Crater Lake National Park

2_crater_lakes

If you love America’s National Parks, then Crater Lake National should be on your must see list.  It’s an awe inspiring place with a fascinating geological history.  One can easily drive the 33-mile (53 km) rim in a day and there are several vantage points to view the lake.  One day I plan to cycle around the rim.  Some of those grades look brutal, so I’d better start training for it now! Read more

Mission Brand Oranges Lettering

Mission Brand Oranges

Having grown up in southern California in the 60s and 70s, I can still remember the last vestiges of a once thriving citrus industry. Walking to school one could smell the oil-burning smudge pots and hear the whirling propellers that kept the precious fruit from freezing. By the 1980s most of the groves were cleared for houses and strip malls. Somewhere in my subconscious an imprint was made and years later I felt the urge to create a series of labels representing the citrus era. Here I’ll demonstrate how the lettering was created for the label “Mission Brand Oranges.”

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Steve Forney’s Yosemite National Park Posters

Two Yosemite posters

Yosemite National Park is one of my favorite places in this world. I’m an avid backpacker, so I’m lucky to live around 3-4 hours from the park. A recent visit inspired me to create these posters. Read more

Steve Forney’s Think Green

think green

The idea for this image just came from out of nowhere.  A lightbulb went off in my head.  A compact fluorescent light bulb, to be exact.  That seemed like a clever twist to put on the visual metaphor for an idea.  I always been a fan of Jean Carlu’s posters and have studied them in detail.  Perhaps they are absorbed in my mind and now one is manifesting itself as a poster.  Think Green!  Created in Abode Illustrator.

Creating Textures in Adobe Illustrator

When making the transition from traditional to digital media, the first program I learned was Adobe Photoshop. It came the closest to replicating the gritty airbrush texture. The problem with Photoshop was the files could get huge. For example, a 16″ x 24″ image with multiple layers would be come an unwieldy monster that taxed my computer’s hard drive. Also, a Photoshop image could not be enlarged much without distorting the resolution. In contrast, Adobe Illustrator files were much smaller and retain their quality if enlarged. The problem was that earlier versions of Illustrator were great for smooth gradations, but were limited with creating texture – at least I thought so. Read more

Posters of the Canadian Pacific by Marc H. Choko and David L. Jones.

Canadian_Pacific_cover

Recently while browsing through a local used bookstore, I found a poster book that caught my attention.  After flipping through it, I just had to add it to my reference library.  Posters of the Canadian Pacific, by Marc H. Choko and David L. Jones, is a time capsule of graphics from one of the world’s great railways.  The company also operated a cruise line, luxury hotels and an airline.  The Canadian Pacific produced more than 2,500 images to promote the company and entice visitors to Canada.

If you are a fan of vintage travel posters and graphic design, then Posters of the Canadian Pacific is a must have for your library.  You’ll be so inspired that, before you know it, you’ll be booking your next vacation to Canada.

photoshop-illustrator side by side comparison

Photoshop vs. Illustrator

Over the years Photoshop has been my tool of choice. I’m very familiar with Illustrator, but rarely used it for commissioned jobs.  In between jobs I like to play around with both programs and develop new techniques.  sometimes I’ll take an image that I admire and replicate it in either program. Poster artist Davis Lance Goines recommended doing this and remarked that the artist being copied becomes part of you.  You learn their thought process and how they must have approached a design. Read more

Mt. Whitney

 

Mt. Whitney night and day

Standing at 14,497 feet, Mt. Whitney is the highest peak in the lower 48 states. It was named after Josiah Whitney, the California State Geologist in 1864. If you’re up for a challenge then go for the 22 mile (35 km.) round-trip hike to the summit starting at Whitney Portal. It’s on my to do list.

These images are inspired by the great WPA National Parks posters of the 1930s. Both were created in Adobe Illustrator using a minimal palette of flat color, similar to the traditional silkscreen process.   At first I created the daylight version but then thought that a nighttime full moon version might work.  Speaking as one who started his illustration career using an airbrush prior to the digital revolution, it was nice to be able to clone the original work and adjust the colors instead of creating a whole new separate piece of art.

Both Mt. Whitney night and day images are available at Steve Forney’s poster store

Casablanca Lettering

I love lettering. Some people like to sketch animals, some like to sketch people, some prefer to sketch landscapes. I like to sketch letter forms. Predominantly mid-20th Century lettering. Sometimes these letters don’t amount to anything legible, but sometimes they do. Who knows where these ideas emerge from when you are just letting the pencil flow while the mind is in a state of flow. Read more

Sequoia National Park

giant sequoias

 

Sequoia National Park is one of my most favorite places I’ve visited.  I love to backpack and I have been thinking of a series of National Parks posters.  From Alpine peaks with clear blue lakes to flower covered meadows to giant Sequoia trees, this park will never cease to amaze the visitor.  There’s even a tree you can drive your car through.  Pretty cool!

This poster is influenced by the great WPA National Park posters.   This image was created in Adobe Illustrator and used a minimal palette of under 10 colors.  Solid shapes and blocks of color are used, similar to the silk screen process.

Steve Forney’s Sequoia National Park is available in several sizes at art.com