It’s been a while since Jobby blogged about art. Here he explains why and reveals a big project he was involved in…
Two Years in the Making!
I’ve recently been lucky enough to marry the love of my life who happens to be my best friend and favourite board game opponent, Sarah. We spent two years planning our wedding which we intended to have a lovely relaxed vibe and to be a representation of ourselves. It certainly did represent us with character meeples, custom dice and lots of film and TV quotes around the place. Sarah even had some special Harry Potter shoes made for the occasion!
Early on we felt we needed something special as favours for the guests. Something a bit more personal than a bag of little heart shaped chocolates. Something the guests would want to take home with them. Sometime early in 2017 during a car journey either myself or Sarah hit upon the perfect idea: we would produce a cartoon of each of the guests! This could also double up as the placecard for each guest, thus eliminating another job!
Of course, when I say ‘we’ what I meant is I would do the cartoons (although Sarah would help with the ideas).
Settling in to a Workflow
Obviously this would be a huge undertaking. Our wedding was reasonably small with about 70 day guests but that many guests multiplied by that amount of work means a lot of work! Without further ado I went to my local art supplies shop and bought two new sketchbooks and sharpened my pencils.
I knew that I wanted to hand draw the cartoons. I always feel that hand drawing gives me greater control and I believe it shows in the final piece. There’s something lovely about those lines which aren’t quite perfect: they might have a slight wiggle or the thickness changes during the stroke. Computer programs can emulate this to an extent but nothing beats the feeling of pushing a pen or pencil across a real, physical page of paper.
Having said that, I knew that I wanted to colour the cartoons in Photoshop. This would ensure that colours would be solid and bold. It would also allow me to ‘cheat’ on a couple of cartoons, adding in detail such board game box designs really simply.
The hardest part of the process was coming up with something that really represented each guest. Obviously I tried to make sure each cartoon looked like the guest by paying close attention to hairstyles, clothes and even the shape of their smile. We also wanted the cartoons to represent their interests or something they had done with us. This led to all sorts of things appearing in the cartoons – funny tshirts, wetsuits, mugs, pets, robot dogs, tents, cars, bicycles and even a camel!
With a cartoon coloured and finished in Photoshop I was then able to repurpose it for whatever we needed it for. Obviously there was the placecards: adding a banner across the top with the guest’s name. We also realised that we could use the cartoons for the table plan. So we put together all the people that were on the same table and added a logo and the table name (all of the tables were named after Dharma Initiative stations from Lost!).
Finally, with all that done we made a giant composition of all the guests with Sarah and me at the front, a sort of ‘wedding photo’.
Happily, all the guests loved their placecards and they were all taken home. Hopefully they will serve as reminders to everyone of an amzing day. I know that ours are certainly doing that!