Monday, July 14, 2008

Some Advice

Sometimes I get hit up for advice and for the life of me I'm never sure if I should be giving it out because I'm still learning.  I have shit days.  I still make mistakes and second-guess what I'm doing. It's part of the lifestyle. A friend and I joke about it because all we did was trade old problems for new problems.

Read and let me know what you think.

Hey Sean,
Sorry for the 3 month delay in responding. Summer is one of my busiest seasons. I tried to find some more examples of your poster work online but couldn’t find any. I even stalked you on myspace.

It’s hard to give out advice because most people really want to be told that everything they do is amazing. And they don’t want to hear about what they can improve on.

I think it’s cool that you have your own style. That’s important. The more posters you do for your band the more people will equate your drawings as “Booster” or “Sean Kemp” posters. You should also hit up other bands and do some stuff for them too. Get a reputation as the guy from Booster who does all the artwork.

The next thing I would say is get a real website. A blog or deviant or myspace page to showcase your art is not a website. They’re easy as hell to build and maintain. You can’t throw a rock without hitting a web designer. So if you’re total crap with html, ask a friend. The goal of the website is to easily direct people to what you do. Also more importantly, LOOK PROFESSIONAL. I may not be the greatest artist out there but I gots me a website.  Booyah and all that other shit. That’ll get me hired faster than anyone with a myspace page.  For realsies.

Start paying attention to the way things are designed. Posters were a great learning ground for me. They still are. What they didn’t teach me in school I learned designing posters. Which was a lot. And I’m not done. So yeah, start paying more attention to design. If you really like posters buy a book on posters, keep it open as you work. Ask yourself how the person fit 100 band names on a poster and still made it look good. I’ve had to do that several times when I’m stumped. Try to stick with one font. The most important information is the headlining band and then the openers and then the date and finally the venue.

Even though I highly recommend paying more attention to design...try to avoid stealing someone’s style.  Especially if they're still alive.  Not that you are now, but it’s a pitfall that everyone seems to fall in to at some point. It’s like being a Jedi and having to decide over wearing leather pants and being evil or wearing a cotton robe and being good. Having your own style takes some time but pays off in spades. Do you want your band to be referred to as another band that sounds like (insert popular band name..I dunno...) Nirvana? Or do you want your band to sound like Booster?

Get to know your computer. Without the computer I’d be too lazy to design posters. Whether you dig photoshop or illustrator, learn to use them. It’ll save you time and make life easier when you hafta print your posters or deal with clients. It makes you more valuable as a designer if you know your shit and can give someone a file and all they hafta do is print it out.  People will pass your ass up if you don't know what you're doing.  They'll hire someone who may not be the world's greatest artist, but is computer savvy.

Last thing more work. The more you do the more people know about you and/or your band.

There’s no magic door for any of this. It all takes time. I’ve been doing posters for 7-8 years and I feel like I’m only scratching the surface. It’s a journey.

I hope that helped. I drank too much coffee today.


On 4/6/08 5:38 AM, "Sean Kemp" wrote: Hey Brian I am a musician, here in Adelaide, and starting to get some poster art out there, Wanted to send you a sample of what i've been doing, and wanting to know if you had any tips? I'm mostly doing Band Bill Art for my own band, ' Booster '. Sean Adelaide, Australia

1 comment:

darth wegner said...

Really liked that letter. Kinda helped me aswell. I've always been ok with a marker in my hand but never really got around to practice and really learn basic stuff as anatomy and perspective and shit. But when i got an interest in rock poster design/art i decided to do something about it.
Your letter gave answer to most of the questions I've been thinking about.

Feel free to visit my website if you've got time to kill.
(hint click the picture)
ps: I know i kinda stole the behind the scenes from your blog but as Bob Dylan once said: "Amateurs borrow, Pros Steal" ;) Don't like it? let me know. And by the way thanks for being an inspiration.