Friday, March 27, 2009

VHS Cover Redesign 03 - From These Roots (1976)

For my third cover redesign, I picked a VHS box that had barely any sort of box art at all. It was really necessary that I do something respectful for it.
It comes from Scarecrow's Harlem Renaissance section, titled From These Roots. It's directed by William Greaves and is a nice short documentary about the Harlem Renaissance during the "Roaring Twenties".
The image for the cover was inspired by one of the visual artists, Aaron Douglas that was featured in the film. His art had summed up the Renaissance and I felt that his work would be best featured on the cover. So I found the piece below "Creation" and did a vector drawing of it in Illustrator. I then embelished it for the back cover and added text. I was trying my best to do something like what I've seen come out of the Criterion Collection.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Toothy Design Makes it in Top Submissions

So I was invited to submit a t-shirt design to a Artsprojekt LABZ 0001 contest. I slid it in just under the wire and even though I didn't win, I was put into the Top Submissions catagory. Which is pretty good. Out of 1000+ submissions that appear on their Flickr set, there were only 320 chosen for the Top Submissions.
Here's what I put together for them.

The template given out to put your design on didn't allow you to move the long sleeve out of the way from the front of the shirt. I didn't want to manipulate the template, in case they were fussy. So that's why it looks funny above.

The Toothy Laff design was based off of this drawing that I did at a Friends of the Nib meeting where we had to do a drawing based on the word "Toothy".

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

VHS cover redesign 02 - Wild Party (1929)

For my second cover redesign for Scarecrow Video, I went with Dorothy Arzner's 1929 The Wild Party. I had watched this film early last year and when I concidered doing this cover project, I knew I wanted to do one for this film. The VHS copy we have isn't that great of a copy. I'd love to see a quality transfer of it on DVD, but until then...

This is what I came up with after testing a few different inking styles (below). I really wanted to show off the awesome showgirl like costume that ends up getting Clara Bow into trouble in the movie. Instead of rendering it exactly like it was in the movie I used the lightning bolts to heighten the design and work well with the simple drawing.
I really had no idea what I was going to do at first, so when I got the right style of drawing the rest was easy.

This is the original sketch that I did based off of a found photo.

My first ink was super tight and detailed. I don't mind this one but I was really unconfident about whether or not it resembled Clara Bow. She's beautiful and people would be able to recognize her if it was done well. If not done well, then it's just a drawing of some girl.
So with my second inking, I tried to loosen things up. A bit too much I think.

This third and final ink was WAY looser and more fun. I liked the minimal lines and I was able to get the curves that I wanted. For the final design I took out all the crappy lightning bolts and digitally colored it in Photoshop. I just went with my gut on the colors for the cover. It's a black and white film, but I wanted the cover to be nice and appealing. Blue is calm and helps keep the design looking clean and fresh. From what I've seen in posters, Clara Bow had shocking red hair. So this was a nice becon of contrast for the center of the design. The likeness isn't what I'd like it to be, but I think the drawing gives the impression that she's cute and the "Wild Party" isn't a sleazy deal. Here's the original art on day glow pink paper. It's not horrible, but I liked this movie so I was happy to make up something new for this film.

Monday, March 9, 2009

VHS Cover Redesign 01 Kamen Rider AMAZON! (1974)

So as an employee at Scarecrow Video I get to see a lot of films, and a lot of cover art for movies. Many of them are brilliantly designed, some of them are amazing paintings, a few are terrifically horrible and have a beautiful quality of their own. Most of the video covers that I see are bland and/or just rotten. Lazily constructed from production photos and over-used Photoshop effects.

With nearly 100,000 videos in the Scarecrow inventory, there are covers at the store that have no "real" cover art at all. Someone printed out the title of the film, maybe with a found photo from the Internet onto a sheet of day-glow paper. It's then put into a plastic VHS or DVD case and put on the shelf. There's really nothing appealing about this and only if you're searching for this title would you be interested in even touching this case.

As a designer and a critic of cover art, I'm taking it upon myself to design some covers for these lost covers. This gives me the chance to design covers with all sorts of freedom. Scarecrow doesn't care that I'm doing this, so they're not going to edit what I do. They'll hopefully gain some more turns on these rentals. I'm not getting paid anymore to do this. It's more or less an exercise for me. To get my designing muscles stronger and maybe land a real job designing this type of thing.

The first cover I tackled was for a VHS that we have with some episodes of Kamen Rider AMAZON! This Japanese television show from 1974 was priority for me to design a cover for. I recently chose it for my monthly staff pick and the previous cover was quaint, but I knew it wasn't going to rent. So I came up with what you see below.

I researched pictures of Amazon and found a set of photos that were taken of the highly detailed action figure that was produced by Medicom. So I found the picture that I thought would be the best on the cover and repainted it using Photoshop and my WACOM tablet.
This was my first redesign so I didn't put a lot of creativity into it. I was mostly interested in having a realistic image of the character on the cover, I concentrated on rendering the digital painting well enough.

photo: copyright

Here's the original artwork that was in the store for years. Yeah, it was made sideways.
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