Saturday, January 12, 2013

Tribute to Paperboy

This is an updated version of the old art.
on 11x14in Bristol board, ink, and lots sharpies.

This was a tricky project, since with most of these tributes I wanted to keep the exact look and design of the characters with little to none alteration. However, with Paperboy I thought it would be different and also a good sporting challenge to make a redesign and yet maintain the same pose of the original Nintendo box art. Picking the adjustments was not easy as I first thought. The original angle itself is already awkward, also how far do you stray from the famous design with it still being recognizable. The answer is simple, (but not simply done) you take what you and everyone remembers from the character on the box: the backwards cap, the bicycle, the papers flying out at you, and the freckle face expression of the kid. You can keep those elements and you can make whatever changes without being sacrilegious against what you are trying to pay tribute to.

The first of these changes was to the body of the character, the original paperboy sat all squatted in his bike. I wanted to stretch him out and bring him up some move over the handlebars so you have a better eye-line, and add more curve to his back to give a stronger since of action to his pose. Doing this though, you make the character what he wasn’t before, taller, and therefore older looking. Suddenly the boyish, bucktooth, Dennis the Menace, design doesn’t fit the body, and you’re left with the only choice of aging up and making a new face that is agreeable to the original image or at least to everyone’s memory of it. So, the decision was to make the 10 year old boy into a 14-15ish teenager. Suddenly face shape changes and is unrecognizable from the original box art and bruises the memory of thousands! To get around this, you have to keep the small and important traits of the original. Two things: the backwards cap and the freckles, without those two traits, the picture goes from a kid on a bike into “Hey, I remember that guy, Paperboy, right? From Nintendo?” That’s the ultimate goal, to ride that fine rail of personal art and nostalgia.

Hopefully I succeed with that intent and didn’t taint anyone’s memory.

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