The Saga Continues…

The final design

So you may have read my recent post on how I got into designing posters and I thought it would be great idea to share with you some insight into my creative process.

Most of my work is based on my own favourite movies from years gone by, so in the past Ive produced my own take on posters for Back to the Future, Jurassic Park and Forrest Gump. My aim is always to take something great (like Drew Struzan’s BTTF poster) and do something completely different.

The process begins by watching or re-watching the movie in question. In the case of Forrest Gump, I recorded it over the Christmas holidays and watched it across a couple of nights (I’d forgotten how long that movie is!!) Sometimes things in certain films just seem to jump out as a “that would make a cool poster” moment, other times it can take a lot longer before the ideas start flowing. In the case of Forrest it actually took a few days before it dawned on me that his wide range of jobs would make for a great design. After a bit of research and with a bit of creative wording it was possible to ensure that every job featured on the poster began with the letter ‘F’, (as in F for Forrest, F for Football player/Father/Fruit company shareholder etc) and so it was born.. ‘The Finest Features of Forrest Gump’.

Now I had my idea, next I started to sketch layouts as the structure of a poster can be crucial. In my type of work I feel this is even more important as many people frame my work and put them up in their homes and offices. For me that is the greatest endorsement of my work, if someone is willing to decorate their home with one of my prints I take it as a real compliment. I always make sure that whatever I produce is something that I would be proud to show off in my own home.

Basic layout and ideas for each frame

Once the layout is roughly finalized I start to develop the main graphical devices. In this case it was important that I found an illustrative style that matched the simplicity of Forrest as a character but retained my own style.  I wanted to design a Forrest like character before I applied his various uniforms, accessories and backgrounds.

TOP: An early illustration of Forrest. BELOW: A basic line drawing of Forrest

This can be tricky, especially with this design as the character would be seen repeatedly in the design, so it had to be right. I tried numerous sketches before I ended up settling on the angular illustrated style seen on the final print. I was heavily influenced by the angular illustrations seen in the title credits of The Incredibles and Catch Me if You Can.

The Incredibles opening titles

Opening credits from Catch me if you can

Once I was happy with the Forrest illustration I scoured the Internet for reference images. Id already written a list of various jobs Forrest undertook in his story so I Googled my way through the Internet looking for screenshots, props and photographs from the movie. With a screen full of reference I began to work, directly in Adobe Illustrator as I played with colours, line thicknesses and various poses. My aim was to keep the poster as true to the style of the movie, so it was to be very simple, with soft colours and the continuity of Forrest in similar poses through when possible.

A basic 12 colour palette was chosen to be used throughout the print (shown as the bottom 12 coloured squares)

Once all of the “Forrest’s” had been created I set to work on some additional details such as backgrounds and accessories. To finish off, I introduced the frames to pull the overall design together based on the  first layout sketch shown earlier in this post.

Once I was settled on the final design I double checked for any mistakes, dodgy lines or anything that could spoil the print. After that a PDF was created and sent to my regular printer who got to work straight away on carefully reproducing the limited batch of prints.

The final design

Then I spend some time spreading the word about my latest piece of work. I do this not so much to make money, (trust me, by the time you factor in time spent on a design, plus printing, cost of postal tubes, bubble wrap, sticky tape & postage there isn’t really anything left!!!) but just for the enjoyment of letting others see what Ive produced. I have built up a steady list of contacts over the past year who are such a great support to myself and my work. I email each one of these guys, many of which run their own websites, blogs, movie companies, facebook pages and so on and give them a sneak peak of my work. I also upload my work to my blog and then share a link via a couple of social networking sites to let people know its available. Im extremely fortunate to have a loyal band of regular guys who seem to like what I do and word spreads pretty fast once I release a new poster. I try and make sure I regularly share a few links via twitter (without annoying people or clogging up peoples time-lines!) and I also have my own facebook group dedicated to my own posters. If people like what I do, they generally enjoy sharing it with others and in the past Ive been fortunate enough to have been featured on a number of blogs and websites which gives me a great buzz!

It's especially cool when a generic search brings up my work on the first page of google, along with the original movie poster!!!

So that’s it! Just a brief insight into what happens behind the scenes. If you have any questions, suggestions for future posters or you just fancy a chat, feel free to leave a comment below and Ill be sure to answer every one! Thanks for reading!

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One Response to “The Saga Continues…”

  1. Shani Lucas says:

    Love the Forrest Gump poster…really nails the character

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