John Huston’s Classic Key Largo gets an Alternative Movie Poster Illustration by Christopher King.
I’m a big fan of John Huston’s noir classic Key Largo so it was an easy choice to start the new year with this poster illustration. This was inked by hand with brush and pen, mostly as separate parts and brought together and coloured in Photoshop. More details about the making of below;
Some notes on my process;
My poster designs always start with a series of thumbnail sketches in which i’ll begin to think about the basic layout of the poster. Once happy with the thumbnail i’ll search my books and the internet for suitable reference photography of the actors, in this case Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall and Edward G. Robinson. From this reference i’ll assemble a photo comp that i’ll use to base a draft illustration of the poster, marking in where type and logo elements will sit.
I then draw (in pencil) the 3 portraits separately (i draw them as individual parts because this allows me the flexibility to arrange them Photoshop later) and go over them in black ink using pen and brush. The final part of the inking stage is to create the rough background textures, again drawn in black ink, but this time with an old brush that gives a nice broken line.
With all the inked elements complete, they are scanned into Photoshop and compiled as layers using the ‘multiply’ setting so each appears transparent. On a new layer, underneath these outlines i’ll paint in the tonal values using a preset Photoshop brush (with the image set grayscale at this point), create the text in Illustrator, import and arrange to fit. Once I have a finished grayscale version of the poster i’ll convert this to RGB and overlay colour on a new layer. After a little more painting in colour values I end up with a finished poster.