Animation on its own is an art, and form of entertainment. Like photography, it can be an exaggerated take on real life, and from perspectives of people and things we otherwise couldn’t imagine. While animators often use photography and cinematography to study subjects they will transpose, it’s not often photos are used to breathe life into the animation. Storyboard artist for ReelFX Creative Studios Hombre_Mcsteez (aka Marty Cooper) does just that, and if his following is anything to go by – it’s brilliant.
Like a mad-scientist in a lab, Cooper dreams up fantastically expressive characters in his studio and essentially uses photography to superimpose them into his everyday real life. They are often bizarre scenarios, fantastic in their execution and idea, with a seamless blend into everything from his kayaking trips, to trips to the supermarket.
It makes the mundane feel a little more alive. It also is openly satirical of the world around us, as he draws creatures who are ‘gas guzzlers,’ a skinny mosquito sipping coffee at what looks to be a Starbucks, and the list goes on.
The process seems simple enough; he scouts a location first, and after drawing his work on a clear sheet, he lays the transparency over the drawing, and trace it with a sharpie. When that’s done he flips it over and fills it in with Wite-out, he tells me. In order to keep the transparency from “flapping around,” he tapes it to a piece of glass, which you see him holding in the final images. Each image is made on the spot.
There’s more to it that one may imagine though, as he tells me in detail,
I will say that each image looks like it was just snapped really quickly, but my process is bit more pain staking than it may seem… I take up to 100 pictures sometimes from different angles and varying distances between the camera and the drawing to get the optimal proportions and alignment.
I recently started using a magnetic wide-angle lens for my iphone which gives me a greater depth of focus and allows for both the drawing and the background to be somewhat in-focus. I then write out my description and pick a filter on Instagram which takes longer than you might expect… Also, only about 1/3 of the ones that I create ever make actually get posted online.
He shared with us a picture of his workspace (pictured directly above), though admittedly it’s all in his backpack, and that sketch of a Koala is as of now unreleased – that’s right you’ve seen it here first!
Marty is quite a character. When I first contact him, he replied saying hi, and “this is some nice broccoli, with a photo of, you guessed it, a piece of broccoli. A sense of humor was entirely refreshing. His work I find inspiring because it’s unusual, and fearless. I’ve been unusual my entire life, but fearless?
Sure dangerous animals don’t make me flinch, looking down from atop tall buildings doesn’t send me into a spiral of vertigo, and I’d rent my family to fly tactical fighter aircraft, but I’ve always been fearful of doing certain artful endeavors. When you speak to Marty, and see his work and notice the subtle genius, it makes you think that perhaps you really should just take your passion, no matter your age, and do the heck out of it. Run it up the flag pole, and see who salutes.
There’s so much more to Marty than you see and read about here. His blogs are insightful and entertaining, and his Instagram offers up a quick hit of humor into daily life. Check out his blog here and tumblr, and his ever-growing Instagram account.