Enrich your design: leaflet printing from Solopress

28 February 2013

UK Print Illustrators - 3 of February's Favourites

February has been a quick month but I’ve managed to find 3 favourite illustrators for the month whose impressive artworks have been brought to life through print. I wanted to share their work because their creations are very imaginative, which should help if you’re in need of some “outside the box” inspiration. Also, they’re based in the UK - a bit of patriotism is always fun!

Illustrators have a competitive industry to battle within whilst remaining cool-headed and creative so help these artists out by sharing this article if you’re as impressed by their illustrations as I am.

James Oconnell

Mr Oconnell is a professional all-round creative based in Manchester and his website bio makes you imagine him as the Spiderman of the illustrative world: “I'm a firm believer of using my skills for good”.

Oconnell Be Good Together

The first of his creations that appealed to me is titled Be Good Together and is intended to provoke non-collaborative creatives into working with one another to form something collectively awesome by presenting the message that it does.

His design reminds me of a dream catcher that has been hung, which almost ties in with his theme i.e. the dream that all creatives will one day work with one another.

Carl Koch

I’m a great fan of visual artists who have imaginations that can create an entire fantasy world within a single piece of art. One type of scene that has always appealed to me, since my love of the anime movie Howl's Moving Castle, is the floating island.

Koch High Rise Livin

What I admire most about Koch’s floating island, titled High Rise Livin’, is the realistic appearance of this imaginary house he has created - similar in appearance to a child’s tree house with the characteristic charm of a vintage potter’s shed.

Created with watercolours, this artwork reminds me of the Disney film Up because of the childhood contraptions created by the movie characters - an association that Koch may or may not be happy with.

Daniel Schooler

I’m not sure if the anime side of my life is running this article but my reason for showcasing this illustrator’s work is because of the connection it has with my adoration for Dragon Ball Z. Rather than explain the plot I’ll leave it for you to research and find out the relevance of giant monkeys.

Daniel Schooler

Schooler’s bio gives great insight into some of the design choices he’s made within this illustration, for example he’s added a depth of field and focus element that you’d usually find in photography by making the larger plantation, which is seemingly closer, blurred and out of focus. Within his bio he explains that he “has a curious relationship with photography” which would explain this combination of the illustration and photography forms (http://www.danielschooler.com/about.html).

Graffiti and tattoo artistry also spring to mind when analysing this piece of art which Schooler again explains are his influences and aspirations.

19 February 2013

The Matrix Movie Poster - TuVie Day

Today we’re taking a look at the promotional poster for a movie that transformed many people’s perceptions of reality and left many questioning the validity of our existence. Starring Keanu Reeves & Laurence Fishburne, The Matrix is going under the microscope in today’s TuVie Day!

The Matrix is one of the must see films that made an impact in the 90s when it was first released because of the way it took what you’d perceived as real life and made it appear like a piece of software in a complex computer program (The Matrix) - a virtual reality.

One of the reasons for The Matrix’s massive impact at this time was the boom of computer usage in households in addition to the fact that there had been no movie made like this before its birth. It was therefore inevitable that forum user handles began appearing over the internet as Morpheus, Neo and Trinity - the lead characters from the film, after its launch.

The Storyline

Without giving too much away, the basic storyline involves a hacker named Thomas A. Anderson (Reeves) who moonlights as a hacker whose alias is displayed as Neo. His online quest for “The Matrix” leads him to connect with Morpheus (Fishburne) who is initially described as a terrorist in the virtual reality, however, he is later discovered as the leader of a mercenary group who have been searching for Neo outside of this virtual reality.

To explain The Matrix Morpheus compares it to Alice In Wonderland and gives Neo the choice to remain in this virtual reality by taking a blue pill or find out what The Matrix is by taking a red one (chasing the rabbit down the hole to Wonderland).

Actual reality is a much poorer world in appearance where hard graft is needed to survive against technology that the humans had initially created. In this world where technology is self-maintaining it still needs human life as a source of power, which leads to humans being manufactured by the machines - a complete reverse to our current situation where we manufacture machines for use.

As I said I don’t want to give away too much about this film and its a hard one to explain, however, all I will say is that the story continues to show Neo as “the chosen one” who has been woken from the virtual reality in order to help save the human race from the machines that rule that world.

The Matrix Movie Poster Critique

The Matrix movie poster designed by Concept Arts

In overall appearance The Matrix movie poster is very striking with the lead character or Neo given primary focus alongside his leather wrapped colleagues. Almost none of the plot is given away in this poster, however, themes within the film are presented e.g. the falling lines or text that look similar to binary code are placed on the background to the characters. In the film we realise that this virtual reality is made from this code, therefore, the designer’s choice to place it on the walls (an element of this virtual world) is a subtle hint at what The Matrix is.

The fragmented logo of the movie has a similar appearance to an image that is loading on an old PC line by line but also looks like it is struggling, which subtly displays the technology theme. Additionally, the clear evidence of guns gives away the fact that this is an action movie, confirmed by the subtitle containing the word “fight”.

The photoshop cutouts of the characters is somewhat laughable when you consider the budget that would’ve been spent on the film’s content. You’d think that a slightly more exciting and imaginative representation of The Matrix could have been created rather than just having the characters standing around with guns, however, action film posters of the late 90s followed a very similar format so you can’t entirely knock it.


To summarise I’d have to say that not only is the movie well made but the poster is well structured for its time. I’d like to see a more imaginative representation of this poster created by an artistic fan as I feel with the current technology available to graphic designers there is something more impressive to be made that will give this film justice.

This week The Matrix gets an 8 out of 10, mainly because the poster’s design isn’t as imaginative as I feel it could be to present the great themes within the story.

If you haven’t seen The Matrix before, here’s the movie trailer for your enjoyment:

6 February 2013

Sexy Beast Movie Poster

As a fan of British gangster movies I got to see a great one created by the Film on 4 company, which was a perfect combination of edginess and comedy like the kind you’d find in Snatch. The movie I am referring to is Sexy Beast, which is brought to life with the terrific performances of Ray Winstone and Ben Kingsley (otherwise known for roles such as Ghandi and soon to be in Iron Man 3).

The Storyline

The storyline of this movie is a classic heist plot where Don Logan (Kingsley) is sent by the mob to convince an old-time gang member, Gal (Winstone), out of retirement for a job that he is reluctant to take part in. The comedy comes from various angles but none more memorable than Don’s methods of persuasion that only make you laugh but also strike moments of fear from his unpredictability.

Without giving too much of the story away I’d have to recommend this classic film to lovers of this genre but if you take great offence to the C word you might need to re-consider it – you have been warned.

Sexy Beast movie poster created by Empire Design

Movie Poster Critique

The movie poster for Sexy Beast is totally reflective of the opening scene where Gal is living the high life. The image of Winstone lounging back on a floating armchair inside of a cocktail glass is one that contradicts the film title itself and additionally after watching the film I’ve noticed the subtle connection of the red fluid at the bottom of the cocktail glass and the by-line “it’s hard to say no”. Its down to you to watch it to notice the giveaways in the poster too.

I’m torn between deciding whether or not the cocktail glass image is artist’s representation of the film or pieced together from images in Photoshop. Whichever it is, I’m drawn to the smooth appearance of the whole image like film posters from the 80s.


Overall the poster for Sexy Beast is a great piece of work that perfectly reflects the themes inside of the film without giving too much of the storyline away. I wish more movie posters were this clever these days rather than just taking a scene from the film with no subtleties like those I’ve explained. I know it goes against my stance on posters that don’t give away the film clearly enough but this one is composed with such finesse that I would have to admit more like this could sway my overarching opinion on the matter.

The movie gets a 10/10 from me. It ticked all the right boxes that a British gangster film should and the poster is impressive in its portrayal of the film. If you haven’t seen Sexy Beast before, here’s a trailer:

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