Alex Ross is considered by many to be a living legend. His work is instantly identifiable and highly desirable. Given the immense amount of talent working today, the fact that Alex’s work stands out in a “sea of awesome” speaks volumes about his talent. His loyal followers eagerly await news of any upcoming work and this new, officially licensed piece, “Yellow Submarine” is sure to bring Alex a slew of new fans from the ranks of The Beatles rabid fan base.
Alex is extremely passionate about the music and legacy of The Beatles and it clearly shows in this exquisite print. As we stated the other day, this is his first time tackling a Beatles property but we hope it is not his last.
You would think that someone who has attained this level of success and is this prolific would revel in the adulation of adoring fans at Comic Cons. However, Alex choses to keep to himself, rarely making appearances or doing interviews. We were extremely fortunate that Alex took some time out of his insanely hectic schedule to get a few words from him about this project.
BLURPPY – What is it about the Beatles that still resonates with you today after all these years?
ALEX ROSS – Their music is just that good. I’ll still have the same automatic response to their work as I did when I first heard it. I believe that their music is timeless and speaks to universal themes. So for me, at least, there’s no aging out of their impact.
BLURPPY – You’ve brilliantly tackled some of comics greatest, most iconic characters with comic book companies DC, Marvel, Image and Dynamite Entertainment to name a few. What was it like to switch gears and now focus on what many would agree, is the most important band in rock and roll history?
ALEX ROSS – There’s definitely a particular challenge with capturing likenesses that practically everyone in the world would know if you got right. Any realism I brought to fictional characters is largely subjective to however I wanted to picture them. The inspiration to try and illustrate them faithfully has always been within me, as I’ve snuck
their faces into previous comic books I’ve done over twenty years.
BLURPPY – Sounds like we need to go back and take a REAL close work at your older work again! What where the challenges associated with this project?
ALEX ROSS – The idea here was to create a hybrid between the reality of the band as they appeared in the late ‘60s with the fantasy world trappings of the “Yellow Submarine” cartoon. For me, this is a thrilling experiment to try and make my imagery look like the animated film was actually a live-action film they starred in. There’s been talk of revisiting “Yellow Submarine” with computer animation, and my ambition here was to create somewhat of a prototype of how that could look, should that ever be a reality.
BLURPPY – If they ever DO revisit “Yellow Submarine” with computer animation, don’t be surprised if they give you a call after seeing this print. Your attention to detail and human likeness is beyond impressive. How long does a piece like this take from start to finish?
ALEX ROSS – This piece took longer than most because I was overreaching on the whole composition. I was working on paper that was six feet long to craft a stretching graphic that was proportioned like two cinemascope screens side-by-side. This “Yellow Submarine” piece was kind of an all-in-one graphic in which I placed as many of the characters and elements I could. The difficulty level in drawing and painting the piece was compounded with more time than I’ve ever spent painting individual subjects with the time that I worked over the Beatles’ faces. All in all, it took me about nine to ten working days.
BLURPPY – Can you give us some insight to your process?
ALEX ROSS – I do extensive layout work, where my pencils are as defined as possible for myself and the licensors to judge. I also do color roughs for review, in some cases. The smaller pencil drawing is then blown up to the size of the large board or paper I work on.
I then draw over my lines again, which is the second stage of drawing before I spend additional hours refining that drawing by looking at photo reference of models I’ve shot or existing photos, as I would have to with likenesses of people who didn’t pose for me. Once it’s drawn, I paint a largely monochromatic piece with the darkest darks and earth
tones. My final layers are a full-color gouache painting with airbrush used in much of the background and assorted details.
BLURPPY – Do you have a favorite Beatles song or album and why?
ALEX ROSS – My favorite Beatles song is “I Am the Walrus” for its ominous, threatening tone, which for some reason is something I’m drawn to. My favorite Beatles album would probably be “Abbey Road,” which was the last they recorded, and arguably one could not go out on a higher note.
This officially licensed project is in collaboration with Dark Hall Mansion and it goes on sale HERE this Thursday, February 26th at 9:30 AM PST. It is being offered in a paper and canvas formats and numbers are extremely limited. (If you read between the lines on this, if boils down to “You snooze you loose!”)
We’d like to thank Alex for taking the time to speak with us. We have a strong feeling , this December, when folks are going over their “favorite prints of 2015”, THIS one will be on people’s lists.