Thursday, January 15, 2015

The computer ate my homework

The assignment: Transform Dorothy of Oz into a badass banner carrier for the staff of the Sacramento Republic Football Club.

She's not in Kansas anymore.

If Sacramento's new soccer team is not an overnight sensation, it's as close as you could come.

It seemed to spring whole from the soccer god's brow last summer, complete with an accessorized and organized cheering section, the Tower Bridge Battalion. "Glory Glory Sacramento" is a song the battalion sings to the tune of "Battle Hymn of the Republic."

It even has a thoughtful logo that nods to the global culture of soccer.

Tapping into an eager fan base, Sacramento Republic FC quickly built a stadium, and in its inaugural season won the United States Leagues PRO championship for minor-league teams.

Its owners are making a credible pitch to the top level of the game in the United States, Major League Soccer, which wants to expand. The owners are also looking to build a bigger stadium downtown, near the new basketball stadium, where developers are reclaiming the old railyards.

Sacramento Republic's staff wanted to commemorate the club's reaching this point, by personifying an in-house motto: We're all Dorothy: Everyone plays a leading role in the office, and there are no small roles.

The new Dorothy had to sport the team colors and fit this recipe: "Rosie the Riveter meets Dorothy of Oz meets a Tower Bridge Battalion badass chick."

I punked her up. Big ruby boots with "20,231" (the team's huge opening-game attendance) graffiti'd across one of them; tattoos of California's bear flag red star on one shoulder, and "Urbs Indomita," the team's (and formerly the city's) motto, "Indomitable City," inside the other arm. Battalion scarf flying in the breeze.

I started with the sketches below until we agreed on the right pose and look. Once refined, I built the final art.

The illustration at the top is the second rendition. I was almost done with the original art (literally, just a half-dozen more little squares needed to complete the gingham dress), when my computer declared (I'm translating now), "Um, you saved this in a place that doesn't have a lot of memory, which I've warned you about before. I really can't handle this continued abuse, so I'm locking up the file. It'll be here; you can see it, but you just can't open it. Ever! Neener neener! And also, neener!"

After shouts and curses and frantic notes to my expert son — he couldn't save me, despite his expertise — I just started over, Steve Austin style: "Better than (she) was before. Better. Stronger. Faster!"

The second version didn't take as long as I feared, since I had already tried and failed, selected the colors, and ended up doing some things better than with the first iteration.

Goooooooaaaaaaaaaalllll!! The Republic marches on.

The selected pose …
Amped up a bit …
Refined sketch before final. Little bear grew claws and attitude in the final …

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