The mission: Create a logo to brand together a series of events at the winery. Each event might have it’s own logo so we needed one that wouldn’t change to help brand this type of event. The logos were put to a vote and one received almost all the votes.
Here is the assortment…
And the winner!
(scroll to the bottom to see the final poster!)
This all started because I was playing through Bioshock on the old Xbox 360 and decided to look online for info on the new Bioshock Infinite Release Date. Well I didn’t find a hard date for that, sometime in 2012 I hear. But I was so inspired by all of the screenshots and the short trailer video that 7 hours later I had a poster that I could imagine hanging on the walls of the floating city Columbia.
After deciding to do a poster I started gathering references. Here are the references!
I looked for a few pictures of columbia from the period and found these two. The one on the left with her arms outstretched really inspired me. I would say I could almost see tears streaming down her face because she looked so passionate. I also remembered some early American currency I had seen before, specifically the coin pictured to the left and the back of the bills from the education series of federal notes printed in the late 1800s. A picture of one of these bills is pictured below. It is the spirit of History educating the youth. I used the election image in the picture on the left for the banner and I tried to keep in mind the image that the Bioshock Infinite design team had already done. But not copy it of course. Something that could exist in the same world though.
First thing to do was do a rough sketch. In this sketch you can see an image of the Spirit of Liberty that adorns the U.S. Capital building. I visited the capital a couple years ago and thought it was such an amazing statue to be sitting way up on top of the building where no one can see it.
So I came up with a rough sketch and decided to draw in the Spirit of Columbia in a little more detail just to see if I liked the pose before I got started.
I decided to start with the background to help set the mood for drawing the main figure. I wanted a heroic pose with a call to action. An epic sky filled with flying things and the Spirit of Columbia calling forth her troops.
This next picture is after the background is mostly finished. I was working on the Airships during this part. In the limited screenshots from the game that were available I couldn’t find an angle for the airships that I needed. So I mocked them up very roughly with 3D models and placed them on my canvas.
Then I convinced my wife to pose for a picture for the figure reference. I won’t show that picture here because she’d kill me. So we will skip to the almost finished product. This version I showed a painter friend of mine and he gave me a few ideas on how to tweak it.
So I made a lot of little adjustments. I’d say the largest was changing the angle of the shield since I had to fill in a lot more of the dress, but it didn’t take too long. The final version is below!
So this was a large project. The first thing I did was outsource the carpentry. My goal was to make some storage crates that I could also use for displays at conventions. I have made several mini ammo boxes that I sell my comic with in a box set. But I just didn’t have the time to produce these guys. They are four feet long, two feet deep and 13″ tall. The carpenter did a great job. I worked up a model in sketchup so there would be no question about specs. I also included some dividers on the inside that slide out and a shelf that sits on the top when the box is open so merchandise can rest on top.
These boxes are made of pine which was beautiful and fresh looking when it came in. A little two fresh looking.
STEP 1: Aging the Boxes
I went down to Lowes and picked up some exterior stain. They actually had several different matte shades in aged colors. I decided on the one you can see in the picture below. The color was perfect. Some places in the wood soaked up the stain and in other places it stayed lighter so overall the box has a great aged look. Below is the stained box next to the naked one.
Step 2: Add vintage decorations to the boxes
I have been gathering art deco luggage tags to be printed on sticker paper and placed on the box. That part was time consuming to get all the images the right size and cut them out but it was easy. The hard part was deciding to do a vintage shipping label for the 19XX and make it looked aged.
Step 2A: How to make an Aged Paper Shipping Label
First I designed a shipping label in photoshop really quick. Found a great set of Photoshop brushes for passport stamps and changed all the years to 1933. Then the fun part started.
Then I needed to make the label look like it had been sitting on the crate for decades. I printed out the label on presentation paper. Photo paper would fall apart in the next step and regular paper wouldn’t have provided a clear image. Then I boiled some water and put some tea bags in it, getting it nice and dark. Above are the tools I used. A blow dryer, a couple towels, tea, and a wooden spoon. I dipped the paper in the tea and as I held it for a couple seconds I could actually see when the tea began to be absorbed. I pulled the paper out of the liquid and blotted it dry then dried it for a few seconds with the blow dryer. Not all the way dry, just not soaking wet. The reason for that has to do with the next step.
I put the paper in the toaster oven for 350 degrees for about 3 or 4 minutes. I just watched it until the edges started to crinkle and brown. Below are two different experiments with paper color and timing with the tea and the oven. I decided to go with the one on the right.
Not only did the tea and oven combo provide a nice random color to the label it also provided a great texture. The paper coming out of the printer had a nice aged design, but the paper coming out of the oven actually felt like an old piece of paper that had been through a lot.
Here is my setup with a copy of Absolute Watchmen and the Fantastic Four Omnibus flattening out the crinkled paper. After an hour or so it was flat enough to slap onto the box. And after a lot of cutting my luggage tags were ready as well.
Here are a couple shots of the first box with all the tags in place.
Ok I’m done for now but I think later I might go back and line the lid with vintage newspapers.
I have wanted to do an Art Deco style image for while, and I also have been wanting to do more airship images and look what happened. Art Deco is a hard style to get right. A lot of people do a vector piece in illustrator and call it a day. But Art Deco paintings came in many different styles. Even when it was a mostly clean line simplistic piece like I’ve done here there were still a lot of brush strokes in the edges of objects and in the shadows. Like the edge of the shadow around the orange mountains, that is a key element of the period. I used a travel poster image by Janez Trpin done for a Yugoslavian travel agency as reference for the mountains. His poster had tall mountains with a train driving through them. I wanted to show my airship the Carpathian from my webcomic flying over some mountains. What better range then the Carpathian range the happens to run through Yoguslavia! I actually just realized that connection as I was writing this, honestly. Anyway, All great Art Deco Travel posters also have some great font treatment so I placed the great phrase Lighter Than Air at the bottom. Well I hope you like it!! Below is a picture of a canvas print I ordered. I had to stretch the canvas myself. That was a new experience for me, even when I used to paint with real paint I just bought all my canvases.
Ventura County Winery Association Website.
A simple website that the assistant graphic designer did the original photoshop comp for. Then I came in and tightened up the design for the client’s final approval. After that I coded the site pretty quickly. This one only took a day or two including setting up a google map for the winery association member locations.
This was a construction company website. The final result was heavily tweaked by the client. I liked an early version better myself. But that’s just me. This site is running MODX cms. I have found MODX the easiest CMS to implement on a totally custom site. I used simple scripts to install MODX on a cpanel that did not support it out of the box. I highly recommend NOT doing a MODX install yourself. It is a very easy install if it works. But if it doesn’t work, if you get even a small error, then it could mean a couple of hours of troubleshooting. Just avoid that headache all together and use the simple scripts site.
This client was running a WIX all flash website. Those are not good! I repeat, if you have one of those sites, close it right now! Can you tell I don’t like that site. I don’t hate wix though, I reserve my hatred for godaddy and their infuriating user interface. This site was pretty simple, slideshow, about 5 pages, nothing to complicated. It’s actually not live at the time of this posting because I’m still waiting for the godaddy login info for this domain.
Here is a cover I was asked to do for the local news paper. I was asked to draw a woman looking in a drawer based on a short story appearing in the issue. Pretty straight forward stuff. I found and old pin-up image done in mostly grey scale with shades of red. That’s the look I was going for.
For this project I wanted to take one of the vehicles that show up in my comic “The Adventures of the 19XX” and turn it into a physical model or prototype for something that can be mass produced. I started with a 3d model built in Google Sketchup. I’ve used Cinema 4D but Google Sketchup is so ridiculously easy that I’ve starting using that program. The only thing that takes a little planning in Sketchup is curved surfaces. So it is almost useless for making people or organic shapes.
The first step after my model was done was to find a place that did 3D printing. I got a couple quotes and decided on http://wwwmoddler.com. I sent the files over to them and was told I needed to make some changes. One thing I changed was the shape of the legs. Since they were going to have to support the body I added some more strength to the joints and included pegs for them to attach to the body. The folks over at Moddler were very helpful and I don’t think I would have gotten the same service somewhere else.
So after a couple weeks of sending files back and forth the final pieces came in the mail. I did a little sanding to get the parts to fit together. Then I painted a primer coat in grey, and then a coat in olive. The last picture shows the fully painted model complete with the “nose art” that the character Vera Brecht uses in the book on her walking tank. I’m very happy with how the whole thing came out and I’m already sketching ideas for my next vehicle I”m going to prototype that will show up in the next book.