• Olly Jordan

Chapter 85 - Sonic The Hedgehog - Posters - Gotta Go Fast - 2020

Updated: Jun 18, 2020

Gotta Go Fast Poster, Knuckles Poster, Tails Poster, Sonic poster

Similar to what I wanted to do with the Scooby-Doo Anniversary poster, I wanted to get Sonic the Hedgehog in my portfolio of work because of my love of the character and games. I know that I struggled with animated characters before with the Toy Story series, but once I started to do initial research to come up with a concept, I could see the potential of how nicely this project could work well for my portfolio of work. I really like the outcome of these posters, the posters are undeniably influenced from the retro 1990's period, which is when Sonic the Hedgehog was first made.

Just like with the Toy Story series, I don't think that the character artwork is the best in my portfolio of realism, but there isn't really much you can do with 3D animated characters and that is why I think they look a little flat to me. I have clearly managed to get the block colours in the correct places to make the characters recognisable as themselves, but there just isn't enough subtle details within them like what I am used to doing to make me convinced that it is good, eg. fur or hair to make build the characters up.

The Concept

I wanted to create four posters in total: three individual characters posters and one group one of Sonic, Tails and Knuckles. These three characters are the main trio of friends that keep the gaming series going, it was important to have a poster of all three of them together as the themes of friendship within the series is just as important as the fast paced gameplay. Just like with the Scooby-Doo poster, I wasn't sure at first of how to get animated characters to suit my portfolio of work and how my painterly mark making could suit it. Then it hit me, I could just make my mark making horizontally as a way to capture the speed of the characters running together.

So now I had found a way to create artwork that captures the two main themes of the gaming series - the fast paced nature of the game and the fact the characters run/fly everywhere, and the three friends being together and looking out for eachother.

1990's influence

Now that I had come up with a style to paint the characters, I needed to find a way to get my artwork to fit the 90's era that Sonic the Hedgehog was first created. As always, I love to find a way to add a modern and contemporary twist to the original era of the source material. It took me a little while to get the end result, but the three images above that I found were very influential on this Sonic the Hedgehog project.

As a way to embody the 90's retro aesthetic, it was important to get the typography just right. It seemed like layering the colours and printer 'errors' where things are slightly misaligned were a big part of creating the 90's look. The idea of misaligning and layering the colours in this way actually gave me ideas as to the colour choices I would make for the logo.

Here is my new logo as well as some of the branding for the Sonic the Hedgehog poster work. I wanted to use blue, yellow and red as the colour palette as they would represent Sonic (blue), Tails (yellow) and Knuckles (red). The border was something that I wanted as it not only helped frame the artwork, but the layering of it all and how the blue (sonic) is in the middle helps represent the way that the three friends are together, side by side forever. Very cute, I know.

The layering of the colours for the logo of the blue, yellow and red create a black colour when they crossover, this is reminiscent of how the CMYK colour palette work in printers. Printers print coloured dots that are so small and next to eachother on the page, that they give the illusion of different shades and tones, while still essentially being just cyan, magenta, yellow or black dots. This layering and printer misalignment look is exactly what I wanted and instantly gives 90's vibes.

The Artwork - Supporting Artwork

Sonic Gold Ring Green Chaos Emerald

Both paintings are 15x15cm 300gsm Watercolour Paper

As with most of my projects, I wanted a few smaller supporting artworks that would accompany the rest of the collection, and painting these two iconic symbols from the Sonic the Hedgehog world are the only two you need to get in the Sonic universe.

Sonic Gold Ring was really nice to work with because it was so simple, it still took around 7 hours to create, but that was because I was adding gold embellishments to the ring to make the original painting shiny. The gold ring is iconic to the Sonic the Hedgehog world as that is a way that the characters collect health or sometimes its their currency to buy power ups, but in other words, gold rings are in literally every Sonic the Hedgehog game in some way.

Green Chaos Emerald was something that I really enjoyed, it's my favourite of the Sonic the Hedgehog series of artwork and one of my favourite paintings within the OBJECTS section of my portfolio. It was nice to work with the abstract shapes again, just like when painting glass, as it is a process where you really just kind of zone out and have to trust the process entirely. I will not look good at all until you have painted the final section of the emerald, and that is why painting things like this is so rewarding, it is just a process of trust and it really is right up until the very end where you get the feeling of accomplishment. I think another reason why I liked this painting so much is because I could add elements of realism to the emerald by giving it scratches, chips and highlights, this is something that the Sonic characters just don't have because they are just block colours with not fur details or anything.

The Artwork - Sonic the Hedgehog, Miles 'Tails' Prower, Knuckles the Echidna

Sonic the Hedgehog Miles 'Tails' Prower Knuckles the Echidna

All three paintings are A3 300gsm Watercolour Paper

Here are the three original paintings, each has a slightly different background unique to them. I wanted each painting to have different features in the background that are seen in the Green Hill Zone of the Sonic the Hedgehog universe. Green Hill Zone is the very first level that you see Sonic and the gang from 1991 and it is a place that is returned to alot in the games over the years, so having the colour palette and features in the background of the iconic and most recognisably Sonic the Hedgehog location was important. I wanted them to have individual backgrounds so that there is they don't look the same, and so that I could also use elements from each of the characters background to layer together on the main poster of all three characters together.

As mentioned before on this post, I do not think that this series of work is something that I am overly comfortable with. They look like the characters, but there just isn't enough of a woah factor with them and they look a little basic, but that is not on my part, that is just because the characters do not have realistic details on them, they are just block colours. I do not think I would be in a hurry to exhibit these in a gallery is what I would say, I would rather have the ArchieVerse Collection or Beauty and the Beast on the walls. I'm not saying that I don't like this work, it just isn't as impressive as some of the other things in my portfolio, I am happy with the final poster design and that is the main thing I set out to do.

The Posters

And now we are back full circle to the final poster designs. Once I had my own logo designed and the border, it was just a case of finding the right paper that would help enhance the retro vibe and adding additional logos and taglines. I wanted to add the tagline 'Gotta go fast' to the top of the group poster as that is the overarching theme of the gaming series and also a catchphrase that Sonic says alot. I also felt that it was important to add the gold rings to the poster in some way to help add the nostalgic feeling to the poster, so just adding two as a way to frame the strapline seemed like a good idea. The strapline and 1991 were designed the same way as the logo, with the blue, yellow and red layering to keep the 90's vibe going throughout the poster design. 1991 was added because that was the year that the first Sonic the Hedgehog game was released. Then the final important addition to the poster was the companies name, SEGA.

The paper texture was an ivory off white paper texture which I then roughed up a little bit by adding scuffed edges and scratches to give the impression that the poster is actually really from the 1990's period and has aged a bit. The ivory colour was something that I spotted came up alot in many of the 1990's products that I came across when researching the time period, it was seen alot particularly on VHS video tape covers.

As a way to conclude this post, I would like to say that although I have said numerous times that I do not really like working with animated characters as they don't have many details to make them look realistic, I have really enjoyed this project. Exploring the 1990's was something that I really enjoyed, I had kind of gotten used to the 50's with working on the posters within the ArchieVerse Collection, so it was nice to explore another time period. And yes, although I do not think the character artwork is the best in my portfolio and I wouldn't rush to exhibit it somewhere, I am really happy with the poster design and Green Chaos Emerald, those are the main things I would take from this project and put in my physical portfolio.

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