Saturday, May 16, 2009


Illustration of Marilyn Manson
for Revolver Magazine's "Golden Gods" Issue.

Upon getting the call from Josh at Revolver Magazine, I immediately flew into action! What a sweet idea - Marilyn Manson as Willy Wonka! Twiggy as an Oompa Loompa! I was so stoked! I knew that this was going to be a killer illustration. Images came flooding into my mind - menacing, sexual, demented gummi bears, swirling lollipops, and those crazy orange oompas. I wanted to do something memorable and trippy, something that Manson would dig.

First, i need to gather some great Manson reference. For the most part, good old “google image” will do the trick. While perusing images, i turn on some Manson to rock out and get in the proper state of mind. “We’re From America”, from the new album “The High End of the Low” is really catchy. I think it's a great song. Buy it now! Anyway, i grabbed cool Wonka reference as well. Gene Wilder's 1970's version is still the definitive one in my book. I put all collected images into folders on my desktop then combined them in photoshop, into one page layouts. It takes a little bit of time to do but well worth it for the work that lies ahead. Lets me have a lot of concentrated, specific reference with only a couple pages to flip through. Each one is 8'' x 11''.

Josh sent me over the specs (6'' wide x 8'' tall) for the illustration and this template below for the page layout of "In the Rear" front page. Composition was must achieved within this space. Two things - must be aware of the "In the Rear" text and there will also be additional text in the illustration somewhere so i gotta leave some open space.

Ok, now I'm good to hit the drawing table.
I start sketching. I thought i was on to something with this drawing. I saw in my reference that he sometimes uses this knife/microphone or "knifrophone" as i like to refer to it and thought that was just perfect.

Utilizing my trusty light box, i refine the image with pencil and ink, then
sent it over to Revolver for review. It is approved. Inserted into the layout, Manson's hat will overlay the top text.

But before i start the final, i still need to figure out the details off the background. I want to utilize the space above the text so i draw in a trapped Augustus Gloop to peak out over it. Figure that will be a cool detail. Then a light color study over a copy of the final sketch. I feel really confident with the color for this piece so i don't go too far with it. But know its going to be a lot of purple, oranges and browns, with green grass and dark sky. The lack of color in and lightness of Manson's face should make it pop real nice.
I start the final in the morning. First, I transfer a light pencil sketch to 90lb. watercolor paper using my trusty light box. Once the pencils are good, it’s time to start with the inking! I use black ink for the legs, knife, microphone, boots. But to keep things colorful, i use waterproof color inks for the other elements. Purple for the blazer, brown inks for his hat, tie and the oompa outfit. Green for his hair, orange for his skin.

Now that my lines are down and i start with simple watercolor washes to block out the basic colors.
I use Dr. Ph. Martin’s Radiant Concentrate Water Color - they are fantastic! They come in these little liquid vials. Search them out. High recommended for all you traditional artist out there.

Washes, washes and more washes, building up the color. Black ink for the sky. White gouache for a line around Manson and Twiggy to make them standout. I also
use colored pencil to accentuate the line work and build up color, texture and detail. Note: I wish i had done more scans of the process. Hopefully next time. Once i got in the flow of things, i didn't stop until i was almost done. Still gotta do some detailing though.

Gotta finish that Golden Ticket. Darken lollipop on his crotch.

Bloodied up the knife and add Manson's right wrist tattoo - a spooky looking tree.

Darken Oompa. Also used blue gouache to lighten the black sky

Gotta plump up them lips, darken eyeliner and add a blue make-up line on his chin. Subtle shading on face.