Vintage console illustrations





Super Nintendo



After landing back in Dartmouth following 2 weeks on the road, I was pretty beat out. Dealing with jetlag, managed to catch a cold, and all the other aches that come along with massive travel. On top of that, I had a pretty rad movie poster project squashed at the last minute, which put me in a bit of a funk.

So when downer stuff like this happens, I do what I’ve always done: play. I needed a change in subject and style. Something new I could explore and experiment with. What you see above are 6 illustrations of classic game consoles and peripherals that I put together over the weekend. Nothing profound here as I’m playing with new techniques and trying to get my footing.

I’ve always been interested in illustration styles from the 60s and 70s, but on top of that I’ve been really into modern designers’ work that have a rough edge. People like Invisible Creature, We Buy Your Kids, Sam Smith and Tom Clohosy Cole. I’m the kind of artist who likes his precision, but I’m forcing myself to leave mistakes in there and to NOT make them perfect. Even roughing things up with grain and brushes to make them almost painterly, and skewing perspective. For the process nerds, I built my base shapes in Illustrator and all textures were done in Photoshop.

Big thanks to those on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook for pitching in some feedback as I build these things. Your thoughts mean a lot.

Where is this leading? Who knows. But I can tell you I’m having way too much fun to leave this alone. Loose plans, man. Watch this space…






12 responses to “Vintage console illustrations”

  1. Kyle Avatar

    ah ha! I knew there had to be a reason behind these! left me hangin’ for the whole weekend trying to come up with a reason for ’em! keep up the good work! always look forward to Signalnoise designs!

  2. Tommy Avatar

    These are great, James!

  3. Chris Avatar

    These are great! Nostalgic!:D
    It was awsm to finally meet you live and up close during the Graphika Manila 2013! See you soon! :D

  4. davevsdave Avatar

    These look incredible. I love your use of subtle brush strokes in conjunction with the noise/overall retro styling.

  5. beekay Avatar

    The colours are fantastic. Great work!

  6. Greg Avatar

    These look awesome but no love for Atari 5200? I grew up playing that system, even if it came out before I was born,

  7. Jerko! Avatar

    Dude, these are awesome! The look of a Super Nintendo controller makes me pretty glad I got to experience it when it came out. Are you gonna do any of Mario Paint?

  8. Dave Hardy Avatar

    I really dig these, James. The style is a good mashup of the vintage illustration you were aiming for, and the “speckled gradient” (as I’ll call it) that is a calling-card of sorts in much your work.

  9. Simon H. Avatar

    Hey James,

    These are pretty lovely. One more, and you have a set of 8 prints that would just look lovely on a wall. I would just remove the brands, or some of the text (the “power” and “reset” on the SNES buttons for instance) to make them a tad less distracting elements, and booyaa.

  10. ricardo machado Avatar

    Hey james. The light source in these illustrations is really fantastic. This must be the next Signalnoise broadcast topic… right? :)

  11. Leukocyt Avatar

    Posters! Gimme!

  12. Adam Vogel Avatar

    Totally digging these, would love to see them as posters!

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