What do a doubloon, a monster, and a surfer have in common? Not much except on Behance, where they appear in three very different artists' portfolios.
The hundreds of thousands of projects posted by Behance members are rich sources of creative ideas and inspiration. After you've dipped into the three projects in this month's column that head Behance curator Oscar Ramos Orozco and I chose, I hope you're inspired to explore the site on your own.
Who: Jen Dodaro
What: "The Doubloon" packaging concept
Behance member since: 2012
Jen Dodaro is in her third term at Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California, majoring in graphic design/art. When she received the packaging assignment that led to The Doubloon, she was busy with several other finals.
"I took a break from my computer and walked to a bookstore to clear my head," Jen told me. "I came across a really old version of Herman Melville's Moby-Dick. As soon as I got home, I began researching other versions of the book's cover and became excited about theming a bottle around the book and that era." (See Figure 1.)
Jen decided that her product would be a handcrafted dry gin she dubbed The Doubloon. Unlike the murky ambiguity that surrounds the doubloon in Moby-Dick, this bottle's labels are appealingly transparent (see Figure 2).
Jen created the front and back label in Adobe InDesign (see Figure 3). She printed the back label and whale onto clear adhesive sheets and printed the front title using a rub-on transfer process.
Like most packaging mock-ups, the project required a lot of hand work; for example, Jen painted the original whale by hand and stained the bottle's wooden cap a dark shade to keep with the vintage vibe. But that manual touch is fine by Jen, who told me, "Most items made in my generation lack craftsmanship. Packaging from the early 1900s is absolutely exquisite."
After graduation, she's considering designing for the entertainment industry. "But I also love package design and branding," she says. "As long as it's something art- and design-related, I'll be happy."
Who: Aleix Gordo Hostau
What: Gum monster illustrations
Behance member since: 2012
Gum may be a menace to anyone who has to scrape it off sidewalks or chair bottoms. But a monster who rules the world? That's how artist Aleix Gordo Hostau portrays gum in a very different way in Behance project Mi Mundo de Chicle, and people across the world have embraced the vision (see Figure 4). His gum monsters now populate everything from card decks to city streetscapes.
Aleix begins his process by drawing with pencil on paper. He scans the results and imports a JPEG file into Adobe Illustrator. He then traces the outlines of the sketch as if he were inking it. "I prefer to use the mouse and the keyboard instead of a Wacom tablet," he says. "I'm a fan of perfect straight lines, so it's easier and faster for me to trace the 'inking' with the anchor point tool and 'play the piano' through the shortcuts on the keyboard to select and coordinate the lines as I create them." (You can play cards with the deck shown in Figure 5.)
Aleix's files can be quite complex. "I may deal with more than 3,000 objects. I developed my own way to solve this by planning the process of creation of the whole illustration before I actually make it. I play a lot with creating contours and line thicknesses. Sometimes I feel more like a mathematician than an illustrator, calculating the fastest geometrical solutions or ordering the layers in a rational way to get what I want."
Given this mathematical approach, you may be surprised to learn that Aleix is a renowned street artist (see Video 1).
To view many more variations on the gum monster, visit Aleix's Behance project Mi Mundo de Chicle.
Who: Tomasz Usyk
Behance member since: 2010
Look through Tomasz Usyk's Behance portfolio and you'll see image after image of athletes. Everyone from skateboarders to equestrians is rendered in strong lines and saturated colors that practically burst off the screen. This athletic orientation is no coincidence: the Ireland-based illustrator has a master's degree in physical education teaching and coaching.
But after teaching sports for several years in Poland, Tomasz moved to Ireland and began working as a silkscreen printer and freelance illustrator. He returned to school to earn a bachelor of arts degree in design (visual communications) and graduated earlier this year. Now he's combining his passion for sports and drawing for clients such as The New York Times.
Tomasz relies on Adobe Illustrator for most of his work, although he often begins projects in Adobe Ideas, a drawing app for the iPad. In the case of his illustration of a kite surfer (see Figures 6–10), he stayed entirely in Adobe Ideas.