I began my creative process by picking an emotion, an action, and a genre of music. Happy. Flying. Techno. Now, the graphic I made ended up having more of an 80’s flare, but originally—to start the creative process—I began with techno.
From there I spent a few minutes coming up with as many words I could associate with those three words as possible. I made a web chart. I then spent another minute coming up with word associations for those words. My professor, Brother Kerr, taught our class this method of brainstorming.
Following that, I tried to find connections between the words. I came up with a few, and then I moved on to sketch the first things that came to mind with these newly found word associations. I began sketching what came to mind—even if they seemed like strange ideas—especially if they seemed like strange ideas.
I ended up with several sketches that I really liked.
The hard part now was figuring out which ones to use and how I was going to frame them. I quickly discovered that I could not use them all. I looked at one of my sketches and discovered that it was practically a finished sketch—it was framed, and had enough interested in it to be alone. I loved the idea of throwing a bird into the mix, or an Imperial Walker with a dragon’s head breathing out fire. I also loved the fiery tornado shape. But I could not see how any of them would fit together better than the UFO sucking up a tree. Why was it sucking up a tree? I didn’t know, which is part of the reason I decided to use it. Furthermore, there was a random—and quite normal—dude inside flying it. At one point I considered putting a bird inside, but a bird could be an alien, I wanted to juxtapose it with a casual dude. Why is a man flying the space ship, why is he sucking up a tree? I don’t know. Which was exactly the point. If I could get observers to wonder why, then I was successful. If I could get people to think, then I was successful. So I went with this sketch.
I liked the sketch so much, my final design isn’t too far off from it.
In my first drafts I couldn’t get the tree to look right. I started the tree over again, twice. Finally I had a look that I liked. Originally, the tree was going to be completely cut off from the ground. It was Brother Kerr who suggested that I leave a few roots together, building the tension, and creating the motion in the picture. I liked the idea, and I attempted it for the final poster. He also suggested adding a bird above the tree, something we can relate to (before he even knew I wanted to incorporate birds). In the end, I actually included a Porg, the bird found on Ahch-To, the planet Luke is on in the beginning of The Last Jedi.
The spaceship was the first thing I began working on. It is a relatively simple design, with individual lines each customized to add to the alien-feeling of the ship. The bottom row of lights were created using the blend method, as was the background—which was one of the last things added to the poster.
In many ways, the poster began designing itself. Originally I wanted a high contrast look, and lots of blues and grays and blacks. In the end, as it morphed together, I gave it a color scheme of red, blue, and green. There is no black or white, other than in the comic-book like title. Everything else is shade of color.
The leaf pattern was created by making one leaf from the ellipse tool and the anchor point convert tool. Then, by using the black arrow tool and holding alt, I created a new leaf. I rotated it slightly. I did this again and again, until I had about ten leaves. I colored all the leaves a slightly darker green than I had colored the shape of the upper tree. Then I individually selected several of the leaves to darken them even more. I then selected all the leaves, and, using the same method as mentioned above, I copied that selection of leaves, repositioned them and roated them. I did this a few more times, adjusting the position of some of the individual leaves for more variety. I would select portions of all the leaves, in randomness, to copy them, until I had somewhat of a bush. I then used this to create a pattern template. I changed the fill of my tree outline, to this pattern. I rescaled the pattern and made adjustments to it, to make it look more random. You can still tell that it is a pattern now, but it looks far better now than it did before. Then I used some of those original leaves to add the leaves getting sucked off the tree into the spaceship. Each leaf outside the main tree was positioned individually to get the look I wanted.
The tractor beam was one of the last things I adjusted. It started off as a straight beam, but it looked funny once it hit the angle of the ground. So I played around with it until it is the current, fluid, and alien-like shape it is. In some ways, I still got the tornado in my design; and the bird.
Then I used a gradient for the title, and added half tones. If you look closely, you will notice that there is no longer a gradient, but just white and black comic-book style dots.