Tuesday, August 6, 2013

"The Craftsmen Series" - Graham Smith

"The goal is to get your professional work and your personal work as close together as you can, to be happy." Graham Smith

I illustrate packaging for the Blue Moon Expressionist Collection - so, the crew from Complex Media dropped by to talk about craftsmanship, and the creative processes involved in creating the Blue Moon artwork.

Creating artwork for a national brand like Blue Moon is a collaborative process, where artists work together toward a common goal for the benefit of their client. Ideas and strategies to achieve those goals flow between many people, before the artist begins making all those ideas into one visual presentation.

To communicate many ideas quickly, the artist provides pencil sketches, so everyone on the team can see a concrete version of how the artist has decided to put all the ideas and strategies together, so they can deliver their input. This is a very social part of the process, where communicating between people is key.

Pencil sketches get revised and tweaked to match the overall plan, and eventually the artist is set loose to actually create the finished artwork - which, in my case is a many step process.

Agencies expect the artist to have the ability to edit every aspect of the work to meet the clients plans. And that's where the artists craftsmanship comes into play. A good craftsman will have understanding and control over all the aspects of the creative process. The art has to look good, but it also has to to created in such a way to be editable, on message, and most of all, on schedule.

I do many extra steps in creating artwork for a national brand, compared to the spontaneous nature of my personal work.

How does craftsmanship play a role in your work?

Pencil sketch: Blue Moon Rounder label

Final inking: Blue Moon Short Straw Farmhouse Red label

Final inking: Rounder label

Color proofs: Short Straw point of sale posters.

My desk at the end of a great project.

For the art nerds: Generals layout pencils, Dixon Ticonderoga #2 pencil, tracing paper, quill pen 513ef nib, india ink, Strathmore drawing paper, Loew-Cornwell brush #8 round, flat 1 inch brush, and all the stuff you see in the photo above.

- G.

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