Monday, April 20, 2009

Pinball Machines

The semester is finally coming to a close soon! Thursday I have my portfolio review; it's scary to think about but graduation's gonna be here before you know it! With the end of every school year one thing comes to mind..... PINBALL!!!!
Every summer I work in Lavallette at a variety store. Ya know, the ones with beach chairs and huge army men action figures. Well, conveniently located about 5 minutes away is the Seaside Heights boardwalk. I always go and play arcade machines there. A couple of years ago, one of the arcades got rid of their lazer tag arena and converted it into a classic arcade. BEST MOVE EVER.

Here's what it looks like

I've always been in love with old videogame and pinball marquee illustrations. Arcade graphics in the 70s and early home consoles like the Odyssey and Colecovision were not nearly powerful enough to depict any kind of complex image so it was up to the illustrator to portray what the game would look like. It's something I don't really like about current games. The graphics are so superior that you really don't need your own creativity.

The best example I can think of is the Tempest. That's my favorite arcade game. Just looking at the cabinet makes you excited to even go and play it. but what do the graphics look like? Well, they are line based, or vector. I personally really like them, but the point is that they are extremely primitive. The art on the cabinet was absolutely necessary to draw in the customer. My favorite part is the artwork on the marquee:

I mean look at this thing! I can tell you that there is not story whatsoever, but where did that crazy monster even come from? It's awesome. The illustrator really had some kind of imagination to come up with this image if he only had the graphics to look at.

ANYWHO, I was talking about
pinball art. I love to go to the arcade and look at all of the marquees. they are absolutely amazing. My favorite two are PINBOT and F-14 TOMCAT. I don't have any field shots of pinbot, but they art in f-14 is so great. It navigates you around the field, illuminating targets and landing zones. The colors are bright and exciting to look at. I always wondered how hard it must be to plan all of the colors out as well as the arrows, ramps, etc. You have to plan around the lights on the marquee. For example, with F-14 Tomcat the lights are where the explosions are painted; so each time something happens on the board the explosion illuminates. The marquees have so much going on; for example with the game Whirlwind. Everything about the game is depicted in it. I imagine it must be like a book cover; you want to summarize the game but not give everything away. I really wanted to know who did these paintings and see what other kinds of stuff they've done. I walked around the arcade and looked for artists signatures on the machines. I found out the man who did pinbot also did the twilight zone, Ripley's Believe it or Not and whirlwind. His name is John Youssi, who apparently designed the Yoplait Yogurt logo as well. Illustrating can be a crazy job hahaha. After even more research I discovered there was a gallery show of sketches, color studies and finishes of various pinball paintings and designs.

Check out the show
Interview with John Youssi
List of Games He's Worked on
Interviews with other pinball Artists

I think that this is such an interesting field to be involved in. I didn't even realize that illustrators worked on pinball machines. Same process as anything else; sketches, color studies, so on and so forth. Definitely a cool area to be involved in!

Sinistar says seeya at the beach!

(sinistar image from wikistrategy, tempest cabinet and marquee from KLOV)


Here's a funny little link to check out: it's pretty pointless(which most of gamedailys posts are) but it definitely showcases some crazy imagination!

Misleading videogame art

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Open House Poster!!!

Hey all!

I just finished a project for the University of the Arts Open House Poster. This design is meant to be sent out to as many highschools as possible in order to attract highschoolers to our fine educational establishment. I had a hard time coming up with ideas for this one. Eventually I came up with the idea of a carrier pigeon bringing news out to everyone. I also wanted the bird to look really crazy with all kinds of insane patterns.

Here is the first version I handed in:

My teacher liked it a lot but suggested that I change it's head a little bit ( it has a weird looking beak) and add another tail on the right side. BINGO:

They liked it again, but suggested that I make one with a warm gold palette. I made two versions; hopefully we have a winner here!!