The Herald-Dispatch |

The Drawing Board
Interested in illustration? Drawing images that accompany news stories is a privilege that news illustrator Thomas Marsh relishes. Here’s a chance to look over his shoulder and see how he does it.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Finish for WVU

I made the adjustments to the Mountaineer's "shovel arm" the problem being, whether I placed it overhead or under, it was going to crowd something either the flowing hair and 'coon-skin hat tail, or the ECU sword. Going under allowed me more space to add "air" around the shovel.
Some other details that were fun to include:
Putting the Buffalo logo on the hat was more specific than just writing "Colorado."
The Mountaineer's hat is actually alive!
When illustrating big grassy areas, always include a few dandelions it's much more realistic and adds visual interest.
In doing the train track, the details are very rough, but the solidity of the track is defined mostly by areas of light and shadow.
It should be an exciting game today Enjoy!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Revised Ruff for WVU

After the basics were ruffed out in the first sketch, I was able to concentrate on little details in this one. It is important that the train track looks right, even though its not the main focus.
In the first ruff, I had several positions for the Mountaineer’s shovel-wielding arm. That is where I was trying to think it out on paper as to whether to have the arm over or under. The Headline and copy block is planned for right of the illustration. I’ll often drop a sketch like this onto the layout so I can plan how the verbiage and image will work together, and putting the arm overhead may crowd the header. I’m still not satisfied with the foreshortening and positioning of the Mountaineer’s (shovel) arm and will need to make adjustments there. The Colorado Buffalo’s hat will need to be a good deal bigger so I can fit an ID on it like the ECU sword. I’ll need to decide whether to put “Colorado” on it or the UC logo.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Ruff for WVU

As I had mentioned back on September 10, I was working in advance for the Marshall-WVU game, The rough I posted then had Marco charging up a hill toward the standing Mountaineer, who was more than a little distracted by the East Carolina Pirate sword sticking out of his rump. (Yeah, I know you haven’t forgotten THAT loss.)
For this week, however, I’m going with a “friends of coal” idea that will have much more fun stuff going on compositionally.
I started the ruff with the coal car at the extreme flying angle. From there, I weaved the principle characters in and around it. Starting with the car this way instantly gives the composition dynamics and flow. Now, from this precarious position, the mascots share a tight hopper car with such evident distain for each other, they begin smacking each other with shovels, chunks of coal and whatever else they can get their hands on.
The reference to East Carolina’s sword sticking out of the Mountaineers’ butt in my Sept 10 sketch was — I felt — too distant an event from this weekend’s game that it would have lost its poignancy. However, thanks to WVU’s loss to Colorado last week, reopened that significance of ECU’s victory like a can of worms. So I’ve “re-included” the Pirate sword — AND added a pointy Colorado Buffalo hat — also, sticking out of the Mountaineer’s rump.
Now if we can just find enough room to jab some Marco horns in there — all should be well!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

“Chess Game” Final

After tightening the composition, I realized that including the reflection of Marcos mirrored “Eagle” hand was clunky — so I eliminated the reflected hand.
Doing all the chess pieces was going to be tedious. So rather than draw all the pieces, I drew one pon, one rook etc. and styled them to be “white” pieces. I then duplicated them in Photoshop, and adjusted their darkness levels to make them “black.” I then selected each piece I wanted on the board and simply copied and pasted where I wanted.
The reflection of the pieces was done the same way, only I imagined looking at them from the mirror-side of the board. I then shrunk them down slightly as per the laws of perspective, and then “burned them into the mirror using Photoshop’s cloning stamp tool set on darken — taking care not to clone over the chess pieces on our side of the looking glass. Once I had the mirrored pieces in place, I cloned over them again with the stamp set on normal. That gave the pieces the dimension they needed.
For all the pieces missing off the board, I placed a box on the floor to cover their whereabouts.


Friday, September 19, 2008

“Chess Game” Rough: Version 2

Here’s a more fleshed out version of the idea. Due to the cover space available, and always needing to keep in mind there will be a headline and copy block to consider, I will likely revise this slightly and make it a more vertical shape. But rather than cramming everything in tight, I’ll need to make sure the inside and outside negative spaces (I highlighted in RED) are not compromised. Keeping these areas uncluttered ads to the interest of the overall shape, and the clarity to how the elements relate to each other.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

A Chess Game of Solitaire

While listening intently earlier this week to the talk following Marshall’s conference opening win against Memphis, I was struck with a visual idea to Coach Snyder’s reference to “publicity being like poison; it can only kill you if you swallow it.” And the need for Marshall to stay focused on its next game.

So I had the idea of Marco sitting in the optometrist chair getting his eyes checked with an optical refractor (you know one of those bulky multi-lens things that hangs at the end of a mechanical arm and rests on your nose when put in place). I had also considered placing a trashcan behind the chair with a poison bottle of “publicity.”

But then I settled on the idea of Marshall being a mirror image of Southern Miss and that Saturday’s contest would be a chess game. So that’s the idea I think I'll go with.

Honestly, I don’t think I have time to draw all those lenses anyway.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Quick Ruff for Memphis

Here’s a quick ruff for my Memphis idea. Since this is a pivotal game for both teams, I’m doing a “climb the ladder” theme. The to of them will be fighting while clinging to the rungs. Ruffs like these often take extra time cause you want the interaction between the characters to be logical and visually sound, and they need to be solidly on the ladder. Initially, there are many lines sketched and as I settle on where the characters final position will be, I line it out with a heavier line.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Lots to do this week

I’m still trying to figure something to do for Marshall’s game against the Memphis Tigers. The Tigers are reeling after a 29-point fourth quarter melt down against Rice last week. There’s unrest and frustration and perhaps a little dissention, although though not confirmed. I was toying with the idea of putting the Tiger in a straight jacket, but it may be too severe an image for our purposes. Regardless, Memphis appears pretty soft on defense, having given up 40+ each game.
Well, sure, the Herd gave up 51, but THAT was at Wisconsin. Mistakes were the killer there — not the defense. So, I’ll look into an idea where Marshall must avoid mistakes, as there’s no telling what they’re up against with the schizophrenic Tigers.

Although the Herd doesn’t play WVU for a few weeks, for publication purposes, I need to get the cover of our upcoming special section “Thunder on The Mountain” done early. So here’s a quick rough for that for you to enjoy while I’m working on a Memphis Tigers idea.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Finish on Push Comes To Shove

Friday, September 5, 2008

Push Comes to Shove ruff

Here's my initial ruffs — concentrating on Marco's posture as he pushes (hopefully not in vain), the badger's expression and a non-descript bulldozer.

I separated the dozer and Marco's interaction with it so I can get the best posture for Marco without the dozer's distracting bulk.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Don't get pushed around

Good job last week Herd!

The idea this week is big — really big. Big Ten powerhouse Wisconsin is Marshall’s next big challenge and, well, the team knows how to use its size to its advantage.
Last week it pushed its way all over the field against Akron — and when all was said and done they had amassed over 400 yards on the ground. They only attempted 10 pass plays — I guess figuring if they can’t be stopped on the ground, why go to the air — keep going and control the clock. The Badgers offensive play calling leaned heavily on the run, calling the plays in chunks of six, ten, seven and eleven straight. Wisconsin’s clock control netted them a 35:49 result.
It all starts with a heavy and experienced offensive line, which to the man out weighed Akron’s defensive line by nearly 40 pounds, and the Zips linebackers by nearly 90 pounds. It also helps that the Badgers run a Power-I formation featuring the 259-pound fullback Chris Pressley and running back P.J. Hill, who is listed at 236.
Marshall’s D-line is negligibly lighter than Akron’s, but the Herd linebackers are significantly more stout.
So long as the Herd can tackle well and hit hard, it shouldn’t expect to give up 400 yards on the ground.

By the way, Wisconsin’s defense is 20 pounds lighter than the Herd’s on both the line and in the linebacker corp. So I bet their team scrimmages are interesting.