Wednesday, August 25, 2010

LOLA Fest T-Shirt Design

LOLA fest (short for London Ontario Live Arts) is happening this September 16th - 19th, and I'm pretty jazzed about it.

It's a very cool thing to be happening in little old London. All different kinds of free activities will be taking place mainly in downtown London from Caribou playing in concert to artwork from James Kirkpatrick (of Dusty Peas). The theme for this year's fest is conflict vs. resolution and the good people at LOLA asked me to do the "official" design that the 100+ volunteers will be wearing.

Thoughts Behind Design
In coming up with a design for the theme, I wanted to stay away from obvious symbols for war (guns, bombs, etc), and was looking for something more subtle that would make people look twice when they looked at the tee. In doing a lot of studies on shells and guns for my Gerald Bull graphic novel, I found some of the mathematical equations quite beautiful to look at and when you don't know what you're looking at, the designs turn quite abstract.

So -- I zeroed in on these missile patterns to represent conflict. The fact that the particular missile design I selected also looks like an atom symbol, I think just adds to this.

For peace, since Yoko Ono is the featured artist of the festival, I felt I really I should openly make homage to her Imagine Peace campaign, hence some use of the peace symbol.

The Tee
So here we have it below. The red colour is the colour of the LOLA logo (and fits with conflict side of the theme). The pattern is the equation of a slowly rolling fin-stabilized missile.

Overlaid is the peace symbol (and it's no mistake that this is overlaid on top of conflict). The peace logo will take the same colour as the tee-shirt colour so my hope is it will come across as a bit more subtle than generic peace tees.

Anyway, that's my thinking process behind the design. I'm quite pleased with the result. Let me know what you think!

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Sound Effects & Comics

At the most recent TCAF, friend and fellow cartoonist Frank Cammuso and I got to talking about sound effects in comics and how they're just not used very much in the new "modern" style seen today in a lot of comics (Marvel ones in particular).

This style, which is all cinematic and photo-realistic, just doesn't lend itself to old school sound effects. I think some artists find them too cartoony - and don't fit in with the gritty, grim and dark look they're going for. To me though, this slavish devotion to realism in comics just results in sucking the life out of the drawings. It takes me completely out of the comic and the art looks dead on the page.

Frank Santoro did a recent post on this in Comics, Comics, and I found myself nodding my head in agreement with it all the way through.

Sound Effects and Joy
For me, sound effects are a great joy in comics. A great example of this of course is the spectacularly successfull Scott Pilgrim comics by Bryan Lee O'Malley. I can just picture O'Malley acting out some of the scenes and trying to figure out the funniest and best sound effect to put into a panel.

The current comic I'm working on about Canadian scientist Gerald Bull, is a historical non-fiction story, but I've found I'm using a lot of sound effects in it, and getting a big kick out of it. Do I think they take away from the story? Not at all, just the opposite in fact...

Here's a sampling from just the first few chapters...