East End Brewing Company and local illustrator Wayno (who curated this collection of labels) gave six local artists free reign to design whatever kind of label we wanted (within government guidelines). I wanted to cover the genres I work in most often -- cute and creepy. And because of the nature of the project, I also wanted to emphasize the concepts of "illustration" and "beer drinking." Ever been to one of those parties where one drunk passes out and his close friends draw all over his face with magic marker? Me either. But that's the inspiration for this design. Now that my concept was covered, I waited about a week for government approval and then started the final illustration.
The idea really started with a couple of napkin sketches, trying to work out the composition. I abandon the idea of floor-to-ceiling hieroglyphics as way too busy.
Then it's just a matter of adding color and texture to each element in Photoshop until I get the look I'm after. I wanted a soft, watercolor look so I laid down the colors in soft, transparent washes. Sometimes I use a smooth brush to emphasize individual brushstrokes, sometimes I'll create a texture brush for surfaces like the walls of the tomb.
And, finally, here are the six labels created by this year's batch of talented illustrators. From left, designs created by: Nathan Mazur, Dave Wachter, Vince Dorse, Jasen Lex, Mark Bender and Ed Piskor. The bottles are all still available through East End Brewing Company and portions of the profits go to support Pittsburgh's Toonseum. Cheers! -v