House of Cards
have an ace up one's sleeve
Cards in the USA is big business; In March 2018 I was approached by an American client, who sought to make a set of caricatures from player avatars set to be included in a website and app for the Eastern Poker Tour company in the USA. The idea was to have a set of twenty avatars. Ten were to be based on staff and past winners of poker tournaments and ten were to be fantasy figures that were created from common aspects of the poker theatre.
Create avatar caricatures of twenty given players (whether real or fantasy) in the style of the Celebrity Sunday series format that has been created. The avatars need to all be in a set format to allow placement in the website and app formats, and also be presented in two versions of the player; one armless and one with cards in their hands.
Client: Glenn McCrory
Illustration Tool: Photoshop CC 2018
File size: 393.5Mbs/1.33Gbs (open)
Layers: 23 uncompressed (average)
Dimensions: 10000 x 10000px/300dpi
Hours (Preparitory): 0.5 hrs
Digital rendering: 6-8 hrs (average)
The process to get the artwork complete was a basic three step process. I tried to generate a roughish style that could be applied quickly, but have detail. This was also helped, as each piece was set at 10000px width, so when reduced it forced the detail into the smaller image. As in this example of Ebony Kenney, the client sent a set of reference images. From the best version I created a sketch of the caricature. Once I was happy with the sketch this was scanned in, and placed in a document in Photoshop at the correct dpi and px ratio. The ‘armless’ version was painted first, and once that was completed and looking good then I added an extended element to all of them with a arm section, holding cards, and with a pile of chips in front of them. The idea was that it could be utilise inside the site/app in whatever way they required.
As with most illustrations that require some amount of referencing, these avatars placed some challenges on the process. Mainly, you don’t get resource photos in good quality, or at the right angle for the delivery of the caricature in the required pose. Or, the reference images are not all at the correct lighting, and resolution that would define a good quality reference image. Nonetheless, the images were all comprised of either a given photograph of the known players, or comprised of several images found as referencing material.
As stated before, due to the budget of the project, the style of the avatars was restricted from the more detailed versions that are typically applied. The close-ups here show that the brush strokes are more free and quicker. This was also due to the fact that there was a time related deadline to the project that meant the style was made more simplistic.
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1 creative person, slightly matured
2 tablespoons aptitude
1 piece of aesthetic flavouring
6lbs hard work and sweat
4 ideas more than most
salt of the earth to taste
Take a creative person and stir in some aptitude, thoroughly from the start. In time, mix in the aesthetic flavouring with the most appropriate tool at hand, and then, fold into the mix as much of the hard work and sweat that the mix can take. Sprinkle in the ideas; the more the better. And finally, as all is cooking, a pinch of ‘salt of the earth’ to give it the necessary character. Leave to cook over time and serve when required. Tasty treat in a tasteless world.