Ghosthouse North Coast Music Festival Poster

So my good buddies in the band Ghosthouse (electro-pop, super funky, check 'em out) asked me to help out with a poster to commemorate their second year at North Coast Music Festival (NCMF). Naturally, I was happy to accept and we got to discussing details ASAP due to the 2 week turnaround time. 

The idea essentially came down to mimicing a GI JOE comic book cover with a femme fatale version of Cobra Commander as the main image, with Union Church (a building in Chicago's West side, across from the park where NCMF is held) in the background being attacked by Cobra Command helicopters. The Cobra Command logo would be replaced by a stylized version of Ghosthouse's logo, which is the pacman ghost. The final poster would be full color and printed to be used as flyers and for sale. 

This was going to be a challenge for me, as I don't typically do much in the ways of figure or comic drawing, but it was definitely a project I wanted to take on. 

I started by working up a layout based on some of the reference imagery provided by the dudes in Ghosthouse. 

Thumbnail:

Once I got the layout down, I had to start brushing up on my figure drawing skills, so a good portion of the early part of the process was simply drawing the female form until I felt comfortable. There's a million resources out there for drawing the human body, and I sifted through a good chunk of them. 

Next, I focused on the main figure, and I started drawing her in the pose I wanted, while adding in a few details:

There were still some anatomical issues, and the details needed some smoothing out, but it was a good place to start. From here, I moved up in the size of my sketches, to a size where I could get in and add all the important details. I also began illustrating the band's name in the style of the GI JOE name on the comic books. 

From here it was a process of scanning in my drawings, cleaning them up in photoshop, bringing them into Illustrator and redrawing and shaping lines with the width tool, until I got something that had the comic book feel I was going for. After the line drawing was in a good place, I printed out a few of the line drawings and went back and added in some shading with pencils and markers. Once that was in a good spot, I scanned that image in and went through the cleanup process, then started drawing the shading in Illustrator. 

The redrawing and scanning and redrawing process was pretty tedious, but when I sent this image to the dudes in Ghosthouse, their response was 'Holy s*it, this looks f*cking awesome!'. With that seal of approval, I moved forward with the rest of the composition and coloring. 

B&W version:

The church provided a bit of a problem. In an ideal situation, I would redraw the church so that I could have it in the same style as the Cobra Commander chick, but time was really an issue at this point and that's one hell of a detailed image to illustrate. Looking through comic book references, a lot of the time the background was just detailed enough to get the point across, but not so much that an inordinate ammount of time was spent on it. So my solution to the problem was taking a hi res photo of the church and bringing it into Photoshop to make it more of a texture. I desaturated the photo and played with the levels until I had something with a decent amount of detail. That was then brought into Illustrator where I colored in the rest of the building. The aqua blue steeple is really the iconic part of the church's architechture, so I wanted to make sure that part was very recognizable. 

After the background, it was making GHOSTHOUSE look like it belonged on a comic book cover. I had thoughts of using an existing font to save some time, but I couldn't get it to look just right, so I drew the name myself. I drew a couple of helicopters with the Ghosthouse/Cobra Command symbol, then the rest of the project was adding in details. The seal in the upper left corner where the comic book issue and other info would go, the barcode, additional details on the main character, the sunset, etc. 

There's probably a million things I would have done different, but this was a fantastic learning experience for me and I'm tickled by the end result. On top of that, since this project, I've gotten to using pencil and paper much more before my final execution. This not only helps me articulate my thoughts and sort out problems before it goes digital, it makes for a better final product overall. 

Here's the final poster:

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