June 12, 2009

St. James Court Art Show Poster

Every fall, there is a huge, beautiful art festival in Old Louisville called the Saint James Court Art Show. Every spring, there is a competition for the poster for the event, and every year, I think, "I should enter." But I never do - not living in Louisville, I tend to forget about things like that. Earlier this week, while finishing an illustration for Louisville Magazine (coming soon to a newstand near you!), the poster contest popped in my head and I hopped over to google to check it out.

The due date was 3 days away. I took it as a sign.

I have been diligently plugging away at it ever since I sent off the final illo to LouMag. I ran into some technical difficulties though: How could I scan or photograph original artwork for a 24"x30" poster (I always work bigger than the final printed piece)? And if I were so lucky as to win, how would I get such a large piece to Louisville?

So I decided to tackle this project in Illustrator. I've been digging Jessica Hische's work lately, so my piece was very heavily influence by her, as well as various Victorian/Art Nouveau artwork I found online.

Doing the handwritten text was the best part. First I sketched it out with pencil:

Then I filled it in with ink:

Then I scanned it and used the AutoTrace feature in Illustrator to make it a vector shape. I hate doing that part because it never looks quite right to me. It lost a lot of character when it was forced into vectors.

Overall, I really like the way the poster turned out. I included the famous statue that is in the heart of Saint James Court and some of the beautiful Victorian homes that line the court, and embellished the design with the ever popular Fleur-de-lis.

This piece was a challenge for me stylistically, and it is a risky entry.. most of the past winners have been pretty paintings of the statue with some super kerned out text. Let's hope the gang at St. James Court likes my approach!

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