THE VILLAIN

Here is my new portrait piece, THE VILLAIN. If you’re new to these ones, I tend to do portraits in between full posters as a form of practice as I continue to explore this form of print design. Trying to sharpen my skills.

As with all my stuff lately, this is 100% vector. No brushes, or plugins, or LiveTrace or fancy “time-saving” tools either. Just hardcore bezier point scrutiny through lots of hours. Nuts and bolts stuff. If you want it to look right you have to get right in there and do it yourself. Really trying to simplify things too.

I wanted the colour palette to hinge on THE DARK KNIGHT film, but not exactly. This one is much grimmer than my previous portraits: THE SMUGGLER and THE SCIENTIST.

EDIT: This is the second version of THE VILLAIN. I did further work on it this weekend to mend some issues.

Signalnoise poster for THE THING

A couple of early digital concept studies.

Sketch of the alien gore on tracing paper. Ink and blue lead.

Here’s a poster for my favourite movie, John Carpenter’s masterpiece: THE THING.

I started this design hot on the heels of completing the BLADE RUNNER poster. I’m continuously learning new tricks and processes as I go, so I wanted to really dial in on the style I explored in BLADE RUNNER and simplify it. Really concentrate on the shapes that make up the highlights and shadows. The goal was to reduce the overall number of points, but really make them count. Smooth curves.

The over-arcing concept was to depict the alien taking human form, so I knew early on I needed some kind of weird abstract alien gore in there which proved to be the toughest challenge. I sought reference in the film, but I didn’t want hands, or tentacles, or a spider-head. I wanted a mess of scary “whatever”. I had to draw it all from the ground up (pencil and paper, kids) and on the third attempt it finally fell into place. From there it hit the scanner to be re-built in Illustrator.

Like my BLADE RUNNER poster, this is 100% vector. Not a hint of Photoshop in there. I see this and the BLADE RUNNER poster as kind of companion pieces since I did them both back to back with similar methodologies.

But again, it was all about atmosphere. I wanted this poster to feel like the movie. That was priority 1.

Signalnoise poster for BLADE RUNNER

I spoke at Montreal Meets on April 9th and one of the big hooks in my presentation was revealing this poster onstage for the first time. Until now, it had only existed in cellphone photos on Twitter. But here we go, a poster for one of my favorite films: BLADE RUNNER.

This poster truly represents the new direction I’m forcing into my work. I’ve had a keen interest in designing movie posters for quite some time, and this was nothing less than a huge undertaking. From reference photos, digital studies to the final build it took about 2 weeks full time to get it done. Another big departure was building this thing entirely in Illustrator. There is zero Photoshop work in this piece, something I’m pretty proud of. If you saw my Influxis Voodoo Lounge presentation at FITC Toronto 2012 you would have seen an indepth process of how I planned and built this poster. Really long process, so long it ultimately changed how I work.

This poster needed to be treated with respect. I love the film and it has a huge following all over the world. It ultimately defined a new genre of science fiction in both story and atmosphere, and I needed to keep that intact as I worked through the design. High scrutiny was placed on every element in this poster to ensure I got it right. Pursuit of a proper representation of BLADE RUNNER.

“All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain.” – Roy Batty

New poster: THE SCIENTIST

Here’s a poster design of everyone’s favorite scientist, Dr. Emmett L. Brown. In between doing full movie posters I like to do practise pieces to improve on some skills and techniques I’m exploring. This one started that way, as did THE SMUGGLER.

I’d like to think this was the expression Doc had on his face right before that lightning struck the DeLorean at the end of Part II. Stone cold determination, bravery and curiosity toward the unknown. But lets face it, he was probably screaming like a loon. His character was always my favorite from the BACK TO THE FUTURE trilogy. So here he is, heroic, immortalized in blue and purple.

“Roads? Where we’re going, we don’t need roads.”

New poster: THE SMUGGLER

After a long 2-week marathon working on completing my latest movie poster (TBA), I decided to take a day off and work on a fun little character portrait just for practise. I’ve always wanted to do a design based on my favourite swashbuckin’ starship captain, so now was the time. What started as a fun little illustration grew into my newest poster: THE SMUGGLER. This one is kind of inspired by posters and portraits from the old west

This was created using only 3 colours in hopes of someday doing a screenprint, but in all honesty I don’t know what the final destination of my Solo design will be given how massive the STAR WARS franchise is. Maybe I can do a limited run if I get some okay buzz and demand for this one. Not really sure, guess we’ll see.

“Uh, we had a slight weapons malfunction, but uh… everything’s perfectly all right now. We’re fine. We’re all fine here now, thank you. How are you?”

EDIT: I played around with a couple of colour variants, added them above.

30th anniversary FIRST BLOOD poster

Here is my poster for one of my favorite movies of all time, FIRST BLOOD, celebrating it’s 30th anniversary. Yep, this beast of a film was released back in ’82 when I was 5 years old. After doing the DRIVE poster late last year I knew for my next work I wanted to dive into the past a create something I loved as a kid. When Mystery Box asked me what film I wanted to create a poster for, this was my first pick. They worked their magic, and we’re just waiting on a bit of red tape.

I wasn’t allowed to see FIRST BLOOD when I was a little kid. My parents said it was too violent so they would never rent the VHS for me, but I always caught little snippets of it when I was over at friends’ places. This, of course, made the movie even cooler because it was outlawed in our house. Something dangerous. But toys weren’t out of the question. I remember my mom ordering me the Rambo toy knife kit out of a comic book, and I got the Rambo figure for Christmas in ’86. That rocket-launcher was awesome.

So to me (probably because of the rubber toy version), Rambo’s knife was one of the main characters of the film. He’s typically depicted with a big gun of some sort, but I knew for my poster I wanted that knife front and center. My favorite parts of FIRST BLOOD take place out in the woods as he’s beating up cops and the local makeshift army. Very natural scenery, with a Canadian tie as it was shot outside of Vancouver in a town called Hope. Other than sporadic outbursts, Sylvester Stallone’s character is relatively calm and determined during the movie. You never knew when he was about to cut loose. I wanted that reflected in my design rather than an action scene. Had to be about the character.

I did quite a few sketches, trying to dial in on the tone I wanted to hit and the elements I wanted to include. I then scoured the movie for some reference shots I could use before starting up the digital paints. Found the shot I wanted to work with and started some studies and final build. The original version had very different colours, but I switched to a palette that reflected those forest scenes I love so much. Here’s a few process shots.

And a close-up of the final to show a bit of the painterly detail.

This is my second movie poster completed to this extent. As some of you know I did my first poster drop a week and a half ago for DRIVE and it was turbulent at best. I hit snags at just about every step and lost quite a lot of sleep as I tried to smooth out the speed-bumps I encountered along the way. I took some knocks, but learned some valuable lessons and tips along with some very helpful information. I owe a huge thank-you to the kind people at Expresso Beans who reached out to me and lent a hand with kind words, encouragement and advice. You know who you are, and I really appreciate it.

So, what will be different? My representation Mystery Box has been hard at work to set up a system to get my (and other artists they represent) posters produced, sold and shipped. First and foremost, we will be working with the mighty D&L Screenprinting in Seattle, a reputable company who does tremendous screenprint work. The FIRST BLOOD poster was designed specifically with screenprinting in mind and I’m excited to move into this new territory. 24″ x 36″, thick paper with a vicious colour variant. Mystery Box has also set up it’s own storefront coupled with a fulfillment company. This will be the platform where my posters will be sold, along with other Mystery Box artists.

We will be moving into production next week, and once we are further along I will have the onsale information to post. As always with these things, it’s best to follow me on Twitter to get details quick.

“THEY drew first blood! NOT me!”

Thursday poster launch

I’m busy putting the finishing touches on my next movie poster, which I’m going to post to the blog on Thursday. Like, tomorrow. This is a real exciting, and I’m still dazed that Ollie over at Mystery Box worked his magic. One of my favorite movies of all time. Shaking just thinking about it.

I’ll be writing some of the details, stories and motivations behind this one tomorrow. I’ve learned a lot about the alternative poster community over the past week and this poster will bring about a very different method of doing things around Signalnoise. The release will be handled differently, and I’ll outline some of those details tomorrow. This is the design launch, onsale info will be posted once we move more deeply into production.

So, 9am EST tomorrow morning we go live. Until then, I’ll continue to sweat bullets over here.

DRIVE poster on the Heidelberg press

• Getting ready to fire up the press.

• The Heidelberg tried to literally define "hot pink" with this small mishap.

Here is a little video I cut together after visiting Bounty Print this morning to sign-off on my DRIVE poster. They fired up the Heidelberg press when I was there so I shot a bit of footage. Amazing to see this beast of a press firing off my poster. The thing is bigger than my house.

The DRIVE poster launches on January 19, one week from today. Details here.

“Nightcall” by Kavinsky from the DRIVE soundtrack.