SNBC:43 – Guest, illustrator Mike Holmes

If you missed tuning into SNBC:43 live last Thursday, here is the recorded version for you to watch. Last week I had my first guest on the show to talk some art and illustration, my good pal Mike Holmes trekked over to hang out. Mike is a talented illustrator who has several published graphic novels: Shenanigans (Oni), This American Drive (Invisible), This is a Souvenir (Image), and the released-in-April True Story (Invisible). He has also done gig posters for famed funnymen Paul F. Tompkins and Patton Oswalt.

If you are from here in Halifax, you will have seen Mike’s awesome True Story strip running every week in The Coast.

Mike came over to share some stories, some tips and some laughs. It was a great time. So have a watch, and be sure to check out Mike’s Flickr, Tumblr and say hello to him on Twitter.

2001: A Space Odyssey poster

Here is a poster I’ve been thinking about doing for the past 2 years, and finally had the opportunity when I was approached by the people organizing a Stanley Kubrick exhibition at La Cinémathèque française in Paris. They had originally asked for me to submit my existing 2001 poster I designed about 3 years ago, seen here. But I always saw that poster as half finished and wanted to make something more worthy of the film. So here we go.

This poster was an odyssey within itself. I immersed myself in 2001: A Space Odyssey for a week, watching the film twice along with all the ‘making of’ footage and documentaries, researching concept art and posters online, and doing a bunch of sketching. Even once I had a concept on the go, it changed a few times as I started building my elements. I wanted the poster to have a subtle touch, hit the theme of the film, yet still have a Signalnoise flavor. It was daunting to say the least. Here are a few previous versions and sketches.

One of my favorite design elements of 2001 are the planet edges with a rising sun, so I included a lot of arches and ‘horizons’ in this one to mimic that concept. Played with a lot of symmetry as well, echoing the film. I wanted to shy away from any wild rainbow effects or showcasing HAL, those ideas seemed a bit too obvious.

All in all, a super fun design to work on. Going to get some posters made of this one soon.

Happy 25th birthday, Zelda

On February 21st one of the greatest video game franchises of all time, The Legend of Zelda celebrated it’s 25th birthday. 25 years since Link took up his very first sword to do battle with the evil forces of Gannon. I remember borrowing a friend’s Zelda game way back in the NES days, staying up way too late playing that thing as I’m sure so many of you had as well. Little did I know at the time that 25 years later Link would still be at the top of the franchise heap.

In celebration of 25 the stunning artwork seen above appeared online, created by Japanese artist ag+. I wish I could find a more direct link to their work but I got lost in the sea of Japanese interwebs. Want to have your face melted? Check out the full-res version. Absolutely beautiful.

And now lets bring it all the way back to the late 80s with this hilariously silly and infinitely charming television commercial for the original, the best, The Legend of Zelda. Thanks to Hannah Shilliday for sending this one over.

A very happy birthday to all of our pals in Hyrule!

Montreal Meets: Contest giveaway

Good news for all you kids who were unable to attend the Montreal Meets event last month. Francois Hoang, the founder and organizer of the event, is giving away a couple of posters designed by Fabio Sasso and myself and a Montreal Meets t-shirt all of which were created for the event itself. Limited runs of all these bad boys, so don’t miss out on a chance to own this gear.

Entering is easy. Simply leave a comment on this post to enter here, then swing over to this post and leave a comment to enter on the Montreal Meets site. The contest ends on February 25th. Move, move!

Comments are now closed. Thanks for entering!

SNBC: 42 – General QA and ‘Ask Jerko’

If you missed tuning into SNBC: 42 live last week, here is the recorded version for you to watch. I didn’t have a topic this week so we went with a general QA session where we covered topics like personal project workflow, the new office space, The Sword poster process, Iron Maiden, can creativity be a learned skill, the importance of an online gallery, what I look for when proofing, how I became #1 on Google for the search ‘Flickr photostream‘ and a whole lot more. Have a watch, have a laugh.

Additionally, this broadcast was the first installment of ‘Ask Jerko’, a little section at the end where my pal Jerko answered a few funny questions sent in by the viewers. We talked about metal, food and other stuff. He’s a hoot.

This week on SNBC:43

This coming Thursday will be a really fun broadcast as I will be having my first guest coming over to hang out, my good pal Mike Holmes. Mike is a very talented illustrator living here in Halifax and has released several graphic novels such as Shenanigans (Oni), This American Drive (Invisible), This is a Souvenir (Image) and the upcoming True Story (Invisible). On top of that, he created posters for the likes of Paul F. Tompkins and Patton Oswalt. Mike will be over to talk about his illustration process, stories from working in the industry, his inspirations, etc.

Swing over to his Tumblr and Flickr to see Mike’s work and be sure to drop in this Thursday at 3pm EST for SNBC: 43. You won’t want to miss this one.

We love the Future

Here is a bunch of images plucked from the growing library over at Vintage Future, a great link that my pal Shelby White fired over to me. A lot of the work I do is based on this strange pocket of researching the past’s interpretation of the future. Ever since we could dream we’ve been trying to design how we think the future may look, but inevitably we draw upon the now so the designs are rooted in the time they were created. Strange paradox.

I just love this stuff. The optimistic outlook, the bits of past technology, the desaturated color palette, the little rips and wrinkles. It all comes together in a perfect representation of what kids back in the 60s were looking at in magazines while dreaming of the future. Great stuff.

Be sure to check out Vintage Future for more.

Signalnoise poster for The Sword

Here is something that started as a personal project, kind of. A couple of weeks ago I was sitting at the computer reading some tweets and doing some surfing when my favorite metal act, The Sword posted a tweet in search of an artist. That was essentially as specific as it was so, needless to say I had a message with portfolio link back to them in seconds.

When approaching a new client, or more specifically another group of artists, I always find it awkward simply sending my portfolio as I know the work I do for them will be much more specific. That was the case with The Sword as nothing in my portfolio fit the theme of sci-fi metal, at least not as much as I’d like. So I decided to go that extra step and create a “test” poster to show something in the theme of the band. Heck, I’ve been listening to these guys for 6 years or something, this is a long time coming.

Well, the test poster took on a life of it’s own and I pushed the design through to the finish. Heavily influenced by the likes of Roger Dean and Moebius, I wanted this one to have a very painterly and textured feel and something that call backs to sci-fi novel covers from the 70s with a bit of Heavy Metal magazine in there. A couple of ’80s cartoon references were thrown into the mix as well, Lion-O’s sword from Thundercats was the basis of the style and I wanted the landscape to look like Eternia from Masters of the Universe. All of this influence makes sense if you’ve listened to The Sword’s newest album, Warp Riders.

The concept came together rather quickly, and I moved from the sketchbook to Illustrator to Photoshop within a day. I started just last Thursday. After that it was a matter of adding all the textures, shading and atmosphere you see in the final. The poster has already been sent and seen by the guys and got some very positive feedback. Kind of a dream job. Rock n’ roll!

The overall concept behind this poster: What being was wielding that sword?!

I’ll hopefully be sending this poster to proof this week sometime before getting a full run printed off, with the permission of the boys since it sports their logo of course.

SNBC 41: General design QA

For those who missed watching SNBC 41 last Thursday, here is the recorded version. There wasn’t a specific topic this week, just a general art and design QA session as I talked with the viewers. Always a great time and a great turnout.

This week we discussed things like watermarking images, the benefits of having a home workspace, the upcoming Signalnoise Store launch, canvas prints, how to deal with clients who don’t know what they want, the value of internships, the iPhone games I play, the people speaking at OFFF Barcelona, curing creative blocks, my Orbinauts toy designs etc. So have a watch and I’ll see you next week at the same time, Thursday at 3pm EST.