Sunday, March 25, 2012

March: Ian Ziering's Birthday -- The Captains of Industry Calendar


Eyerus + Visual Communications Studio
The Captains of Industry


A calendar, illustrated in the style of '70s Blaxploitation movie posters. Each month will focus on an extremely esoteric holiday (or a popular holiday handled in an extremely esoteric way), all staring The Captains of Industry.

The Captains of Industry are: Graham Funke and StoneRokk, two innovative and eclectic DJs known for their creativity, sense of humor, and opinionated worldviews. You may find them working high-profile corporate and celebrity events around the country, or at their Las Vegas residencies at the Palms Casino Resort. They are "Your favorite DJ's favorite DJs."™


March's featured holiday is Ian Ziering's birthday. Mr. Ziering was born on March 30, 1964. You will remember him as Steve Sanders in the original Beverly Hills 90210. So, how do The Capts celebrate this day through illustration? Mash it up with gangsta rap, another cultural benchmark of the '90s.


The Capts took part in a photo shoot, exploring their inner-gangsta. The original thought was to live the thug life with Beverly Hills attire, but that was quickly abandoned for full-fledged thug.

Not being an aficionado in Beverly Hills 90210 lore, I gave myself a crash course on its workings -- the characters, The Peach Pit hangout spot, and Steve Sanders' black '89 Corvette, among them. The black 'Vette would be the logical intermediary between the 90210 world and the N.W.A. world (N.W.A. are one of the most influential artists of the gangsta rap genre), so the guys should be posed against it.

Here are a couple of composition secrets: when there is high volume and finite time involved, one must rely on certain successful rules-of-thumb and apply them, throughout. If I don't follow this system, I'm left to re-invent the wheel with each illustration, which is not the most effective use of my time when deadlines loom. In addition, this mode of thought adds another sense of consistency to my brand, which not only reinforces it, but eliminates surprises for the client.

Throughout this calendar, I built my compositions using pyramids and perspective. Can you see them in the following sketches?

Why pyramids? Because, angles are more interesting than static horizontals and verticals.

Why perspective? Because, perspective is like an angle in the third dimension. Perspective adds depth, visual complexity, and interest.


The middle rear-view 'Vette sketch was approved, with a few modifications. So, let's get started on the final art.

The Catps had a definite look in mind for their gangsta attire, from the Eazy E Locs, right down to their Nike Cortez shoes. I did extensive research on it all, acquired appropriate clothing props, and put it together with a supplemental photo shoot, with my fantastic models Ricky and Melodie. My goal was make sure I had the best working photo reference I could put together, so there was no guessing going into the final.

I'm pretty proud of my homemade UZI and Glock 9mm, smartly modeled in pseudo-gangsta stylings, by Ricky.

Melodie and Ricky also gave me a few 90210-style reference shots, in period-attire, with extra emphasis on the tussling.

We swapped my original Beverly Hills street sign with the more iconic sign, and we dropped in some of the characters in the background, including Mr. Sanders, himself. To top it off, why not add a final homage in the form of a logo?

In each month, Graham is rockin' a different mustache, integral towards telling the story for that month. Here, Graham is, naturally, rockin' the "Eazy E" 'stache.

Here's my final black and white comp.

Here's the final color art, again.

Thanks, again, to the amazing team at Eyerus for allowing me the opportunity to be involved, for their direction, and for fostering an environment for creativity that any illustrator would cherish. Thanks, too, to The Captains of Industry for conceiving such a wonderfully-inspired collection of ideas for the world to devour, as well as for their very generous write-up about the project and their kind words toward me. See it, here.

You may secure your own calendar at The Capts Online Haberdashery.

Over the coming weeks, I will show and tell the stories behind each month's art. Stay tuned. Tell your friends. You won't be disappointed!

Allan Burch is an award-winning illustrator and portrait artist, providing solutions for editorial, book, advertising, and institutional projects.
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