Jay and Silent Bob Get Old: Canadian Tour poster

Last month we in Halifax had the pleasure of seeing Kevin Smith speak live. Being that we are a small city, this event was a very rare occurrence and we were all thrilled to see the big man show up, tell stories and have some laughs. It was a great evening, and Kevin said that he would be back “real soon” with some friends in tow.

Not only did he keep his word, but he is coming back just over a month later with Jason Mewes for his Jay and Silent Bob Get Old Canadian tour. Needless to say, I snapped up my tickets real quick and am stoked to see Kevin speak once again.

He put out on his Twitter a little while ago that he was looking for a Canadian artist to design the tour poster. Being a long time fan of the guy, I had to give it a shot. That’s my poster above. Me and my pal Jerko used to watch the hell out of the CLERKS Animated Series back in the day, and I always liked the character designs from the show. My Jay and Bob are influenced by that style, with my own interpretation thrown into the mix.

Here are a few scans of doodles before I jumped into Illustrator. As you can tell by the characters, the original concept was more “badass”.

Fingers crossed, lets see if Kevin digs this.

Signalnoise signing at Hal-Con 2011

Hey Atlantic Canada! I’ll be doing a signing this Saturday at Hal-Con 2011, Sci-Fi Fantasy and Comic Convention. In order to make this event special, I did a small 11 x 17 run of rare Signalnoise posters relating to movies and comics. All of the posters seen above will be available at the signing for a low $10 each, or 2 for $15. I’ll sign it up right there, and throw in some Signalnoise stickers and buttons.

None of these posters were previously available, and most will not be available again. Like I said, super low print run. You have to swing by the signing area at Hal-Con to scoop these. I’ll be signing 2pm to 3pm on Saturday afternoon but be sure to get there early in case these get snapped up quick.

A big thanks to my pal Cal over at the best comic shop in the world, Strange Adventures for hooking me up with this opportunity. Speaking of, he will be running Cal-Con at the shop this weekend where he’s running all kinds of specials and cool events.

So this weekend, let’s get our nerd on. See you there!

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.

DRIVE posters at the Signalnoise HQ

A small update out of sheer excitement. Not 30 minutes ago the delivery guy knocked at my door and dropped of the limited edition run of my DRIVE posters. Hands were shaking as I unwrapped these things and piled them on my drawing table to get them signed and snap a few shots. There’s #1 of 20 right there.

Like I said, this is an unofficial run which ends right here at these 20 sitting on my desk. A few VIPs are getting them, along with the 3 winners of the DRIVE Poster Giveaway over on Abduzeedo. If you haven’t entered, get over there and drop a comment.

And finally with a little luck, there might be some more interesting news to come. Stay tuned …

DRIVE movie poster

Upon the recommendation of several friends, namely Jason “Hobo With a Shotgun” Eisener, I finally sat down last week to watch DRIVE. The movie was said to be highly stylized and quite a surprise in it’s execution and originality. It didn’t disappoint, loved every second. Every once in a while a movie appears where midway through I think “Man, I’d love to design a poster for this thing.” Obviously, that happened with this film, so I got to it.

Here is my unofficial poster for DRIVE, standing at an official 24″ x 36″. I wanted to challenge myself to do something almost 100% digital paints, limited colour palette with very few effects. I used a similar process with my Hobo With  Shotgun poster, but streamlined everything this time around. Simplified the content. The film had a strong but modernized 80′s vibe, and I really wanted to keep that flavour intact. Listened to a pile of Kavinsky during production hoping to infuse some Night Call into the design.

Here’s a detail shot:

A couple of studies I created while planning things out:

This poster has been sent to the print shop and I’m awaiting a proof as we speak. I’m doing a super limited run to start things out, hand-signed and numbered. A handful are already spoken for by VIPs, but this Wednesday I’ll be announcing a giveaway to get a few of these posters into people’s hands, so watch out for that one. Details coming real soon.

If you haven’t seen DRIVE yet, get on it!

Hobo With a Shotgun: Poster process

If you’ve seen my Back to the Future presentation at any point this year you would have seen me tell the story of Hobo With a Shotgun and my involvement with the design of some of the elements. I’ve posted about the film before and talked about it on my broadcasts several times, but up until now the full behind-the-scenes gear was only shown onstage. It’s about time I retire that section of the presentation to launch it online for everyone to see.

It’s my favorite story to tell, my favorite project in recent years, and best of all it was all done for friends in order to help them with their project. That’s what it’s all about. We support each other around these parts and Dartmouth blood is thick, especially when being splattered onscreen. I was thrilled when Jason Eisener and Rob Cotterill asked me to design a Hobo poster. While not being the official one used, it was a wildly entertaining challenge. So lets load those barrels and get to it.

• Some Hobo poster thumbnails. Working out a concept.

• Full Rutger Hauer drawing, blue lead and ink.

• Digital concept mock-up #1.

• Digital concept mock-up #2.

• Digital concept mock-up #3. Boom!

I knew early on that I was going to digitally paint the poster, something I’ve been wanting to attempt for a while. A huge challenge, totally out of my comfort zone. I’ve been a big fan of guys like Drew Struzan and Bob Peak for a long time, so doing something like that offered up some unique obstacles which challenged my entire proces. Before I got to building the actual poster in Photoshop, I needed to have things planned out properly and extensively.

Shown above are my original concept sketches and digital mock-ups. I even went as far as doing a meticulous drawing of Rutger Hauer to get myself in the groove of capturing likeness in Photoshop. Again, something I’m pretty unfamiliar with. The digital mock-ups were unsuccessful from a design standpoint, but man, I still love that one of the Hobo blowing away the person looking at the poster. So funny.

• Palette samples.

The great thing about working with the guys is they have a really specific style in mind, and they can express it in art samples. Crazy helpful. Shown above are some color examples Jason sent over that he used as inspiration for the lighting and palette of Hobo. Bright pinks and purples are top priority, which I didn’t know since I hadn’t seen the film at this point. This really put me on the right path. Here are some digital mock-ups I put together with the new colours in mind.

• Digital concept mock-up #4.

• Digital concept mock-up #5.

I started some new mock-ups with the proper palette and vibe and things started to click. Again drawing on inspiration from Struzan, I collaged together some of the photos Jason sent over to get the composition nailed down. I can see a big Star Wars influence in there, which was fine since me and the Hobo guys are all kids of the ’80s. VHS culture, man. You might be able to see a Bill Sienkiewicz vibe in there too, I was looking at old Dazzler comic covers at the time.

• Vector colour palette test.

Once the composition was coming along, I decided to do a vector colour study before moving onto the digital paints. Having the photos were great, but I wanted to dilute the composition to know exactly what my palette was going to be. So I got rid of the details and roughed up the above image using simple shapes to represent the areas.

I should also mention that you’re going to see changes in layout and characters as we go. The poster was a total work in progress in terms of what characters would go where, even during the final stages.

• Starting in with the digital paints, blocking stuff in.

• Close-up of paint progress. More texture and detailing.

After all that planning I was finally able to leap into Photoshop and start building the paints. I took a semester of foundation paint at a local art school back in 2004, and even though I didn’t enjoy it that much I took from it some important techniques which lent itself quite well to Photoshop. I learned to block things in and layer colours on top of one another to build palettes and texture. Very helpful at this stage.

Shown above are my initial steps. Really rough and simple at tis point as I mapped things out. A big challenge was to let the brush in Photoshop act like paint. It was oksy to get a bit messy with it and let strokes fall outside the lines. It suited the content, y’know?

• Digital paint mid-point.

After many, many hours of digital painting the palette was starting to get away from me, as shown above. It didn’t have the life those initial compositions had and the colours were not near what I wanted. I did the “morning after” test, you know, when you sleep on it then wake up and hate what you’ve done? Yeah that. So I took an entire day, ripped apart my layers one by one and started adjusting everything. Added some new effects and dry brush textures to this thing.

By the end of the day, this is where I was:

• Palette and atmosphere revision.

Now we’re talking. This was where I wanted to be. I dug it, the guys dug it. We were off to the races.

• Final Hobo With a Shotgun poster.

So after a great many hours painting textures, splatters, characters, lighting and effects … the final poster emerged. The scene changed as I went, but it captured that initial flavour we all really wanted. Something fun, and cool, which would be very happy on the cover of a sun-bleached VHS box.

In the end, even though this wasn’t used as the official Hobo poster or box art, I wouldn’t trade this project for the world. It was created for a killer movie, a killer Dartmouth movie, for my friends. And it offered up some real challenges which put me in a place I wasn’t familiar with. I learned a huge amount by working on this thing, about the medium and about myself as a creator. To date I’ve only printed 2 of these things at full movie poster size, but more are in the pipeline for sure. You’ve been warned. There you have it.

And finally, if you haven’t seen Hobo With a Shotgun yet … what the hell are you waiting for?

Movie poster for GAME

Here is the poster for GAME, an independent film being shot by my good friend Josh MacDonald right here in Dartmouth. I was intrigued by Josh’s project right from the start and was sold when I read the script. Excellent story with an excellent execution. Can’t wait to see this film for real.

This also gave me the opportunity to stretch my horror wings and create a poster on the darker end of the spectrum. Being an avid horror fan (mostly of the 70s and 80s era) I’ve been wanting to do something like this for quite some time, so I was excited when this project dropped on me. Loads of fun, and I had a great time looking through old posters for inspiration. I also knew early on that I wanted to combine 2 visuals into 1, the lady and the forest scene. Here are a couple of progress shots as I worked out the composition:

I’m sure you’ll be seeing more about GAME as news becomes available, but until then, why not check out the trailer to Josh’s other movie, The Corridor which is currently being shown at film fests all over the place.

New Signalnoise poster: Creator

If you’ve been following my Google+ page you would have seen me talking about this new piece over the past week. I was asked by the kind people at Advanced Photoshop Magazine to develop a design in order to break it down into a tutorial for the newest issue, so I set about building a new poster I call Creator.

Here’s the thing. I have a very organic, or maybe ‘crazy’ is a better word, method of conceiving and developing my artwork. I start out with an idea or concept then start chasing that image through my head by way of vectors, stock photography, personal assets and all the other nuts and bolts of my process. The problem is after I create something I’ll need to break it down into 18 easy-to-follow steps so readers can make their own piece. I can’t even explain how difficult that is for me to do. I even had a few bad starts on the job, here are some initial concepts:

In the case of Creator, I made a stripped down version for publication in Advanced Photoshop, then after the deadline I continued working on it to realize my initial vision for the final. More details, lighting, color adjustments and all that. I tinkered with this for weeks after it was sent off and had a ball doing it.

On the left is the final image I sent off to Advanced Photoshop for the tutorial, and on the right is work-in-progress version of the poster as I kept working on it. You will see all kinds of little changes I was making as I went along, involving little details, color adjustments, highlights and all that. I even swapped out the gem for a Tron disc thing. Great fun.

So keep an eye out for my tutorial in issue 85 of Advanced Photoshop Magazine. It should be on newsstands in the next month or so.