Monday, October 19, 2009

Messin' with Type!

One of the reason I love doing posters and book covers is to have the opportunity to do something fun with type. Each letter has its own character, its own essence, and it's fun to try to craft something new that still captures the essence of the letter. But just as important as the letter forms is the shape of the word, and how that shape and style relates to the meaning the word or name represents.

What started me thinking about doing a blog post on my type work was a job I got recently doing just the type for an ad. The assignment was to make the words look like a bunch of spilled water being soaked up by this sponge. It took a lot of back and forth with the art directors, but I'm really happy with how it turned out.

Of course, I'm usually doing type for posters. Sometimes, I start with an existing typeface, and I'll embellish and distort it as I see fit. That's how I did this type for the poster I did for the Pixies: I started with the word set in a circus font called Captain Howdy (a dorky name, I know, but what do you expect from a circus font?), and I just re-drew it and embellished it till it looked right.

But more often I draw the type freehand. I have a few different "modes" of doing type. One is a sort of spooky serifed typeface, where I use the serifs (the horizontal caps you have in a face like Times or Garamond) almost as decorative elements that taper and spindle off in different directions. (It should be clear how much of a debt I owe to the type designs of the filmmaker Tim Burton, who must be the most multi-talented man on the planet.)

Here's another in this halloween-ish style, which was part of a poster I did for Rupa and the April Fishes (this is the type for the opening band):

I also have a loopier, more fluid type design that I like to do, that is less spooky and halloweenish. Here's what I did for the Stern Grove festival -- this type appeared on the poster and was also separated out for banners and signs and things at the event.

I used this style of type for the cover of the 7x7 magazine that I did last June:

And for the logo for the fantastic band the Sippy Cups, a children's psychedelic rock band that I do a lot of art for. (If you go to their site, check out the nice way they "flashified" the logo in the corner of their splash page!)

I've got more type projects coming up, so I'll post those when they're ready!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Some Recent Work!

It's been so long since I've blogged anything new that I now have a backlog of items I haven't posted. So I'll start with the most recent, which is the piece I did for the California State Lottery's Free Music series:

So often I don't ever get to see my illustration work out doing it's job in public. But the other day, on my way down 24th Street in the Mission, I came across the lottery posters plastered all over the place:

I've had posters of my work wheatpasted around town before, but it's usually political posters that we've put up illegally. Kind of strange to see my work posted legally and in full compliance with all laws and permits!

Back in June, I completed the artwork for the first in a series of young adult novels from MacMillan in the UK, called "The Last Ghost: A Belladonna Johnson Adventure."

I'm really happy with the result, and the decision by designer Rachel Vale to reverse the image on the back, making the spine of the book the trunk of the tree. It's really satisfying to work with talented art directors!

The image is simple, but as with so many of these types of images, there is a lot of work that goes on behind the scenes. Here are just a few of the many color sketches I produced for this job -- as you can see, we tried a bunch of different approaches before settling on the girl in the tree.

Also in June, I did the cover for San Francisco's 7x7 Magazine. I love getting a call to do a magazine cover, but when it's your own city, and the issue is the Best of the City issue -- well, that's just extra flattering. Here's what some of the earlier versions looked like:

One thing that was a treat for me was that the art director chose to print this using Pantone colors rather than CMYK, so I got to choose two Pantones I love, and we ran the turquoise at different screens to get different shades. If you can find a printed copy of the magazine, you can see what difference to the color it makes!

I'll be posting more regularly in coming weeks and months!


Sunday, March 15, 2009

Anarchist Bookfair Poster Set — benefit for Tristan Anderson

My friend Tristan Anderson has been critically wounded at a protest in the West Bank. I don't know all the details, but apparently the injury is from a teargas projectile fired by Israeli soldiers. The injury is very serious, and Tristan is going to need help from his community in the coming months.

To help raise money for Tristan's recovery, I've put together 20 complete sets of the 6 posters I have done for the Bay Area Anarchist Bookfair over the years. Posters are all offset litho, all 11x17 except for the 2004 poster which is 12x18, all are mint condition and signed by the artist.

Anarchist Bookfair Poster Set: Benefit for Tristan Anderson

Your $100 will go directly to a fund for Tristan. I don't have information on the name of the fund at the moment, but I will post that just as soon as I have it.

My thoughts go out to Tristan and his family. He is one of the most positive, engaged and energetic activists I know, and I hope he can make a speedy recovery.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

The Monster Under the Bed -- Art Show in Albuquerque

Mati and I have an art show open now through the 28th in Albuquerque. Turns out Albuquerque is a lot farther away than I thought. It took us three days of driving to get there (we drive slow.) We spent the days between Christmas and New Years hanging the show and painting a full size mural in the gallery of the Harwood Art Center.

The show is called The Monster Under the Bed, which seemed an appropriate title for the dreamy and nightmarish imagery in both of our work. Nick and Amy of the Church Animals came out to play for us on opening night. Here are some pics!

And here's a video we produced of the mural we painted on the back wall of the gallery, featuring music by the amazing Church Animals. Hope you like it!

The show is up until January 28th, and the a version will be coming to San Francisco in February -- opening Feb 13 at aMuse Gallery, details to come!