Thursday, June 18, 2009

The Oscars 2009

Here are four more pieces I did for Daniel Krall's Illustration 2 class. Our assignment was to pick from this year's top 6 Oscar winners and illustrate them in a strange 8x3 format, with an extra inch above and below left free for text (which I opted to overlap into). I knew a lot of my classmates would end up creating a scene that looked like a movie still due to the format, and I wanted to avoid that. I also wanted to avoid any kind of cartooning because it isn't exactly my forte at the moment and getting a good likeness was essential.

Slumdog Millionaire - Best Picture

At the time the only 2009 Oscar winner I'd seen was The Dark Knight, which I loved. When I thought on Heath Ledger's performance, specific scenes came to mind, certain expressions and body language and interactions he had with other characters. I decided that the best way for me to capture the feel of his and the other actor's performances would be to screencap all of these scenes and draw directly from them. It's something I would normally avoid, but in this case it just seemed to make sense.

Heath Ledger as The Joker - Best Supporting Actor

This meant that I had to actually see the other top movies, (including Vicky Cristina Barcelona, though I didn't end up drawing for it), taking notes of the scenes I felt were most important, then either finding caps online or making my own. After I collected all the caps I printed them out and made line drawings from them with the aid of my mini light table. This made getting proportions down a lot easier and faster than otherwise but it didn't help much in the areas of likeness and line width which is why some places are kind of wonky. Overall I think I did a pretty good job, though. I did a lot of drawings.

Sean Penn as Harvey Milk - Best Actor

After I did as many drawings for each character as I could, I scanned them all in and aligned them all in Photoshop. This was the fastest part. It took about 16 hours straight through - unfortunately all the night before it was due. The pieces I'm showing you now have been edited somewhat since I had them printed and presented them in class.

Kate Winslet as Hanna Schmitz - Best Actress

All of the drawings were done with "magic" marker, a mixture of crayola, rose-art, random off-brands and some skinny felt tips from the school store. Nothing fancy.

Thanks for looking! I plan on showing you guys some of what I've been working on this summer, soon. Otherwise I've been keeping busy, working 3 days a week in the Student Activities Office at MICA, Going to physical therapy for some neck and upper back problems I've been having 2 days a week, reading a bit in my spare time and watching a loooot of movies and History channel documentaries in an ongoing effort to empty my DVR. I guess I might actually do it some day if I stopped scheduling new recordings...but there's just so much wonderful stuff to watch @.@!


  1. Ohh, Janna, these all look wonderful. I think they're my favorite thing you've posted on my blog, though everything you do is fun and colorful. (and Mr. T is pretty hard to top...) could tell which movies they were from before reading the descriptions, which says a lot, I think.

  2. *and by "my blog," I mean "your blog" ...why did I type that? is there some kind of strange sub-conscious narcissism going on there?

  3. Aw, thanks so much, Kay! I'm glad you like these!
    Lol, don't worry about the mix up. If I were you, I'd think about your blog (which would be my blog) all the time, too. It's awesome!

  4. oh wow these are amazing! i really like your way of working with colors. your liknesses with these are also amazing! are these just with markers?? i could only tell when i saw them closer up. i love the compositions as well!

  5. Thanks, Kelly! Yep,they're just your run-of-the mill markers. Each drawing was done separately and then assembled in Photoshop where I tweaked some of the colors. I didn't know how I was going to arrange them until I got them on the computer so some colors had to be changed for the compositions to feel right, but all the drawing is by hand.

  6. Dear Janna,
    I am the Editor of a Magazine and wanted to get in contact with you concerning one of your illustrations for Slumdog Millionaire. We would be interested in using your illustration for one of our articles and would like to ask for your permission. Is it possible to get in contact with you via mail?
    Thanks and hope to hear from you

  7. Katrin,
    It's great to hear that you are interested in my work but I would like to know more about your publication. You can email me at and from there I should be able to give you and other information you need.
    Thanks so much for your interest!