Made UP

November 28th, 2009 | Posted in MAD Magazine

Made UP

Here is a quick MAD job I did earlier this month that just got posted on the MAD website. It’s obviously a parody of the movie poster for Disney’s “UP” featuring the Heene “Balloon Boy” hoax. I needed to approximate the look of the Pixar characters but with caricatures of Richard Heene and the kid.

It will probably be printed in the magazine eventually but the image is already available for download on MAD’s website, along with a lot of other parody posters and such.

The colors on this thing really got weird on me in CMYK. I’m not sure if that is something related to my upgrading to PhotoShop CS4 or not, but upon switching to CMYK everything became darker and much more purple, and it looks like it stuck when they switched back to RGB. Here’s a closeup of the dad:

Close up

The sky, for example, was much more bright blue than this darker, more magenta color. I started out using a high res image of the actual poster in RGB and then painted out the original characters, revised the clouds and prepared to paint in the new characters. Then when I switched to CMYK the weirdness happened. I tried to manipulate the color balance after but to little effect. I hate not having proper control over the look of something.

EDIT- Don’t misunderstand, I am far from a noob when it comes to digital imaging and printing. I have been dealing with CMYK and screen to print color shifts for over a decade now. Usually PhotoShop does a pretty good job when converting from a typical RGB color profile to a standard U.S. web coated SWOP v2 CMYK color space. In this instance the difference was more profound. I suspect it had something to do with the original downloaded “UP” RGB file I used as the basis of the illustration. Since it was a compressed JPG file, some of the color information was probably squeezed out of it and that made the conversion tougher, or perhaps the blue sky color was just so far out of the CMYK gamut that it was doomed from the start.

Here’s the original RGB poster image:


You can see how different the blue is. Now that I look at it again, I definitely think the issue was the original blue color being completely unattainable in CMYK/print.


  1. Awesome illustration Tom!
    I really love the composition!

  2. Alec Fritz says:

    I think it looks great and is a great parody! Also do you have the image in RGB still, I like to see what your talking about so we can compare what it did to the image when you switched it to CMYK. I color my webcomic in CMYK and have actually never tried to switch it to RGB. Is it better to work with RGB first, and then print in CMYK?

  3. Bearman says:

    Love it. You really captured that squint and curled lip.

  4. Bryan says:


    Why do you work in RGB? It gives you a colour gamut that is outside what is possible to print with CMYK. Unless you’re creating specifically for the web with no intention of ever being in print, you’re just asking for trouble if you start in RGB, then switch later.

    • Tom says:

      I usually don’t work in RGB. I work in CMYK. In this particular case I was forced to start in RGB as that was the color profile of the source image.

  5. John says:

    You probably get this a lot, but I have to say you’re a genius. I love your work. Big fan of MAD Magazine. I just wish they can publish monthly again.

    • Tom says:

      So far just you and my mom have called me a genius, and mom only did it because she owed me money.

      Seriously, thanks for the kind words. I also wish MAD was monthly again… hopefully someday things will turn around.

  6. George says:


    Add some yellow corn – orange carrots and red chillies to the vomit

    Will give you the pop colours which are present in the original. Other than that awesome job as per usual.

    Cheers George

  7. Beth Cravens says:

    Blues are hard to get right in CMYK.


New profile pic courtesy of my self-caricature for the Scott Maiko penned article “Gotcha! Mug Shots of Common (but Despicable) Criminals” from MAD 550

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