Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The Hold Steady poster now available + Winter Special Offers

I'm very pleased to announce my poster for The Hold Steady is now for sale.



3 colour screenprint, signed, numbered and limited to 100; £12 postage paid within the UK.

WINTERY OFFERS:

Melvins & Unsane Bundle

-- for a limit period, pick up my MELVINS and UNSANE posters together for the goodtime price of just £14 including postage.

Perfect as a last minute gift ideas for your rock loving lovers/friends/enemies.

HIDDENS Bundle -- choose a set of THREE of the square prints from my recent HIDDENS series for just £30 including postage -- or pick up the two longer prints, £25 for the pair.

PayPal and cheques in £ Sterling accepted. Drop me a line to register your interest via the details below, and have a look at my newly updated website for more eye-feastings.

Monday, September 08, 2008

The Melvins 2008 Process

I am very pleased to have been asked to produce another poster for one of my favourite bands, The Melvins, as part of the European leg of their 2008 tour.



I only had a few days to produce something in time to be able to print it, so I ended up deciding on an idea and just going for it. The results are a tiny bit rushed but I'm still pleased with the final print.

Most of the design process was done in Photoshop using the Wacom (this is one of those jobs where I am so glad I have one, as it proved to be a HUGE time saver).

Here are some of the printing pics (notice I ripped a screen...):









Tuesday, July 29, 2008

HIDDENS




A few people have asked me if I was going to do any kind of write up on the process involved in putting together this body of work, so here we go.

Putting together a solo exhibition of work is something I've been wanting to do for a long time and The Reliance in Leeds seemed like a great place to do so. I was actually offered an exhibition slot last year but it wasn't suitable due to buying and house (and all the 'fun' associated with getting a mortgage and moving!).

Earlier this year, though, I was finally able to nail down a timeslot in which I thought I'd be able to produce enough work and so started planning. This was a key part of what I wanted to do: book the exhibition slot before produing any of the work.

By drawing up a schedule and forcing myself to work to it, I hoped to come up with plenty of happy-accidents, spontaneous ideas, and challenge myself to keep things moving forward, using ideas from one piece to provide the momentum for the next. I didn't want to get bogged down with too much prep work, and instead wanted things to feel sponaneous, like the project was moving forward under its own steam.

Though sometimes hard, this process was very rewarding -- I found I would persevere with an idea that I wasn't initially keen on and once I had worked through the rough patch, I would end up with work I was much more satisfied with. Not only that but I would be coming up with new ideas while working on something else, and furiously scribling down sketches and notes to refer back to.

Aesthetic wise, the idea was to create a link between my client based work and my personal work, so some of the prints contain rearranged elements from gigposters, or are based on sketchbook imagery while working on client based projects.

When producing a poster or other imagery for a client, a lot of sketches and other ideas will be produced during the process, so this was a good way to more fully explore these. In some cases, I would attempt to 'recycle' an existing image by using it in a different way, for example I used the bottom portion of my Gallows poster, turning it upside down and having the rope of the noose form the stem of the roses on the piece 'Gallows Rose'.

As you will see from the pictures, the process of production is the same as how I usually work. Hand inked illustrations, scanned in and cleaned up in Photoshop and Illustrator and then output as colour seperated, film positives, ready for the screenprinting side of things. I did mean to keep a record of the number of hours spent drawing, at the computer, in the print studio, etc. but quickly lost track!

Bearing in mind I have a full time day job - producing the work and getting it all professionally framed, etc. pretty much took up all of my free time over the couple of months I spent working on this.

At the time of writing this, all the prints are still on display at The Reliance Bar & Restaurant, here in Leeds. One of the prints was also chosen to be part of the Open Artists Exhibition at the Leeds City Gallery, and will be on display there during August.

An online gallery of the Hiddens prints can be viewed here: www.armyofcats.com/art/hiddens

And this also has a full set of process pics. Here are just a few of them:





Friday, February 22, 2008

Abandon Ship -- A Gallows poster process...




Getting to do a gig poster for Gallows is a a pretty swanky deal, not least of all because they are a great live band and are causing quite a stir at the moment, but also because there is a wealth of subject matter available to use as imagery -- wolves, sharks, galleons, sea beasts, daggers, old school tattoos, and not to leave out, of course, the faithful old hangman's noose... all fair game.

The first thing I do when approaching a poster design is just work on the idea and direction. I want something which will work well as a poster but which fits the sound and aesthetic of the band. On the other hand, I still want to retain some of my own artistic style in the design and hopefully end up with something that not only am I pleased with but which fans of the band would be excited about displaying on their walls.

I start to sketch out tiny ideas and look through resources to pick out imagery and colours I like. The first batch of ideas revolve around wolves and I sketch up a very rough picture of a werewolf tearing a noose from its neck, full moon beaming in the background, Victorian dressed man shooting a gun in terror in the foreground. I like the idea that the man has been hung but cannot be killed, the moonlight revealing him to be a nasty lycanthrope.

Ultimately, I'm not sure it would work for the band as well as other imagery might. I start looking through some old Sailor Jerry tattoo designs and decide I'd love to do something similar. The image I settle on is that of an evil looking galleon, the prow of which is actually the arm of a gallows, with a noose swinging into the foreground. Add a scroll, perhaps some swallows, and it could be a winner.

I spend the weekend drawing the image of the galleon, and plan to add the scroll etc. as additional elements in Photoshop.



After scanning it in, vectoring the linework, and starting to play with composition on the computer I'm not really happy with how it's looking. I fear I may have moved entirely away from the 'old school tattoo' look by putting waaaaay too much detail into the ship. Bearing in mind I've spent a number of hours already on it, I'm hesitant to ditch it entirely and start on something else, especially since the band are itching to get previews of the poster designs to approve so I need to get something to them sharpish.

Then it hits me. The band have a song called "Abandon Ship". I chuckle to myself as this effectively makes the decision for me. Putting the abandoned ship illustration to one side, I turn back to my sketchbook.



A very, very rough sketch has something about it which I like, and I decide to go with it. Avoiding my previous mistake of killing the design with too much detail, I deliberately use a more restrained approach, inking with nice, solid brush-strokes until I have enough elements to scan in and finish up the design in Photoshop, using my Wacom tablet for colouring and additional linework.





I produce a rough version of the design to send to the band for approval. Once given the all clear, I produce colour seperations and high-tail it down to my local printers who output these onto acetate for me -- three sheets of A2, one for each colour I'll be printing. I also order the card stock and ink I'll be using.



A few days later, after a train journey to the printing studio, the posters are underway (see earlier in this Process blog for a more detailed look at the printing stage).











This part of the process can actually end up being pretty hard graft and I easily spend a full day in the studio, burning the screens, printing each colour 70+ times, making sure the registration is right, and washing everything up at the end.

Once all the posters are dry, I guillotine them to the right size, pack them up in my file case and jump on the train home.



At home I sort through the posters to check I'm happy with each of the prints, removing any which are not up to scratch. Once I know how many are in the edition, they are signed, numbered, stamped on the back and packed up ready to take to the gig.



Shown above are the 50 on 'bloodied nose red', 20 on 'coffee brown', and a very special one off artists' proof on salmon pink. The red will be available at the Leeds date of the Gallows tour on Sunday the 24th and the Leeds Met, with the rest being available via mailorder afterwards.

A lot of work goes into these beasts and, coupled with their limited availability, each one is a unique piece of original art in it's own right.

Cheers for reading!

armyofcats.com