Doodles and things that I found under the sofa cushions
I was commissioned recently to produce a poster for the Sage Gateshead, to promote the visit of St Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra. The Marketing chief Elliot Elam is a pal of mine, and a brilliant illustrator in his own right whose work you can see here: elliotelam.com
The brief was simple – include the distinctive Sage building and the looming St Petersburg skyline. I sent some roughs over and we decided on a front-on composition to keep it simple, with the sky merging into the Tyne, the reflected lights on the boats describing the water.
The good thing about working with a pal, and an illustrator at that, is that when I said I wanted to start again – quite far down the line – he cut me some slack. Although this version would be a fairly competent illustration, it just wasn’t going to work as a poster. It’s nice but boring (and all that purple was starting to get a bit Disney).
It’s a gamble, but sometimes just starting again is the quickest way forward if you find yourself pushing things around the page hoping an illustration will ‘click’. A strategically placed boat and tree let me get away with hiding the horizon line, slimming the format down pushes your eyes up the image, and Russian stars (for a poster it’s healthy to be unafraid of cliche) work as stylised fireworks – the concert takes place on November 5th – without it going all Disney again. I put on some chunky type , placed the Sage logos on the same eyeline and hopefully it’s an image that feels immediately Russian and exciting.
(click on the image for a nice sharp version)
My final piece of work for HBO was a series of t-shirt designs celebrating ‘Westeros’ Most Deadly’. The brief was simple – one colour art of a Human, White Walker, Dragon and Dire Wolf. The trick was getting close enough to the subjects without having a hard, cropped edge, or holding shape (always a dead giveaway that the art hasn’t been created for the t-shirt), so I used negative space – the horse, shield etc. to blend the images back into the tees. They were produced colour on colour (the images at the bottom are a reasonable approximation). Working strictly in black and white was a good exercise, usually I go to town with colour. Then come back from town with tons more.
The Beautiful Death logo is something I made for fun. What do you mean that doesn’t sound like much fun?
I was commissioned to produce one last Beautiful Death for HBO, as an exclusive for SDCC (San Diego Comic Convention). The subject is Shae, strangled by Tyrion. It’s a pretty desperate scene. Cross referencing with the books, the Hand of the King wears a chain of interlocked hands. Both father and son had been the Hand of the King, both are responsible for the death so the idea was suddenly obvious.