lang-arch-HZSometimes when you do something really fast, it works out.

A couple weeks ago, I got a message from Bozeman Actors Theatre asking if I could do a poster for them. Sure, I said, but I was just about to leave town, so I’d do it when I got back.

Assuring the company that they would need to check on permission requirements before using the cool Darren Booth illustration they’d found on the web (here), I left for a two-week vacation, planning to do the layout when I returned this Monday.

Unfortunately, the theatre company didn’t see my email, so when I got back, there was no illustration, and little time to get one. I offered to draw something similar to but different from the image they liked. Not a knock-off, just something in a similarly handmade style that features a profile of a man and woman.

I had three days to go from zero to completed tickets, posters, social promos and ads, so there would be no time for dilly dallying.

The play, by Julia Cho is set in an archive of languages where the main character is a linguist (hence the archaic, but quirky, cassette tape image). It revolves around issues of difficulty communicating. (Or that was my take-away from a brief conversation with BAT.)

I used a texture from one of my oil paintings as a background and drew naive style figures on my Cintiq, filling them with more oil painting texture. I downloaded a cassette tape shape as an eps from and filled it with textures from the same painting. Then, I drew a squiggly heart using a chisel pen in photoshop, filling it with oil painting texture and connecting it to the cassette. The style of the cassette doesn’t really match the rest of the art, but I liked the idea that it would make a viewer wonder. Plus, frankly, I didn’t have much time to mess with it.

I feel okay about how it came out, and better yet, the company accepted it with no revisions! It has kind of an awkward “Punch and Judy meets Balinese shadow puppets” feel, and I think the scripty letter tongues will be eye-catching on bulletin boards.