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.

Prince

At the last minute I was offered a ticket to see Prince perform live in Halifax. Most of my friends were already going and I was on the fence long enough to assume I wouldn’t be going. Really happy that wasn’t the case. I’m familiar with some of Prince’s material, but not nearly enough as I should be. I do like how Prince goes about his work very differently then other musicians, really cares about his craft and it shows. And for what it’s worth, I always liked that symbol of his … great ideas wrapped in there.

His show last night was one of the best I’d ever seen. He makes the standard stage/audience set-up look really lazy. He and his performers danced around his giant logo, lights galore. Amazing spectacle to see. I snapped the photo seen above during the show (which I wasn’t allowed to do), a fluke moment that captured some beautiful colours right when that orange spotlight hit me. Liked it so much, I aped the colours to make a Prince design, seen above.

If you have the chance to see him live, highly recommend it.

Jay and Silent Bob: Colouring Contest!

Hey kids! Here is my Jay and Silent Bob Get Old: Colouring Book Edition. An outlined version of my Jay and Silent Bob Get Old Canadian tour poster launched yesterday.

Instructions are simple. All you have to do is click this link to open the PDF, print it on your home printer, crack out the coloured pencils or crayons and get to work.

Colouring Contest!

But wait, there’s more. A contest even. Colour up the Jay and Silent Bob page, scan it in, post it online and drop a link in the comments below. The only rule is NO COMPUTERS. If I smell a hint of Photoshop, instant disqualification. I want this thing coloured old school … crayons, coloured pencils, watercolours, anything that doesn’t include Photoshop. Get wild. Draw in a background. Be creative. Enter as many times as you’d like.

The winner will receive a copy of my Jay and Silent Bob Get Old Canadian Tour poster, along with some killer Jay and Bob swag generously donated by Strange Adventures. We got Jay and Silent Bob action figures, the Bluntman and Chronic graphic novel and a Buddy Christ figure. What a haul.

Entry period starts now and will end December 12, 2011, the day Kevin Smith and Jason Mewes are in Halifax. Get colouring!

UPDATE: The entry period has closed. Thank to everyone who submitted! Winner will be announced on Wednesday, December 14.

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.