Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Happy Birthday Ray

A little late... as I'd hoped to get this out before Mr. Bradbury's birthday (being his 90th) on August 22. But due to numerous circumstanci at the Conrad domicile (What's the saying?, "Sometimes you eat the 'bar, and sometimes, well, he eats you.") it was not to be..
Hopefully there's still a piece of cake left in his fridge.

Now, let's see if remember how to work this blog thing...

B is for Bradbury

My mom was librarian of the small Missouri town I grew up in, and many a day after school I'd sit camped out in front of the science fiction section, pouring over the paperback covers and spot illustrations found within some of the older tomes. Greats like Virgil Finlay, Frank Kelly Freas, Richard Powers, Ed Emshwiller, Ralph Brillhart, Jack Gaughan and so very many other un-credited cover artists explored all of these fantastic themes before my hungry eyes.

In this piece, I wanted to honor both Bradbury's canvas and those "old school" science fiction book covers that I had poured over in my youth as well as "texture it" with physical wear, as many of those books I studied were worn from many readings. I thought it might be fun to use The Illustrated man as the anchor, with the titles of some of Bradbury's stories and books as his tattoos. R is for Rocket was my first experience with his work, and the "B is for..." seemed natural to include as the large central focus of the main figure's back. A Sound of Thunder being one of my favorites, I had to include the time traveling hunter's encounter with the T-Rex. I loved that story, and the twist ending was so surprising then, and has been aped by many since.

Here's to you Ray- You took this small town boy on quite a tour; The frontier of space, the planet mars...I met ghosts of ancient alien civilizations, fire starting firemen, went to mystic carnivals and prehistoric safari's all along the way. For the ideas you shared and all the many places that you led me to I thank you. Cheers.


The piece was put up alongside several others on the official Bradbury Week tribute FB page.
Besides the art gallery, if you scroll through the pages, there are great video clips and interview pieces from the week long celebration.

For those interested, an overview of the process follows.

Paperback Cover Reference

Thumbnail Sketch Ideas

Rough Color Thumbnail

Vector Color Layout

Finished Painting

Graphic Design for the "paperback cover" elements.
Including a publisher's mark.

Alternate Author Treatment

I toyed with this wonderful 70's style type for the title, but opted for something "plainer" to stick with much of the particular era style from my reference, and to also separate the "publisher's" graphic design from the Illustrated man tattoo type.

And finally again, with distress and wear added:


Simon B said...

Good to see you back, Paul! Lovely tribute to Mr. Bradbury and all those classic cover artists.

Greg Pope said...

Beautiful work as per usual. A most worthy tribute...

Mr. Scribbles said...


Alex Liki said...

Amazing work as always!

monkeyfeather said...

Outstanding as usual Paul. Great design, and I love your colour harmony. GREAT stuff!

Seth said...

So. Good.

dugbuddy said...

Grand Design.

Paul Conrad said...

Thanks so much for the kind comments everyone!

The piece was put up alongside several others on The official Bradbury Week tribute FB page. If you scroll down the page, there are some cool vid clips and interview pieces during the week long birthday celebration:


Rick Lucey said...

Amazing illustration in every way Paul and big thanks for showing your process! As always I can't wait to see more of you material!

sarah said...

Hi Paul. I'm glad I'm not the only one who lets my blog gather cobwebs now and then. :) This is so beautiful. Thanks for the interesting explanation of how it all came together too.

Paul Conrad said...

Rick- Thanks. I love seeing other people's process stuff, so just trying to share the love. ;)

Sarah- HEY! Great to hear from you. Yeah... I get busy with the paying gigs and life/family etc.. and have to neglect the blog party at times. Thanks for the kind words on the art.

Hope things are well in your world!

j. said...

Oh, man...this is gorgeous! This is definitely a cover I would buy. You are incredible!