very same formula I outlines a couple of posts back, but I spent a bit more time on the Key-light-phase, added a rim-light, and spent more time with the actual painting-phase. One thing I discovered, is that I try to avoid working with brighter values until later, I try to stick with sculpting with mid-tones and shadows. If I go in immediately with highlights, I lose control of the values.
Each character, not counting the failed drawings, took around 10 hours each. With research and failures (which you can't see :) ) I'd say they're around 13-16 hours average.

Thanks for looking! :D

Here's to you ;)


Mattias Hakulinen said...

Wow great stuff! As I was reading I was hoping to see Vince Guaraldi as he's one of my favourites.

Johannes Helgeson said...

Thanks Mattias! Aww man, he's solid, never heard of him before, so thanks for the tip! :D I think, for these dudes, I wanted to paint those with whom I felt I had some sort of relationship. I've got more on my list, such as Miles Davis, Bill Evans, Wes Montgomery, Billie Holiday, Pat Metheny etc. Paint him yourself ;P

Mattias Hakulinen said...

Here you go: drawing of guaraldi

Johannes Helgeson said...

Sweet Mattias! Keep up the practice bro! :D