Thursday, November 8, 2007

Silkscreening 4: Red Rooster

Another one from the (sadly, now-finished) silkscreen class, this was for Red Rooster, a self-described "Urban Country" band. I tried to come up with some imagery that would suggest that seeming contradiction, and I quickly hit on the idea of some kind of farming implement in an incongruous urban setting. Tractors are neat looking, so I picked a tractor.

As originally visualized in my head, this concept involved about six colors—an orange and red tractor, green grass, blue sky, grey buildings and black shadows. My experience with the Randy Bandits and bird silkscreens taught me that less is more in silkscreening, at least as a beginner—the more colors, the more obvious the registration problems. So I scaled it down to two colors, which actually works better, I think, as it puts more emphasis on the band name and the flame detail on the tractor (as you'll see below).

I did a quick search for tractor images to find reference for a drawing, but I had trouble finding a tractor that captured the down-home vibe I was looking for, from the angle I wanted. So I had to reference different parts of different tractors to build my final Frankentractor. I won't link to the various reference photos, because a couple of them were Corbis images and for all I know even using them as reference might not be kosher, but the body of the tractor is primarily drawn from an antique tractor which was clearly built before rubber tires were invented, the back tires are from a high-tech modern tractor that otherwise looked more like some kind of tank, and the front wheels are drawn from some otherwise anonymous tractor.

I also decided to try a new shape for these, both for variety and to emphasize the height of the cityscape. I already had some 14" x 17" paper, so I made this design 7" x 17", which meant it fit two to a sheet. As an added bonus, this meant the Red Rooster folks got twice as many posters as anyone else (sorry, other band friends!).

Speaking of which, I knew I wasn't quite happy with the cityscape in the background, but the deadline for my free hours at the print shop was looming, so I sent this "sketch" over to the band for their thoughts:

They liked it, but asked for a couple revisions—first, they asked if there was some way to make it clear that they were a band and not, say, an off-broadway play. So I suggested adding a short tagline, as we had done on the Mr. McGregor ("Trailer-Punk Trio") poster. They sent over a couple of options, of which "city-fried country" was the clear favorite, so I added that in underneath the band name. They also asked if there was some way to include a rooster in there somewhere, so I added one as kind of a logo on the front of the tractor. Finally, I got around to redrawing the cityscape, and realized that the windows just weren't going to work—they created some odd problems of scale, and ultimately just didn't look good. So I lost the windows and added some good old fashioned schmutz, and sent the following to the band:

Luckily, they liked it, and all that was left was to print the thing, which went pretty smoothly, all things considered. As a two-color job, this was pretty forgiving, and this was definitely my most consistent print run yet. Here's a scan of one of the final prints:

For more information on Red Rooster, visit their website at:


FloatingPoint said...

Eric I love these prints you are doing so keep at them can't wait to see more!!!!

As you have been so kind in sharing some of the stages in your development process I have uploaded a few pics on my blog if your interested so you can see how i go about constructing my pieces!!!! laters and great stuff.

India said...

Totally awesome.

MacGuffin said...

I like it though I have to say I kinda prefer the city lights effect. Hayseed vs big city, bright lights vibe.