This month is October so I decided to do a Halloween theme on my poster.
This month is October so I decided to do a Halloween theme on my poster.
I was commissioned to design a poster for a gig which I am going to be performing at (I play guitar). The specification was for a ’90s theme and to get it done asap! I started the project by researching ’90s gig posters. I used Google images and Pinterest and asked my parents what they remembered from that time.
I noticed that the posters were usually on brightly coloured paper or had bright designs, often with simple lettering and striking single images in clashing colours. I found a few posters with a similar yellow-orange-red colour scheme which I liked and decided to try using something like that myself.
I started to sketch some design ideas to use as the central image on the poster. I tried sketching band instruments, rock hand gestures, and a “back in time” clock doodle (my sketchbook page is on the right below). As I played with my sketches I decided I liked the hands rising from the ground and I thought of them as zombie hands (bottom right) in front of a big bass drum moon. I decided to also draw this sketch in white ink on black paper to see if it looked more interesting that way (on the left below in my black paper sketchbook).
I then drew out my design images bigger on white paper for scanning (first in pencil, then in pen using my lightbox) as I had decided to use Photoshop to put together the full poster design. I did the hands and the drums separately so I could layer them and move them around as individual elements.
I also started playing with lettering. The bands were asked to come up with a name for the show and one of my friends suggested Bratpop, as a play on the ’90s Britpop movement. This was chosen as the gig title, and I was given the rest of the text to be included on the poster.
I hadn’t designed a gig poster before so I had to find information about scaling and file size. Erin (the woman who commissioned the poster) asked that it be printable at A4 and A3 so I consulted the poster artwork spec sheet here and set up a new file on Photoshop. I edited my uploaded images that I wanted to use and put them into separate layers, and I dragged them into different arrangements so I could see how they looked.
After choosing where I wanted the illustrations I chose what colours to use. I chose a yellow background, which I would add an orangey-red pattern to later and added a black border. Then I chose a blue shade for the hands thinking of my zombie idea and so that it would clash with the background shade. The hands were in three layers – light blue main, darker blue shadow, and black outline – and I chose to keep the drums as an outline only so that the hands would stand out.
I noticed that the text used in a lot of ’90s gig posters had the title in large letters along the top, and the rest of the information was squashed up at the bottom. Often the text was in two colours only and swapped their colours in alternating lines (so light against dark, then dark against light).
I added the information text to the poster using this style, and also added the logo for the venue. I wanted to hand draw the gig title but didn’t have enough time (I was only given a short time to make the poster).
I researched grungy styles in text and textures, and found that a lot of the text was messy, blobby or cracked. I decided to add a crackly texture to the show title, and I used a youtube tutorial on distressed text to figure out how to do it myself. I used all lower case characters because popular Britpop bands like Blur, Oasis, Pulp, Suede, and Elastica all used lower case in their band logos.
Finally, I needed to create the background pattern. I found out using another youtube tutorial how to make a halftone colour effect in Photoshop to make the background seem more interesting and have a grungy pattern. I created a new layer and applied the effect from the left and right edges using an orangey shade to transparent, which was layered on top of the yellow background. Finally I brought all the elements together and saved my poster as cmyk files for printing and rgb files for sharing online.
I think this project went really well even though I only had a week or so to get it done. I think the style looks close to other ’90s gig posters and I learned quite a lot from the project, including how to make halftone effects (which I think I’ll find useful for zinemaking) and how to do a distressed text effect.
If you are in or near Plymouth please come along to the gig and share the info with your friends!
We have been given a project at our NatSatClub to choose a word from the Devon Dialect and then illustrate it. I made a long list of words, some of my favourites are:
Snishums : Sneezing
Flink : To sprinkle
Zummit : Something
Drumbledrone : Bumblebee (apparently this one was inspiration for Dumbledore’s name!)
I chose to illustrate the word ZART which means “daft”. I looked up the meaning of daft and its synonyms. They fell into two main groups, one with words like “stupid”, “idiotic”, and other not very nice words. The other group contained “eccentric”, “absurd”, “peculiar” and “crackers”, and I thought that this group had a more fun and friendly character, and would be good to illustrate.
I thought about this group of synonyms and tried to make a list of my visual ideas. I came up with lots including Wonka, circuses, spirals, dizziness, wonky, uneven, twist, and drunkenness.
Next I made sketches with the letters in “zart”, trying different forms of the letters and playing with the sizes and the way they came together.
At this stage I had chosen a basic shape I liked. I drew it out bigger and tried it out as an outline and a sort of silhouette version. I started adding extra parts, like a Mad Hatter top hat and drunken bubbles popping. I felt that these would give an eccentric dizzy feel to the illustration.
After I had a good idea of what I wanted I tried a sketch using a thick graphite stick to help me make the letters flow better and to be more expressive. I played with this a bit erasing and adding to it, thickening the letters, changing the way they sloped and trying out stripes. When I was happy I copied my design out in ink using my Pentel brush pen.
I really liked my design as it was but I wanted to fill in some of the stripes with the black ink to finish it off. I haven’t coloured it yet but I think that this piece would work really well in a purple shade with either a green or an orange as a secondary colour. The final black and white version is at the top of this post.
It is fun learning about different words and doing this project reminded me of the Devon Words art project by Caitlin Hennessy which I saw at last year’s Weekender exhibitions and which I wrote about here. I really enjoyed this project and will definitely be doing more lettering and illustrating with words in the future.
I have added a Gallery page to my blog. It collects together a selection of my work as a young artist in Plymouth. There are examples of my illustration and game art work as well as examples of other types of creative work I have completed or participated in. Don’t forget to check my instagram as I add new work there regularly!
I’ve been following a long course on drawing anatomy on Udemy called Anatomy for Figure Drawing: Mastering the Human Body by Neil Fontaine and I’ve really enjoyed it so far. I have learnt how to draw a simple skeletal structure from the front, the basic shape of the human body, and a bit about proportions.
Lesson 1 is a briefing about the course. Lesson 2 is called “Proportions 1” and covers the proportions of the human skeleton. I really enjoyed this lesson and it is fun assembling the skeleton on the page. It has definitely started helping me with drawing more in-proportion characters.
Lesson 3 is called “Proportions 2” and I am about three quarters of the way through the lesson at the moment. The lesson looks at how to draw a basic proportionate human body quickly by using what we learned about the skeleton in the previous lesson but imagining skin and muscles over it. The above sketch shows some of the steps.
The screenshot above shows the figure from the Lesson at the point where I am at this morning (drawn by Neil). Below is my own sketch at this stage:
I am happy with my sketch and the course so far. The course includes 65 lectures over 68 hours of video. I am going to carry on working through them in order but I am really looking forward to the sections on hands and feet because I struggle with these and want to improve. I have not been able to find figure drawing and life drawing classes to go to in person because they usually have an age limit, so being able to work through online tutorials is really helpful. I will keep looking for local workshops as well though because it is so much help having a live tutor to talk to and get advice from.
This post is going to cover what I did during the first half of autumn term at the National Art and Design Saturday Club at the Plymouth College of Art. My tutor is Kate Marshall. Kate is an artist who works in all sorts of media and enjoys experimenting with unusual materials from the sites she is researching. Our student ambassador is Ben Lintell. Ben is a student at PCA studying Contemporary Crafts and he creates paper and glass sculptures.
During the first half term we were working with self-portraits and figure drawing. We started with drawing our self-portraits with paper and pencil. I used a mirror and something I found difficult was that any small movements I made would throw me off. I worked entirely in HB pencil because that was all I had with me that day. I think I captured my expression pretty well but I think I could have made it more realistic if I used different pencils.
Next we were given a square of wood each to draw another self-portrait on. I’ve never drawn on wood before and it was hard to erase the pencil marks so I had to use less working lines than usual. I worked from a photo of myself on my phone this time and it was slightly easier than from a mirror, because there was no movement and I could zoom in to investigate details.
I then started painting my self-portrait on the piece of wood with acrylic paints. Kate advised us not to use one colour for our skin as that would make it look fake, but to look closely for blues, greens and other hues. I studied my photo and found lines, shadows and different shades of pinks, browns, greens and blues. I mixed up the different colours on a palette and used two different brush sizes, a medium-sized flat one for covering bigger areas and a slightly smaller round brush for details. I wasn’t able to find a very small brush for fine detail. I don’t normally work with acrylic paints but I enjoyed testing them out. Acrylics are opaque and not transparent like the watercolours I normally use. I watered my paints down a little to make them easier to use and I noticed that when I used colours on top of a layer of white they were more vivid.
Our self-portraits were put on display in Central Saint Martins in London alongside other National Saturday Club groups from around the country. Here is a photo of all the portraits from the Plymouth College of Art group:
We also spent a session speed-drawing each other in different poses and holding or wearing different costume items to practice figure drawing. I did some using my 4B graphite stick and some using charcoal. The charcoal is darker and has a more textured line whereas the graphite gave a smoother line. I found that both allowed me to be more expressive and use bigger gestures than when I use a pencil.
I really enjoyed drawing the different poses and body shapes and found that our quick drawings sometimes didn’t even look human. I want to do a lot more figure drawing as it will help me improve my character design and comic art. I’d also like to do some life drawing lessons but I haven’t found any classes locally that will accept students of my age yet. I’ve signed up to an Udemy course on Anatomy for Figure Drawing (I got this discounted and there are sales quite often on Udemy) and I have been drawing poses from magazines.
Below are some of the sketches I’ve done recently from photos in my NEO magazines. I have been doing very quick sketches of body frameworks using simple lines joined by small circles for joints, and bigger shapes for heads and body sections. I saw this technique used to show figures in action in How To Draw Comics The Marvel Way by Stan Lee and John Buscema. It is a good way to investigate poses and movement. In some places I have used coloured pencil to add more details later.
In this last picture I made up my own poses from my imagination and memory. I feel that my skills have already begun to improve because of this exercise and the work we’ve been doing at the Saturday Club.