The Grand Budapest Hotel Poster

Wes Anderson Illustration Grand Budapest Hotel

So, this week I made a poster for the excellent Wes Anderson film The Grand Budapest Hotel. It's been a great year for movies and I've already made posters for some of my favourites (Frank being top among them) but I only had enough time before the year is out to have a go at one more 2014 movie and, although I'm not sure The Grand Budapest Hotel is my favourite film of the year, it is definitely the most Wes Andersony. I would have really liked to have a go at Only Lovers Left Alive and Boyhood, but that's 2015's business now.

For any font obsessives out there, Wes Anderson has recently moved away from his use of Futura, which has fulfilled almost every typographical obligation of his cinematic oeuvre up to this point, and made the switch to a slab-serif font named Archer for the official The Grand Budapest Hotel poster. Which would have cost me money if I wanted to use it, so I found a pretty close approximation named Bitter which was designed by Sol Matas and can be downloaded here for free.

And, as if an entire paragraph about fonts wasn't exciting enough, now I'm going to talk about the thickness of the line I used...

Seeing as the film has a European setting I thought it would be appropriate to use the ligne claire style favoured by European artists such as Hergé and Joost Swarte for the illustration at the bottom of the poster. For anyone unfamiliar with the term, ligne claire is a French phrase that means "clear line" - a standard strong line width with no added weight is used for an entire drawing. It's an effect that allows an artist to create both very simple and incredibly complex drawings that can have a sense of detachment and also a level of almost hyper-realism. All of which make it a very appropriate style of drawing for a Wes Anderson illustration in my opinion, with the added consideration that probably the most famous use of this style of drawing is in the Tintin books, created by Hergé, which share an unbridled sense of madcap adventure and fun with Wes Anderson's latest film.

Which all definitely makes it seem like I really made decisions about my art rather than just blundering forward without a plan and drawing in whichever way I felt like that day. Generally, when I've finished the piece I've been working on I can retroactively apply some reasons to why I made the choices that I did. This week, the reasons seemed more than usually reasonable.

If anyone is still reading after all that, the original line drawing for the poster (complete with accidental ink splat in the top left corner) is below.

Wes Anderson rough illustration draft

Happy New Year, I suppose.

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