It’s that time of year again! Halloween! And long-time visitors to my site might recall that I have something of a loose tradition of doing Frankenstein-themed stuff in honor of the holiday. Here’s this year’s: a single from the ’60s by the Orloks, doing the Frankenstomp.
There was a big pop culture fascination with monsters in the ’60s, likely spurred initially at least in part by TV stations looking to fill time, and resorting to running old monster movies. They caught on with young viewers and created a demand for more, resulting in all kinds of games, models, TV shows, cartoons…and even novelty 45’s like this.
I’m a big fan of this kind of mid-century art style (and the style of graphic design that goes with it). It’s very silhouette- and shape-oriented. I must confess, it doesn’t come entirely natural to me to try to draw this way (it’s like throwing a car in hard reverse, after years of trying so hard to get volume and dimension into all my work). But it’s fun to at least attempt it like this every now and then.
Enjoy, and Happy Halloween!
If you’ve poked around my site for any length of time, you might have noticed I have something of a loose tradition of creating some kind of Frankenstein image for my site around Halloween, when I have the chance. Here’s this year’s!
I had the good fortune that during my childhood, monsters were a big part of the pop culture landscape. This definitely informed me (or warped me, depending on your perspective). Monsters were kind of everywhere! Cartoons, TV shows, books (like How to Care for Your Monster), model kits, toys, games…all kinds of fun stuff! There was even the occasional novelty monster-themed 45 record.
That’s sort of where this idea came from. This mid-century Cartoon Modern type of style is not something I’ve done a lot, but it’s how I envisioned this looking in my head. You spend years trying to get volume into your drawings, but you kind of have to throw your brain into reverse and think more in terms of flatter shapes and silhouettes in order to do something like this. I find it a challenge, but a fun one.
When this idea came into my head, it just felt like a record that should’ve existed back then, so I took it upon myself to make it happen. I hope you enjoy my little illustration and design experiment.
I’m sure most of you remember the Banana Splits. They were that famous and influential rock band that changed the face of the ’60s with their music; songs that have stood the test of time and are still with us today. Late in the band’s career, things had begun to get hectic and stressful. The members’ lives were heading in different directions. They were growing apart; no longer the same wide-eyed kids they were when they started out. But before they called it a day, they put out one final album: Let It Split.
Okay, not really. I just made up all that stuff. Knowledgeable visitors will realize that what I’ve done here is a riff off the cover of the Beatles’ last album, Let It Be, only recast with the members of the Banana Splits. Going clockwise from the upper left, you have Drooper, Fleegle, Snorky and Bingo.
Yes, when I was a kid, I would watch The Banana Splits Adventure Hour. Fun times. I’ll even admit to having sent away for the Banana Splits Fan Club Kit. No Sour Grapes Bunch for me! No sir! Sing it with me now: “Tra la la, la la la la,…” 🙂
Okay, I know this is supposed to be my portfolio/artblog. But here’s the thing: anyone who knows me knows that I also love music. If you come up to my desk while I’m working at some studio, odds are I’ve got tunes playing in the background. My iTunes is loaded with almost 70 GB of music. In addition to my art, it’s another big part of who I am.
So to that end, I thought I’d add some music links over in the sidebar. These are far from being the only bands and artists I like! They’re only a small handful of musicians who would leave a noticeable absence for me if they were removed from my iTunes and CD libraries. If you haven’t heard some of these performers, do yourself a favor and put something new in your ears! Maybe I’ll add to the list from time to time.
And of course, since this is supposed to be an artblog, I oughta post some art to go with this announcement, right? The illustration up top was part of an assignment I did for one of my classes back when I was attending Art Center, to illustrate and design a CD package. I had no Photoshop skills back then, so it’s all pen & ink with watercolors. Today, I’d probably still draw something like this conventionally, but I’d use Photoshop for the color.
As I mention on my “About” page, I was in a band back in the 80’s. (I know: “Who wasn’t in a band in the 80’s?”) We were called the Contact.
Since I was the artist/graphic designer in the band, I wound up doing all our flyers. It was a blast, because I could pretty much do just about anything I wanted. You can see a few samples of my Contact flyers over in the Galleries here.
Here’s another one (which may eventually make its way over into the Galleries too). A lot of the time, band flyers tend to draw from the same sources over and over. For this one, it occurred to me it might be fun to borrow visual influences of an earlier age for once. And it was! I had fun digging up all the reference in the library (pre-internet days, y’all), then pulling all those influences together to make a 30’s style band flyer. I think I did a pretty good job of cartooning all of us too (though I’ve never played a stand-up bass in my life). It was fun to get to do something a little different, and I was happy with how this experiment worked out.
Portions of the flyer are censored here, simply because I don’t think our generous hosts back then would appreciate their home address being posted on the internet.