Another old school project to share with you, this time from Illustration class.

If I remember correctly, we were tasked with the general project to create a poster for a fictitious Vancouver Film Festival theme poster. We had to use airbrush, and gouache (a water-based tempera paint), and include lettering.

My brothers were, and still are, big skiiers, so I went with an extreme skiing theme. I don’t ski myself, but I liked the graphics and action, and the bright 90’s skiwear was inspiring!

ski poster

Here’s the whole shebang in all it’s 90’s glory. Handcut grey mat and all. I have memories of lugging a stack of the huge sheets of this matboard home in the snow, wrapped in a protective garbage bag and walking home after class from the bus-stop in  a blizzard, omg. Those were the days.

All the lettering was done by hand. I remember I got criticized for the “t” being raised up off baseline, it wasn’t all perfectly aligned on bottom.


But I did it intentionally! Didn’t matter. Darn. Those in-class crits of your work were always such a bother.


Lettering close-up, done with a tiny brush, and a magnifying glass. I had a thing for tall skinny serif typefaces apparently!


I also got criticized for the dude’s pole going over the lettering. Don’t do that! Not sure why, I thought it was cool. Thing was, doing all this stuff by hand, you had to commit to it 100% before you did it, there was no “undo” function, it was a “redo” and start over from scratch.


Skiiers! I used a coarse setting on my airbrush for the sky in the background, and then splatted white paint over it all for that extra powder action.

detail illo

Oh the hours we put in!

Today, if I was creating this poster, there’s a couple ways to go about it.
I’d have the images of the skiiers, likely supplied by a client, royalty-free stock, or custom shots, then they’d be taken into Photoshop, put into a montage with a snowy, texturey, bokeh background, and saved out as a flattened image, or a psd file (I just learned about this option it is fabulous if you have transparent backgrounds to retain!). I might layer in some grunge splats, flourishes, or textures in there for an extra “90’s extreme” feel. I’d then take it into InDesign or Illustrator, and the typography would be designed then layered into the layout.

For a more authentic look, there are also still some pretty amazing airbrush artists out there, so if the budget allowed, and the theme were still the 90’s, I’d likely hire one of them to get that airbrushed, extreme, 90’s fly look, but even moreso with neon racing style lettering and colours.

I’m pretty glad we don’t have to work this way all by hand anymore, but, it is still possible, and changes are a lot easier should you put a ski pole overtop of some lettering that you shouldn’t have!

See you next week with another #tbt old school project, it’s a bit of a doozy!