Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Blast from the Past #335: Artwork for Spitfire simulator

This is a true blast from the past -- from my own past as an illustrator and from the dark, primitive past of computer graphics and software. It is also one of only a handful of illustrations I ever did with an airbrush -- I never had great skills with it, though I greatly admired people who did.



As I recall, I got this job through a local independent advertising agency whose offices were in a house on Bridge Street in Northampton, thankfully not too far form downtown, so I could ride my bicycle or walk there. The woman who ran the agency gave me this job quite possibly not knowing that I was not that great with the airbrush... or maybe I was good enough for this job in her eyes -- I don't know.

But I do remember that this one was hard to do, and taxed my frisket-cutting skills to the max. I think I had some photo reference or maybe even a model to use to get the rear perspective on the Spitfire airplane. The art was used in advertisements for the Spitfire flight simulator software.

It's interesting to see what passed for "state of the art" in consumer computer graphics back then (this was sometime in the late 1970's or early 1980's). I wonder if that company survived and went on to do bigger things? I have no idea. -- PL

UPDATE 4:46PM 01-11-11: Thanks to commenters FF and Adam Riches, I now know more about this game than I did when I did posted this blog entry this morning... including the fact that, as you can see from this image I plucked from eBay (via the link Adam supplied)...



...the artwork I did was used not only in advertising for the game but on the game's owner's manual as well. Thanks, dudes! -- PL

8 comments:

FF said...

I can tell you that the company did not make it out of the 80's due to the videogame industry crash. after looking up the game, its been ranked has one of the best strategy games of 82.

I have never used an airbrush kit but what you did there seems good. hell it was in most homes with an apple ll comp.

Adam Riches said...

Maybe it's just because I have such an affinity for airbrush, or because this looks so different from your style, but I find this post really interesting!

According to this link:
http://www.weller.to/wcc/apple/wccapplebernstein.htm

the game would've come out in November of 1981, so you must've done it sometime in '80/81 I would think.

Also, it appears the game is a bit of a collector's item, as one sold on ebay uk last month for $33.56, but considering most people don't even have a means of playing old PC games (thus making them worthless) there must be something special about this game. Here's a link to that auction:
http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=150526440654#ht_500wt_1034

FF said...

welcome any day PL.

usagiguy said...

This is great. It's so different from your usual work. Cutting frisket is such a hassle. I just never had the patience for it. Even now for my watercolor work I would cut maybe one or two masks. Tops.

Cheers,
Stan

Miserable Dreamer said...

Man, I love airbrush art. My dad used to be really handy with an airbrush. I think the computer has made airbrush art like this all but obselete.

It's great to see something like this that is so different from your usual stuff. I wonder where your career as an illustrator would have led, had the Turtles not taken off like they did?

PL said...

"Miserable Dreamer said...
Man, I love airbrush art. My dad used to be really handy with an airbrush. I think the computer has made airbrush art like this all but obselete."

I think you may be right.

"It's great to see something like this that is so different from your usual stuff. I wonder where your career as an illustrator would have led, had the Turtles not taken off like they did?"

That makes two of us. These days, I often have to force myself NOT to think about that particular "What if?" scenario, as it is on my mind quite a bit. I wish it would go away. -- PL

PL said...

" usagiguy said...
This is great. It's so different from your usual work. Cutting frisket is such a hassle. I just never had the patience for it. Even now for my watercolor work I would cut maybe one or two masks. Tops.

Cheers,
Stan"

Thanks, Stan! I am thinking of trying your technique of cutting frisket for watercolor, as I am tentatively exploring that medium. I would like to be able to do backgrounds behind complex shapes -- I had to cheat on our Christmas card, using Photoshop to put the background in... and that doesn't make for a complete original.

So I guess it's off to the art supply store to pick up some frisket -- something I haven't bought in many a year. -- PL

Anonymous said...

Peter,
How very interesting! I enjoyed this! If you dig up any more on the Spitfire, I'd love to see it. As you know, I'm researching it for a secondary character love's of the plane, for which he's built a model.Visuals, trivia, anything.

Okay, so here's my tiny breakthrough into blogs. Enjoyed this one --thanks for the link. :-) Michelle