Joe Alterio's blog on illustration, comix, design, animation, and other bouts of total awesomeness.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Sausage Factory: Done Got Hitched, Part 1

So I've decided to start doing something on this blog I'd like to call The Design Sausage Factory, because I like the sound of that, and I've had a little wine and it sounds totally fine to me right now. I thought it might be cool to document how a design or illustration that I'm working on starts out when it's first concepted, and then update it with various installments until the final product comes shooting out the gristle-caked slough onto the slick factory floor below, glistening with fatty design-y residue of another concept hog butchered in the name of an idea . I'm always really amazed at how certain design projects and tones can change over the course of time, and I never really save different iterations, so I figure this is as good a venue as any. Not only do I get see myself how it progressed, but so do all seven of my readers. (Hi, Dad!) So strap on your company-issued hard hats, folks: the factory floor calls!

The project in question is actually one of a rather personal nature, which is great because I actually care about it more than most (just kidding, paying clients!). As you may know, the lovely Molly and myself will be getting married this November, and such a big event of this nature always is in need of some serious design direction. Without a cohesive identity, defined themes, and a sensible pallette, the whole thing will spiral out of control, we'll break up, and the building we're getting married in will probably set on fire. I really, truly believe this. This is what happens when a visual nerd gets married.

(...and for those of you guys out there who think that I'm being a sissy for caring about the visual identity of my wedding: turn your back on your girl for a second, and you may end up wearing a pink bowtie. Heed me now!)

In all seriousness, though, there were certain tones and themes that both Molly and I talked about wanting to evoke, and so the closer we hit to our mark, the more success we feel the event will be.


Step One: Themes

Luckily, I happen to be marrying a girl who is with me in firm belief that there is nothing worse than this or this or whatever. So let's just wipe that crap right out.

We're both rather nostalgic for times past, we both really enjoy a certain early 20th century iconography, and we both think the saccharine sweetness wrapped around some weddings is, well, kinda gross, so we want to pull it more to a quirky, esoteric, and nearly DIY feel. We're also having our wedding very close to Halloween, so we'd like to encapsulate *some* of that feeling (ornate decreptitude, interesting foliage) with out most of the traditional ridiculousness (Hot Topic, goths). As you can see, the target we are trying to hit from a visual point of view is very narrow, and hence takes a great deal of focus.

Step Two: Influences

- 1893 through 1925, and the associated themes
- Art Nouveau
- The White City
- Traditional book binding
- Scientific etchings
- Taxidermy
- Pre-Edwardian typography and patterns
- non-traditional flora
- Perhaps even Art Deco, if we feel like stretching the time period.

(Thanks, HC!)

Step Three: Palettes and Font Options

So, having throughly processed all the images we pored over, I came with a set colors that seemed to recur many times:

...and the best I could do with my current set of fonts that seemed time appropriate, though I'm not really thrilled with any of them.

I have, however, just been turned on to a set that seems kind of perfect.

Step Four: First Attempt

So this is what I got from just kind of screwing around:

Neither of us are thrilled with it, but we agree it's going in the right direction: the colors seem right, but there needs to be more wedding and less wallpaper. Stay tuned...

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

New work

Just quick note to update you of some of my most recent projects:

The first is the aforementioned skatedeck I worked on for a show at Space Gallery a few weeks ago. Tim Lillis of Narwhal Creative and I both created a deck, and they both rule: I think mine is about halfway there in terms of what was in my head versus what actually came out, but my next piece in this same scheme will be farther along, I think. Also, Jesse, of Subhead Grip provided some incredible griptape work that really took the piece to the next level, so thanks to him for all his help. More here.

The second is something I mentioned before, but I actually received the cardpack that I created for the Ignite agency, and they're great: nice printing, excellent stock, beautiful packaging. It's always nice to see your work in physical form, too.

And lastly, more damn Robots and Monsters. As usual.

*UPDATE*: We got blogged by Brainiac again. Sweet!

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Printing's Alive

Amen, brother. From Design Observer.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Cardboard is Murder

Damn, this is cool. Molly found this the other day out of a duel headed desire to support independent artists, and also somehow put a stop to my obsession with having dead stuffed animals in our house. Rock Paper Scissors out of Virginia, what looks like a small DIY shop, sells cardboard laser cut into puzzles you can assemble to mock taxidermied heads of elk, moose, and yes, rhinos, among other things. We bought the big one just now.

Pretend you live in the Ernest Hemingway's house, but without the guilt!

Friday, January 25, 2008


I love this thing. It looks like a character out of a children's book. Soooo cool.

I added this with the new Flickr - Blogger App. Why, oh, why have you place the image all the way on the right hand side, oh, Flickr. This thing stinks.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Sketchblog 1/19/08

(Click to enlarge)

Above is a last minute poster I did for my friend Scott, in support of a benefit show for the Tia Foundation. Knowing that I'm a total sucker for good causes, he knew I'd jump at the chance, the rat bastard. I ended up only having a small amount of time to do it in, so the above is actually a bit of recycling on my part; a few different pieces from sketch books, brought together in Photoshop and then layed out in InDesign. I'm pleased with the result. Reduce, reuse, redesign, my brothers and sisters.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Your Monster Is Leaking

The above is the debatable leaked concept art of the main antagonist monster in the new film Cloverfield, to be released in about 2 weeks. Filmed in the faux-verite style so popular with the kids in recent years, there's been internet chatter back and forth about whether this is just fan art, a ruse created to throw off the fanboys, or the actual good stuff, but regardless, I like the illo a lot. Look out! Walking whale!

Now, all we have to wait for is to see whether is actually going to be a cool movie that will live up to the hype, or yet another in a series of disappointing movies that could never replicate the excitement generated by their art direction and pricey ad campaigns. It may be that my advanced age of almost 30 has made a cynic out of me, but I ain't holding my breath.

Turns out it's not real, just some guy's stab at it. I still like the drawing, though.

Friday, January 04, 2008

How To Draw A Face

Every once in a while, The Internets come through and actually fufills the promise of bringing us all closer together, as one people. It's in these bright and shining moments when I actually allow myself a glimmer of hope that humanity may actually not totally screw things up beyond recognition. This story is one of those moments.

It will make you laugh. It will make you cry. It will teach you how to draw a face. It's like a mytsery and a buddy movie and feel-good family drama all in one.

Dig it.

(via Drawn!)