I recently had the pleasure of designing a new logo for the London-based, vintage make-up and hair styling specialists Deco Dolls - a project that allowed me indulge in my two existing interests of Art Deco style and classic Hollywood glamour. Through a distillation of reference and inspiration from sources such as Harper’s Bazaar magazines, the paintings of J.C. Leyendecker, Art Deco posters, sculptures, and classic movie posters, I developed new branding that immediately gives the viewer a sense of the nostalgic Deco Dolls style.
While deliberately avoiding current trends in this area of logo design that over use a pastel, home-made craft aesthetic, I chose a traditionally strong colour scheme of black and gold that evokes a sense of classic British fashion and opulence that’s more Biba than bunting. The final logo is made up of a classically elegant female icon (illustrated as a vector) with bold art deco lettering that allows for numerous applications ranging from web, print, social media, brochures and trade-show banners. Added to which a single colour version was also developed that manages to lose none of the original’s strength and readability.
In the gallery below you’ll find a collection of work in progress images that shows the evolution of the design, along with abandoned ideas including references to Ava Gardner and The Venus De Milo (one and the same in the movie A Touch of Venus), colour tests and the various different hair styles we tried before setting of the final design. A perfect job where I could be more pleased with the final result.
First Draft concepts, some referencing The Venus De Milo, goddess of love and beauty.
Second draft, horizontal format logo concepts.
A range of hair style tests.
Portrait illustration colour tests.
Further logo development bringing in text elements.
Final portrait, illustrated as a vector in Adobe Illustrator.
Final colour variations.
Cropped portrait for use as profile image, avatar etc.
While living and working in a remote part of the Somerset countryside has its advantages, suitable venus to acquire that all important art training via life-drawing are few and far between. Rian Hughes rubs this in with his new book, Soho Dives, Soho Divas: Rian Hughes Sketches London’s Burlesque Artistes, a collection of sketches and more […]
Through his many examples of beautiful vintage movie posters, film historian and collector Ira M. Resnick reveals the history of Hollywood and the leading men and screen goddesses of cinema’s golden-age. From the biographies of silent-era stars such as Louise Brooks and Gloria Swanson, to the personal travel tales as a poster collector, his affection […]
When it comes to memorable characters in horror films, few are as heavily referenced and as recognisable as The Bride of Frankenstein. Victim (like the original monster himself) in James Wale’s classic Universal horror, her mixture of hollywood starlet looks, lightning streaked hair and macabre medical bandages make for one of the strongest images in cinema, […]
The work of David Wright was unknown to me before it’s introduction in the article by Peter Richardson in issue 2 of Illustrators Magazine. His pin-up paintings and comic book illustrations were immediately impressive, equalling that of more prominent artists such as Gil Elvgren and Harry Ekman, and left me firstly surprised that I hadn’t seen […]
In Well-Read Women: Portraits of Fiction’s Most Beloved Heroines, the illustrator Samantha Hahn presents a collection of portraits imagining 50 of the best-loved female characters from literary classics of the last century. The Great Gatsby’s Daisy Buchanan, Scarlet O’Hara of Gone With the Wind and Doctor Zhivago’s Lara Guishar count among an impressive list, illustrated in […]
Towering above all others in the land of the comic book gods stands Frank Frazetta, a powerhouse of science-fiction and fantasy art, sadly no longer with us, but whose work remains as popular and sought-after as ever. The Frazetta Sketchbook is a welcome addition to the collections of available work, offering a previously unseen look at the […]
Irresistable eye-candy for vintage illustration fans. Lifestyle Illustration of the 50s by Ryan Hughes is the long-awaited follow-up to his equally superb collection of vintage magazine illustration of the 1960s. Featuring work from acclaimed artists such as Coby Whtimore, Al Parker, Lynn Buckham and Ernest Chiriaka, this new collection offers more of the same, which is […]
There are several books written on the subject of fashion illustration with many unfortunately proving to be little more than filler or catalogues of aspiring artists, but there are two in particular that stand out for me as recommended titles. The first being David Downton’s Masters of Fashion Illustration and the second, Cally Blackman’s 100 Years of […]
Rudolph Belarski (1900-1983) was an American paperback cover artist whose action-packed or pin-up laden paintings sold countless books and magazines during the 1930s and 1960s. While predominantly of pulp fiction, detective or war stories in subject matter, he is also well-known for a series of paintings dedicated to the hospitalised servicemen in London and New […]
Character designers, animators and illustrators throughout the ages have all shared the wisdom of one simple truth; that adding an eye-patch to a character provides an instant coolness upgrade. From ‘the man in the Hathaway shirt’ to countless cowboys and Kurt Russell’s portrayal of Snake Plisskin, the eye-patch fits the bill whether you’re looking to […]
First released in hardback last year, Naughty and Nice: The Good Girl Art of Bruce Timm was so popular that it quickly became hard to find a copy without spending upwards of £100. Thankfully, publishers Flesk now offer a more accessible paperback edition subtitled, The Big Pocket Edition. Although not much smaller in physical size […]
Credited as inspiration behind my own fashion portraits, René Gruau (4 February 1909 – 31 March 2004) was an Italian fashion illustrator who’s stylised and elegant work for high-profile clients such as Christian Dior, Vogue, Schiaparelli and Givenchy became synonymous with fashion illustration and has continued to inspire generations after him – perhaps none more so than in the […]
In a departure from my usual illustration style i’ve recently developed these 12 portraits celebrating some of history’s classic female icons. Ranging from the television comedian Lucille Ball (I Love Lucy) to Hollywood Goddesses such as Ava Gardner, Marilyn Monroe and Greta Garbo, these fashion illustrations represent some of the most beautiful and best known […]
I was thrilled to have been invited to contribute to the Mail Me Art project for 2013 and after much procrastinating popped my C5 effort in the post yesterday. I eventually decided on a fashion portrait inked on parcel paper with black and yellow acrylics with white gouache for the hair. A very loose, sketchy […]
With Dave Stevens’ The Rocketeer Artist’s Edition, IDW introduced it’s range of high-end books for the comic collector, featuring reproductions of raw artwork from some of the worlds most renowned comic book artists. So acclaimed (and limited) was this first edition of Stevens’ beloved creation that it sold-out within days, leaving die-hard fans (like myself) […]
Robert McGinnis (1926) is an American illustrator best known for his paperback book covers for crime and romance stories written by authors such as Donald Westlake (aka Richard Stark of the excellent Parker books) and the Carter Brown Series. He’s estimated to have illustrated over an amazing 1200 covers and is still working today on […]
Robert Maguire (Aug 3rd 1921 – Feb 26th 2005) was an American illustrator synonymous with the world of pulp fiction producing over 600 covers for paperbacks and magazines during a prolific career spanning the 1950s – 1980s. Only a few of his contemporaries (artist’s such as Charles Copeland and Rudy Nappi) could match his ability […]
Illustration Friday’s theme of Whiskers led me down the path of Catwoman, and specifically Michelle Pfeiffer’s version of Catwoman from Tim Burton’s Batman Returns. After all the different Batman movies including Christopher Nolan’s excellent trilogy, Batman Returns remains my favourite (I could even say that Michael Keaton is my prefered Batman) with its festively dark atmosphere, […]
After what feels like a painfully long wait for a definitive career retrospective on one of America’s best known illustrators, The Art of Bob Peak is finally here and this heavy-weight coffee table book packs it’s near 400 pages full of everything us devoted fans could possibly ask for. Bob Peak is recognised first and foremost […]
Brand new from The Book Palace is the quarterly magazine Illustrators. A first of its kind for the UK in that it focuses purely on the work produced by commercial artists and illustrators of Europe. Following a very similar format to the already well established and popular USA based Illustration Magazine, it offers articles, interviews […]
Coby Whitmore (1913-1988) was an American lifestyle illustrator whose prolific output working at the Charles E. Cooper studio was used in advertising for top brands of the 1940s and 50s and featured in magazines including The Saturday Evening Post, McCalls and Cosmopolitan. He was counted among the top illustrators in this field along with fellow […]
Reynold Brown (1917-1991) was a commercial artist best known for his prolific output for movie posters during the 40s, 50′s and 60′s with a portfolio thought to be approaching nearly 300 posters. Although he also worked extensively for magazine and advertising clients, it’s his iconic work for movies such as This Island Earth, Attack of […]
Regular readers of this blog will already know that i’m more than just your average fan of pin-up and comic book artist Dave Stevens. I’ve already featured the excellent biography Brush With Passion and The Complete Sketchbook & Studies on this very website, and he’s also been part of my Artist Spotlight feature. My hunt […]
Al Parker (1908-1985) was a hugely popular American illustrator, often referred to as the ‘Dean of Illustrators’. His work appeared in all the major lifestyle magazines of 1930′s -1960′s including, Collier’s, Ladies Home Journal, Cosmopolitan, Saturday Evening Post, Sports Illustrated and Vogue. His colourful and lighthearted paintings helped to define the ‘look’ of lifestyle illustration of […]
“The best book on the subject I have ever seen.” – Norman Rockwell Whenever I get hold of a new Andrew Loomis book I always stop what i’m doing and don’t return to the drawing board before i’ve given it a good read through. This is essentially for fear of missing some perfect nugget of […]
Andrew Loomis (1892–1959) was an American artist of the period known as the Golden Age, with work appearing frequently in books, magazines and advertising and was comfortable in a wide variety of styles and mediums. Although all of his work is of an extremely high quality, it’s his series of popular instructional books that will […]
A Naked Gun Poster illustration from the files of Police Squad! Leslie Nielsen was surely one of the funniest men to have ever lived, and the Frank Drebin character from The Naked Gun movies was a perfect example of his brilliantly deadpan brand of humor. An absolute classic of the Zucker/Abrahams 80′s comedies and an easy […]
“Advertising has gone from something that reflects popular culture to becoming a part of popular culture, from something that’s influenced by popular entertainment to being popular entertainment.” – Jimmy Siegel. If, like the rest of the television viewing public you’ve been seduced by the sexy and sophisticated world presented in the excellent HBO series Mad […]
I’ve literally just turned the very last page of Setting The Scene by Fraser MacLean and although my brain may be suffering information overload, I also feel satisfied that i’ve just read one the definitive books on the subject of animation. A book that concentrates specifically on the discipline of layout design (and its inevitable merge with […]
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 […]
Bernet by Manuel Auad collects the work of Spanish comic book artist Jordi Bernet, known for his work on the Belgian comics magazine Spirou, Torpedo, a short run on Batman and most recently Jonah Hex. Introduced by Will Eisner and with comment from many others including Joe Kubert, this is a collection of noir tinged (not […]
I have to confess that I was unfamiliar with Steve Rude (aka The Dude) before I picked up this book, and it left me wondering why I hadn’t discovered his work sooner. In terms of the artistic influences we share you couldn’t get much closer with Norman Rockwell, Andrew Loomis and Alex Toth. His extremely […]
The nights are getting cold and long. The holidays are just around the corner. What better than to cosy up with a selection of the best illustration books around. Here’s my latest list of recommendations to tide you over the winter season. “Andrew Loomis’ books were a formative influence on my life and art. My […]
Presenting my foray into the world of Burlesque poster art with this series for L.A’s premier burlesque troupe The Dollface Dames. The first poster is a re-working of an old illustration of mine that’s been re-inked and coloured to bring it in-line with two brand new posters, creating a series that I now call ‘The […]
In my Little Black Book of Illustration Ideas, i’ve had ‘Roller Derby Romance’ written down for a while. Without a clear idea of what to do with it (except that I knew I wanted to create an image that referenced classic romance comics of the 1940/50s) i’ve managed to progress the idea no further than those […]
“I have seen the future, and it sucks. There, I said it. Someone had to. Send your complaints to City Hall. There’s no sugar-coating this. Movie posters suck these days. They’re going to suck even more tomorrow. And as we shuck and jive (and text and Facebook) ever onward into the digital future, movie posters […]
Instead of blowing my hard-earned cash on wasteful eccentricities like food, clothes or whatever, it’ll often be spent on what might be my one true addiction, books. Instead of leaving me broke and wondering where I went wrong, this addiction leaves me better educated and the proud owner of a collection of beautiful books focusing […]