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The Best Movies of 2008 — Drawing Uploaded

Monday · 23 Feb 09 · 04:01 AM IST | Posted by Karthik | Category: Art

I'm sure you'd have seen my "Best Movies of 2008" drawing by now, in some form or the other (if not, here's your chance!).  Most probably, you'd have seen the photo of it that I uploaded at various places.  Anyway, this weekend, I scanned it and prepared a high-quality version for uploading here, and I also coloured it in Photoshop.

The Best Movies of 2008 — A Drawing by Karthik Abhiram

Click on the image above, to view the "official" page for the drawing.  You can view the large-size coloured version, a high-quality B&W scan, and also check out the video that I put together, which shows me actually drawing the thing.  I am taking a print of the B&W version to put up in my office cubicle wall.

The 81st Annual Academy Awards are going to air in a couple of hours from now.  Danny Boyle's Slumdog Millionaire, which is featured as part of my drawing, has 10 Oscar nominations.  Will it win Best Picture (or at least, a Best Director prize)?  David Fincher's The Curious Case of Benjamin Button is probably a close competitor, with 13 nominations (though, as I haven't seen this movie yet, it isn't part of my drawing).  We'll have to see what happens...

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Watchmen — Work-in-progress Drawing

Sunday · 22 Feb 09 · 04:58 PM IST | Posted by Karthik | Category: Art

A couple of weeks back, I started doing a drawing based on Watchmen.  I call this one "Old Photographs" and it is based on a scene from Chapter IV ("Watchmaker") in the book.  This was inspired by the Illustration Friday topic "Time".

Watchmen "Old Photographs" Work in Progress Drawing — by Karthik Abhiram

This chapter from the book came to mind immediately when I thought of "Time".  This chapter presents time in a very unique way — Dr Manhattan in the book is a character who experiences time simultaneously.  For him, all events, past, present and future happen at the same time.  The chapter starts with Dr Manhattan looking at an old photograph on Mars in 1985, and then it goes back and forth in time, covering 40 years worth of events.  It's an outstanding piece of writing and art in a book that is a masterpiece.  So brilliant.

The concept for my drawing is simple — you have Dr Manhattan looking at the photo, and the actual photo (with Dr Jon Osterman and Janey Slater in 1959) is in the background.  It is being drawn in pencil, and I am doing the shading in a more realistic manner rather than going by the comic-book style.  At the same time, I am not using photo references from the characters in the upcoming movie.  Rather, the reference used for Dr Manhattan here is Ed Harris.  I hope the drawing turns out well (I have always been intimidated at the thought of drawing something based on Watchmen, because I doubt whether I would be able to do justice to that magnificient piece of work).

On a related note, it's not long before Zack Snyder's Watchmen movie adaptation will be released in theatres (March 6).  I do hope it'll be released in IMAX here, and you can bet I'll see it the first chance I get.  Going by some early reviews that have hit the net (see here), the movie is supposed to be EXTREMELY faithful to the book except for a slightly altered ending.  If they do pull it off (and I believe that Snyder would have done it), Watchmen will be the greatest movie of 2009.  The theatrical cut is supposed to be 2 hours and 36 minutes long, with an extended edition running 3 hours and 10 minutes that'll be released on DVD later.  A third version of the movie (with the animated story The Tales of the Black Freighter reinserted into the main movie) will run 3 hours and 25 minutes.  I would want to own all these versions (see here for more details)!

Oh, and while doing this drawing, I have been recording footage that will be compiled into a short video later on.  One significant bit though, I have uploaded on YouTube.  This is me drawing the Hydrogen atom symbol on Dr Manhattan's forehead.  You can view the video here (it is just 56 seconds long).

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Fight Club Movie Screening (6-Feb) and Photo Experiments

Sunday · 22 Feb 09 · 11:25 AM IST | Posted by Karthik | Category: Movies

Friday, 6-Feb-09 was an interesting day, because myself and a few friends from work gathered for an evening movie screening of Fight Club!  I brought my laptop (and speakers and other stuff) to office in the morning, and showed the movie on it.  Like in a theatre, trailers were shown before the main feature and I was giving commentary on the movie too!  Trailers shown included Watchmen (of course), 300, 2012, Terminator Salvation, Banlieue 13 and the sequel Banlieue 13 Ultimatum, Blade Runner: The Final Cut, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen and G I Joe: Rise of Cobra.

It was great to watch the movie again — I was reminded of how much I love this movie and why.  I have seen Fight Club numerous times from Engineering days, and I could always relate to it.  Edward Norton's character of the Narrator is supposed to be an "everyman" which means that he is representative of all of us who can't take control of our lives and let external situations govern us.  Tyler Durden (Brad Pitt) is the way we all wish to be — smart, cool, and powerful (because he has nothing to lose).  Now I can't obviously speak for others, but I can definitely relate to this!  There's a little of Tyler in everyone.  In the movie though, this "breaking free" is taken to an extreme and it goes out of control.  But I love the underlying theme (a similar theme runs through American Beauty as well, just that it's a much lighter movie).  I guess having the movie explained allowed the audience to appreciate it more, and I hope to do more such "screenings" in the future!

I was extremely inspired after watching the movie this time.  I did two photo manipulation experiments, based on the movie.  Of course, I am only the "model" for both these photos.  This was the first attempt —

Fight Club inspired photomanipulation starring Karthik Abhiram — Jack's Smirk

I do think I went a little overboard on the FX in this one though.  But I think it turned out pretty nicely.  At any rate, I think it's not a bad effort, for a quick photo taken with my laptop webcam and ten minutes spent in Photoshop.  The next experiment though, was far more successful in my opinion —

Fight Club inspired photomanipulation starring Karthik Abhiram — Bruises from Fighting

This one was taken with my Nokia N82 cellphone camera and I am quite proud of this.  I think it's a more restrained picture due to which the effect stands out better.  Again, all bruises are done on computer only.  I want to do further movie-inspired photos like this — planning to buy a proper camera and then set up the photos better (a little better staging, lighting, props, makeup FX will go a long way!).  By the way I have recorded a number of videos also inspired by Fight Club, but these are not being uploaded on YouTube or anything (as people will doubt my sanity then).

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Goa Trip (Jan 22-27)

Sunday · 22 Feb 09 · 04:02 AM IST | Posted by Karthik | Category: General

It has been quite a while since there's been a post on this blog, hasn't it?  Well, it's just that I've been lazy to write posts (and I have also been extremely busy at work).  There have been some images and other stuff that I have put up at other places (orkut, Facebook, deviantART, YouTube), but I thought it was high time I formally make some updates here.

To begin with, last time I mentioned that I would be going on a vacation to Goa.  I did just that, between 22 to 27-Jan.  This was a trip planned by me and the "Ambattur Boys", that is, my roommates when I was staying in Chennai.  Below are some photos from that trip (all taken with my Nokia N82 cellphone camera), and you can click on each one to see a larger version.  I enjoyed the vacation as it was a much-needed break from work.  We stayed at Ronil Beach Resort and places visited during the trip include Baga Beach in Calagunte, Church of St Francis, Basilica of Bom Jesus and the Christian Art Gallery.  Went parasailing and also got a temporary tattoo done.  And watched a few movies (including Hostel, Vaaranam Aayiram, Taken, Saw V), of course.

At Rajiv Gandhi International Airport Shamshabad, I spotted this, a hardcover version of Watchmen.  I so wanted to buy this outright (it was priced at Rs 1792), but then, since I already own a paperback version, I decided that I would later buy Absolute Watchmen.

Goa Trip - Watchmen

Goa Trip - In the Flight

The next couple of pictures were taken at Baga Beach.  Now those glasses I am wearing are a knock-off version of Ray-Ban, which I got for just Rs 250!  The significance of the next photo (me drinking Assam Tea) is that it was taken at around 3 AM.  There was a Cafe Coffee Day outlet that was open 24 hours, which was good because I like to drink tea late at night.

Goa Trip - Baga Beach

Goa Trip - Baga Beach

Goa Trip - Tea at 3 AM

The next few pics were taken at the Churches visited and at the Christian Art Gallery.

Goa Trip - Churches and Art Museum

Goa Trip - Churches and Art Museum

Goa Trip - Churches and Art Museum

And finally, this next photo was subsequently used as my profile picture at various places online, for obvious reasons!

Goa Trip - Narcissism

Well, that covers the Goa Trip.  The next important event to write about, is the movie screening that I did of Fight Club early this month.  There were a couple of photos that I made as a direct inspiration from that.  This is coming up, in the next post.

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The Author

Karthik Abhiram

27-year old Taurean (birthday 15-May-82), Assistant Manager - HR at Tata Consultancy Services Ltd in Hyderabad, India.  Previously, did Post Graduate Diploma in Management from T A Pai Management Institute (2003-05) and before that, Computer Science Engineering from Sree Nidhi Institute of Science and Technology (1999-2003).

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