Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Singin' the Poster Blues

This year's idea sketches
with the last two years artwork in the background.

It's that time of year, when I start thinking about creating the artwork for Granville's Hot Licks Bluesfest.  This year, the headliners are: Johnny Winter and Rory Block, two super talented blues giants. 

I found some really cool reference photos and started working with those, keeping as far from the exact photo as I could (I don't want to get a letter from some photographer's copyright attorney). I kept getting nowhere. The sketches were dull, something was missing. I wasn't getting what I wanted. It was driving me crazy. There were some "O.K." designs but this is the Hot Licks Bluesfest...O.K. wouldn't cut it!

Then, I realized that I was too focused on the reference photos. I kept forcing the poster design to conform to the pictures. They were preventing me from finding a great solution to the poster design.

I put everything away and started over, trying to capture an overall energy in the composition. After I got a descent design, I could find or construct some photo reference to support it. Plus, this wasn't suppose to be a Johnny Winter or Rory Block poster. It's a Hot Licks Bluesfest poster. Although I like to include something that relates to the headliner, it isn't a portrait. 


Thumbnail (idea) sketches approx. 1.5 x 2.5 inches.

Finally! I started to see something that I liked. The sketch on the left seemed a little too country.  It's the Blues-fest...not Country-fest.

Note to self:
Remember to keep it simple. Focus on big shapes instead of detail.
Detail will come later.

Then, from the thumbnail sketch, I enlarged the design and blocked in the shapes

Sketches were done on tracing paper so that I could refine the drawing and add more detail on each layer.

Then it started to feel right. It had some energy. It had some burn and despair...it's the Blues, baby.  And, I could finally stop singin' the Blues Poster Blues.



Final sketch, ready to submit for approval.
The space along the left side is for sponsor logos.

So, I'm back on track...ready to get to it! This week, I start the final artwork. 

I'll keep you posted.