Saturday, February 18, 2012

President's Day -- The Captains of Industry Calendar


Eyerus + Visual Communications Studio
The Captains of Industry


A calendar, illustrated in the style of '70s Blaxploitation movie posters. Each month will focus on an extremely esoteric holiday (or a popular holiday handled in an extremely esoteric way), all staring The Captains of Industry.

The Captains of Industry are: Graham Funke and StoneRokk, two innovative and eclectic DJs known for their creativity, sense of humor, and opinionated worldviews. You may find them working high-profile corporate and celebrity events around the country, or at their Las Vegas residencies at the Palms Casino Resort. They are "Your favorite DJ's favorite DJs."™


February's featured holiday is President's Day. The idea, here, is The Capts, chiseled atop Mt. Rushmore with our other immortalized presidents. But, the additional twist is that it is to be depicted in the style of a cheesy 1950s postcard one might have found at any gas station -- in this instance, likely any South Dakota fuel stop.


The Capts took part in a photo shoot, exploring all sorts of expressions, from the not-so-presidential to the presidential. My first sketches depicted that range, with presidential winning out.

My research included studying all manner of these '50s postcards -- what colors and shapes are prevalent, what typefaces are used, and how do they use touristy imagery to tell their stories?

My other challenge was to create an appealing illustration that captures the essence of an inherently ugly design. It also means adding a few subtle savory extras that makes a viewer want to come back for seconds.


The guys on the mountain is obviously the main story, so I needed to make sure to construct them in such a way that looked like they belonged, without question, stoney and all. As per our theme of a different 'stache for every story, Graham is seen rockin' the Chester A. Arthur, here on the mount.

The graphic treatment below the faces is pretty dominant, too. A wavy font motion seems to be a recurring theme on these postcards. It happened to work with this composition, so I embraced it.

The interior text images should be typically touristy and add to the scene, without distracting from the faces. What better choices than a landscape, bison, and the ever-popular fireworks? I matched a couple of fonts for "Greetings from" and "Mount Rushmore," and off I went.

Color is always very important. Here, it's not only important for creating a strong design, but also for cooking up an appropriate retro-chic flavor. I spent time experimenting with a striping color combo that looks last century yet beautifully-ugly, while also complementing the overall palette. Slightly-saturated earth tones seemed to do the trick. I couldn't forget to make decisions about the widths of the stripes to further create interest and elevate the composition.

What about the clouds? Not just any cloud formation will do. It needs to be a cumulus formation.


The cumulus clouds have more shapes for viewers to sink their teeth into. Plus, they interact with the faces in a more interesting way, echo the bold shapes of the mountain, and create more definitive leading lines which guide the viewer through the composition.


To further the idea that this is a retro postcard, why not add a ribbed paper texture that appears as if it's chipping away? And, that's just what I did.

Thanks, again, to the amazing team at Eyerus for allowing me the opportunity to be involved, for their direction, and for fostering an environment for creativity that any illustrator would cherish. Thanks, too, to The Captains of Industry for conceiving such a wonderfully-inspired collection of ideas for the world to devour, as well as for their very generous write-up about the project and their kind words toward me. See it, here.

You may secure your own calendar at The Capts Online Haberdashery.

Over the coming weeks, I will show and tell the stories behind each month's art. Stay tuned. Tell your friends. You won't be disappointed!

Allan Burch is an award-winning illustrator and portrait artist, providing solutions for editorial, book, advertising, and institutional projects.
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