• Olly Jordan

Chapter 76 - Toy Story - Posters - You've Got A Friend In Me - 2019

Updated: Jun 18, 2020


Toy Story Poster

With a new Toy Story film coming out in the summer of 2019, Toy Story 4, I thought it would be a good idea to create artwork based on upcoming cinematic releases so that my work is following current popular trends. This was the first time I had to work with characters that were animated rather than humans or creatures from the real world. I thought that this project would be kind of easy to be honest because they are all just block colours, but I soon discovered when I got into the project that it was harder than I initially thought.


The characters are all made from different materials: plastic, denim, leather, porcelain, felt, and they all have different patterns and textures to apply on top of that like scratches on Slinky's ears to create the worn down leather look. Unfortunately, I think this project has ended up being one of the weakest series within my portfolio because the characters just aren't as accurate as my usual portrait work. The characters just haven't worked as nicely as I hoped they would by being painted. I don't think there is much else I could do to them, but they just don't have as much life to them as they usually do in the animated film.


Starting the Project


I knew that I wanted the style of the overall look, as always, to have a distinct style that is reminiscent of the original movie material, but also stylistically similar to everything else within my portfolio so it is recognisably my work. There was only one style of working for the background that you could go with really, it had to be the iconic clouds from Andy's room. The clouds are the wallpaper in Andy's bedroom which is where the toys spend most of their time, I wanted to use stencils and a roller as the aesthetic for the series as it was a clever way to link back to the idea that their world - a room which is painted with wallpaper or hand painted most likely with rollers and stencils. I also knew that I wanted the typography to be playful but also to have a painted feel to it so it doesn't look out of place, seeing as everything else has been painted.


Typography for the Poster

I started with the logo design, I did experiment with trying to move away from the original logo design from the film, but it just didn't look right no matter what I did. I decided to recreate the film logo using the same composition and colours, but add a combination of stencil print and hand painted typography. The stencil work obviously links with the stencil print style used for the rest of the style of work on the poster so that works well. The brush font for the word TOY was one that took a little while to come up with, but researching other typography artists like Ben Tallon for example, helped me to come up with how I could go about creating a loose brush typeface for the rest of the logo. Once I could see that that worked, I just used the same process on the quote, 'You've Got A Friend In Me'. The quote is one that is not only from one of the most iconic songs from the film, but the words are also very integral to the overarching themes of the film, as well as calling out to the audience that the characters will always be there for you.


I wanted the playful brush typeface to be inspired by the film's original logo as well as fresh and new. To keep the font close to the original logo, I simply traced over the top of the original font with a brush pen, then edited the colours on photoshop. Then did the same tracing process over the top of the original logo with thiner brush marks around the edges of the font, creating the blue marks over the top of the yellow, this helps contain the yellow brush marks and make the font look like the recognisable film's logo.


The Artwork

From top left moving across - Sheriff Woody, Buzz Lightyear, Jessie, Bo Peep, Bullseye, Rex, Slinky, Hamm, Mr & Mrs Potato Head, Alien, Sarge & Paratroopers.


Here are the final artworks. Sheriff Woody, Buzz Lightyear, Jessie, Bo Peep, Bullseye and Rex are all 56x38cm on 425gsm Bockington Watercolour paper, Slinky, Hamm and Mr & Mrs Potato Head are A3 on 300gsm Watercolour Paper, Alien and Sarge & Paratroopers are A4 on 300gsm Watercolour Paper.


As discussed briefly at the beginning of this blog post, I am not really 100% happy with this series overall as they don't look as accurate as my usual portrait work.


I think I ended up becoming more focused on how to tackle each material that makes the characters rather than trying to capture the essence of the character as well as the likeness. The only ones I like from this series is Jessie, Bullseye, Slinky and Hamm even then though, I don't think I would be rushing to put these into my portfolio of work to show off in potential job opportunities, the poster would still work nicely in my portfolio, just not the individual original artworks to focus on.


This series was almost more like an exercise in experimenting with different materials and how to recreate them with paint, rather than what I had intended of creating the toy's likeness as well as the textures as extension of that. That is what I will take away from this series of work, is the techniques I used to create the stitching of denim for example, the stiffness of felt, or scratches and shine of plastic.


Putting life into characters that aren't actually real has proven to be alot harder than I thought, I don't think I will be returning to animated characters anytime soon.


The Poster

Similar to my Riverdale poster, I wanted the main characters to the largest and near the top of the poster, then the minor characters to be bunched together beneath them.


The stencil background was painted separately and that worked really nicely on this poster as the background. The unfinished look of the background helps your mind drift off into your imagination, which helps link to the themes of the film in the way that the toys are made to be played with and your imagination is what brings them to life in your mind.


I also gave the poster a watercolour texture background, I wanted something subtle and white in colour as it shows that I considered the poster as a whole like my other poster designs in my portfolio. The watercolour paper is light and has a subtle texture to it so that isn't too distracting from the artwork, but the watercolour paper texture is also linking to the original artwork and how that was actually painted on watercolour paper anyway.

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