My favorite Street Faire posters are the ones where I experiment with technique. This turns out to also mean, my favorite posters are the ones that take ridiculous amounts of time.

In 2014, our summer was fairly dramatic, and this poster was my therapy. That, and listening to all the music the Iguanas have put out. If you don’t know them, they’ve been creating some solid warm Americana with a very distinct Tex-Mex sound for about 20 years now. They live in New Orleans, and that flavors their sound. But when I listened, I was transported to an imaginary cantina in Juarez.

All fall, I’ve been meaning to write this up, but life has a way of distracting me. And there’s always a good reason not to do this. So this will just be brief, and show several shots I took along the way of my process.

Starting the final lettering for the band title.

Starting the final lettering for the band title

The illustration is finished on the board, and I’ve added the liquid masking to the letters, and the dancing iguana’s tail. About time to start applying the first wash.

The illustration is finished on the board. About time to start applying the first wash.

First orange wash on the poster. The letters were all masked with liquid masking so I could wash over them.

First orange wash on the poster. The letters were all masked with liquid masking so I could wash over them.

We’ve added depth to the wash here.

We've added depth to the wash here.

Next I added the red flourishes which extend behind the letters and blocked in the two green iguanas. This was my first work with a super-long-and-fine sign painter’s brush, and I started getting the hang of it.

Next I added the red flourishes which extend behind the letters and blocked in the two green iguanas. This was my first work with a long sign painter's brush, and I started getting the hang of it.

I peeled off the masking for the S. It’s a little rough.

I peeled off the masking for the S. It's a little rough.

El Iguanador is essentially finished. After languishing a while, he suddenly surged forward and came together very quickly.

El Iguanador is essentially finished. After languishing a while, he suddenly surged forward and came together very quickly.

Scraping away the masking. Hmm, edges are rougher than I thought. Perhaps I shouldn’t have left it on for two weeks or so.

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Once all of the letters were unmasked, I started to work on them. First, a bright blue outline.

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Shading comes next. I was really gaining respect for sign painters by now.

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I explored brush and ink lettering for the date. Ultimately my talents don’t yet match my vision, and a sketched, drafted approach gave me more of what I want.

Brush and ink lettering samples

Back to the notebook…

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I developed a couple of ideas for the date and the “The”.

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The curly “The” was the way to go, even if the scripted date didn’t really fit. To copy the lettering onto the board, I traced the lettering backwards onto the paper, then used the fine tip of the burnishing tool to leave a faint line.

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…And here we have the final artwork, after lettering is finished, the female iguana’s eye is fixed, and the painting is enhanced with a Photoshop keyline. The type and Street Faire logo were added in InDesign.

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I’m looking forward to painting more letters. Clearly, however, I have much to learn.

So whatcha think?

I’d love to hear from you.

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