Professional Work

Pattern design

Usually when I make a poster for an event I use a central image with text around it.  I wanted to do something different with my poster designs for the new YEA workshops so that they would stand out but still be recognisable as my own work.  For this project I was also able to use colour which is new for me as with my previous posters I have mostly had to keep printing costs as low as possible and that has meant working in black and white.

 

I decided to try using pattern design to create simple but colourful backgrounds for the new posters.  Each pattern is based on the workshop theme it is promoting.  Here from left to right are the themes:

1 Writing/Reporting on Art and Culture – For this I have used illustrations of an old style microphone alongside a notepad and pen, with small speech bubbles.

2 Mobile Photography – Here I have used illustrations of an old clamshell type phone next to polaroid style photographs and small modern mobile phones.

3 Creative Writing – In this one I have drawn bottles of ink and a dip pen alongside an old book (The NeverEnding Story! that is the Auryn on the cover) and a castle in a cloud.

I have tried to use a colour scheme that is smooth and pretty and my goal is for all six of the posters (I have three left to do) to fit together nicely as a set.  The patterns above are all in test colour schemes, the posters themselves are below.  I’m really enjoying making patterns and I think my work would look really good on retro Summer/skater dresses and skirts.  I wrote about how I made my patterns in Photoshop here.

 

I have also been trying different lettering styles for the titles of the workshops on the posters.  From left to right:

1 Art Writing – this is inspired by the header of The New Yorker and the tv show Stranger Things.  The New Yorker is famous for its editorial cover illustrations and the Stranger Things title is inspired by the covers of old Stephen King horror novels.

2 Mobile Photography – this style is inspired by retro-futuristic typefaces used in 60’s tv shows and films set in the future.

3 Creative Writing –  this style is inspired by curly storybook writing, I wanted to give the impression of an old fairy tale.

I used the internet and the book Hand Lettering by Thy Doan Graves for research and inspiration in lettering, but I am really looking forward to learning more about lettering in our January workshop!

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Professional Work

Bratpop gig poster design

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My poster design for a local music gig.

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.

 

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Screenshot from a Google image search for 90s gig posters.

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.

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Posters with a yellow-orange-red colour scheme.

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).

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First sketchbook pages for the poster image.

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.

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Hands pencil sketches.
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Hands inked using my lightbox.
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One large hand from pencil to simple and more bold inkings.
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“Moon” drum kit in pencil sketch then inked.

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.

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Sketches playing with parody band names and lettering from original gig posters.

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.

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Border, background, hands, and drums layers in Photoshop.

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).

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’90s band posters with examples of lettering.

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).

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Poster with the necessary information added.

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.

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My Bratpop gig logo for the top of the poster.

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.

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My final poster design for the Bratpop gig.

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!

 

 

College Work

NatSatClub Devon Dialect Project

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My final illustration for the word “zart”.

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.

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My sketches playing with the letters in ZART

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.

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Working with my sketches in a bigger format.

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.

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Trying my design out with a graphite stick then in ink.

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.