Work in Progress Gallery 3: Iolanthe Poster

Earlier Gilbert & Sullivan posters at the University of Michigan (left) reminded me of Alphonse Mucha, the “father of Art Deco,” and his very-vertical posters for Sarah Bernhardt. The present assignment called for 8.5 x 11, but I wanted to emulate Mucha.
It also called for fairies in little black dresses. 
The lettering and graphic surround is created in Illustrator and “sweetened” in Photoshop with texture, highlights and shadows, and the special treatment of “Lydia Mendelssohn.” On the art paper print, the fairy and chair were ghosted back to almost nothing so my water-color on top would be more brushstrokes and less photo. 

Earlier style of University of Michigan Gilbert & Sullivan posters. This assignment is 8.5 x 11" so this purely-vertical kind of layout won't be possible.  

Two examples of Alphonse Mucha’s posters for Sarah Bernhardt c. 1905-1919. Aside from the obvious central female figure, note the arch-top graphics and the embedding of hand-lettered wording, especially the name of the theatre.

First version of fairy in pencil, scanned in and tinted in Photoshop. The costume design called for “little black dresses” and wings based on butterfly-patterned silk cloaks. For wands, light-sabres were contemplated but not finalized, so I kept it vague. 

I “cutened up” the penciled fairy in Photoshop and combined her with the chair photo in a single eps graphic. Then, ghosted back for overpainting, I placed that in a new Illustrator file. There I created the poster graphics and text behind it with space for a small group illustration. Exporting the whole shebang back into Photoshop, I “sweetened it up” with textures and effects.   

I had a 17 x 22" Giclée print made on art paper. It is quite media resistant; I set about it with dense water-color. Mucha’s illustrations have heavy contour lines, but I wanted to keep the face delicate. Since I’m pretty rusty in watercolor, the flesh tones were the toughest part. Had to retouch a bit. Shown here not quite done.

The scene of fairies and lords behind the Houses of Parliament was supposed to be watercolor over pencil. By the time I did the research and pencil there was no time left to have the print made, so I “painted it” in Photoshop. The image shown here has the color faded back to show the pencilwork.
The fully-colored image was added to a scan of the painted poster print for final output.