Monday, July 13, 2009

The Third Man

For whatever reason, I've been in a mood to do nothing but poster work lately, even though they are 3-4x the amount of work that a simple portrait is.

I guess its partly because I've been watching a lot of film noir lately (The House on Telegraph Hill, Hangover Square), and that, more than anything else, I really enjoy working out the design of any given piece--figuring out where to place the text, the pictures, what colors to use, what graphic elements to put in--its a like a maddening puzzle I can't help but try and solve.

I had originally wanted to do a poster for a Paul Newman film, because I just finished a biography about him, but when I couldn't settle on which movie I wanted to do, I moved on and looked around for other classic films to, er, poster-ize.

Since I never get tired of doing Orson Welles portraits, I decided to have a go at The Third Man, arguably Orson's second-most famous movie (and my initial inspiration for this whole style of illustration), and full of great, captivating images.

Pretty quickly, I imagined representing Welles's character--the inscrutable Harry Lime--as just a shadow, looming over the film's two protagonists, played by Welles co-hort Joseph Cotten and Italian actress Valli.

After coming up with that, it was just a matter of building up all the elements around that central idea. And despite all the twists, turns, and blind alleys I went down while putting this piece together, it was that element that remained pretty much constant throughout the piece.

I worked on it all day, only adding the bright blue at the last minute, since it seemed a little drab to me (to that point, it had been mostly black and white, with just the two figures in color). Once I added the blue, though, the piece came alive to me and I called it a day!


Wings said...

Wonderful, Rob. I am jealous of your talent! ;)

Craig Zablo said...

I abolutely LOVE your poster work. This is an excellent example why.

rob! said...

Thanks guys!