More Stranger Things Artwork

A couple weeks ago, I shared some ramblings about my late discovery of Stranger Things, and how it turns out everyone was right about how much I would love it. I managed to keep that post mostly spoiler free, but I’ve decided in this second post to abandon that plan. From the start, I wanted to do a couple of Stranger Things related sketches. I finished the second one a few days ago, this one featuring Chief Hopper and Joyce Byers. Considering the spoiler megaton bomb that dropped in the form of a Stranger Things trailer just before my last post, this post’s content seems pretty appropriate.

So, before I go on…heavy spoilers from here on out. And I’ll start them with the Season Four trailer:

How about that, eh? I can’t emphasize enough how pumped I was to see that Hopper survived Season Three’s finale. Like most people, I figured he probably did live based on the lack of a body and the whole “the American” jail conversation. As I mentioned in the last post, Hopper is one of my favorite characters in what is apparently one of my favorite shows, so I’m very glad we get to see more of his rough-around-more-than-the-edges character.

I’m not really sure what the next season is going to have in store, or how/if other characters will interact with Hopper. He seems to be in Russia building a train track…but a track to what? It’s probably related to the Upsidedown or to the Russians’ Demagorgon in some way. The audience probably expects a Hopper/Joyce and Hopper/Eleven reunion, and that seems like a moment the show-runners wouldn’t want to miss. But there’s always that possibility they will want to subvert viewer expectations, and having Hopper die in the Upsidedown or in Russia would certainly do that. The characters in Season Four are going to be much more spread out geographically, including at a minimum Russia, Indiana, and wherever Joyce and her crew moved to, so it will be interesting to see how they make that work.

I’m optimistic we’ll get to see more of Hopper punching people.

Speaking of Joyce and her crew, I’m also very interested to see how things shape up for them. At the end of last season, Joyce, Jonathan, Will, and Eleven loaded up the U-haul and moved away from Hawkins. Are Joyce and the family going to be drawn back to Hawkins again, or are creatures from the Upsidedown going to spread to new areas? Or perhaps creatures (Mindflayer? Something new?) will be drawn to Eleven somehow? I really can’t wait to see what they decide to do. Even though I’ve never played it, I even bought a Dungeons and Dragons Monster Manual to see if I could guess some interesting new creatures they could use.

I’m excited to see what’s next for Joyce. I may have mentioned it in the previous post, but I really think despite Winona Ryder’s lengthy career, this has been her best performance. She’s been good throughout the series, but the strength and determination she showed in Season One was really something. She was able to show this woman who is on the border’s edge of losing it, yet is absolutely determined to find her kid. To me, the Christmas Light Ouija Wall has become quite an iconic scene.

Joyce talking with her festive decorations.

Anyhow, all that being said…a logical next portrait had to be Hopper and Joyce! I picked a scene from Season Three because I love Hopper’s classy 80s shirt he wore through much of it. Here’s the drawing:

Much like the Robin, Steve, and Dustin sketch from two weeks ago, this one started pretty rough and ended up in a good place. I had some trouble particularly with the shape of Joyce’s face. My initial outline was probably too boxy and I ended up having to shave the jaw down by shading. Likewise, Joyce’s nose and eyes needed some additional tweaking. I also forgot to add Hopper’s injuries until the very end; my oldest kid actually reminded me, otherwise I might have completely left it out! Fortunately, I think that ended up looking okay.

Another similarity to the last sketch was that I really went crazy with the layering. The pencil wax is thick on both subjects’ faces, almost to the point of saturation. I’m glad the features mostly turned out okay, because there isn’t much room for more. I’m happy with the expressions I captured for both of them too. Joyce isn’t perfect here, but I at least managed to convey the right look generally. Hopper is solid; I got his sort of dazed “I’m trying to listen” look. I also got his awesome shirt pretty decently represented.

Here’s my usual progression .gif to show how this came together. I think you can get a feel for some of the facial changes I needed to push to fix Joyce’s face.

This was a pretty enjoyable Stranger Things project! I’m happy with the results and had fun working on them. Another thought I had as I was finishing up: I devoted so much time talking about a handful of characters, I haven’t even discussed most of the kids. They are fantastic too, so it might be good to knock out a third portrait with some of the others. It’s a big cast, so it’s hard to fit them all in!

Credit for Stranger Things .gifs: Me (I made them directly from the Netflix stream).

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