Little Shop of Horrors

I started work on the Little Shop of Horrors promotional poster this week. I drew out the composition yesterday in pencil and started working in the colours in gouache and watercolour last night. I have to say, I might have been a little more ambitious than I was prepared for.

Gouache is pretty much just poster paint, but it has elements that are tricky. It's not quite watercolour and it's not quite acrylic - it's sort of a weird hybrid. I like the drying textures it brings about when the pigments split up a little, but it's a little difficult to gauge what I'm doing. I had one poster that got so messed up I had to abandon it and start over. 

This one has undergone a few changes here and there. I'm not 100% happy with it - mostly because I have great difficulty drawing my imagination. I used to be much better at it, but I think years of conditioning on the computer and also being hyper-focused on realism have made that sort of fanciful illustration much harder for me. I can't focus or see it anymore. So of course, the composition of the plant got really wonky.

This was the first version, before I messed it up.

Audrey II was contained in a terra cotta pot. I drew out the leaves like a little mane and sketched out his flytrap claw. It's not bad, but I wanted it to be much scarier.

So I scrapped this idea and went for a bigger Audrey II, that looked closer to the puppet rental they had.

Again, I don't have the faintest idea how to really draw imaginary plants. I really had to fudge it with the painting later. I'm a bit ashamed that I'm at a point where I can't envision a composition of something without looking at a reference.

Speaking of, do you recognize the lady? I based the composition on the poster for the classic 1950s B-movie, "Attack of the Crab Monsters." It's one of my favourites. Roger Corman directed both that and the original "Little Shop of Horrors," which was a happy coincidence. I thought it would be cool to pay homage to Corman's work.

I ended up blocking in more green, so it appeared that Audrey II was hugging the lady to death. I had to call in Harlan to help me figure out how to define the leaves. I've never taken a painting class, and have no idea how to work out some things. It doesn't come naturally to me anymore.

Once I finish the painting, I can scan it and work the image in Lightroom and Photoshop to even things out and make a halftone pattern or something workable. I'll lay out the poster like the old Crab Monsters movie poster, with the illustration and some white on the bottom for text, then overlay the title type over the image. I experimented a little tonight with that:

It's about 70% there. I'm pleased with where it's going. But there's a lot more work to do tomorrow.

This afternoon I spent my day with Jon, the carpenter for the SCCT. He's a great guy and an excellent teacher. We made wall flats for the play and I painted building exteriors. The workshop is fantastic: there's a cage for paints, a whole carpentry set up, a props room, rehearsal space, etc. It is really cool. I definitely want to learn more about scenic design, and this place is a good place to start.