August 8, 2010

1950's Retro & Digital

This new book I am illustrating is a fun story set in New York's Central Park Zoo. The real challenge to this project is trying to find a new synthesis of a retro 1950's style and a contemporary digital style. The art is based on pen brushed line on watercolor paper. The colors are bright and bold... with patterns and textures done in photoshop.

I searched through the amazing artists of the 1950's, whose work seems very much akin to this current age. I looked through magazines from the 1950's with amazing samples of Alice and Martin Provensen's work which still looks very contemporary. The parallels between 2010 and 1950 seem clear. Maybe that's because 1950's design seems so similar to our own decade... or maybe it's just a timeless classic. Of course they didn't get to use digital tools to embellish their amazing designs, but I guess their work will last the ages.

Some of the hallmarks of the graphic style might be thought to have iconic simplicity, overprinted color areas and simplified color backgrounds isolated by white space. I tried to get some of that same look, along with an added contemporary cartoon edge. I hope I've succeeded.


Shirley said...

Bravo! Such wonderful illustrations. I think you've nailed it...delightful work!

John Nez said...

Thanks, Shirley!

It's nice to get some positive feedback, since I'm totally in the dark as to whether this style might work or not.

An artist never knows...


Mad Men Girl said...

Calling all Mad Men fans!

I have entered a contest to win a walk-on role on the retro-licious show "Mad Men".

If you would take two seconds to vote for me, I would really appreciate it. Just go to my blog, or use this link to go straight to my photo page.

Thanks a bunch!