Wednesday 9 January 2013

Latest retro prints has posted details of Juan Ortiz's sixth quartet of TOS retro prints, with their usual interview with Ortiz discussing his designs. This time he also spoke a little about his process developing the series:
It was a combination of things. If I needed to, I would watch an episode again, but what was most helpful to me was researching the episodes online and getting more information as far as what the writers and producers were originally trying to achieve. Scripts go through several changes, so I find it more interesting trying to create an image based on what was written rather than the final result. Once I had an idea of what the image should be, I would then consider the style of the image. Any sketches that I may have done were very rough thumbnails, so that when I worked them up in illustrator the ideas would still be fresh and still in the process of being developed. I don't like working from a tight drawing, which oftentimes I would have to, if I were working from someone else's ideas. And just to keep me inspired, or awake, I would play the soundtrack from the first film or I would have the film playing in the background.
Here are the four January images, and Ortiz's comments on them:

Mirror, Mirror
It was the boxing match flyers that inspired me. I don't usually lean towards bold colors, but this time it works to reflect the excitement that a boxing match usually evokes. I chose the two Spocks because of the way “evil” Spock's iconic goatee strongly contradicts good/regular Spock.
The Tholian Web
This one, and several others, were inspired by the Russian film posters of the mid 1920's to early 1930's. What I like about those posters is their mix of photos along with illustrations. Which is perfect for me, because I don't want to be bogged down with just one style. Since I went with a black and white image, I went with the red on the title so that it would pop. I think the font mirrors the style of the spacesuit, a bit.
I was hoping to convey a sense of melancholy. The tears from her left eye were originally going to be scabs from the planet's virus. Likewise, the hair along the right creates an almost waterfall or a river of tears effect. I also wanted Miri to be as special as Kirk thought she was, so I made her larger than life against the Enterprise.
The extra copy was a design decision. During my research into this episode, I discovered that it had been banned in the UK for two decades. That seemed like an interesting bit of info to tease in a poster. I'm not sure exactly why, but there is a certain amount of violence and kids watching were probably afraid of what puberty might hold for them.
The Savage Curtain
There is that great image of Lincoln when he appears to the Enterprise, out in space. I thought I would take that and tie it in with the title, turning Lincoln's visage into a huge red "curtain." The credits as vapor trails was a way of creating movement, by reading them into the image, along with the Enterprise.
I've been a bit remiss with my coverage of the retro prints in recent months, so continue reading after the jump for an overview of the last several month's prints, and some of the other products released based on them:

The highlight of the December series for me was the brilliantly bold Arena poster:

Here's what Ortiz had to say about it on
Normally, I would have filled in the silhouette and left the background bare, but I took some chances with this project and went with decisions that I normally wouldn't go with. Most of my commercial work is filled with bright, bold colors in a sea or products that all scream "buy me," but for myself, I prefer Earth tones.
Fortunately for Captain Kirk, his Gorn moved in slow motion. My Gorn represents what he may have looked like if TOS had today's budget and special effects technology. The inspiration came from the sword and sorcery paintings that I used to ogle over as a teen, by Frank Frazetta.
And here are the other three December designs:

The Naked Time
First and foremost, I wanted a strong graphic image. I opted for the opening and final scenes where crewman Joe Tormolen comes into contact with the virus and the Enterprise's plummet at the end of the episode. I literally took my idea from the title and "stripped" off the outer layer of crewman Tormolen's own hand to expose the hand of time and space. The skull could either be a foreshadow of Tormolen's death or it could be a representation of the affliction reflecting off his visor.
A Taste of Armageddon
My initial idea was to depict a face for the computer console with view-screens for eyes, which is why I went with photos for this one. I eventually replaced the face idea with a skull to best represent that episode's story. I played around with the red accent color and decided to keep it simple with just the show title and phaser beam. The use of the title for teeth is nothing new, but if something works, it's worth doing again.
Spectre of the Gun
My very first idea was to create a "wanted" type poster, but I felt it would be a bit too cliche and not a serious depiction of that episode. The guns make a broader and more serious statement. I'm not sure that the use of the guns was an a-ha moment as much as an "I wonder if this has ever been done?" moment. As far as I know, it hasn't, but if the Enterprise can be a pizza cutter, it can be anything.
My highlight of the November set was The Immunity Syndrome, which seems to be channelling Jackson Pollock:

Here's what Ortiz said about it on
The idea to represent the giant ameba was an easy one. The paint splatters are actually fonts or dingbats. The only laborious part was arranging and colorizing the splatters into a layout that fell into an organized mess.
And here are the other three November designs:

The Man Trap
I tried to picture what Kirk's view was while he was having the salt sucked out of him.
By filling the page up completely, I hope to give the viewer the sense of being smothered or trapped.
This Side of Paradise
This was pretty much the first take as far as the layout goes. I may have gone through a few color tries, but that was consistent with all of them.
The hand symbolically represents Spock, having rejected love, reaching out from paradise for life aboard the Enterprise and his pursuit of logic.
What Are Little Girls Made Of?
Just having Ruk with that title would have been creepy enough, but having his shadow loom over Andrea creates more drama. I also thought about Frankenstein a bit while I worked on this one.
And the final set I need to catch up on, the third collection, which came all the way back in October! There's another colour highlight for me, this time in the form of the tribble-tastic The Trouble With Tribbles:

As ever some Ortiz commentary:
Despite (the fact) that dozens of Tribbles are poisoned, this is an off-beat, light-hearted, maybe even comedic episode. So I thought about some of the movie comedies that I like from the 60s, like It's A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World, where everyone is just having a ball.
Despite what it looks like, the Enterprise is not beaming hundreds of Tribbles into space. The Enterprise is metaphorically bleeding Tribbles. I wanted the poster to be fun and colorful, and (to) hopefully make people smile.
"The Trouble With Tribbles" was both the easiest and hardest one. The idea for the poster was the easy part. Creating all those Tribbles, placing them together, sizing them and making sure the same colors did not overlap each other was the hard part. What was even worse, my original file was on another computer that I no longer had access to. All I had was a jpg of the original, so I retraced and recreated the poster in illustrator. Those Tribbles really are trouble, after all.
And the rest of the set:

Let That Be Your Last Battlefield
Before I upset any fans, I intentionally flopped the colors so that the white and the black could face each other. Although the two antagonists are from the planet Cheron, I wanted to depict any race on any planet where there is race hatred.
I used the exact same face for both faces, which I hope demonstrates the absurdity of racism. I kept the faces as simple shapes so that the rage between the two, defined by the touches of red, would translate better.
I knew that I wanted this one to be bold and simple and that it had to include a giant cat. The Enterprise in the cat's mouth just fell into place. I think that's the playful part, sort of a "look what the cat dragged in" moment. Staring out the window and seeing empty eyes reflecting back at you creates that eerie feeling. I think some fans will be reminded of Batman, another classic show from the 60s.
The Alternative Factor
I have to admit, I know Tommy the album very well, but I've only seen the movie once. Lazarus' time ship reminded me of the Beatles' yellow sub, so I went with that in mind and with the sea of holes representing the doorways through time.
I had been reading up on my study of time and how the past, present and future exist at the same time, from the big bang to the dark, empty and cold end of our universe.
If you too need to catch up on the retro poster series, here are some places you can get them:
If you're in the UK they have also released a boxed set of the first three series. Limited to 1701 copies, each set includes the twelve prints, as well as the Picard print from the TNG 25th anniversary series, and a 20-page booklet about the designs. And it all comes in a pretty box:

It seems having these in poster-form isn't enough though! Bif Bang Pow are now also offering sets of shot glasses printed with the designs. A set for each of the first five series are now available on Entertainment Earth. And they look like this:

Finally, Mighty Fine have also expanded their Star Trek T-shirt range, offering all the designs from series 1-5. By the time the series is finished you'll be able to wear a different retro Trek shirt every day for nearly three months! A welcome attribute of these is that they haven't just copied the poster framing across, many of the designs expand outside the poster rectangle, so you get a wider image which looks better as a T-shirt design, not just a straight reuse of the poster.


nomad001 said...

Beautiful, tasteful, and reminiscent.

nomad001 said...

Beautiful, tasteful, and reminiscent.

nomad001 said...

Beautiful, tasteful, and reminiscent.

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