In Progress: Better Call Saul

Let's talk about something tangible. No more website housekeeping trivialities. These are not so interesting. The devil is in the details. Let's talk details.

Better Call Saul / Draft one / Cimpoe Gallery


Peter has begun work on an illustration for the show Better Call Saul (airing on AMC). In this particular illustration (still in progress) we see the different thought processes between the characters of Mike Ehrmantraut and Jimmy McGill (soon to become Saul Goodman). The expressions on their faces can be attributed to fantastic performances by Jonathan Banks and Bob Odenkirk but there is also something to be said for the way the camera captures the moment between these two complicated men. We get a good feel for the overall mood and textures that are being evoked through the image. It is easy to see why Peter chose to translate this particular still as an illustration.

Drilling further down...

We have these two characters positioned relatively near each other but respectfully apart. They are both seated, which is a passive activity, yet the full weight of their characters is amplified by their unique body language in a moment of formal passivity. We have the ever stoic Mike - rigid, unmoving - staring right at us, seeing right through our bullshit and disinterested in any further discussion. Both his hands are neatly folded in front of him. He is a closed book. We have the formal break down of light and dark going across his face and through the folds of his shirt and pant legs. Peter is laying down specific colours to use as a base so that he can then go over and bring out the details during future paint layers.  His pallet will become brighter and more varied as he moves forward. Some of the general brightness has already been laid down (watered down greens, yellows, red). These are often trademark colours of the show and the New Mexico setting. The show is wonderfully colourful in general and it is something of a relief compared to the bleaker television landscape. The production team is clearly aware of what they are trying to achieve with the use of colour. People tend to be afraid of colour. It is nice to see a show use colour as a medium to fully embody the sensory elements of the environment and the people that inhabit it. Even during our darkest moments in life, we are rarely bathed in dark shadows or a dull gray palette. We often experience deep and profound moments in our lives while standing in the harsh light of the sun or in the middle of a busy and bright office space. We'll discuss the subject of colour at further lengths during a future posting.

Getting back to this particular image, we have Mike - rigid and unmoving- and then Jimmy McGill seated on the other side of the bench, tick, tick, ticking. Jimmy's head is turned away from a primary light source (unseen, perhaps a window?). Jimmy is a man turning away from the "light" of trajectory thinking and turning ever more inward as he struggles between following a clear moral path and something more ambiguous. We have movement in the face of Jimmy McGill. his lips pursed at a certain angle, his eyes fixed on a greater goal, one we can't quite make out. Jimmy will consider all the angle while Mike seems more at ease with some unknown resolution or inevitable outcome. There is even something slightly relaxed about Mike, in the folds of sweater and slightly hunched down shoulders. Peter has illustrated the softer aspect of the clothing and it juxtaposes nicely with the hardness of Mike's expression and the lines on his face. With Jimmy we have the full force of his unease, frustration and maybe even anger. He is a man ever in search of a plan. This is the sort of still we want to produce for our collection and for our audience. There is something powerful in this image and it will become more powerful as Peter lays down additional layers of paint. We'll get into this illustration a bit more in the future as Peter progresses with the image. It will be interesting to see how he chooses to interpret the still  in his dreamscape style. It is indeed quite striking.

-Ileanna Cimpoe