Rickmansland Calling

It’s a slow process, but I’ve been trying to get myself out to more portfolio reviews when I can get them. I’ll usually give people cat stickers or post-it notes, but I had an idea recently to use the tiny letterpress to make some calling cards. Not business cards- I’m far too independent and self-depreciating for them – just something to give someone, to hopefully remind them they met me.

Letterpressing alone would make for a nice and somewhat-unique thing in this world, but I had an idea for how to make them more interesting. I’m constantly drawing robots doing mundane things, which I’ve combined into the cards – along with my name, I’ve letterpressed in a template for a robot, which I can fill in for the recipient based on the mood of the encounter.

As I was printing something as small as intended with my little letterpress (for once), it gave a really good deep impression on the paper stock.

Check out the tiny video I made about making these tiny cards!

Now let’s hope I can find some interesting people to give them to.

Freezing in a Heatwave

A new record cover I created is released today! It’s the debut single for a new signing to Med School Music – a chap called Lakeway. Aside from the title, I was kind of given carte blanche with the direction for this project, so I ended up creating some artwork intended to feel ‘connected’ like nerves, which I then physically froze.

I made it by hammering some carefully-placed nails into a surface I painted, then winding cotton thread between the nails (it’s all one continuous piece again!) to form the letters. I was happy with the design at that point, but it needed to represent the frozen part of the title too, so (obviously?) I put the whole thing in my kitchen’s freezer. I sprayed it with water at intervals until the ice had built up enough around the cotton threads for the lettering to solidify satisfactorially.

It hung out with the frozen peas for a couple of days while we got final approval, then for a little something extra, I timelapsed the ice melting away from it again and reversed the result, so it was becoming frozen again. Harry at Hospital Records then swept in and edited the timelapse into some nice motion graphics to accompany the track uploads to YouTube.

It’s nice to have a bit of ice-cold artwork for this long hot summer we’ve been having in Britain!

On Line

I’ve been feeling good about a lot of the record covers to come out of my brain-hands lately, but the cover for New Blood 018 deserves a spot of text to go with it – perfect for the blog.

New Blood 018

This artwork was inspired by a visit to my brother, who managed to break his leg while taking his kids to the park, and was in real-hospital as a result of the accident. One of his ward-mades was getting a transfusion while I was visiting, and I found the vividness of the blood running from the bag and through its tubing partly fascinating and partly humbling as it squiggled all over this poor chap’s bed.

NB018 CD Reverse

The image stayed with me, so I took the idea of the constant line to the typography for this artwork, and designed a suite of artwork around the concept. My original version was just as bold as the blood I saw in the hospital that day, but the creators of an album series called ‘New Blood’ insisted that it was too bloody, so I changed the palette entirely to some classic clinical teal shades.

Sweetpea - Closer - custom typography

Ox7gen - Trinity - custom typography

As well as the typography that made the cover itself, I also sweated the details with the entire tracklisting, with every artist and title drawn in the same single-line style. I was really pleased with how it looks, but we all agreed it wasn’t the most legible, so we compromised and I created a design that had transcriptions too.

NB018 Digital booklet label copy

I continued the single-line concept through all aspects of the design, including all of the label copy, which I snaked on single weaving lines through the artwork on all formats. With most of my indulgences approved in the end, the album went off to press, and is out on Med School Music this week.

NB018 Vinyl LP back cover

More Pandas Than China

Lilly and I went on a summer holiday to Sardinia this year, and while we were there, we were astonished by the amount of Pandas everywhere. Of course, I’m not talking about the Chinese bears, but the Fiat manufactured in the 1980s and 90s.

It was almost as if Sardinia is where Italy sent its Pandas not to die but to just keep on living.

We were both charmed by these boxy little powerhouses, so it was a good cue to make Lilly a new piece of artwork for her birthday. I began researching the materials that were used to sell the car during its original run, but there was no escaping this being a car of the eighties:

As magnificent as those are, I was looking for something that spoke a bit more to how thirty years later, the cars were still so happy rattling through the dusty landscapes of the Mediterranean. The native Italian materials weren’t any more inspiring with their woefully stretched typography, but France proved to have some more playful typographic ideas for selling these little Fiats:

The only trouble is I had no idea what the French typography said, and online translation wasn’t being much help to me either. My first few attempts of running the full slogan ‘Les Voitures à Malices’ through the internet tried to tell me it meant ‘The Cars With Malice’ or ‘The Malicious Cars’, and I couldn’t imagine even the French would try and sell a car on the idea that it would harm you.

Instead I decided it must’ve been idiomatic, so I asked a French friend to help me (her response: ‘I’m so French it’s beyond belief’), who explained that it meant ‘cheeky, facetious, witty all at once’, and was like boite à malices, ‘a box with lots of stuff that would be fun for kids’; a box of tricks. That sounded perfect to me, so I had to get back into the other hard part, illustrating the car in a way that captured its humble boxiness.

My first couple of attempts looked too boyish, and like something from a video game. Definitely not the right flavour. Instead, a basic profile shot proved to be the winner, and when combined with a bit of the mountainous terrain of Sardinia and a little more of the French marketing materials, everything came together just right.

Of course, the most important thing in all of this is that Lilly loved the artwork, so we immediately put it up on the wall!

Another Post-it sketchbook is filled

Since I started making an effort to publish a new Post-it note every day, these books have been filling up a lot faster! I filled up my latest sketchbook in February, and it covers the time from Summer 2015 to now. It’s like watching my life flash before my eyes!

The Christmas Story

redcruiser

With Christmas well and truly over, hopefully everybody has received all the Santa Cruiser cards destined for them by now! Here’s the story (and a few pictures behind the design.

I really wanted to do this illustration I came up with last christmas I called ‘The Nutkraken’ for our cards this year, but even after drawing it all up properly, the idea was nixed by Lilly.

nutkraken

Back at the drawing board post-it pad, I set about coming up with some other ideas, including this one I called ‘Santa and his Elvis’. This was nixed too:

DSC_7549

Eventually we came back to trying to reflect what happened in the past year, and decided that getting bicycles was probably the biggest thing. I put Santa on various bicycles, including some more conventional bikes like our own, and fancy racing bikes like my cat stickers, but his rotund nature meant he was best suited to a very upright cruiser bike. Here’s the final sketch, before tidying up:

cruisesketch

Everything was manufactured and ready to print:

A photo posted by Ricky Trickartt (@trickartt) on

The pressing wasn’t without problems, but it came out pretty good in the end:

DSC_7581

…And for our digital-native friends I did a special gif version to email them!

multisanta

Kinda Literal

crinkled

The first of two big albums I’ve been working on this year is out today – Etherwood’s second album, Blue Leaves. There was a lot of artwork involved in it, so here’s a drop of some imagery, notes, and a few exclusive bits that didn’t make the cut.

final-YABAPOM

work on the project started way back in January with the single ‘You’ll Always Be A Part Of Me’. Continue reading “Kinda Literal”

Triple-feature

Back when she lived in the States, Lilly used to have posters from her favourite movies on the wall. For her birthday this year, I decided to bring some of her world back to our apartment here in Rickmansland, but being the artist I am, I couldn’t help but redesign them for her too.

posters
 

catThe To Catch A Thief poster was the biggest gamble. Lilly is very fond of Grace Kelly and not-so-fond of cats, so obviously (?) this is a poster with a great big picture of a cat and no pictures of Princess Grace. I know my audience. The design is based on the first edition cover of the original novel, and it was such a great idea I couldn’t resist repurposing it. Besides, it’s a whole lot easier to draw a silly cat than it is to draw a decent picture of Grace Kelly! Lilly’s reaction was that we should get a pet cat, simply so we can name him John Robie. Coming from a cat-agnostic, I’m taking that as high praise!

windowRear Window‘s poster took the longest to come together. My biggest problem with the original poster was the inappropriate use of Showcard Gothic. Not only was it a massive anachronism, given that the font was designed almost 40 years after the movie came out, but it was pixelated to high hell on the printed poster too. Once that was fixed, it took a few runs at getting the illustration to do justice to the fantastic set the whole movie is based around.

sciaThe poster for Charade came together easiest, but that’s because the source material was so great. I loved all the typography in Italian on her original poster, so that had to stay, and the bright yellow colour scheme was great fun too. All that was needed to tie it together were some of the graphics from Maurice Binder’s wonderful animated title sequence.

Movie posters are a little out of my wheelhouse, but I’m really pleased with the results. They took a bit longer than usual to work on, but that was mostly because I was trying to keep them a surprise. More importantly than what I think about them though, Lilly likes them too – she couldn’t wait to get them up on the walls!

Wobble Wobble Womp Womp

014

Continuing with the theme of designing record covers for the YouTube generation, the artwork I created for this year’s New Blood compilation on Med School has been going down famously!

For this album, I created twenty bespoke videos based on my original cover art idea – using a subwoofer to vibrate a pool of blood-coloured oobleck – one for each track. You can see the whole playlist of them all here:

It’s surprising how different the results were based on the different tunes – some of the basslines created very uniformed ripples, whereas some made the mixture go absolutely nuts! Continue reading “Wobble Wobble Womp Womp”

Behind Glass

Hospital: We Are 18

Here’s an album cover that started in an unusual place: A shop window in Camden.

After Hospital had a successful six weeks doing a pop-up shop at Shoreditch’s Boxpark in the summer, they organised another pop-up in November – on Camden High Street, and for one week only. Holidaying meant I missed the opportunity to flex my creativity at the Boxpark shop, so when I heard about the next one, I told Hospital I wanted to go there and put a big H in the window. They agreed, but didn’t really seem to understand why I was so excited by the prospect. Continue reading “Behind Glass”

 
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