Sunday, September 17, 2006

Nike - Space Race 2020

Edit: Please check out Tomer's version of the project at Nike commissioned a range of artists to create a suite of posters. FYI, Tomer and I both went to SVA (he was a year ahead of me) and we lived across the hall from each other in Brooklyn after we graduated. The walls were thin. He smoked then. I was 10 lbs lighter. We shared many meals.

> Nike asked me to illustrate a race day poster. The theme: Space Race 2020. I was free to do whatever I wanted. I love jobs like this. The first sketch I did was a weird one . . . it was more 'interpretive dance' than what I had intended. I wanted to express the idea of competition as well, and since I was working on Fables at the same time, I wondered what a sci-fi rivalry between Red Riding Hood and the Big Bad Wolf would look like.

> Blue pencil on Bristol, 18 x 24." After the linework was finished, I coated the paper with acrylic gloss, which gave it a milky soft complexion.

> Photoshop CS, 18 x 24," 350 dpi. That's my chop on the left, carved in Taiwan, and I added some fun icons and robotic humming birds (we need super agile cameras to cover the event) to finish it off.


owen said...


1:01 AM  
Peter said...

Amazing Piece James! I really love the final layout! What would be great is to see a stage inbetween the blue pencil and final which would show your process of shading with photoshop. For instance how do you find the way to blend your pencils with the shading so your pencils end up not looking like traditional pencil lines anymore? Are you going over them at all or setting them to a certain layer effect?

1:52 AM  
Alice Meichi said...

I love seeing different assignments influencing each other, as in the case with Fables here. I bet it gives fans thrills all over. is that a hint to the subject matter of a future Fables cover, or are the character choices purely coincidental?

1:53 AM  
pietari said...

As crisp as the first frosty mornings of autumn. Nothing unnecessary there.

2:26 AM  
Anonymous said...

Gnarly piece bro, you got some seriously wicked ideas, aussies are loving your work sir

4:36 AM  
Shawn said...

This piece is awsome, I'm such a fan of your work, so insperational.

5:25 AM  
jonathan said...

WOW - as usual this is beautiful - I love the colour palette on this piece.

As Peter mentioned, I too would love to hear more about your Photoshop process from finished pencils to full colour.

Thanks James for the constant inspiration that your work provides.


7:08 AM  
Dominic Bugatto said...

NIce piece. I'm a sucker for the 'old school' bubble space helmets. Sweet.

9:30 AM  
ghiangelo said...

hehe little red riding hood.

9:35 AM  
Toyebot said...

Beautiful as usual,thanks!
Love palette chosen.

9:43 AM  
ArmyBoy said...

This is marvelous work. I think that it more belongs in a gallery than on a poster.

10:29 AM  
Billy said...

Thank you for sharing your process! Maybe it's been asked before, but what do you use (if you do use any) for references on your projects - photos, models, etc.?

10:50 AM  
Shalimar said...

You never cease to amaze me.

10:54 AM  
dave roman said...

That turned out really beautiful! I love the whole feel of it!


1:26 PM  
Brian Ewing said...

I guess what I'm more concerned with is how you scanned it. Did you shoot a photo, scan it in several pieces or is there an 18"x24" scanner on the market.
Thank you for posting the process on your work.

1:31 PM  
mike said...

beatiful! the icons are a nice touch. :)

1:48 PM  
pandoracomplexa said...

it´s great the idea of "under construction" images:-)

2:03 PM  
Anonymous said...

This is pretty sweet. i like how you made the hart of the wolf showing like that and you can see the little veins going threw his legs. the space helmet is a nice touch. great job man.


2:04 PM  
lululala said...

very awesome, but i am sure i see a swastika where the 2020 symbol is. It's kind of funny. Not that it should be viewed that way. Still kind of funny. :p

4:23 PM  
jujubean said...

cool idea but i don't understand what little red riding hood and the wolf have in common with a race. Sure the wolf got to the grandma's house a lot sooner that lrrh but i don't think there was any sort of known competitiveness to it. The Wolf just wanted eat both of them up the easiest way possible. I guess like killing two birds with one stone? Still very cool idea. It came out great.

4:33 PM said...

damn, thats sick!

5:50 PM  
Logan said...

This is a really neat concept and just plain cool. I saw this and thought "I bet Nike is just eating this up." You sure do get to do alot of pieces on running huh?

I'm waiting with bated breath to see some of your new personal work so its awesome to hear you mention it. I dont suppose we could coax some of your personal sketchbook stuff out of you could we? Well you know, nevermind....yeah yeah just forget I ever said that. Don't-ever-post-your-personal-sketchbook-work-on-this-blog. But thanks anyways!

8:01 PM  
dash said...

I love the shape of the whole thing and her legs and the symbols. It's so FUN. The heart freaks me out. It's an unsettling piece in there. I love it.

9:16 PM  
Albert said...

one rarely sees a nike ad like this. awesome.

10:54 PM  
Anonymous said...

Amazing work! I too would like to know how this type of drawing is scanned and then worked on using Photoshop. Does anyone know of an artist that has offered information in a tutorial type manner?

The link that I provided offers more insight into one artist's traditional painting methods. Similar information about digital art would be highly appreciated!

7:32 AM  
Julio Jerez said...

Jawsome. I love it man.

9:17 AM  
Anonymous said...

I love the way you draw wolves James. How long does the drawing take you to refine from the sketches?


12:58 PM  
John A. Walsh said...

This is a Nike ad? This is way too cool for a Nike ad....

7:12 PM  
A_Train said...

I love the heart beating through the chest plate.

7:53 PM  
josh said...

I like this one! milky....smooth. the brain in the chest or heart reminds me of that guy "Krain" on the teenage mutant ninja turtles show.

10:01 AM  
marctaro said...

great stuff - tricky composition-fu as always. I love all the fine tuned placement of overlapping shapes - I see a nice "hidden" diagonal between the two bluebirds, the runners back and the waistline of the jacket...great interlocking shapes on this one...the foot over the knee, the eye line over the 'ribcage'...nice!

3:38 PM  
Mike Bear said...

I can see the love... Looks like you had a lot of fun.

12:44 AM  
adri said...

Sublime. I love it.
thnx, it's inspiring.

3:09 AM  
Anonymous said...

Beautiful. You do good work. Will you be selling prints?

4:36 AM  
nelson (Brasil) said...

Parabéns pela arte fantástica!!!

11:54 AM  
Tony Akins said...

Stellar as always James!

8:22 PM  
bruhmbel said...

I. Have. To. Have. A. Print. Of. This.

It's very nice. It's stunning. And Little Red reminds me of Sasha Cohen. (This is a good thing.)

12:41 AM  
mackaydesign said...

Absolutely gorgeous!

4:01 AM  
Pat B said...

is this poster going to be for sale?

6:19 AM  
jnurp said...

as usual it's a very nice work and the idea to intergrate red riding hood is as nice as the composition of the image is


11:31 AM  
Justin said...

Really, Wow.

11:43 AM  
Chris in SF said...

Were you aware of this other illustrator's submission to Nike's Space Race 2020. His interpretation is a bit more literal, but still quite good. Loved the perspective he gave. I enjoyed yours more because I love your color work and the LRRH and BBWolf competition. I hope Nike chose yours and will make it to the printers. Would love a copy somehow.

Here's the other fellas work:

12:27 PM  
erica said...

Above the waist she's beautiful - great face, she actually looks like a professional gymnast I used to know, same expression - but below the waist she loses her sex appeal. Butt - slightly to small. Good muscle shading but you could play the roundness of the whole ass up a bit more. Calves - missing the bulge that you'd show on a leg in a high heel, which I think you could use here. I realize she's supposed to be young, so you don't want to overemphasize the sex angle, but if you continue through to the foot and point it in a pseudo-heel-wearing shape, she'd look a lot more elegant and less Astro-boy. It would give the slight impression of a dancer as well. She goes too 'little boy' below the waist.

Fantastic concept; very creative. Nike likely didn't want a literal interpretation here. Good contrast to Tomer Hanuka's piece (also great stuff, see above for Tropical Toxic link). I learned a lot seeing the difference in approaches.

8:20 PM  
michael said...

Nice. What does the kanji signature box say in the corner?

7:01 AM  
greg oakes said...

you're a freakin' god james!! this is brilliant! killer composition, colouring technique, everything... i love it, i love it, i love it!!! :)

1:01 AM  
Hannah said...

That's really neat looking!
I want more robo hummingbirds, it's a cute idea.
Perhaps you will amuse me with a more detailed robobird one day! :D

3:40 PM  
black heart said...

i just love your work, i'm a graphic desine student and your work really inspires me in my work for school

8:27 AM  
alex said...


3:25 PM  
Anonymous said...


un 10!!!!!!!!!!!!!

5:26 AM  
choper nawers said...

i was overwelm by it...breathless....buetyful piece...

11:05 AM  
Grapplica said...

yes, very nice indeed, really worked that style.
I'm a fan allready and it's my first time here...

I have some handdrawn stuff on my portfolio as well but off course nothing beats this..

8:58 AM  
RohithT said...

Any chance of this being made a print?

9:51 PM  
anonymous10101 said...

i am completely mesmerized by this image!!! the linework and ratio of positive to negative spaces are so fluid and extends beautifully to her pose ... and the colors are so right on!!! james, can you inform us if possibly, when nike will release this poster image to the masses?

7:43 PM  

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