The Making of An Audience With The Hapless

The piece was inspired by imagining what might become of the characters we knew as children when we’re all grown up and they’re no longer in the limelight. I wondered how it would be to find this particular villainous character and his sidekick in a domestic setting. How did he find himself there? Or what had caused him to retire from ‘public life’ ? -So to speak.

I decided that , much like the character portrayed by Herbert Lom in the Pink Panther movies,- who had developed an acute nervous twitch as a result of his exposure to the bungling Inspector Clouseau; our hero would be similarly affected and even confined to his own home by some mysterious of avian related phobia.

Unlike previous recent work where I had incorporated or used genuine antique photographs as a starting point; for this I began by sketching compositional ideas, which could clearly include both characters and convey some of their respective idiosyncrasies.

Once I had decided on a rough composition , I began to amass reference material. Pictures of flying apparel, dogs, fur, teeth, fabric etc. Because the accompanying narrative of the piece would be intimating that the subjects were real people, I felt it would be necessary to at least make them appear semi lifelike. To achieve this I knew that I would need fairly accurate light and shade information, so I decided to set up a dummy scene using a 3d package, within which I created two basic models representing each of the characters and positioned them to match my original compositional drawing.

I already had a passport sized portrait photograph which was to form the basis of Dastardly’s face, but I was also able to use this to help with the positioning of lights within the 3d set up. Objects such as the flying helmets, goggles,gloves etc were all modelled separately and added to the 3d scene. When the the scene contained all the information I thought I would need, all elements were placed on their own separate layers and rendered out as png files for use in photoshop eg. helmet.png or gloves.png.

Later in photoshop, I imported all the png files I had generated and created a single psd file containing all the imported files on separate layers . There were quite a few! With the groundwork completed , I then began the long process of turning what I had gathered into a salient image.

Here, in no particular order, is a short list of some of the PS features I used throughout the process:-

liquify – Used frequently for tweaking
blur tool
clone tool
bevel/emboss – For facial details/ details in fabric and leather etc
custom brushes – To create fur on dog and facial hair
dodge/burn tools – for enhancing shadows and highlights
paint tool – Obviously!

Many adjustments of colour/hue and saturation/brightness and contrast

Finally added several textured layers to give the image a ‘weathered’ appearance.


Journal Comments

  • Cathie Tranent