This year has been exceptionally busy, but I wanted to come up for a breath of air to show one of the projects I am honored to have been able to contribute to: an illustrated poster for Smokey Bear.
I had the good fortune of teaming with FCB West
, the Ad Council
, and Luis Peña
for this project and I worked in tandem with incredible illustrators such as Janna Mattia
, Evan Hecox
, and Victoria Ying
. It was a humbling experience working alongside illustrators I have long admired, each contributing to a legacy of artists who have worked on Smokey Bear.
Before we dive into the creation of this bear of an illustration, I want to take a moment to say thank you to the folks at FCB & the Ad Council for allowing me to work on such an iconic piece. I also want to thank my agent Deborah Wolfe and her team for their tireless efforts which allow me to focus on what I love doing most. And with that, away we go!
After I received the brief and initial direction, I took to Procreate on my iPad Pro + Apple Pencil to work out out a handful of thumbnail sketches, searching for a composition which would set the scene and allow for strong type placement by Luis Peña. The scene called for a back yard setting where we would see Smokey Bear dispersing a debris pile into a wheelbarrow. The idea was to have him actively working to keep the pile small, not tall. While we wanted the scene to feel like a backyard, we also wanted to have a strong outdoor presence - something like a setting you'd find in my home state of Colorado.
Once I'd worked through a handful of thumbnail sketches, I enlarged the sketch that was most favored, added a few quick tones help separate the forms, and began solidifying the direction. This quick iteration process is why I love working with the iPad Pro app, Procreate. I can move quickly on sketches and get them to a more presentable state to get clients what they need, when they need it.