Film typography

To Hell with the PreacherThe Cryptozoologist
Custom logotypes for two film projects. Both of these designs started as quick pencil sketches, which were scanned and placed into Adobe Illustrator, where I used them as a guide to begin the process of building the vector shapes of the characters. To Hell with the Preacher is a western genre film, so I was keen to create a handmade style referencing typography of the late 1900′s, as was regularly seen on all forms of signage, printing and advertising. I’ve deliberately incorporated a few unusual adjustments to the letterforms and approached this concept with both a historic and modern outlook to match the storyline of the proposed film.

The Crytozoologist is a documentary style short film, telling the story of a retired man living in the Adelaide Hills, who believes in mysterious creatures, and obsessively strives to locate proof of their existence. My logotype references the many powerfully dramatic advertisements and handbills from the 1800′s and early 1900′s, where promoters used ornate theatrical typography to publicise their attractions to an audience eager to witness remarkable wonders from around the globe. The background image includes a photo taken of a full moon together with multiple texture overlays, and visually captures the hidden and mysterious nature of these curious creatures.

A pickle of a story!

RCHRD’S GLSSS ND TH WRRNG NGHBRSRCHRD’S GLSSS ND TH WRRNG NGHBRS is an entertaining eBook written by new authors Julie and Luca Harper, mostly about Giant Spider Crabs, Greater Bulldog Bats, Green Iguanas, maths, music, timekeeping and vowels!

I was asked to provide a cover design, including a full series logotype and hand lettering, plus a few mono interior illustrations (three shown below) for the book, which at times proved to be more challenging and time intensive than I had envisaged.

RGNTWN_ShoppeRGNTWN_Boris and EddieRGNTWN_Clearview Village mapThe mono illustrations were completed in Illustrator using the pressure sensitive blob brush, and were created as loosely sketched pieces, capturing some of the energy found in the written style of the book. The main characters themselves proved to be somewhat hard to successfully define and capture accurately, and we went through a number of iterations and revisions before I produced the simple character sketches for protagonists Nigel Le Nez, and Madame La Bouche.

RGNTWN_Nigel Le NezThese hand drawn pencil sketches then became desired final art, with colour added (as seen above) to match the cover formatting. This wasn’t planned, and it introduced a number of design issues to solve, as the two standing characters dramatically altered the spacing and balance of all the cover elements, which required an intensive rethink of the layout to retain a reasonable design structure.

Ultimately the client was happy – which is all that really matters – and the book moved on into the final production stage. It is now available to purchase from Amazon for Kindle, or the Kindle Reader App, and can be downloaded HERE. So, if you know someone who would like to read a fast paced rollicking story for 7-10 year olds, then I can fully recommend the eBook as a highly entertaining reading experience. And, don’t worry, the vowels are supposed to be left out!

RCHRD'S GLSSS

Typographical Defense Bureau

Typographical Defense BureauTypographical Defense BureauThe ongoing war against bad typography continues!

In a world now flooded with poorly executed communication and promotional material, only a dedicated and vigilant resistance against offensive and unacceptable typographical crimes will see us gain a much needed victory. Be part of the solution and join the freedom fight from bad type today!

100 Tours

100th Tour de FrancePoster design commemorating the 2013 Tour de France – the 100th edition of this famous event. This year the riders will cover a total of 3,403 kilometres (2,115 mi), made up from 21 stages of racing around France.

The main image was created in ArtRage Studio Pro, ‘Le Tour’ title hand drawn and edited in Illustrator, and the final layout composed in Photoshop, where textures and effects were added.

Motor Style Inc.: Rallye Monte Carlo

Rallye Monte Carlo
Second print in my Motor Style Inc series. This poster design celebrates the historic Rallye Monte Carlo, and shows a classic Mini Cooper from 1965. This event was originally held to test the durability of car models and their current technology, with competitors starting from various points around Europe. Converging to finish in Monaco after surviving numerous hazardous road conditions, which included snow and ice during both day and night, completion of the event would offer manufacturers invaluable publicity and promotion, together with the prestige of a strong finishing result. A brief and entertaining video showing the 1963 event can be seen here, where you can also read a short history about the event during the 60s.

This is a digital illustration completed in Photoshop CS5, and the Monte Carlo type is custom designed by me for this poster to reflect hand drawn type from the period.

Prints of this poster (plus t-shirts) can be purchased from my online store at Society6.

The Indian Wars

The Indian Wars

Custom typography for The Indian Wars. The vector letterforms and composition were created in Illustrator, with the final textures and effects added in Photoshop. This was a design concept requiring a specific style of hand lettering that I’d had in mind for some time – happily the final outcome is still very close to my original idea, even though a number of changes were made during the design and construction process.

This piece was then used in my book cover design concept, along with an illustration of attacking Indians, which was also created in Photoshop (detail image below).

The Indian Wars book coverIndians!

Concept art for Raven Grave

Raven Grave_environment01

Raven Grave_environment02

Raven Grave_environment03

Raven Grave_characters

Raven Grave_PS3 cover

Raven Grave: asleep in darkness is a suspenseful, otherworldly adventure – a mature exploration of personal relationships and individual behavior amid upheaval, regret and recriminations. Set within the extensive and desolate wilderness of a decaying country estate, unspoken truths and unresolved conflicts provoke deadly situations and confrontation with both human and supernatural adversaries.

Disturbingly beguiling and completely without comparison, Raven Grave: asleep in darkness is a sophisticated and elaborately complex adult allegory, ruminating on our frequently dark existence in-between joyous birth and the ultimate finality of death.

Hero or villain? You decide!

Maximan

I’m not sure which side he represents – possibly plays for both teams; whoever offers the biggest bounty wins. What is guaranteed is that he’d pursue you with maximum effort and intensity.

BANG! – a Western adventure

bad guys with big guns

The American West has long held a fascination for many people – myself included. I’ve lately been reading a lot about exploration expeditions, fur trapping mountain men, cow-towns and cattle barons, pioneers, railroad entrepreneurs, prospectors and miners, cowboys, Indians, and the battles that defined this time and place.

Amongst my reading material has been stories describing the escapades of Billy the Kid, which has inspired the hand lettered illustration piece above. Watching Hell on Wheels has certainly fired the imagination too!

SF & Fantasy masterpieces: cover designs

Something Wicked This Way Comes

I’ve read a wide variety of science fiction and fantasy novels over many years, so thought I’d follow the creative footsteps of the many designers and illustrators who have created their own cover designs for favourite and popular books. From all that I’ve read there are a few that stood out as both great works of fiction, and also as stories offering different visual styles to design with. I decided to call this collection the ‘Modern Masterwork’ series, which would therefore define these as special edition covers.

Above is the fantastic Something Wicked This Way Comes from Ray Bradbury. I’m yet to encounter another writer who can paint a picture and convey a mood quite like Bradbury can – he is a true master of elegant writing that captures the spirit of his characters and the times they live in. The story is based in Green Town, which set the colour tone for my design, and also features some quirky hand lettering to match the dark carnival theme.

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

The central icon on the cover above for The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy came to me as part of another idea, but quickly transitioned to this cover design for the intergalactic Douglas Adams novel. I was always wanting this to be a quite basic and very graphically sharp design, which to me fits the written style of the series, particularly in comparison to the other two chosen books. I’m amazed at just how many phrases and concepts from Hitchhiker’s have made it into popular culture – a true phenomenon!

Neuromancer

William Gibson is the most acclaimed writer of what is known as the cyberpunk genre. Gibson is credited as devising the term ‘cyberspace’ in a story published in 1982 – a description that soon became commonly used when referring to the internet. The award winning Neuromancer is the first novel in his Sprawl trilogy, a landmark series that has had a heavy influence on arts, media and technology, since release. This novel was a sensory explosion when I first read it, as the concepts involved were mind bending in their depth and complexity. Gibson had expertly created a futuristic vision of a down and dirty technological corporatized state, populated with some seriously cool and unique characters.

I’ve chosen to create an uncluttered design that shows a hint of the stylistic look of the 80′s, with significant space and deliberate prominence given to the author and title. The pattern hints at neural networks and the hacker process within the mind.

The Urbane Toad

The Urbane Toad

Visual ideas for a wide range of illustrations regularly pop into my head, particularly when out for a walk – just as this concept did on a sunny day a few weeks ago. I decided that a ‘dandy’ gentleman toad would fit the bill, and look quite suitable, as per my original idea, which desired a portrait pose combined with a loose hand-lettered title, and just a little bit of fancy detailing.

I had already been researching and looking for helpful toad and frog images some time back, for what will be a reasonably detailed multiple animal characters piece – that one is still to be worked out and started. I’d also had a good look at The Wind In The Willows illustrations (by many different artists) for useful inspiration, so after finding a small collection of images of 1800′s gentlemen attired in the required clothing, I started to sketch out a rough character and then move into Adobe Illustrator to create the artwork. I trialled quite a number of colour options along the way, before settling on this combination of earthy greens and reddish browns. Hope you like my sophisticated and refined amphibian friend!

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