It had been a while since I'd seen The Rescuers, and while a few iconic moments came to mind, I felt I should re-watch the movie before drawing up anything. I'm glad I did. I knew I'd wanted to feature the main characters in the dragonfly-powered leaf-boat, but I had somehow forgotten about the scene with the alligators (Brutus & Nero) carrying off kidnapped Penny & her bear or that she was held hostage on a run-down riverboat. I sketched up all of these elements in my sketchbook and on a scrap of paper to try and hone in on what my versions of these things would look like (while still keeping the look of the classic Disney designs).
From there I did a digital composite of my drawings. I resized characters, changed the spacial relationships between them, and even used the liquify tool to warp some of the lines and features to get the image where I wanted it. Because this piece was ultimately going to be silkscreened, I had to limit the palette to 10 colors, so I was careful, even in this early stage, to be thinking about color usage & using repeating colors. This piece was then sent off to Mondo for approval. With the green light, I printed this off in a large format (took 6 sheets of legal paper to patchwork it back together), taped it to the back of some bristol, and warmed up my light table for the inking stage...
Because the final silkscreened print is 24" x 36" and I wanted to minimize the loss of line quality when getting enlarged, I inked the piece on 19" x 24" bristol. Some of the elements were inked separately (like the water splash & ripples as well as the title & type). This way, I could isolate them easier from the main illustration for their proper color treatment without having to do a lot of extra work. Even though I have a large scanner, I did have to scan each large sheet of bristol in parts and then edit them back together in photoshop. The pieces were all inked with Copic Multiliners, a brush & ink bottle for the larger black areas.
To prepare a piece for silkscreening is a lot of work beyond the image-making process. Each color represents a separate screen that ink color is squeegeed through. The order in which the colors print is important, and so is if the colors butt up against each other, or if they overlap. If the seam between the colors isn't being printed over with yet another dark color (like the dark outlines), then the first color needs to be printed under where the edge of the next color will be (this is called "trapping"). I learned quite a bit about this on the Brave poster from last year, but this Rescuers piece was more complicated because my linework was more open and I was relying on color for more of the depth & design. This animated .GIF shows each color layer as if it were being printed in order.
Here are a few detail images of Bianca & Bernard, Brutus, Teddy, Evinrude, Penny, & Nero from the final version of the poster:
And another look at the poster in full.
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