I know, the world has seriously gone awry, and the Jaunty Bird is at the crossroads of this What-the-What typhoon. Call it Downton Abbey withdrawal, but I had a funny thought while driving not long ago, a TV title mashup that came to me in a flash: Downton Archer. Could anything be more insane? I think not. I'm not as avid a fan of the adult-funny cartoon series Archer as the Mister is -- he loves it. I've seen a few episodes and I'm more in love with the overall look of the show, with its intentional retro style. But when I got the TV title mashup in my brain, I couldn't shake it and realized it would be the perfect art project to put together, because Downton Abbey and Archer couldn't be more diametrically opposed if you put them into separate alternate universes. Behold... the birth of a new, goofy meme....
I was fortunate to have a week of hurry-up-and-wait projects, where I'd be busy for a couple of hours, then long stretches of waiting for feedback where I'd have to be behind the computer, babysitting email. I figure, if I'm stuck here, I may as well be inspired by something. I actually plugged "Downton Archer" into search engines to make sure I wasn't just reinventing someone else's meme. Thankfully, while the term has been used on Tumblr accounts, where people take screencaps of both shows and just swap quotes to create hilarious incongruity, the image itself hadn't yet popped up on the search-engine-internet-space-verse. So I set to work gathering some reference photos and screencaps to recreate that iconic family/household portrait that continues to be updated for every Downton season, and recreating it in Archer-style. Full disclosure -- I was all ready to redraw the character heads, but pesky work email came in, so I used screencaps from Archer for the heads to save on time, plus they made for handy color reference. I did, however, redraw all the Downton bodies by hand, scanned it in, and cleaned up/colorized in Photoshop. I was able to Dr. Frankenstein the heads onto the bodies and took color and shading cues from Archer's palette to make it jive with some rather pale/bland Downton costumes.
And so here it is -- glorious Downton Archer, putting the "funk" in dysfunctional family/household dynamics. This is the simpler version without the abbey in the background -- that version is sitting pretty on my Facebook page. Because, really, when it comes to goofy art projects, it all comes down to working it into your Facebook page banner, right? Ah, the joys of too much time on one's hands and way too much coffee.
Jaunty Fine Print: illustration by Denise Sakaki, plus screencaps from Archer