Nesting Dolls - Clerks
When I first started painting nesting dolls, Chris and I would have many discussions about what TV and movie characters would make a good set. I especially like to do sets with a variety of interesting looking characters and costumes. So for instance, I'll probably never do a set of "Friends" but characters from the movie "Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure" is definitely on the list. Chris suggested doing characters from the 1994 Kevin Smith movie "Clerks" and he has been patiently waiting for over a year for me to make a set. The 25th anniversary of the flick seemed like a good time to make it happen.
This is a set that I was interested in doing but knew there would be some challenges. The first was to figure out which movie characters to include. “Clerks” certainly has a variety of characters that would be fun to paint, like the egg man, milk maid or Willam, but adding those characters would make the set too big, so I cut it down to the core and most recognizable characters.
The next challenge was painting in all black and white to match the film. I personally find it more difficult to paint in black and white than in color. Certain tones start to blend into each other making it difficult to separate dark hair from a similarly dark shirt, for instance.
Since the nesting dolls themselves are wide and round, mapping long, thin faces to them can be difficult. When I paint faces on the nesting dolls, they tend to get a bit wider so those thinner characters become less recognizable. Those with already round or wider faces can be mapped much more easily and therefore look more like they should. For this set the hardest characters were Randal and Jay. Their longer faces were quite difficult to paint onto the nesting dolls and still have them look correct. I also had a hard time finding good reference materials to work from. I took screenshots from the movie, but both the characters of Randal and Jay are constantly talking so it was difficult getting a good view of their faces. I ended up using reference materials from later movies to fill in the information I needed.
For Jay’s character, I initially started out with his hair pulled back into a pony tail as it is in most of “Clerks”, but realized he is most recognizable with his hair down so painted him this way for this set.
My favorite characters to do were Dante and Silent Bob. Both were the easiest characters to paint and I think look the most like them. Since they have wider faces, they mapped easily to the nesting doll forms. They were also the easiest to find reference materials for. There are many shots of Dante, behind the counter, looking straight at the camera and Silent Bob looks exactly the same throughout all the movies in which the character appears so I was able to find tons of images to use.
The final characters for this set were Veronica and Caitlin Bree. Both pieces are pretty small, so couldn’t have as much detail as the larger characters. For Veronica, I decided to show her with the fire extinguisher, as she sprays the crowd of angry customers. Caitlin is shown in her “date” outfit.
All in all, it was a fun set to do. Who knows, maybe I’ll do an additional set with some of the secondary characters in the movie.