wimps and posers – leave the hall
At my last job, I worked with a fellow named Chris Hayes, who happened to be a guitar player in a local metal band from Hampton NH. Since my musical taste occasionally dabbles into the metal genre, and I like to support good local acts, I made a poster to help promote their band Archaic Eclipse. There are a few tracks on their youtube channel here, if extreme symphonic metal sounds like something you’d like to sample. And if that doesn’t sound like something up your alley, then to quote the mighty ManOWar, “If you’re not into metal, you are not my friend.”
Venture further for a step by step of the process.
The project started when I felt like drawing a viking. This happens every once in awhile. I did a quick two-toned sketch in Photoshop. Nothing too crazy, just a foundation on which to build up the final composition.
Step 2 is to copy paste my doodle into Illustrator, where I can start to vectorize. Used the pen tool for a majority of this, until I had the whole thing traced. I don’t usually do this because A) it’s a serious pain and 2) it’s impossible to get line variation on the same stroke. I figured for this particular thing, that it’d be worth it to get it extra nice and clean. Then I took that image back to Photoshop and made a few edits there, and now we have the finished black and white inks.
Now that we’re back in Photoshop we can start to color underneath the inks. Mostly just laying out a bunch of colors without too much thought in this stage, to see what works and what doesn’t. I knew I wanted the skin to be blue and the hair to be red/orange. Sorta like a cross up of Bishamon from Darkstalkers, and the dudes from The Lost Vikings. (good games)
In the last stage I began to establish where the light source would be coming from, sort of, and now it’s been refined a bit. I tweaked a lot of the colors to get them more to my liking. Also I started to concentrate more on the hair and added some more extreme highlights and shadows to hopefully make it pop a little more. Everything up to this point was done using a large brush in a fairly zoomed out view.
At this point a made a few more refinements, and also changed up a few of the color schemes that weren’t working for me. I liked the red lightning, but having it cast red on the horns didn’t seem right. I changed up the nose because the light source was incongruent in turn making it look way flat. Also I was never too pleased with the bird thing on the helmet, so I changed it to a crescent moon. At this point I zoomed in with a smaller brush for some detail work, and also added a faint texture over the whole thing.
I knew I was going to add a band name and an album title to the top and bottom of the image, but I saved it for last since I knew I could just expand the canvas to poster dimensions, and still manage to fit it all in. I could have used the bands actual logo, which is pretty cool, but figured that a more metal looking typeface would clash with the more cartoony viking. I tried to find a happy medium that was both metal and cartoony, with a bit of graffiti for good measure. I also added a few small touches here and there, like the stains on the helmet. Could be the blood of one hundred armies, or it could just be dried maple syrup. Either way, we are finished.
“There’s magic in the metal, there’s magic in us all.“