WB Animation, YOUNG JUSTICE, The Team. Pencil, Digital color.
In the midst of production on Season Two of YOUNG JUSTICE (YJ: INVASION), I was handed a rush assignment for the Warner Bros Home Video DVD release of Season One, Part Two (subtitled, "Dangerous Secrets"). Alas, because our Emmy Award-winning Lead Character Designer, Phil Bourassa was overloaded, it fell to me to handle the art chores on this project, endeavoring to maintain the show's high quality standards. At every opportunity, the producers of YOUNG JUSTICE prefer that the art used by other WB departments and/or outside licensees be created or supervised by the artists on the show. Otherwise, the characters are at risk of being rendered off-model, or out of character. Unfortunately, poor quality is an all-too-common condition in the marketplace. Usually, this is due to time and budget constraints. In this case, we had decided to grind it out in-house.
So, the pressure was on me to make a good showing, even though the deadline was tight. I didn't want to let Phil down, and I enjoyed the chance to finally draw our main characters all on my own, doing my best Bourassa impersonation. Haha!
Now, originally, I was to work from the layout sketches provided by Home Video. These weren't very imaginative, just the simple, silhouetted shapes of the characters, low angle, back-lit in front of a generic city background. The silhouettes would have been easy. However, I was directed to fully render the characters so that the images could possibly be utilized again in other marketing applications.
It was a straightforward (and dull) sort of composition, so no fancy action poses were allowed. The tricky problem with the layout was the spacing. The entire hero ensemble would only fit within the required parameters if they were squashed laterally, no overlapping. Because these images needed to be reusable, I elected to render each separately, and allow them to be digitally squeezed into the required frame. On the final DVD package, the silhouette idea is virtually abandoned, which seems to imply that the clients liked the art too much to blacken out the figures after all. However, they still did alter the final art, arbitrarily, which is typical. Artemis, and Miss Martian were given toothy grins, which, at least on Artemis, looks grotesquely forced. Oh, well.
Here's a look: [link]
Anyway, as another of my exercises in Photoshop, I've colored up my own version, using a generic street photo background that I swiped off the internet (Lazy! Hahaha!). I didn't bother with fussy cast-shadows, but I like the way the photo BG helps make the artwork pop, almost in a 3-D sort of way.
I also had to create a second design for the foreign market DVD cover. Maybe I'll polish that one up as well, and post it sometime soon.
Thanks for viewing!
* All YOUNG JUSTICE images are the copyrighted property of Warner Bros.