Spaceman Dan & the Moonlight Brigade

Creating a gig poster has been one of my favorite experiences this semester, and is definitely my favorite project so far. Because I have spent so much time working with Adobe Illustrator, and because I am much more comfortable with the program, I was able to create this gig poster much faster than I would have been able to a few weeks ago. This gave me more time to sketch, more time to gather critiques from different sources, and more time to become comfortable with my end product.

Here’s what my past 2 weeks have been like.

Finding a Name:

Before I could begin sketching, I had to come up with a name for the fake band’s gig poster.

Coming up with a name was one of the hardest parts of this project. I wasn’t allowed to use a real band name, so I had to come up with one. I ended up sitting down and writing a list off all the names that popped into my head. I had the idea of using the moon in the poster, and I had the idea that I would like to do something space related.

I ended up with a shorter list than I had hoped, but I ended up piecing together some of my different ideas into one. While walking home from class, a name popped into my head: Spaceman Dan & The Moonlight Brigade. It had the quirky and clever title I was going for, and I could already hear the style of music they would play (mostly they sound exactly like the band Cake). It sounded like a band I would listen to and had a name that I would proudly wear on a t-shirt. So, I had my winner. All I had to do was start sketching.

So, I had my winner. All I had to do was start sketching.


By the time I got home, I already had a pretty clear idea of what I wanted this poster to look like. I had my name, and I had my muse (Cake), but I didn’t want to get too ahead of myself. So, I grabbed some headphones, my sketching pencil, and my ink pens and started sketching my ideas.

The photos above show a good progression of my sketching process. I didn’t want to jump into my initial idea too fast, so I started sketching related ideas. Eventually, I decided to dive into my first idea head first and ended up with the melting space helmet. However, that image didn’t have the right emotion or feeling to it. It didn’t encapsulate the music enough. So, I looked up some reference images of vintage spacemen and space suits and kept going.

Eventually, I ended up with the last image above. To me, it was a good start and was the look I was hoping for.

I had a name, and now I had my image. I then took my ideas to Illustrator.

The Creation of a Spaceman:

I knew I had to create and image that I was proud of. I spent a lot of time sketching the spaceman I wanted to create, but I knew it wouldn’t be easy to re-create it in Illustrator. The spaceman for my poster took me about an hour to two hours to create. I did the entire thing with the pencil, width, and shape maker tools.

He turned out better than I could have hoped and, for the first time, I was able to take the image I had in my head and put it into Illustrator.  It was not easy, but I did it.

Playing With Space:

Once I had my spaceman ready, I created the rest of my poster. However, I couldn’t quite decide on the coloring. I played around with a bunch of different variations, and at one point I had 3 different versions of the same poster and my original “melting helmet” idea.

I decided the one on the far left was the best because it had the most contrast and a clear focal point. So, I had my first draft.

The Final Haul:

After getting some final critiques on my poster from members of my class, my professor, and some friends, I made some final changes to my poster. I fixed the wonky speech bubble, as well as some tangents that were creating tension. I also made the text within the speech bubble thicker, to create better contrast and help it stand out more.

Here is my final image:

Overall, I learned a lot about the creative process from this project. The goal of this project wasn’t to be the most accurate, or the most advanced. It was to create and image the conveyed an emotional message and to demonstrate visually what it feels like to listen to a particular band.

Through shapes, contrast, color, and images, I was able to create a poster that encapsulated the emotion of listening to Spaceman Dan & The Moonlight Brigade.


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