I hate the musical Grease, so wasn’t exactly thrilled to be asked to make a poster for it but a long weekend of college readings and emailing replying made me desperate to do something creative.
I considered a few ideas on paper (I always sketch my ideas out to some extent, even if it’s just on the side of an A4 pad). I initially started with the two iconic hairstyles of Danny’s quiff and Sandy’s 50s bow and fringe but didn’t like the lack of detail and knew the people I was doing the poster for wouldn’t like the minimalist approach.
I then settled on the two archetypal jackets of the film, the pink ladies bomber and the T Birds leather coat. I decided pretty quickly on that heads would be needed to fill the jackets, as the initial sketches had the coats hovering in the air with no background, or anything to draw the eye in. I began initially tracing the figures in a comic book style on my Wacom tablet in Illustrator:
I used rough profiles of models wearing jackets to guide my eye, as I’m still getting used to free-styling on the tablet. I intentionally kept the faces bare for a few reasons: I didn’t want it to be judged as the two main characters, I wanted an a-typical Pink Lady and T-Bird and it was also to keep in line with the bubblegum comic book effect to avoid too much detail and draw the eye away from the jackets.
All my favourite brushes are in .abr or Photoshop format, meaning I had to import the outlines in as smart objects. The brushes I used can be downloaded here and is a fantastic pack I can’t recommend enough.
I then started free-hand painting with my tablet. Although I know there’s easier ways to do this, I prefer this method as it allows me to feel more creative. I hand painted in the colours, using varied opacity levels depending on the shadow and highlight I wanted. I tried to keep it within the same comic style but petered off and started making the colours more dabby than blocked towards the end, I think it worked?
I also can’t talk about how fussy I am when it comes to keeping my layers and folders organised. I usually group all my layers under three folders: shapes, text and pictures.
For this one I kept the outlines and colour fill-in seperate:
The final piece came out well-enough. The text ruins it imo but it was the one I was asked to use. I still hate the damn musical.