Looking Down the Barrel

Looking Down the Barrel

Hand lettered cover art for Gone Troppo’s latest surf-rock single. Available to purchase from CD Baby.

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Gone Troppo: Sands of Time

Gone Troppo_Sands of Time
Cover designs for a new track by art-music collective Gone Troppo. This was an interesting design process, due to the songwriter requesting the investigation of an alternative approach that further referenced the ‘sand’ element from the song. My initial thoughts were that without the high contrast of the original blue & yellow design, the overall impression created by the thin linework would be too diluted and therefore not stand out enough at the small scale of an icon, which is where this artwork would mainly be viewed.

As it turned out, the design still works well with a lighter textured background and my concerns were proven incorrect. This is always an interesting part of the design process for me, and something I’ve regularly communicated to clients when changes are discussed. Many requested changes are often very difficult to judge accurately before simply trying them to see the actual impact on the finished design. Experience has shown me that some small adjustments can have a significant negative effect on a design, dramatically changing the flow, appearance or readability in a way that myself and/or the client will not accept. Current digital production methods certainly make it far easier to alter artwork and investigate options, especially compared to when my artwork was mostly hand drawn and assembled – but any changes incur extra time (and usually money) so the designer is responsible for efficiently advising a client and resolving all queries without futile and costly exploration.

My design features various elements from the song itself: a diamond, travel, a broken heart, the universe and a sunrise. The track is available to download at CD Baby.

A Snake in New York

SNAKE PLISSKEN print
I recently watched John Carpenter’s classic sci-fi film Escape from New York again, and was inspired to create a design featuring lead character Snake Plissken, played with rebellious coolness by Kurt Russell.

In 1988, the crime rate in the United States rises four hundred percent. The once great city of New York becomes the one maximum security prison for the entire country. A fifty-foot containment wall is erected along the New Jersey shoreline, across the Harlem River, and down along the Brooklyn shoreline. It completely surrounds Manhattan Island. All bridges and waterways are mined. The United States Police Force, like an army, is encamped around the island. There are no guards inside the prison, only prisoners and the worlds they have made. The rules are simple: once you go in, you don’t come out.

I’ve always liked the setting, atmosphere, music and general style of this cult movie since first seeing it back as a young teenager. Snake is a great hero character and was to later be the inspiration for Solid Snake from the popular Metal Gear video game series.

The typography I’ve created is based on the font style used in the film for the prison signage, which I think really captures the unique 80’s look of type design during this period and is what I believe to be the signature font for this great film.

Prints, t-shirts and more available to purchase at søciety6.

Snake Plissken tees

Let’s get ready to rumble!

Abbott vs Putin
Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott has stated that he plans to ‘shirtfront’ Russian President Vladimir Putin when he attends the G20 leaders’ meeting in Brisbane during November, due to Russia’s suspected involvement and lack of rescue assistance in the tragic downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 over the Ukraine in July.

Abbott was a student boxer and Putin is a bear-wrestling 6th dan judo and karate expert! BRING IT ON!!

Motorsport Heroes poster

Motorsport Heroes posterAfter considerable effort I’ve finally finished the latest design in my Motor Style Inc. series of prints. Motorsport Heroes has taken approximately 150 hours to complete, with a large amount of that time spent exhaustively researching all of the drivers and cars featured in the 15 individual illustrations.

The concept for this poster was to collectively show the wide variety of designs in global motorsport series, particularly during the classic decades of the 1950’s to 1980’s, when many highly iconic racing machines and legendary drivers competed in events around the world. I was very keen to only feature drivers that personally won many races (and championships) and chose cars that achieved great results and/or are considered to be fine examples of automotive engineering and design. I entered the 1990’s only to include 7-time F1 World Champion Michael Schumacher – and to add the beautiful Jordan 191 – one of my personal favourite modern F1 designs. A few close-up details:

AndrettiRöhrlNuvolariMass + IckxMossPrints are available from søciety6

Film typography

To Hell with the PreacherThe Cryptozoologist
Custom logotypes for two film projects. Both of these designs started as quick pencil sketches, which were scanned and placed into Adobe Illustrator, where I used them as a guide to begin the process of building the vector shapes of the characters. To Hell with the Preacher is a western genre film, so I was keen to create a handmade style referencing typography of the late 1900’s, as was regularly seen on all forms of signage, printing and advertising. I’ve deliberately incorporated a few unusual adjustments to the letterforms and approached this concept with both a historic and modern outlook to match the storyline of the proposed film.

The Crytozoologist is a documentary style short film, telling the story of a retired man living in the Adelaide Hills, who believes in mysterious creatures, and obsessively strives to locate proof of their existence. My logotype references the many powerfully dramatic advertisements and handbills from the 1800′s and early 1900′s, where promoters used ornate theatrical typography to publicise their attractions to an audience eager to witness remarkable wonders from around the globe. The background image includes a photo taken of a full moon together with multiple texture overlays, and visually captures the hidden and mysterious nature of these curious creatures.

1970’s Grand Prix heroes

1972 Lotus-Ford 72D1973 Tyrrell-Ford 0061975 Ferrari 312T

Here’s some more illustrations from my Motorsport Heroes poster project. This time showing three world championship winning cars and drivers from the 1970’s:

  • Emerson Fittipaldi ~ 1972 Lotus 72D
  • Jackie Stewart ~ 1973 Tyrrell 006
  • Niki Lauda ~ 1975 Ferrari 312T

Three iconic designs from what is surely the greatest decade for Formula One car design.

Not an accidental pattern

Consultation Doesn't Happen By AccidentConsultation Doesn't Happen By AccidentConsultation Doesn't Happen By AccidentConsultation Doesn't Happen By AccidentReport design and page layout for the Centre for Work + Life at the University of South Australia. It’s always nice to have the opportunity to create a strong and flexible pattern design, which in this case was devised to be broken apart and used as visual page elements for pull-quotes. The main report (above) was then summarised into a 6 page horizontal format brochure (below).

Consultation Doesn't Happen By AccidentConsultation Doesn't Happen By Accident

Motorsport Heroes

1966 Repco-Brabham BT191988 Peugeot 405 T16 Pikes PeakThe start of a new design in my ongoing Motor Style Inc. series of illustrated posters. Motorsport Heroes will feature a large number of individual images of iconic cars and drivers from different international motorsport series, each showing the wide variety in style and manufacture of the machines raced.

Above are illustrations of the 1966 Repco-Brabham BT19, driven by Sir ‘Black’ Jack Brabham (the only man to ever win a Formula One World Championship driving a car of his own design and construction), and the 1988 Peugeot 405 T16 Pikes Peak, famously driven by Ari Vatanen at the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, Colorado.

Tales of Quahnarren: Ustahm

Tales of Quahnarren: Ustahm

As a part of an extensive current project set within my fantasy world of Quahnarren, I’m creating detailed maps of some of the towns and cities within the land. This colour map of Ustahm, which is a mid-sized town located to the north of The Skar river in the Dehanthor Valley, is the first that I’ve completed.

Ustahm is a prosperous, well-kept, and industrious town, famously surrounded by multiple rows of the giant redwood Sehquoihar tree, providing a distinctive elegance and respectful civility to the area. Ustahm is a vital stopping point on the busy and important trade route between the major cities of Duquellah, to the southwest, and Moornehm, to the northeast.

Places of interest in Ustahm include: Warden Guhlnaar’s ornately majestic offices on Merchant Row; the Spotted Serpent Tavern on the notorious Koq Walk, for those needing refreshment or entertainment; the vibrant market corner, where locally grown and manufactured goods are enthusiastically sold and traded; the grandly appointed Haanstrom Inn on Shadow Lane, opposite the central governance sector; and the renowned Azifhar Bathhouse on The Hollow, the largest of its kind in eastern Quahnarren.

A pickle of a story!

RCHRD’S GLSSS ND TH WRRNG NGHBRSRCHRD’S GLSSS ND TH WRRNG NGHBRS is an entertaining eBook written by new authors Julie and Luca Harper, mostly about Giant Spider Crabs, Greater Bulldog Bats, Green Iguanas, maths, music, timekeeping and vowels!

I was asked to provide a cover design, including a full series logotype and hand lettering, plus a few mono interior illustrations (three shown below) for the book, which at times proved to be more challenging and time intensive than I had envisaged.

RGNTWN_ShoppeRGNTWN_Boris and EddieRGNTWN_Clearview Village mapThe mono illustrations were completed in Illustrator using the pressure sensitive blob brush, and were created as loosely sketched pieces, capturing some of the energy found in the written style of the book. The main characters themselves proved to be somewhat hard to successfully define and capture accurately, and we went through a number of iterations and revisions before I produced the simple character sketches for protagonists Nigel Le Nez, and Madame La Bouche.

RGNTWN_Nigel Le NezThese hand drawn pencil sketches then became desired final art, with colour added (as seen above) to match the cover formatting. This wasn’t planned, and it introduced a number of design issues to solve, as the two standing characters dramatically altered the spacing and balance of all the cover elements, which required an intensive rethink of the layout to retain a reasonable design structure.

Ultimately the client was happy – which is all that really matters – and the book moved on into the final production stage. It is now available to purchase from Amazon for Kindle, or the Kindle Reader App, and can be downloaded HERE. So, if you know someone who would like to read a fast paced rollicking story for 7-10 year olds, then I can fully recommend the eBook as a highly entertaining reading experience. And, don’t worry, the vowels are supposed to be left out!

RCHRD'S GLSSS