Remember, remember

Digitally painted after the original V FOR VENDETTA book cover artwork by David Lloyd.

Roy Scheider portrait in an hour

This afternoon I gave myself an hour to do a digitally painted portrait, just to see what I could manage given the time constraint. I want to do more of this kind of work after using this process for my Hobo With a Shotgun and Drive posters. I completed this in 58 minutes, despite being interrupted by a phone call. Rock n’ roll.

I knew right away who I wanted to paint, the main character from my favourite movie. Chief Martin Brody from JAWS, played by the late Roy Scheider, based on a frame from the movie just after the shark’s big reveal.

Evenings, Weekends and “Sick Days”

Here is a topic that has been spread throughout my broadcasts, posts and general creative process for most of my life and something I should have written a focused post on before now. So I want to take a few minutes and talk about something important to me based on my own experience and how I live my life.

The foundation for the Signalnoise platform was built not because I had a business plan, or an entrepreneurial escapade or a project manager telling me what do do. I built everything on my own time, because I had to. Because it’s fun. What a lot of people don’t know is that I worked as a website designer for about 12 years before making the leap to go full freelance only last year. While I was working at various agencies it was evenings, weekends and “sick days” that counted the most. If you look in my Gallery, 80% of that stuff is personal work.

I would work 9 to 5, run home to grab some dinner, then work until 2am on the many personal projects I had on the go. I never stopped, and there were huge stints where my friends wouldn’t see me because I was at home drawing, or animating in Flash, or creating a series of art pieces in Photoshop, or redesigning my website, etc. To me, the stuff I was doing during evenings wasn’t “work”, it was stuff I couldn’t wait to get home in order to keep going on. I loved doing it … it was a lifestyle, not a hobby.

Weekends were the same, only then I could spend a huge chunk of daytime hours plugging away on those personal projects. There really is nothing better than a rainy Sunday and a clean schedule. I would set my alarm real early to get a jump on that prime real estate. I’d plop in front of the computer or drawing table with a nice coffee and that would be my day.

“Sick days” are in quotes because … well, maybe once or twice I called in sick to work in order to stay home and work on my stuff. Your place is never quieter than when people think you’re sick. But that’s bad advice, don’t do that.

We live in a world of constant distraction. I’m not talking about the day job, I’m talking about everything else that eats away the hours so you constantly hear people saying “I wish I had more free time” or “I’d do more designing is I weren’t so busy”. In my experience, that isn’t caused by a lack of free time, it’s because that time is eaten up by social stuff, television, video games, general goofin’ off, whatever else. Using your free time wisely is a choice, not something you hope happens on it’s own. Signalnoise would not exist if I didn’t pour those hours into it. I had to. I read about all those classical artists from back in the 16th century or whatever creating because they were compelled to create. I guess it’s the same for me, and has been since I was drawing at the age of 4.

Obviously everyone’s life is different, comprised of infinitely different things. Sometimes it’s just not feasible to steal time away, and I understand that, but everyone should try to make the time to do what they love through whatever means. It’s a no-brainer to me.

If you are a creative person you should look forward to evenings, weekends and “sick days”. Genuinely look forward to that time. Not because you can sit on the couch and shut your brain off, but because that’s when you work on the stuff that truly matters. The stuff you create for you, from your heart.

When I was in grade 1 I remember racing home from school to keep working on that drawing I started the night before. Things really haven’t changed. It’s a lifestyle, man.

Pepsi Cool Cans

Back in the summer of 1990 Pepsi released some limited edition “Cool Cans.” I was 14 years old, and I clearly remember going nuts for these things. I was firmly entrenched in the Pepsi camp of the Cola Wars and we had plenty of bottles in my parents fridge, but I also needed these cans. The nearest vending machine was just passed the woods in my backyard at the local community swimming pool. I used to ‘borrow’ some change from my dad’s coin bucket and sprint through the trails leading to that Pepsi machine. There were days I made many trips to that pool just for a cold can of soda.

There were only four different can designs, however it took me the entire summer to collect them all. I was sure Pepsi had staggered their release just to prolong my agony. I ended up with tons of the surfer dude design, which ensured that it became my least favorite of the bunch. That guy used to roll out of the bottom of the vending machine and taunt me, I’m telling you.

The design I most coveted was the neon one, it was the most unique of the group and was downright badass. Some internet psychologists may claim that I was somehow subliminally drawn to the neon design because it contained a hidden message. When stacked 3-high and positioned just right, the larger letterforms on the can kinda-sorta spell out the word “SEX.” So even though I never saw the cans stacked that way, and getting them from a vending machine assured that I didn’t know which one I was getting, I still must have been brainwashed by Pepsi into unconsciously choosing it for its “sexiness.” Hogwash.

These designs, paired with Pepsi’s most iconic logo, are my first memories of a true marketing campaign. Stepping up from toy packaging and advertising, I began to recognize there was a larger world of design and branding out there for me to explore.

Oh, and a little Young MC never hurt anyone hurt either…

Poster art by Tom Hodge

Here is an awesome spread of work by London’s own Tom Hodge, also known as The Dude Designs. I first saw Tom’s work when his official poster for HOBO WITH A SHOTGUN emerged about a year ago and have been frequenting his site ever since to see what he’s been up to. My favorite of his might be that DEAR GOD NO! poster above. His work is fantastic and crazy, really dives into independent VHS cover art from the 80s … back when covers and posters meant something.

But, we’re living in an interesting time right now. With the rise of artists like Tom, Olly Moss, Phantom City Creative, La Boca, Tyler Stout and the platform Mondo has built, we are seeing more attention being brought back to the art of the movie poster which has for too long been ruled by Photoshopped floating heads. This makes me happy. Real happy.

Be sure to read this article on BBC, Film poster artists revive a dying craft. Essential reading today.