The 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics will include a great many commercials in hundreds of time slots during the Olympic games, airing on NBC networks. Famous Frames artists Michael Lee, Peter Vu, Shari Wickstrom, and Gabe McIntosh take you way behind the scenes to see how the ideas and looks for the spots seen 'round the world first became a twinkle in the market's eye!

Artist: Peter Vu / Citi "Slipped My Mind"  

Peter Vu explained to us: After speaking with the Ad agency (PKT) about the commercial's overall direction, the first step I took in this spot's process was to look for reference images. The focal point of the piece was Ted Ligety, so my research phase comprised of pulling together as many images of him as I could find, in as many angles and positions as possible. 

Using Photoshop, I drew up rough sketches for approval from the agency. Bringing the frames to final was tricky: the client preferred a photo-real look but I didn't have Ted Ligety in my studio, posing in the exact positions and actions that the spot required. 

The solution was a great deal of photo-comping: after cutting arms, twisting bodies, and reattaching a number limbs, I wrestled the images into submission and was able to get the piece to do what I commanded. Like any magician, I needed to erase my tracks. I painted over the images to get an illustrated feel and unify the photo-comp pieces in a single theme. 

After many strokes, swipes, and outlining, I eventually reached the product that you see here.

Artist: Shari Wickstrom / Kellogg's "Uphill"

This spot- Entitled "Uphill" for Kellogs was done by artist Shari Wickstrom, who says “I really enjoyed working on this spot. I loved the concept itself, which made it  real easy for me to get into it. I began with a series of pencil sketches.  The creatives then decided on the final shots and look they wanted, the flow of the story, etc. From there I  finished everything up in photoshop. The commercial itself turned out beautiful. The creatives were terrific to work for and it really  was a pleasure to participate in the process.” 

Artist: Michael Lee / NBC's "About a Boy" Promo 

When we spoke with artist Michael Lee about his experience working with NBC's About A Boy, He said "These are pretty standard fare for my type of shooting board.  I sat down with the director and we talked about the scripts, characters and locations.  I had a lot more to work with than in most situations, since this was a promo for a TV show that was already in production.  This means I got to see video of the cast, the sets and I got a chance to view an early episode; so I became familiar with who was who and what each character was about.  The director basically told me what he wanted each set up to be, how the characters moved through each scenario, and roughly where the cameras would be.  From that point it's my job to tell the story visually.  Normally I just start drawing with a regular office pencil on printer paper, and I draw as many frames as we need to tell the story and make sure all the camera directions are basically described.  In this situation I actually drew directly with the Wacom Cintiq, using Sketchbook Pro, but my approach to drawing on the computer is no different than when I draw with pencil and paper.  I first lightly sketch in the overall story, blocking out where figures will be and the setting, then once the entire story is lightly roughed out and approved for the action and blocking, I go back and make progressively more detailed drawings. Exact likenesses or perfect renderings of the environment aren't necessary for a shooting board, and those things are a distraction to getting the information the director needs so they can shoot a spot.  So my drawings are fairly generalized, but they still provide enough to create the action and mood.  My goal is to spend no more than 10 to 15 minutes on each frame.  This ensures that the drawings will have energy, and more importantly, allows me to finish the required number of drawings in the time allowed."

Artist: Gabe McIntosh / Publicis / Puffs

"For the Puffs "Obstacles" thirty - second TV spot, realism was our goal. Like most of us, I sketch out the frames in rough pencil first, but I prefer HB 4 soft-lead pencils and bright - white, smooth copy paper. The rough pencil sketches establish camera angles and perspective. Then I begin gathering reference images from any source I can find. Starting online and ranging from magazines, books or even shooting pictures of myself and folks around me, I piece together the results until it feels and looks natural. From there we draw the frames on a 22"HD Wacom Cintiq digital tablet in black and white, with a custom pencil brush. Then we execute the color versions which involves what we call "digital painting", which in essence is to combine the line-work and shading into one seamless color image." Gabe McIntosh