Evolution of a theatre poster

August 6th, 2011 Comments 1

Hello, been away from blogging for a while, busy creating a new life for my play.  I will be performing it next January and February, more about that another time…

So, with new life comes a new image and even a new name!

My play, previously called Dance Beast Voice Monster – Mooing for the Soul is now called, (drumroll…)


Obviously my simplification brain-lobe has recently been activated.

You can see the previous posters here and earlier versions here.  I was really happy with the posters I made first time around, but when I arrived at the venue last February they didn’t stand out at all.  I thought all the colour would make them pop out, but instead they made a beautiful blended backdrop for all the other posters.  On top of that I needed to make the artwork look less like children’s theatre.  Although I love childishness, and I use a child’s persona in the show (amongst others), it is definitely a show for adults, with a darker edge. 

Would you like to see how my poster has evolved over the past three weeks of blood sweat and tears?

I started with one idea – a close up of my face with costume from a scene I’m using in the trailer, to be surrounded by painted artwork… somehow.

outdoor idea with crown

(Here I am using my mum’s solar cooker as a light reflector.)

The problem was, having seen my artwork on the walls of the theatre not working, it had shifted my confidence in my own artistic judgement, this made it quite hard to follow my own ideas, as I didn’t know if I could trust them.  Instead I listened to other people.  Which is good too of course.  I’m sure there’s an ideal balance to be found between listening to other people and to yourself.  I spent a week brainstorming and sketching pages of poster ideas.  I studied great cinema posters and National Theatre posters (they have a fantastic archive).  I realised that in no way am I a graphic designer. 

Deciding on one idea whilst not listening enough to my own judgement was… interesting.  But decide I did. 

Something a bit like this:

Wild pencil sketch

or this:

Wild pastel sketch

We did a photo shoot and I chose this photo:photo1

(second choice would have been this, in which I have somehow managed to capture the jaunty angle of ‘being on a ship’  -photo on a ship

inexplicable, but true.)

Next came painting the artwork, learning a bit more about typography by copying fonts I like:Wild typography crop

(this was the most fun thing to do).  After that came scanning everything and assembling all the pieces.  There followed two gruelling days of sitting in front of a computer for 12 hour stretches trying to make the material work together in time for my deadline.  And here are all the fun things we made!

The beginning:
Postcard 1

the wrong proportions version:
Postcard 2

the version that was closest to what I was aiming for but in real life looked hmmmm:Postcard 3

the ‘My Little Pony’ version:
Postcard My Little Pony

I may point out that after many hours of staring at your own face it starts to lose all meaning – like saying the same word over and over again.

The Polar Bear version (brilliant, not my idea, also no Polar Bears in the show (yet…)),
Postcard Bear

the wings version (I like it – but snow angel isn’t really the look I’m going for),Postcard Wings

and finally the one I ended the night in despair on:Postcard Blob on the I

Overnight I racked my dreaming brains for a better idea.  I like the red theatre curtain poking out in the original photo, so I bounded to the computer the next morning to try this:Postcard Curtains

A crude first attempt, but it didn’t inspire me to continue with the idea.  Undeterred I started listening more to myself about what the play is really about, what the nature of the play is.  ‘Theatre’ as a theme started to make sense, and I wanted something more fun and less pastel purple.

Two more days of painting and research produced these ideas:Wild ribbon banner resized

proscenium arch line drawing

which I liked on paper but just didn’t fit together with the photo. 

I felt so frustrated at this point.  I wanted something that would genuinely reflect the show, be strong, eye-catching and adult as well as fun.  Finally I decided to go back to the colour scheme of my previous posters, but even that was all wrong.  I needed a black background, not a white one. 
Aha!  Then, as if by magic, everything slotted into place.  I made some more artwork on black paper (in an hour, not two days).  Oh yes, this was also the day I began learning how to use the graphic design software (Xara if you’re interested).  Learning curve set to steep.

I assembled this, entitled “finally something that might work”:
finally something that might work 1

I then spent far too long handwriting the copy for the back only to find it was unreadable.  So I stayed up late making my own handwriting font with Scanahand (I recommend).  More interminable hours in front of a screen tweaking ridiculous minute detail has finally brought this version, now winging it’s way to me from the printer (another drumroll, if you please)…WiLD Front Final small

So there you have it. 

And if any of you dare to suggest that one of the previous versions is actually ‘your favourite’ then someone may have to play me the grumpy song, because I will need it.

(I’m actually really pleased!)

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