I was reached out to by the owner of Hyzerbomb Discs to create a special stamp for the attendees of the Nick Hyde Memorial. This design was going to be on Swirl and Glow "Mortar" discs found in their players packs. While military and pre-production experience is a huge plus, I can't stress enough how much reference gathering plays an important role in the final image.
I've had my share of firing .50 cal's, M249's and M203 Grenade launchers... Mortarmen require a special ability and something I never trained in. After doodling out those initial ideas with the poster reference in mind; I took to YouTube to find footage of a Mortar team working in harmony and really got to know an outside looking in view. I found a great video reference "Mortars Fly in the Hills of Ft. Carson" and knew this would be the center point of the design. A loader took a pause with a mortar shell primed with a cheese charge. I instantly thought: "Whoa.. who does that? This dude is a bad ass!". It gave me that same type of feeling that the poster did and worked a bit better because he's somewhat in a pause before firing the round. For stamp simplification, I chose to show the loader. This idea felt straight forward and could be easily understood by people who know nothing about mortar firing and or history.
Lastly, I chose to chisel him up a bit. Create edges and bold, sharp angles to show a more aggressive vibe. I kept shading pretty even and clean to pair with the overall style of the stamp. Smoke in the background clears out a bit of business to frame him up in the foreground.
All in all, seeing the reactions from Nick Hyde Memorial tournament goers and from Matt Siri is what it's all about. I want to give a huge shot out to Hyzerbomb Discs, their supporters and everyone who signed up for the Nick Hyde Memorial. It was a great pleasure being able to do a military themed stamp.
Unique Hyzerbomb Mortars are located here while supplies last: