In my last blog post, I wrote about how I wanted my friends to tap into their creative reservoir. One of my friends who is doing just that is one TJ Tooley. TJ is the host of For The Love Of Story podcast, which I have designed for in the past. He has recently used the podcast as a vehicle to tell fantastic multi-part stories for your listening pleasure. The Author and Leapers are two such stories. Both stories were in need of artwork that I was happy to provide.
I’ve created graphics in celebration of Black History Month in the past. However, I wanted to do something different this year. I wanted to give some shine to African-American graphic designers that have made an impact on American culture. This design project also was my chance to learn about these designers I should know.
From the moment I laid eyes (and ears) on her “Tightrope” music video in the year 2010, I have been in love with the creative tour-de-force that is Janelle Monae. She is my favorite music artist of any genre, any time period. She and the Wondaland Arts Society produce music that is so creative, exciting, soulful, meaningful, and exquisitely crafted. I devour any and all music that she releases or is featured on. Recently, she released her latest marvelous body of work, Dirty Computer, and I was inspired to create illustrations based on each of the marvelous songs on the album.
Similar to my 100 Songs Project, I listened to each song as I attempted to illustrate a corresponding visual concept. I sketched out some ideas that I thought would work for each track. From each sketch/idea, I went into Adobe Illustrator and came up with something I thought would speak to each track. Along with listening to each song on repeat while designing, I used the lyrics and breakdown from the website Genius as well as her own interactive tracklist with her listed inspirations. Some of the illustrations are also inspired the accompanying emotion picture she released along with the album.
Here are the 12 illustrations I came up with for the project.
1 – Dirty Computer – This one was a minimalistic illustration of the back of my MacBook Pro with a silhouette of an Janelle Monae illustration from her “Django Jane” music video (which you’ll see featured in number 5) replacing the Apple logo.
2 – Crazy, Classic, Life – This is an illustration of a frame taken directly from the Dirty Computer emotion picture.
3 – Take A Byte – A microchip branded with love with a literal bite taken on out of it.
4 – Screwed – This illustration is directly inspired by the lyric – “You f*cked the world up now, we’ll f*ck it all back down”.
5 – Django Jane – I drew this from the frame in the “Django Jane” video where she pans right for the angle.
6 – Pynk – Directly inspired by the music video and the pants the dancers wore.
7 – Make Me Feel – Inspired by the shades she wore in the music video and how she danced between a man (Mars) and a woman (Venus), hence the symbols.
8 – I Got The Juice – Juice box for the win! Using the Django Jane silhouette here too.
9 – I Like That – Made my own like icon on this one. Inspired by “Told the whole world, I’m the venom and the antidote / Take a different type of girl to keep the whole world afloat”
10 – Don’t Judge Me – A judge’s gavel crossed out.
11 – So Afraid – This one was the most challenging. I was trying to figure out how to visually represent fear. So, I took inspiration from the Scream movies. I utilized negative space for the heart shaped tongue, the teeth, and the tears welling up in the eyes.
12 – Americans – A good old-fashioned American apple pie! With equal signs all over the top. Using red, white, and blue.
Tribute projects are fun to work on. I am happy anytime what I love do can intersect with other things I am passionate about. Put time into design series like this is great practice for me and a way for me share what I like with the world – like the greatness of Janelle Monae.
A friend of mine suggested I try out Doctor Who. Doctor Who is a British science-fiction show about the adventures of a Time Lord simply known as “The Doctor”. He explores the universe in his time-traveling ship, the TARDIS. It is a very interesting program to say the least. The two test episodes I was shown by my friend were “The Eleventh Hour” from Series 5 (seasons = series, across the pond) and “Blink” from Series 3. I thoroughly enjoyed both and instantly became interested in learning more about the Doctor Who universe. I considered being lazy and just continuing from Series 5. However, I decided to go back to Series 1 Doctor Who and experience the entire revival series from the beginning.
(Sorry to all super die-hard Whovians that think I should start at the very, very beginning. I don’t have time to go back to the 1963-1989 series and catch all the way up.)
While currently in Series 4, I had an idea to design some logo style graphics in tribute to this outstanding program of which I am a new fan. There may be – probably will be – spoilers so proceed with caution. (The show’s been out for 10 series starting in 2005 so…there’s that.)
Series 1 – 3
The initial idea was to just make a graphic for each series as I completed them. But you’ll see as you read further that it expanded a bit beyond that. With this part of the “Whovian Bobbie” design series, I wanted to capture some of the important elements of each series/season. A somewhat minimalistic representation of the series itself.
In the Series 1 graphic, I included original interpretations of the sonic screwdriver (one on each side), Daleks, and the TARDIS itself (on top). I was going for a crest of sorts then it took a life of its own.
In the Series 2 graphic, I highlighted one of my favorite interactions – Cybermen vs. Daleks at Canary Wharf. The two hearts below represent the two hearts of The Doctor. They are half filled to represent the event towards the end of Doomsday.
In the Series 3 graphic, you see my interpretation of one of the posters for the election of Harold Saxon, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. “Vote Saxon” was seen throughout the show in various places. The meaning behind it was revealed towards the end of Series 3. The circular objects in the Os as well as the middle of the poster refer to the Toclafane, seen in the two-part finale of Series 3. At the bottom, you see two dueling screwdrivers (which may or may not both be sonic)…for…reasons.
Characters / Races Thus Far
Since I had to create concepts of both for Series 1 and 2, I decided to make separate images for the Cybermen and the Daleks. Taking what I considered essential features of both, I crafted logos representing the legendary icons.
Here’s a video of how I designed the Cybermen logo.
Going forward, I am going to be designing my logo-ish tributes to various characters from the show and I will be designing graphics for each series as I finish watching them. Be following at instagram.com/creativebobbie. Excited to see where this project (as well as the show itself) takes me.
5 MICS is a design series I started celebrating my personal 5 favorite MCs in hip-hop, the rappers whose music and style I love.
I analyzed their photos and pulled what I considered the most recognizable elements of them. Then, I sketched out what would eventually become simple illustrations of each. I created a general face/head template and then applied the unique elements on top of that.
Like with each design series I do, I created a system of presentation that would be consistent throughout. I took the microphone I made, duplicated it 4 more times, and put the mics in formation to be the 5 Mics project logo. With each MCs illustration, I drew additional inspiration from a project or other specific bit of information about the artist.
“There’s levels to this but I’m a whole new floor.”
The colors in the background are inspired by the cover of her EP, Beauty And The Beast.
“But, I’m not defined by the sales of my first week
Cause in my mind the only way I fail; if my verse weak”
The background here refers to Logic’s skill of solving Rubik’s cubes at an incredible speed.
“Cole under pressure. What that make? Diamonds.”
His 2014 Forest Hills Drive album was the inspiration for the background.
“It’s hard being a Lupe fan, go to Harvard to be a Lupe stan.”
Background is “All Black Everything”.
“If it don’t touch my soul, then I can’t listen to it.”
The purple was inspired by the Cadillactica album. The lightning cut was inspired by Mt. Olympus. The crown refers to what K.R.I.T. means (King Remembered In Time).
One of the great things about being a graphic designer is having the ability to pay visual tribute to those that impact you. We should all use our skills and gifts to deposit as much positivity into the world as possible. The 5 MICS design series is just one example of me creatively saluting some of those who provide greatness to the soundtrack of my life and the life of others.
I love marching band. I love graphic design. So, when I was approached by the Director of Bands at James B. Dudley High School to design a new logo for the band, I was very excited. However, this project would require me to illustrate a full panther mascot. This wouldn’t be the more minimal logos I had grown used to designing. I don’t consider myself an illustrator so this would be a challenge. But the challenge was well for worth it.