An artist’s touch and Russillo’s voice help paint ESPN’s NBA playoff promo

Artist Heather Rooney in one of her school’s studio painting her artwork using dozens of colored pencils, as she wears golden nail polish.  “I thought the gold nail polish would be appropriate for this.” (Photo courtesy Heather Rooney)
Artist Heather Rooney uses dozens of colored pencils in her depiction of the Golden State Warriors. “I thought the gold nail polish would be appropriate for this,” she said. (Photo courtesy Heather Rooney)

ESPN Radio’s Ryen Russillo provides voice-over for Warriors’ drawings
Ryen Russillo (Joe Faraoni/ESPN Images)
Ryen Russillo
(Joe Faraoni/ESPN Images)
Ryen Russillo is co-host of ESPN Radio’s SVP and Russillo (1-4 p.m. ET, weekdays) and provides the narration for the new NBA on ESPN marketing promotion featuring the Golden State Warriors.

How did you get involved in this project?
I have always wanted to do voice-over work and I love the Golden State Warriors. I watched the LeBron [James drawing] video [created by Rooney] and I can’t believe how great the artist is. It was a simple request from [ESPN] Marketing and I was happy to do it.

How long did it take to record the voice-over?
I was really worried initially that I’d need many takes. We did it in two. It only took 15 minutes.

What did you think of the script?
The authors of the script [marketing team] definitely understood the uniqueness of how special the roster is. There is always some luck involved with a successful NBA team, and they [the ESPN Marketing team] did a great job detailing how each of the transactions worked into creating the best team in the league.

In every NBA season players transform themselves from scratch into legends. It’s usually skills on the court propelling these athletes forward, but now certain players are literally growing from nothing on paper.

That’s the idea behind ESPN’s latest NBA playoffs digital video, depicting artistic renditions of Golden State Warriors stars Steph Curry, Andrew Bogut, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green.

The 90-second video (below), titled “Golden Vision,” features a striking time-lapse of artist Heather Rooney’s impeccable hand drawings of the Warriors stars, all done over the course of approximately 14 days using colored pencils. ESPN Radio’s Ryen Russillo narrates the video (see sidebar).

“We wanted to create different ways to promote some of the NBA playoff contenders this year,” said Michael Giblin, associate writer and producer at ESPN Marketing. “We had seen some of [Rooney’s] remarkable illustrations of Leo Messi and James Rodriguez online during the World Cup, and always wanted to work with her on a project. The Warriors were an ideal team for her to illustrate based off of their ‘picturesque’ season on the court.”

Front Row spoke with 21-year old Rooney, who is finishing her senior year at Emmanuel College in Boston, Mass., about being having her work showcased on ESPN.

What was it like to be approached by ESPN with this project and to see your work on
It was a big honor for me. I enjoy drawing sports figures so this was a very fun project for me.

How much of a basketball fan are you?
I am a basketball fan but I enjoy a few different teams in the NBA. I like the Golden State Warriors because the people I have met when visiting the Bay Area are so friendly. I also follow the Washington Wizards because my brother works for that team. Living in Florida for 15 years, I have also followed the Miami Heat.

How long did it take to create the portraits? Which one was the easiest and the hardest?
It took me about two full weeks to complete the drawing. The hardest figures were probably Steph Curry and Draymond Green, since they had the most facial expression. I also needed to make sure that I drew Draymond’s tattoo design correctly.

Editor’s Note: The New Orleans Pelicans visit the Golden State Warriors in their Western Confernce first-round playoff opener Saturday (3:30 p.m. ET on ABC, ESPN Radio and ESPN3). Visit ESPN MediaZone for complete NBA on ESPN programming information.

Back to top button