One of my current class assignments required that I make a series of five postage stamps with a consistent theme. Usually, when I think of postage stamps, the pictures on them tend to be of something either very "Americana" or just iconic of American history or pop culture.
So on the track of pop culture, I thought, "How can you get more American than G.I. Joe?"
A rhetorical question that needed no answer, yet I gave myself one anyway: You can't.
So in a matter of five seconds I had already determined what my theme would be. I gave some extra thought as to what I would actually depict---whether I should go vintage and just use images of original 1960's-era Joe action figures, or showcase the action cartoon stars of my own childhood. Truth be told, I would have been bored with merely collecting pictures of old action figures and just slapping them onto a stamp template---same for collecting pictures of the cartoon characters as well.
So in short time, I decided to take it upon myself to work up some original art, not only to better enjoy the project, but more so just to make sure the images would all have a consistent look to them. After all, these characters have been interpretted by many artists in the official canon, so finding all five characters in consistent file quality and style on the web might have proven difficult.
Anyway, I had to come up with a unifying motif that would make people (or at least myself) want to shout "YO JOE!" or "UHMERICA!!"
American flag? Check.
Fictional American heroes saluting? Check.
When it came to narrowing it down to what characters to use, Duke was a shoe-in, as were Hawk and Flint. They're pretty much the straight men compared to the rest of the zany cast, with distinctly militaristic appearances. Then I had to throw in Roadblock because, of the rest of the cast, he's probably my favorite; any dude that quips, "Play it straight, or there's no doubt, I'll turn your eyeballs inside out," is tops in my book. To round off the list, and to add a touch of femininity (that's a weird word to spell, more so to say), I chose Scarlet, just because I figured she's more recognizable than Lady Jaye.
And so you come to the end of this trivial and unnecessarily long artist's statement... Dunno why I got so wordy with this piece, but I think I've got some kind of rush after finishing it, seeing as how I'm now a week ahead of the due date.
Oh, and I figured it'd be best just to post the artwork at its original size (download to full view) without the text over top of it. So... yeah...
artwork © Michael Mayne
G.I. Joe characters © Hasbro
NOTE: the American flag is not made from scratch. I just got a large stock image off Google and altered it... just so ya know...
EDIT: You probably can't really tell without the old version to compare it to, but I touched up Scarlet's face a bit. She was looking rather butch. I suppose that's what happens when I use Duke's face to base hers off of... Anyway, I tried to fill out her lips a bit and shortened the bridge of her nose, as well as nudging her a little to the right so as to keep her face and neck from being interpretted as being TOO wide...
I'm tempted to go back and tweak the original file's lineart to make it more "technically" correct... hmm...
EDIT [7/11/09]: Got a random spark to finally go back and seal the deal on Scarlet's femininity. Also saw in the raw file just how butch she used to look. Yipes...! Anyways, glad to finally have her looking somewhere near as fair as she should look...!