If you’ve seen my #infofails before, you might already know that it’s about the things I create for news and some of the mess in between. Here’s the link [ The Forgotten Olympic Events ] of the project related to this post if you want to have a look first and then come back here to get a better sense of what’s this about.
It’s a bit strange to say that we are about to see the start of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics in the summer of 2021 (if Covid-19 allows the games to go on anyway) but whatever the case, this is one of the most popular events in the world and we couldn’t let it go without a special story.
The idea of doing a story on unusual sports came first in April from my editor Simon Scarr. Later, I started reading old Olympics reports, books and websites to get good references of events that seem a bit unusual in a list of sports/discipline/events from the International Olympic Committee.
Once we had a good list of curiosities, I started doing some tests for the illustration style. It is not usual to find a solution quickly as I like to try alternatives. However on this particular project the style quickly established, and a few days later I had a lot of illustrations with many of those sporting events to display in the opening of each section.
I can say that part was relatively easy, the difficult thing was to obtain visual references of the events where you could see how things were prepared for each event, or at least, a detailed written description. I probably spent more time looking for those things rather than writing or sketching.
This project lasted about three months, however I didn’t dedicate myself exclusively to it, but I did spend a few days here and there trying to obtain reliable sources that would explain these singular Olympic events and their rules.
Some references were harder to find than others. For example, the way of placing the wooden birds for the archery events was one of those difficult ones.
I did a drawing of Hubert Van Innis, an Olympic archer who won six medals in the 1900 and 1920 games, but then I found mixed references on how arrows were shoot in the moving bird events, probably my illustration had the wrong pose. I think that’s part of the process, many times I corroborate the references and sources and all makes sense, then something else comes along and the piece becomes a wrong interpretation. So it’s important to check not once but as many times as you can.
Apart from little difficulties like that one of the moving bird event in archery, the main problem turned out to be too many nice things. It was necessary to take a decision to prevent a never ending story so we took off some events in the list giving priority to the ones with good references and “colourful facts”.
Some events sound very interesting by name, so we chose them for the first list of curious possibilities. A good example of this is the two-handed discus throw, digging a bit further I found that it wasn’t a very creative way of holding the record with both hands as it sounds, but two discus throws, first using the left hand and then the right hand… 😦
It was a very fun story to do, a really enjoyed to read the reports and references. I filled out my mind for a few days of images of how the people saw the games and how different are today.
Here’s a crazy collage with some of the drawings of the project.
A funny project that looks like a huge illustration, but in fact, it has a lot of data behind, a lot of text/data documents, hundreds of old pictures and references of poses developed in 3D. One nice tool that help me a lot to create diverse poses was Magic Poser, this is open web-based 3D environment where you can set a model to any position you need. Here’s the link in case you get in trouble with anatomy or just need some help with pose models.
About #infofails post series:
Graphics that are never formally published. Those are maybe tons of versions of a single graphic or some floating concepts and ideas, all part of my creative process. All wrapped up in #infofails, a compilation of my creative process and failures at work.
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