I started on the Alamo cover assignment about a week ago. Before that we considered using part of the big painting done for John Wayne's The Alamo, but it had two problems: it was too busy for effective cover copy placement, and, although it's a great painting, it really doesn't look like John Wayne (which is always a plus for commercial covers).
We were going to zone in on a vertical (magazine cover scale) portion of the painting with the three main characters and the Alamo behind them. I even considered doing a new sky (with a neutral cloud bank) and marrying it to the painting in Photoshop, but we ultimately decided we needed something original and unique to our coverage.
Here are my first sketches:
Pretty straight ahead with the typical iconic imagery of Crockett on the ramparts swinging Old Betsy at the attacking Santa Ana hordes. I first envisioned a couple of jarring reminders of the present, like a Burger King patch on a Soldado, and maybe a Ripley's Believe It Or Not sign on a wagon.
That was my angle when I did these sketches last week (at least in the bottom, right hand sketch, which I did first):
I developed a stronger swinging Crockett on Wednesday:
And I have three other versions of this on different sized paper.
Spent yesterday finding and printing out reference pics of the surrounding buildings in San Antonio. Someone, maybe Mark Boardman, said that Ernie's is a popular eatery near the Alamo, so Robert Googled it and printed a jpeg of that as well. Went home at about 5:30 and worked until 7:30 last night on Alamo Plaza architecture and signage:
Now to put all of these elements together in a claustrophobic, multiple vanishing point perspective.
That is my goal today. Gee, I wonder if the legendary painter Mr. Pyle has advice to offer me?
“If, in making a picture, you introduce two ideas, you weaken it by half—if three, it weakens by a compound ratio—if four, the picture will be really too weak to consider at all and the human interest would be entirely lost.”