Assignment 3 – Create a Poster

For this Assignment I chose to go with the ‘create a poster for a pop group’.  To help give focus a single group was chosen and researched along with comparisons for posters with other pop groups and other music acts.

For a full range on the above please visit –  Pinterest Board for Assignment 3

The group I chose are a J-Pop girl band from Japan called Perfume.  They were established in early 2000 and their style of music fits into the category of post Shibuya-Kei.  Shibuya-kei is a style of music that was influenced by the major performers and studio auteurs of the 1960s.

For this assignment I wanted to take the idea of the themes and colours commonly associated with the pop group and create a poster that reflects their latest album that was released earlier this year, called ‘Cosmic Encounter’.

There are already posters and merchandise available associated with the album and so I wanted to ensure that my images complimented their existing interpretation but express a new take on their existing theme and styles.

My mood board expressed a variety of images and posters that inspired me and what type of colour palette I wanted to connect with.  Movie posters from ‘Oblivion’ and ‘Tron’ were very inspirational as the J-Pop band Perfume, are very much focused on themes associated with Science Fiction.


From there I listened to some of their music and tried to draw and sketch what type of movements I heard.  The images that emerged were largely messy and had some type of rhythm to them in the lines created.  The fact that the music produced that was something that had to be expressed in some way, so if the design I went with permitted it I would factor it in.  The sketches weren’t giving me anything that felt useful or that I could move it into a direction that matched my mood board inspirations.

I sketched out something that would be alternative to what the typical layout for a pop group poster would be without going too far into the indie genre and losing the pop aspect.  The modern feel could be included because of the style of music Perfume produce.  Electronic pop needed to have a slightly more edgy feel to its poster.

A masking pen and bristol board along with a pencil and some watercolours were the main tools.  The script for the title of their album ‘Cosmic Encounter’ was printed and cut out for the poster.

The paper wasn’t ideal but the best that I had.  Experimenting with masking pen and watercolour paper went badly and I found that rubbing out the pen once dry took some paper away with it.

When I put about two light layers of watercolours on the paper, I used a hairdryer to dry it fully and then removed the masking pen.  It left a nice finish, close to what I wanted, but because the pen and a ruler didn’t work together well, the lines drawn by hand to represent circuits, just looked messy.  This and lines that were not clean really made it look second rate.


I took it into PS and removed the script and image so that the background was left.  A lot of cloning took place but in the end it gave me the watercolour background that could be used in a poster.  This was merged with the image that was mocked up originally, as this was the image that was constructed based on my thumbnails and sketches.

The image produced in the end gives a fairer representation of what I was going for with the poster.  It hits the right colour and mood and expresses the Sci-Fi aspect that is linked with the group.

I’m happy with the outcome of the merge of analog and digital, and it showed me that using a good painted background is an excellent way to create something unique.  There were many hours thrown at the analog version, even with the careful planning and research done before beginning the painted version.  It was painfully clear to me that really neat and clean details are not my strength, but that doesn’t mean I can’t use different mediums.  It just means explore and see what works and don’t stick to one thing all the time.


Exercise 21 -Making a mock-up

I decided to go with a book cover that was from the Nancy Drew series.  This was something I read when I was younger and I loved the adventures.  The Nancy Drew covers, along with a wide range of Ladybird books for children, were always drawn so detailed and literally drew me in.

The fairytale series are amazing but it was the range of investigations that Nancy went on that really intrigued me.

The character was conceived by Edward Stratemeyer and he wrote plot outlines but hired ghost-writers.  Nancy was first introduced in the 1930s but it was the late 50s revised version that saw the most success.  The books are written by ghost writers under the name ‘Carolyn Keene’.

The covers that appealed to me most were the range of ones from the 1940s created by Bill Gillie.  They capture the era beautifully and represent what Nancy Drew was most recognised for; being a strong and curious teenager who wasn’t afraid to investigate.


Later editions didn’t hold the same interest and the books from this era were largely criticised later for their classist depictions.

The book covers were very consistent and always depicted Nancy at a key part of her investigation.  Quite often she would appear with her friends on the cover, other times she would be alone and in near danger.

There was always a sense of tension, suspense and thrill about the cover and Nancy had a very distinguished look with her red hair and often blue coloured clothes.


In this image Nancy and her two friends are on the cover, looking cautiously around the doorway.  We can see that it’s the ghost but the girls may not have caught a glimpse of it.

The cover holds our attention at a key moment in the story and makes you want to read it to discover what happened.  Our eye moves from left to right, starting with the ghost, then Nancy, then Friend 1 and 2.  The light from the flashlight directs your attention there too and the title and author have ample space and are clearly legible.

For a mock up cover I decided to take the same layout with the main focus for the investigation on the left and the right hand side featuring Nancy and her friends.  At first I wanted to keep with the 1940s/50s vibe and use some of the styles and hair from that era.

As I began to sketch it out though, I felt my version had to be more present day but with an acknowledgement to the style of the past.  I did a quick mock up in PS to see what way I wanted to do this, using various modern images of women that trekked.

images sourced from getty images via

I felt these would represent the same type of curiosity and fearlessness that Nancy had, but bring it into something more relatable.  Next I tried out the images and layered them with a lighthouse image that had been flipped and adjusted to suit.  A few other images of sky and lightening were also added to give some sense of danger and intrigue to the place.

The positions of the women worked well I felt so I went on to the next stage and used my light box to get a cleaner background and foreground image.

I used a pencil and brush pen on the light box then scanned them in separately and created a PNG file for the image of the 3 women.

book_cover  nancy_cover

Next I used PS to layer the image and printed it off a few times to experiment with various mediums and figure out which one would work best.  The mediums used were pencils, markers and then digital colouring.  I didn’t have thick enough paper to use watercolour or acrylic, and using cut out paper didn’t catch me as something I could do for this type of drawing.

The results were mixed.  The pencils and markers didn’t scan well and even with some adjustment I felt they just underwhelmed.  The digital version may have had more scope to play with but the length of time it took to do the pencils and markers left me with little patience to play around with PS.  I don’t have enough skill in it yet to fully utilise all the brushes and techniques, so what I ended up with is a very amateur hour finish.

Overall, I felt that the best image was the simple black and white one, but that wasn’t close to what I had wanted to achieve so that felt a bit disappointing.

Doing it again I think I’d see if there was a better way to print the image onto higher quality paper.  My printer isn’t the best so I might try a printer shop.  From there I might try watercolours or acrylics to see if that would work, but it would be the lightest layer possible.

End result is that I am happy with the cover layout, but disappointed with the mediums used.  There is clearly something missing here so a bit more experimenting would be worth it.

Exercise 20 -Client Visuals


In this exercise I had a variety of images lined up and decided to go with a book cover designed by Joshua Middleton.  The image is very clean and crisp with very few heavy details in it.  As a result I wondered what type of client visuals were conveyed to the client in order to move forward with the design of the cover.


Looking at the image it is mostly detailed through the effects and rendering.  The details in the three characters and nicely laid out, so there was careful consideration on the positioning of the characters as well as the dynamic aspect of them.

Firstly, as the cover would be spanning across the front and back, most consideration was given to the front cover.  The back was left relatively blank for inserting a review or brief summary of the book.


The middle of the image has most of the tree in it, which means that the spine of the book would get most of the image here.  The positioning of the three main characters including the cat, had to be framed in such a way as to allow for the title of the book and the authors name to appear on the cover.

The characters are in mid movement except for the crouching character who appears to be acting in a primitive manner, positioned for action but using their instincts perhaps to listen or wait for what is happening around them.

The action implies there is a need to either run or hide as the faces of the characters are slightly stressed and anxious to move.

Using a light box I went over the original image and took in as much detail as possible.  This would have been the final image to sign off on before colouring took place.


Going back over it again, I tried to keep some lines that would convey the movement and get across the urgency but without filling in too much detail about the characters or the environment.

Finally, the key lines used to convey the people and the tree were given.  The body language was still strong enough to convey some urgency and there was an indication from these outlines which character was which, there just wasn’t any other clear detail given.

This would have been suitable for the client to get an idea on where the characters positions would be in relation to a book cover.  The dynamic figure sketch would also have given enough information to the client to get a sense of whether the energy of the book was captured accurately or not.

What is interesting is that if thumbnails for the idea were drawn up and given in, the client would not have been able to get any sense of movement and urgency from these alone.  The tone of the thumbnails isn’t enough to give this important information to a client.

The reality is that the thumbnails assist with the positioning of the characters only, but wouldn’t be good enough to show a client as the message and information conveyed in them isn’t enough to sell it.


Exercise 19 -Viewpoint

I decided to take on 3 types of creative workshops.  My partner paints figures from games so his workshop is his desk.  He is generally very tidy about it as the desk has to double up as a pc station for doing reviews.

When he paints he uses a large magnifying glass with light to ensure he can see all the figurines in the detail that is needed.  His main workshop area consists of a container or small brushes, a container of paints, one water jar and a cutting mat to rest on.

He uses an old cloth to rub the paintbrushes on and aside from that the only other tools are his glasses and his swiss army knife for cutting away plastic excess found on the figurines.

The second and third workshops were made up of the tools that are used for various jobs from my own collection.  If I am doing anything arts and crafts then I use different tools and the large table we have becomes the workshop area.

Most of the crafts consist of glitter glues and scraps of material along with paint for glass and material.  If I look for one thing only, such as glitter glue, then the box it is kept in becomes disarrayed and the items spill out of it until I find that one thing.

If I am doing a project then the table becomes a workshop and each tool is laid out so that it is clear what type of item it is.  This is normally if there are a few projects on the go and I’m using one set of tools to play with while the others dry.

The images for the first workshop show the figurines and tools in place, but since the magnifying glass is a key part of the workshop area I tried to get that into the image in some way.

The second and third workshops were photographed from angles from above and below and lots of side shots.  It was easier to include things this way, unlike the first workshop which was limited in space and what to include.

I then took the images from the pages and created four sketches outlining the type of rough image they represented with just shapes and a general idea on the workshop image.What I liked about this is the various angles that were created from simply working on different positions with the camera.  It made some interesting shapes and sizes and the perspectives were varied.


I particularly liked the perspective of looking at the workshop tools through the magnifying glass.  This distortion in the image gave a very odd shape to the image but the distortion worked well.  The disarray of the tools in the third and fourth image worked well too, and the close up shot for the fourth sketch created a fresh perspective that definitely pushed the image to a better place.

Exercise 18 – Giving instructions

In this exercise I had to give instructions from a choice of 3 options.  I chose to create instructions for making tea.  Firstly some research was done on what type of tea images were out there, most of which seemed to be of china tea cups or herbal teas when searching for it.  These images were then gathered into a pinterest board for inspiration.

Click here for the pinterest boards – TEA Typography

Secondly I checked what type of poster is typically used when giving instructions.  I also paid attention to the back of coffee and tea samples as many of them had basic instructions on them for making it.

Thirdly I researched the type of fonts used for conveying instructions.  These ranged from very clear and clean to quite decorative and elaborate, as you can see from the sample board above.  At this stage was when I got slightly lost as I digressed to the skillshare website and watched a lot of videos on typography.

From these approaches I then decided to try two different styles for the instructions.  The first was going to be very clean and clear with the minimum amount of instruction and the focus more on the images.  I also decided to make the objects relatable by making them similar to japanese characters.


The second image was going for a more carnival feel with the instructions less formal and rigid and more circus in character.  Both images were done in pencil first and coloured using pencils or markers.  The background was added to give a textured finish.  Inks were also used to create a stronger image in the second instruction.

My first image was successful in one aspect in that it was clear and clean in finish.  However, despite the inclusion of japanese characters in it, it didn’t feel warm or invitiing.  It felt a little too vague and slightly unfinished.

The second image took a while to figure out.  The first and second drafts were not meeting the vision I had and although I had created various inspiration boards in pinterest and a sample board of the writing, it was not going the way I wanted.  The pencils were not working, the markers weren’t working and the image wasn’t making any impact.

I went back and redid it and finished it in various black ink pens and brush pens.  The strong black and white image worked better and the added flourishes brought the image to life more.  The background added was a free stock image of a tea stained paper, that I felt gave the antique look that I wanted.


There are some aspects I really love about this, such as the mish mash of fonts used and the way it is spilling from one side to the other.  It might be a bit too busy and hard to read when in b&w but the softer background makes it easier.

Is it the best set of instructions for tea making?  Not sure about that, perhaps the first image is slightly clearer in that regard, but the flow of reading from left to right with the circles felt interrupted because I had to go in a square direction.  Had I created a more circular shape it would have read easier.

The image above is deliberately busy as the carnival and circus element suggests a little organised chaos.  I did try it out on a few people and although visually pretty it didn’t direct the eye around the page and give a clear instruction, so I won’t be getting a cup of tea any time soon then!