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A.Richard Allen
Bulgarians
posted:
I did a lot of storyboarding for advertising five or six years ago, I made a conscious decision to let that side of my work slide in favour of editorial.

Storyboarding can be well-paid but involves a lot of pressure, sailing close to deadlines, churning out 30+ keyframes a day, the sort of pressure that- ahem- caffeinated ad creatives in their twenties thrive on but that just doesn't suit me. It's not that I'm not fascinated by advertising, I love the faux showbiz (fauxbiz) buzz about it and the collaborative, improvisational nature of the creative process is incredible to observe. And for me leaving the house and interacting with people other than my immediate family was also good. I suppose as much as anything, I always felt very self-conscious as a storyboarder having people looking over my shoulder, chipping in with suggestions (kind of how a police sketch artist must feel). I felt especially conspicuous when working alongside real pros; my style was neither Marvel comics-slick (an old hand described it as Picasso-esque which in any other context I'd've taken as a compliment) nor was it idiosyncratic and quirky enough for my own liking.

So it was with a mixture of trepidation and excitement that I took the call earlier this week from an ad agency- my first for a few years- wanting twenty keyframes. I was curious about how I'd approach the assignment and what my work would look like without having the luxury of time to whittle away at things. I've been looking at Gipi's sublime art in Notes from a War Story this week and was wondering if I could bring some of that scratchy assuredness to my storyboarding work. I was hoping maybe even to post a few things here.

Inevitably,  the project got canned. Another aspect of working behind the scenes with ad agencies that I'm not crazy about- there seems to be alot of hanging around followed by either frenzied activity or being summarily dropped.

So the storyboard preamble here was all a bit irrelevant...

Hmmm.
In lieu of the any frames to show you (and, nope, I don't have any of my old ones to post) here are some portraits I've been working on. They're for a European project called 'Football Heroes' that I was invited to take part in: it's a book to coincide with this summer's Euro 2008 football tournament. Previous versions of the thing are at http://www.footballheroes.org. I guess it's a nod towards old soccer sticker albums- our schoolyard equivalent of baseball trading cards.
They've curbed illustrators' excesses with the latest edition by demanding that depictions are 'respectful' and don't include 'animals' or 'gross injuries' . I didn't want to spend too long on it as it involved 14 pictures + a self-portrait so I condensed it all into a couple of days. Whilst the pics are all pretty straight forward and mugshot-y (despite the fact that they're taken from various references and aren't just straight lifts from photos) I'm quite pleased with the results.
ZZ and DB
In case you're wondering the ones on red are the Bulgarian football (soccer) team (some amazing faces in there) whilst the other two are headbutt specialist, Zinedine Zidane and my own favourite footballer, Dutch master, Dennis Bergkamp.
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