Guys I’ve done it. I’ve finally made a thing. For a BAND! The Coward Flowers are a buncha boys makin loud pop songs out in Boston. Check ’em out.
I had a blast and a half making this thang. When the opportunity came up to make a poster, I decided to style it after art nouveau. Now, every art school kid and their mom is in love with art nouveau, and I can’t say I’m an exception. A little bit of background– at the turn of the century, the poster as a form of advertising was rising to prominence. Advances in printing meant more and more publications were being produced. Popular magazines like Harper’s and Atlantic Monthly needed a way to attract more readers than the competition. Artists began to adopt a more graphic style to suit this new need for advertising. Contrary to what the most of the world would have you believe, there were more artists involved in this movement than Alphonse Mucha. He’s a wonderful artist but it gets a bit tired, seeing his work and imitations of his style everywhere, and hardly a glimpse of other artists of the time. If you’re lucky you might catch a Toulouse Lautrec (Chat Noir anyone?) but that’s about it.
Illustrators Harry Clarke and Aubrey Beardsley swept away the art nouveau ennui that had been plaguing me. Clarke technically came to the scene too late to be a part of the Art Nouveau movement, but I’ll count him anyways because his style fits in so well. Both worked primarily in black and white, relying on pattern rather than color to distinguish forms in their illustrations. Feast your eyes, Clarke on the left, Beardsley on the right.
Taking cues from their style, I incorporated solid blacks and whites, patterns, and the broken frame and sweeping curves that were so common in art nouveau. The devil features prominently, since it is a halloween show, after all. Here’s a glimpse at some sketches I did to generate ideas and work out the composition:
Clearly things changed along the way. This is me working on it, surrounded by the images I was into. Sooo art school.
The final line art and painting. I used india ink, random pens, and gauche for the final painting. Plus tears, for the flower pattern on the dress.
I hope you enjoyed seeing all the steps that lead up to a finished illustration! If you are based in the Boston area, go see this show, it’s guaranteed to be at least 95% fun. Thats it for this weeks learning corner, kids. Next stop: the old west.