Saturday, April 02, 2011

At Last

The first two words of the song say it all:

No, my love has not come along, but I have, finally, managed to accomplish something that I've been working on for more than eight years:

I know what you're thinking, and in answer to your question, yes, that's it.
But unless you know the whole story, you can't appreciate just how significant the above drawing - mediocre as it may be - of Britney Spears truly is to me, and what an accomplishment it is.
One day in my Web-surfing, back when I was still living in Tucson, I stumbled upon a video clip from the (terrible) movie Crossroads (the one with Britney Spears, not the one with the Karate Kid and Steve Vai), which featured a scene of Britney coming out of a hotel room bathroom wearing a tuxedo jacket and flashing her underwear at the kid who eventually became the Mac in the Apple ads.
There was one particular moment in the flashing sequence that stood out to me, as I liked her expression and pose, and I thought, "I would like to draw that."
Of course, the quality of the video clip wasn't really sufficient for my purposes as a reference (nor was my talent sufficient to make up for the quality that was lacking in the source image).
Sometime later, after I moved to VA, I found a higher-quality clip, but it still wasn't sufficient.
Eventually, I ended up actually buying the DVD of the (really just awful) movie, and made my own captures from that, but, again, despite my best efforts, the quality just wasn't there. There wasn't sufficient detail for me to be able to reproduce her expression, or to recreate anything even remotely like the pattern on her lingerie, which was another aspect of the image that I really liked.
I actually started my "Britney Period" - a point in time in which I drew a lot of different pictures of Britney Spears - in the hopes that I could get sufficiently skilled at drawing her that I could make up for the lack of detail in the low-res captures by simply knowing how to render her face.
Yeah, that didn't work.
I would go for extended periods of time without thinking about the picture, but eventually, several times a year, I would go back and try again. And again and again. It was this nagging obsession buried somewhere deep in my mind, an ember that would slowly burn its way back up to the top of my consciousness.
I've tried drawing this picture so many times, and failed each time. Half the time the results not only failed to capture the expression, or to be recognizable as her, they failed to be even recognizably human.
And of course, all along I knew that it was ridiculous to be this consumed by this seemingly-unattainable yet utterly pointless goal, and yet...
In any case, some time ago I saw that the movie was airing on Showtime HD, and I thought, "Hmm, if I could get an HD capture, maybe I could finally get the whole thing over with." So I recorded it, though I really wasn't sure how I was going to transfer an HD capture from my DVR to my computer. In the past I've managed to get usable images by taking a picture of the TV screen, but I felt pretty silly about it.
And then last week I was at Best Buy and found a device that allows you to take advantage of the "analog loophole" and record video - at 1080i - from a cable set-top box to your computer.
And so I was finally able to get a usable image to work from.
So after more than eight years, here we are.
One would think that this would be the greatest picture I've ever drawn, given the amount of time and effort invested in its creation, but, as you can see, that's not the case. Still, it's certainly not horrible, and is as close as I'm likely to come to realizing my vision.
So here we are.
At last.
And, once again, I know what you're thinking, and yes, it is incredibly sad and pathetic. But what else is new?
Of course, now I need to find something else to obsess over for the next eight years...

1 comment:

Merlin T Wizard said...

It's nice to finally see this. I know how much trouble it's been for you over the years. FWIW, I think you really captured her expression. It's spot on. I like the lighting effect, as well.