A! Magazine for the Arts

Brian and Marie Bridgeforth in their studio surrounded by some of their artwork. (photo by David Grace)

Brian and Marie Bridgeforth in their studio surrounded by some of their artwork. (photo by David Grace)

Bridgeforths create concept art and animation

June 26, 2019

Brian and Marie Bridgeforth have a history with the Virginia Highlands Festival, but this year, they’re creating something truly special.

They created the signature art (a painting) for the 2015 festival. They have also held workshops in the festival’s youth tent for years - usually superhero design workshops. This year, when it was time to brainstorm “The Wolf Crystal” project, they were a natural fit for the planning committee.

“The story line was created and written by Greg Lilly, a local author from Abingdon. Our job was to come up with concept art to set the look of the characters, to illustrate the book, ‘The Wolf Crystal,’ and to create short animations to assist the festival’s story-telling.

“We have done projects similar to this in the past. In our signature art piece that was created for Virginia Highlands Festival, we took the painting and brought it into the computer and animated it with sound and special effects to add a mixed media and computer-generated experience to the traditional acrylic painting. This allowed the festival to have a physical piece of art as well as a digital animation of the painting for media advertising,” they say.

The illustrations for “The Wolf Crystal” are different from the acrylic painting, they created for the signature art. They are hand-drawn in charcoal and pencil.

“We wanted to have a style that was appealing to all ages but not be too juvenile. We adjust our style to every project, depending on what is required. That is one of the most fun parts about being a graphic designer. We get to change styles and experiment with things we don’t often get a chance to create,” they say.

Festival goers are encouraged to attend all the episodes of “The Wolf Crystal” during the festival, but the planning committee realized that some people wouldn’t be in town for the entire festival or simply couldn’t make it to all the episodes.

The Bridgeforths fashioned a solution for that. They created a short narration and animations of the story that visitors can watch. Directions for watching the animations are placed throughout the festival.

During the festival, Bridgeforth Design Studio, along with Renegade Media, provides an area in the youth tent that allows festival goers to interact with “The Wolf Crystal” characters in front of a green screen.

“You will be able to enter a ‘virtual’ cave, stand in front of our green screen and see yourself posing with Abbi, Daniel, Glow or the other characters in the story. A photograph will be available to capture those special moments,” they say.

The Bridgeforths are a husband and wife team who have been creating together for 25 years. Mostly self-taught, they studied together, pouring over art books of the Old Masters, studying their techniques and brush strokes.

In the mid-‘90s, the computer beckoned. Brian became proficient in 3D design, digital matte painting, character design, story boards, comics and product design. Marie fell in love with Photoshop and web page design, animated gifs, writing and digitally painting Brian’s art.

They put their talents to use designing and painting everything from floor cloths, custom painting and decorative items to business services and product design. Combining their computer and artistic skills enables them to create works that offer a one-of-a-kind piece of artwork,

They have created art for Disney, Mattel, Barbie, Marvel and others and have products in stores such as Walmart, Target, Walgreens and Kmart.

For more information about the Bridgeforths, visit www.bridgeforthdesignstudio.com or see our story in the July 2014 A! Magazine for the Arts. Visit www.artsmagazine.info and click on the “Archive” tab to find back issues of the magazine.

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