Calvin and Hobbes Comic Strip Recreation [Portraits]


In addition to shooting an engagement this weekend, I had a great opportunity to recreate one of my favourites of Bill Watterson's Calvin and Hobbes strips.  My brother, with brownish-blond short hair, found the shirt.  I had some people make reference to this strip when I posted about doing lighting tests a few weeks back, so the idea was still floating around in the back of my mind.  

It turns out we had almost everything required to make this work, so we got to making the ridiculous faces that are shown in the strip below.  We did our best to match the expressions frame for frame, but some of them were actually very difficult.  The nose-picking frame is surprisingly complicated, involving one eye open, mouth smiling and half open on the other side of the face and of course, the finger in the nose.

Here is the original strip, borrowed from the Internet (thanks internet!):


Here is the set up for the shot.  Two umbrellas were used to light the backdrop and provide rim lighting for Scott.  I wanted to keep the lighting fairly flat so that the expressions would stand out.  The final piece of the puzzle was the McNally softbox from Lastolite, fired with a 430EXII canon flash.  



There is always a learning curve: I would have used a seamless 9 foot backdrop if I did this again, so that I could pull out and give Scott some more room for expressions, without the worry of losing his elbows or hands off the edge of the backdrop.  Forcing us to work in the narrow BG did have advantages, as I discovered in the edit.  The constraints meant that scott was pretty much the same size in each frame, so resizing the photos wasn't always necessary.   All in all, from setup to teardown (including the edit) the project took about 5 hours.  Watching my brother make ridiculous faces?  Priceless.

Cheers!