James in DT Platinum magazine

DT Platinum magazine

I got a copy of DT Platinum magazine in the mail yesterday, which includes an article entitled Los 21 Personajes del Siglo’, which (according to Babelfish) roughly translates into ‘The 21 People of the Century’. The article contains small articles of actors, directors, musicians, artists, sports stars and others.

Along with people like Jack Dorsey (Cofounder of Twitter), Alejandro Amenabar, Jay-Z, Ben Foster, Alex Turner (Arctic Monkeys frontman) and Raphael Nadal, they included me in the article as well. Pretty big honor.

It’s all in spanish, so I have no idea what they wrote about me :) Here is a larger version of the page if you want to check out my little write-up.


Network by James White

Here is a new piece simply entitled Network. I spent a great deal of time researching the history of television broadcasting this past weekend, which led to me looking into things like the F.C.C. (Federal Communications Commission) and all of the rules, regulations and acts that surround what content makes it onto the airwaves and into our homes. It’s an interesting and somewhat dubious subject.

Relating to the topic, I started watching a few clips from the 1976 film Network, obviously where I took the name from. The message behind the film is powerful, bleak and very important when thinking about how media is the ultimate weapon in shaping the world. Howard Beale said it best:

“The only truth you know is what you get over this tube! Right now there is a whole, an entire generation that never knew anything that didn’t come out of this tube! This tube is the gospel, the ultimate revelation. This tube can make, or break presidents, popes, prime ministers. This tube is the most awesome goddamn force in the whole godless world, and woe is us if it ever falls into the hands of the wrong people.”

I even found this awesome German version of the Network movie poster:

German Network poster

My poster design reflects the typical viewers’ impression of broadcasting, the idealistic world where everything is okay. There’s some sarcasm at work here especially with the tagline I chose . . . “Everything you always wanted, brought to you.”

This is designed at 18 x 24 and will eventually land in the Signalnoise Store.

The Sovereign Sweat

The Sovereign Sweat by James White

Here is a new piece entitled The Sovereign Sweat. I’ve been trying my hand at digital painting again recently as I haven’t worked with the techniques involved in over a year since The Blind in 2007. This piece is inspired by old school movie poster masters such as Drew Struzan, Richard Amsel and Bob Peak, as well as the James Bond book covers created by Michael Gillette.

Here is a detail of the poster to show some of the painterly elements in the face.

I had a lot of fun creating this poster and will probably experiment more with painting in Photoshop once I get my footing. This poster will probably end up in the Signalnoise Store soon.

A Signalnoise Odyssey: Part VI

Part VI: Stranger in a Strange Toyland

I left off with the Odyssey story as I was re-designing The Planet characters in an attempt to adapt them to a line of designer toys (see Part V: A New Start) which had me doing a lot of research into the hip and cool toy scene. As I stated before, I’ve wanted to design my own toys since I was 7 years old and had that dream re-kindled with the rise of Kid Robot and other designer toymakers a number of years ago.

After completing the updated wireframes I posted in the last installment I had a better idea of how The Planet figures might work in 3-dimensional form. So to move to the next stage I had to understand more clearly how an unpainted toy might look. My primary weapon for the Planet has always been vector, so I proceeded to add simple gradients to the wireframe to show highlight and shadow.

A Signalnoise Odyssey: James White

I was fairly happy with the pose and stature of the character at this point, so it was time to add some color based on my original concepts developed a couple of years prior…

A Signalnoise Odyssey: James White

The character was starting to come to life again, and now came the step I was most looking forward to. Naturally, I was thinking about the backstory while developing the new concept but it needed to be revised to add a bit more life to the idea. Having 3 characters with basically the same paint job worked for the original project idea, but wasn’t all that interesting when you start thinking toys. I needed more color and personality from the design to really make it work.

Here are some of my initial color experiments:

A Signalnoise Odyssey: James White

While designing at this stage I went to my local comic shop and picked up I am Plastic, a book chronicling the designer toy movement over the years. The book was a tremendous help in getting my creative juices going but one thing jumped out at me, bears. There was a huge number of cute toys in the book donning the same little bear ears my characters had, so I worked on changing the head design a little bit . . . something more dynamic.

A Signalnoise Odyssey: James White

Nostalgia naturally took over, and I started thinking about the toys I loved when I was a kid. Transformers, GI-Joe, He-man, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Voltron and a bunch of others in an attempt to figure out why those toylines caught my attention 25 years ago. They were all basic designs (with the exception of Transformers) with bright colors and distinctive symbols that differentiated the characters from one another. The Ninja Turtles had nothing more then different colored masks, pretty ingenious.

After a lot of sketching, color experimenting and writing, the toyline really started to take shape after I added a bit of logo design and color treatment to my simple concepts. Suddenly, even though the character model is the same across the board, the characters were separated from one another using simple colors and symbols yet worked as a team, just like those toys from my childhood. They now had personality, style, powers and most importantly . . . names!

A Signalnoise Odyssey: James White

It struck me soon afterward that the original title for this project ‘The Planet’, which I continued to call it wasn’t going to work anymore. It had grown outside of the original scope, was a little too vague, and I needed something that would reflect the team that Hydro, Ember, Chloro and Amour were part of. It needed to be dynamic, original, cosmic and most important of all it needed to be exciting.

I enlisted the help of Sameen, the wizard of words that she is to help me name this team of colorful little heroes, and she didn’t disappoint.

A Signalnoise Odyssey: James White

Next up, the final chapter: Part VII: Long Live the Orbinauts!

Need to catch up on the previous parts of A Signalnoise Odyssey? Be sure to check out:

Part I: A Long Time Ago
Part II: Rise of the Brothers
Part III: Here Come the Bad Guys
Part IV: Creating a Planet
Part V: A New Start

Hyper Crush CD mock-up

Hyper Crush by James White

Here is a CD cover design I created for the 80s-style electro group Hyper Crush. Given the groups current visual language of extreme colors and retro motifs, I tried to create something that mixed the style of old K-Tel album covers with the over-the-top execution of Judas Priest. Other then the metallic letters, the Priest reference was all but lost once I added all the effects.

I tried to make the design as amped up as I could what with the explosions and lightning, which was lots fun. The design got progressively more hilarious as I added layer upon layer of effects :)

New posters: Rock 77 and Gasoline Morning

Signalnoise Store: James White

I’m happy to announce the two new additions to the Signalnoise Store. Rock 77 and Gasoline Morning are now available to purchase at 18 x 24, printed on semi-gloss poster stock.

Swing over to the Signalnoise Store for more details.

Inspiration: Movie posters by Richard Amsel

Richard Amsel

Richard Amsel

Richard Amsel

Richard Amsel

Richard Amsel

Richard Amsel

I had a few people over to my place last night, and my pal Dave and I started nerding-out about old movie poster artwork. After looking through a few of my poster books I had on hand, Dave got on the web and brought the work on Richard Amsel to my attention.

I had seen quite a few posters by Amsel over the years, but never knew exactly which artist had created them. Dave brought up Amsel doing the poster for Raiders of the Lost Arc, which I always assumed was created by Drew Struzan. Diving into Amsel’s work last night was amazing, aside from him being a brilliant illustrator he has a sharp sense of design and use of white space. The girth of his portfolio blew me away.

It really is bittersweet to look through the works of Richard Amsel, Drew Struzan and Bob Peak. These guys were the masters of the movie poster medium which, and I quote Dave, “is a dying form of art.”

Daft Punk to score Tron 2

Daft Punk to score Tron 2

I’m not normally one to re-post news items from other websites, but this article (brought to my attention by the Omega Code on Twitter) got me pretty excited. Daft Punk on Tron 2? I can’t think of a better group to tackle the job. Check it out:

“French electronica duo Daft Punk has been signed to write the original music score for Tron 2.0, Walt Disney’s upcoming sequel to the groundbreaking 1982 animation cult hit which was scored by electronic music icon Wendy Carlos.

Daft Punk’s members Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo and Thomas Bangalter have been involved in various films before, but Tron 2.0 will be their first complete feature film score. The film, scheduled for a 2011 release, is helmed by Joseph Kosinski and will feature Garrett Hedlund, Olivia Wilde and Beau Garrett.

According to industry news reports, Tron 2.0 will play as the “next chapter” after the first film, with Wilde starring as one of the heroes trying to help fighting the Master Control Program, the evil intelligence protocol that was the nemesis in the 1982 film.

The assignment of Daft Punk to score Tron 2.0 has been confirmed to Upcoming Film Scores by Walt Disney Pictures.”

Via Upcoming Film Scores