When I strolled into class to present my Author Portrait, I had no idea exactly what was coming down the project pipeline and was still reveling in the post project euphoria that seems to wash over me and calming my brain, allowing me to relax and think of other things for the briefest of stints. Then, Deanna broke the news, STAR WARS HALLOWEEN POSTER.
So where was I going to take this frankly awesome theme? Why Zombie Stormtroopers of course!! I started sketching from references almost as soon as I could get home. Talking with a friend and posting all over the place in my online social circles how I was sketching stormtroopers for homework.
I had the basic idea in my head that I wanted to make it a movie poster, maybe go old school on it and add some color but in the end I knew it would come down to what worked for the color and what was strongest. To help gain a better understanding of the stormtroopers figure and detailing, I went out and searched a few shops to find a throwback Stormtrooper figure from the re-release of the Empire Strikes Back toys! This little guy is still swimming around in my ruck and was invaluable in helping to work out the posing I wanted to go with.
The layout and ideas within it were worked out through a bunch of different sketches. I started out by working on a basic and straightforward placement of all of the elements I was going to need in the piece, to include all of the required text for the poster, it was a Halloween party promotional thing that needed the information for the party. This was around the time I got the idea for the final name with zombies coming into the viewers space with the Death Star looming in the background. I was also keen on playing around with various types of battle damaged or ripped up and decayed stormtroopers.
I went around the web a little to get some inspiration on placements by digging around some horror film posters. I looked through a ton of them and you can see a few of the different types of poster ideas I was sampling from. In the end I found a really cool Zombie Diaries poster that had a nice dynamic placement that I could use. Using the Stormtrooper toy again I did a mini photo shoot to work from for the main figure.
It’s hard for me not to want to push a super contrasted image and with this project and scene it just fit too nicely not to try and drive the shadows heavier and heavier. The sketch above worked out all of the elements and ideas I was considering and gave them a basic placement that I could work from. It was also the concept that I pitched for feedback and was greeted with a lot of positive thoughts on the direction I was going.
As a little bonus fun, while waiting for class to begin I did a quick sketch from the movie stills that someone else in class was working on to help figure out some of his own concept. It was a quick little sketch that follows a lot of the same line quality I’ve been working in for the last few weeks. The new Sharpie Pen has me smitten.
Detail lines were laid in first with a Pentel Brush Pen, something I’m going to have a LOT of fun messing with for future projects. I added a little barrier thickness to these areas to allow me to go back in with a heavy ink brushed on to black out the rest of the areas. The shadow line work was directly inspired by seeing a book featuring the work of Jack Kirby a week earlier. His line strength in these spots was just too inspiring not to lift in part and emulate in some way, especially given the materials I was using.
I finished the inks off by brushing india ink on with a medium large brush straight from the pot. Stars were added by creating a positive space cutout of the stormtrooper and death star, laying that over them and flicking white paint onto the black space. A scan and a little lettering later I had my poster ready to go.
Placement of the text followed a lot of the basic movie poster conventions. I don’t think there was quite enough of it to really round out this idea but I didn’t feel like placing the text elsewhere would really help the feel in any way. The font for ‘Halloween Party’ was one I found on dafont.com called Feast of Flesh, which I fell in love with as soon as I saw it. If I had more time I would have likely taken this and reworked it a little, but the deadline loomed and I needed to get an actual print run off to submit.
I’m very happy with how it all came together, especially the movie title version at the top of this post. Apparently, a lot of other people are digging on the poster as well in the tumblr-verse so a hearty ‘Thanks!’ to everyone that’s shared, liked or commented on it!