It was a strange experience and I felt like a time traveller, actually drawing on paper to make a poster.
The Empire Strikes Fast is an energetic fan-pastiche stage show of the scifi classic, happening May the 4th (uh, details on the poster, if you happen to be in Wellington, New Zealand, that Monday). I was asked for a speedy image featuring the dark lord, hand drawn and hand lettered “by tomorrow if possible”. Challenge accepted! I even used a dip pen, just to take it all a little further up the absurdity curve, as my slightly higher-tech technical pens proved in need of some serious maintenance after not being used for a couple of years. Once I started scribbling it was hard to stop, although the lack of an undo key was a little hard to adjust to.
I cheated of course, working out the layout in Photoshop first, and beefing up the colouring in Photoshop afterwards, but it was rather fun going old-school for the key parts of executing an image.
Next task is creating some props for the shows, beginning with a wampa-ish creature to menace our hero.
I recently spent a day in a tattoo design class. The sketches on the left are some initial playing with ideas, the one on the right was roughly drawn on an actual arm*, to get the proper non-flat shape. That outline was then copied onto plastic and then traced back on paper for some refining.
* It was the tutor’s arm. It’s a dedicated tutor who takes their shirt off to allow students to draw on him in felt pen!
Another great show from the Wellington Improv Troupe is due to start soon, a nine week soap opera, and I’ve been having a bunch of fun making some publicity material for it.
My bit of the project started with a half-hour photo shoot (that half hour included setting up the lights and photographing about 7 performers in different combinations). Then there was the real work of making online banners and icons, fliers and an A0 poster for the venue window. I love playing with retro design, but the 1980s when the show is set ain’t quite a classic era yet – the challenge was to evoke a ‘design essence’ of 1982, but not in such a way that it’s going to be mistaken for merely accidental old fashioned styling. The design also needed to let the possible audience know this will be more comedy melodrama than serious exploration of New Zealand education in the Muldoon years.
If you are in Wellington on a Wednesday during August and September, you should definitely come to the Fringe Bar and check out the
poster show for yourself!