Pro pellere (propulsion)

 

Propulsion started life simply as a musical composition project for me to experiment with in GarageBand, but then grew to include a supporting video clip and poster design. The song itself triggered a lot of imagery in my mind, particularly about motion, force and energy, so I felt quite compelled to go beyond just the tune itself and to make this a much larger venture than originally intended.

All of the space imagery and audio files are from NASA via the DVIDS (Defense Video & Imagery Distribution System) website, which allows anyone to create an account and freely download content for use.

The clip was produced in iMovie, with all of the various typographical elements created in Illustrator, and the images edited, altered and prepared in Photoshop. The poster and icon design captures all the impressive power and spectacle of a space launch, and is another Illustrator/Photoshop piece.

 

 

Propulsion

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Penniless panhandler

Penniless panhandler

The challenge of life in the Wild West

Finding a steady and successful income, even during the boom years of the Californian gold rush, was not an easy undertaking for those who made the long journey out west to start a new life and hopefully find their fortune. At the time America was suffering from a significant economic recession, which considerably contributed to the number of people desiring a move to find new employment and financial reward.

Unfortunately, many of those who endured and ultimately survived the arduous trek across the dangerous overland trails, found only limited work opportunities, poor living conditions, overwhelmingly addictive and debilitating drugs and vices, and severe competition for work due to the massive migration influx into the region. The city of San Francisco itself rose from a population of only a few hundred during the 1840’s, to over 20,000 by the start of the 1850’s.

Many lost their entire savings simply making the journey westward, were robbed or swindled in the often lawless towns and cities, or were then financially ruined by the high cost of equipment and supplies from unscrupulous merchants who quickly took advantage of the numbers requiring their goods and services. Without striking it rich on the goldfields and possessing very little or no money, many people could not find any available housing or employment, and soon found themselves as homeless and itinerant paupers, forced to panhandle on the street to get through another day. This situation could befall both the relatively rich and the poor, as there was no discrimination regarding bad luck, injustice, crime and corruption. Life in the new frontier proved to be extremely risky and uncertain, and a very tough challenge to survive.

My illustration shows a homeless man, formerly gainfully employed, who still attempts to retain a little self-respect by presenting himself with some decency. He has been inspired by various real and fictional western characters, and was an idea I had struggled with for some time, as I sought to find the correct technique and final composition for such a period portrait. Completed in Photoshop CS5 using a few of my custom brushes.

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!

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!

60’s American Heavy Metal

60's American Heavy Metal

My first completed design from a planned series of prints, collected under the Motor Style Inc tagline. This series will feature a variety of different illustration styles and techniques, celebrating the unique visual style of classic motorized vehicles, vintage and historic motorsport, and other associated transportation areas of interest.

The three automobiles pictured in 60’s American Heavy Metal are a 1965 Buick Electra (top), described in the sales brochure as “It’s big, it’s sleek, and it rides like a dream,” a 1968 Ford Thunderbird (centre),“Thunder for sale: 2 doors or 4,” and a 1967 Mercury Cyclone GT (bottom), “Delivers go that can shove you right back into your bucket seat.”

There are so many great American cars from this period, which was an interesting time for auto manufacturers after the excessive design extravagance of the 1950’s. I’ve chosen just three models here that display the typical solid chunkiness seen through much of the 1960’s, and which would continue on into the following decade.