WTF @ TFW Transformers Podcast interview

The great folks from TFW2005 just posted an episode of their awesome Transformers Podcast where I had chance to join hosts GogDog and Vangelus for a cool chat about my work and my involvement with Transformers. It was a great pleasure and honor to reconnect with fans on a podcast and talk about various aspects of the design work and lot of other topics!
Check the Podcast here and all the other episodes on iTunes here.


Transformers Concepts: Jazz

Later there has been some buzz on a few Transformers websites about my design for Sideswipe, a concept included in the "Aligned continuity" brand bible. Fan mostly liked the design, but many didn't like the movie inspired legs. Considering that those designs, inspired by Eric Siebenlare's awesome work, were meant to be a blend of G1 Elements, TF Animated style and proportions and movie elements, I still think the legs fit him quite well, in that specific context I mean. Transformers Prime had yet to happen, that's why some of these designs don't really fit that aesthetic.

A couple years ago, under Hasbro autorization, I had revealed another design in an exclusive interview for L'Antro Atomico del Dr. Manhattan. I thought it would have been nice to repost it here for fans from around the world to check out.

But I also didn't want to just repost the same image, so I decided to also include the Alternate Mode and a glimpse of the process for these illustrations, a process I later refined to go quicker and accomplish scary amounts of work like the TF pop-up book. So, there are some differences from what I did back then and what I do now. But the principle is the same: on a refined enough sketch, I create very precise flats that will help me in selecting areas while rendering. I copy the layer and reflat with right colors, then copy the layer again two more times. I set the top one to Color Burn with 50% opacity and the one below is set to Colorize. The first copy is then converted to just grayscale and then rendered with an airbrush in various modes. Between the rendered layer and the color layers, I add a texture layer I created with custom brushes.
There are a few extra steps here and there, but this is the basic idea.

The Pop-up book feature a couple other of my redesigns, so hopefully I'll be able to post those after the book is released.


Transformers: The Pop-Up book!!!

Once again, I totally missed the news!
The Transformers Ultimate Pop-Up Universe has been announced at least 10 days ago. And for someone that have been waiting for that announcements for many months, missing it completly is ridiculous!
Why do I care so much though? Well, I spent more than 7 months illustrating that incredible thing!

Okay, let's go back in time a bit: when Little Brown Books were discussing Pop-Up book, the folks at Hasbro showed them the Transformers brand bible. Some of the illustrations chatched Matthew Reinhart's eyes (the author of the book) Matthew especially like the Sideswipe illustration I did for the bible (posted here some time ago) and wanted to get in touch with me to ask if I wanted to illustrate the book in the same style.

Just a few weeks later, I met Matthew and Erin Stein in San Diego, during the crazy second He-Man.org get together (when I was still allowed there and allowed to pay half of the bill...). We spent some time chatting, probably not as much Matthew and Erin hoped for, and I felt terrible for that, but that night I had to handle lot of things at once and I'm still shocked no one ended up offended!

In February, while I was stuck in snow at my friend's Alessio Di Marco's home in Macerata (photographing toys for the PAH Foundation), and after recieving the very disappointing new Mattel had blocked me from working on the Icon Heroes Castle Grayskull, I finally got started on the book.
At the beginning, I didn't believe I could have used the same style, since that was very complicated and time consuming. But somehow, I made it work.

And then I saw what Matthew was capable of. Trust me when I say this is going to be amazing! These pop-ups actually transforms! That  also means I had a lot to work on, as I couldn't do simple flat illustrations, but I had to draw separated limbs, separated background elements and so on. But Matthew made it really simple and easy for me, and I can't thank him enough for guiding me in this incredible adventure and awesome experience!

Here is the official blurb for the book:
In Fall 2013, prepare to see the TRANSFORMERS, one of the most successful entertainment franchises of the 21st century, change before your eyes as never before in Little, Brown Books for Young Readers TRANSFORMERS: THE ULTIMATE POP-UP UNIVERSE, a momentous pop-up exploration by bestselling paper engineer, Matthew Reinhart. With vibrant illustrations, exciting facts, and an eye-catching design, this pop-up masterpiece featuring the AUTOBOTS and the DECEPTICONS, the world famous robots in disguise, will be an absolute must-have for TRANSFORMERS fans of all ages! The awesome conversions of TRANSFORMERS characters from massive robots into cool vehicles was made for the interactive world of pop-up! See the characters shift from robot to vehicle form before your eyes ($36.00 / Ages 3 & up)!
(here is a more extensive article on TFW2005)

I know it may sounds like a kid books, but believe me, any Transformers fan should get a copy!
Hopefully, in the following weeks I'll be able to post some sketches created during the production of the book, there are some fan-favorite charters in the book, and I can't wait to both have the final product in hand and to hear what everybody think!