Smooth Criminal

Hey guys,

If there's one thing my long-time friends know about me, it's that I've been a massive fan of Michael Jackson since the early years. I even performed Billy Jean in a Rutgers talent show. And, yeah, I had on the glove, the socks, you name it. I was MJ for a few minutes. haha. Came in second place, thank you. And it was amazing hearing the ladies scream after I took off the fedora and whirled it into the audience. 

I saw Michael perform twice, once at Madison Square Garden and another time at the Meadowlands Arena (and that staduim changes names more times than politicians change their stories). I saw Janet perform in concert as well. That was before she had "wardrobe malfunctions."

Needless to say, I was quite saddened by Michael's death. Dude was many things: cool, weird, misunderstood, and mysterious. I think that is the result of simply missing an important stage in any of our lives; having a childhood. I think he spent his adult life trying his best to recreate that part of his life. We can all agree that it was an unqualified disaster. But, we can also agree that he did have pure magic when he performed. When he's on stage or in a music video, we can at last forget the wreck his adult life had become and just enjoy the performance. 

We can also do our best to remember that we each have our own magic to offer the world in our own lives. We don't know each other's pain, we don't know why some people become homeless or give up on life. We each have our own story and we should treat each other a lot better. You heard me, I said a LOT better. More magic, less pain. So, onto this piece.

The first thing I wanted to convey in this piece is the many dichotomies Michael represented. The skin color, the makeup, the inner anger, the androgyny  etc. It wasn't easy. lol. This sketch was what I thought an older Captain EO would look like (yeah, I saw the film while it was still playing at Disney World).


Now we all know MJ had like a quadrillion plastic surgeries. He says he didn't have many (sometimes he denies having had any at all) but my eyes can see a human morphing, brah. I tried to add some very subtle abnormalities to his features: nose is slightly misaligned, his lips are uneven, triangular nostrils, one eye larger than the other and the cleft in the chin. I also put on the eyeshadow, eyelashes and lipstick. Not quite sure what Mike was up to with the look he had, but hey, it's show biz, I guess. Now it's time to add the shadows to bring out the definition.


You can see a little Smooth Criminal action on the upper right. I decided to focus on the face instead and cut the Smooth Criminal out of the illustration. From here, I imported the sketch into Adobe Illustrator and got to work on inking.


Now it's time for the highlights and the finishing touches. I used the Blob Brush, the Pen Tool and the Direct Selection tool to do this piece. I hope you enjoyed it. Take care, and as MJ would say, Cha mon! lol.