First design for the invitation
In May I got a call from Joan Adan, curator for the Forest Lawn Museum. She gave me a call based on a recommendation from my good friend William Stout. She was wondering if I'd be interested in designing an invitation and show catalog for an exhibit that was opening up in August. The show was to be titled Menagerie: The Art of Animals, it was going to include original artwork by many very talented artists and illustrators. The list included, Drew Struzan, Ian McCaig, Marc Davis, Charles Russell, and Charles Knight. William Stout was co-curating the show, showing eight of his paintings, lending several pieces from his personal collection of other artists, and doing a new painting that would serve as both the cover to the invitation and the catalog.
What an enjoyable experience this ended up being. Starting out with a brand new beautiful painting by William Stout, it was hard not to be enthused about this project. Based on the painting by Bill, anything I did would end up looking good.
The first 2 invitation designs, I was trying to create an icon to go with the title. I wanted a symbol that could be used to identify and promote the show. I also thought it would be fun to create t-shirts to sell at the show or wear to promote the event. In the first attempt, I was playing off using a simplified version of Bill's beret wearing chimpanzee (think Paul Frank).
The second version, I wanted an elephant interacting with the type, as if it were holding up the word Menagerie. In both of them, I used a background that resembled a pattern that might be found on an animal (giraffe). Joan wanted to simplify the design, and felt with the icons, it was too busy. So the final attempt was to strip it down to it's most important basic elements and tweak the color to follow closer with the palette of Bill's painting.
Check out William Stout's website for a really neat process and explanation of how he did the final painting for the show.