pixels & plastics


Graphic design for theater play may 2014

Granaatweken graphic design

In February 2014 theatre group Wildeman asked me to design the poster, flyer & ticket for their upcoming play Granaatweken.

Granaatweken means something like shelling weeks. (Literally translated grenade weeks.)

The play is about a family hiding in a shelter during the liberation of a small town called Schijndel in the south of Holland September/October 1944. 
After an inspiring session with the guys from Wildeman & the play director Vincent Elshout I went straight to the drawing table. Got a card blanche for both the concept as well as the technique I wanna use so I felt a kind of very happy. 

The final result is a mix between diorama building, typographic design & photography. A truly Pixels and Plastics product. 



First thought was to use a serif font in combination with a sans serif one which probably is an obvious choice. 
But it just didn't feel right since the complete appearance of the poster became too classic in combination with the retro backdrop.

So I decided to drop the serif type and used the League Gothic typeface in capitals only.
This font along with some other kick ass beautiful typefaces can be found on the The league of moveable type site. 
Museo Sans 700  was used for the body text on the backside of the flyer.

Granaatweken 26
Granaatweken 29

Backdrop details

The backdrop was made using 2 different mediums.

I started with analog diorama building with plastics, plaster, sand, rocks, foam, balsa etc... 

You know the stuff where your hands get dirty from. =+)
An intensive photoshoot was followed by a digital pass using 3DS Max & Photoshop. You know the stuff your neck, shoulders, arms, hands & fingers get wrecked from but your hands keep clean at least. 

Granaatweken 21A
Granaatweken 21B

The concept

To convince myself (Was I able to translate my brainfarth into a clear visual concept?) and the client of my idea I made a digital sketch.
I only bothered about composition and lighting at this stage.

When the client was convinced of the idea I started googling for some civilian plastic figures. Masterbox models and Miniart both have an excellent range of civilian 1/35 scale figures so my choice was made.

They all had to look up into the sky so I adjusted their necks and did some putty filling. The old guy and little boy received a shawl and a teddy bear was added to the little girl.

Granaatweken 12A
Granaatweken 12B

The base

So the figures were painted and it was time to start with the base. For the shelter I used a wooden birdcase and putted in some scratchbuild details from balsa wood. (I just love balsa wood)
The whole scene should look & feel a bit alienated so I didn't want to add too much detail to the shelter. 

The next step was to create dozens of bricks. There are several ways to achieve this job with a range of different materials like clay, wood, cork or plaster etc... Since this base is big I wanted to use lightweight materials. So I choose to use a super lightweight clay. Really amazing stuff and it feels a bit like foam.The dried structure of this clay is perfect for the bricks I needed. Highly recommended for all those bricklayers out there. =+)

According to the already made digital sketch I cut a rectangular shelter hole in the black light weighted foam base. Then I started placing the biggest items first like the rocks & wooden beams and covered the complete scene with the finished bricks, sand and wires. At last the whole base received a layer of grey (sray can) paint and several black oil washes. I removed the tufts of grass cause they just didn't feel right.

Granaatweken 14A
Granaatweken 14B
Granaatweken 14C
Granaatweken 16E
Granaatweken 16F
Granaatweken 15A
Granaatweken 15B
Granaatweken 15C

Photographs & Post effects

Vincents' Grave was my biggest diorama so far which measures 23x30x25 cm (DxWxH). 

This Granaatweken base measures 50x70 cm and it was quite hard to light the scene & shoot a couple of descent/useable shots. Nevertheless I was pleased with the result with the upcoming post-processing stage in mind.

After modelling and staging the falling bombs using 3DS studio max the rendered bombs were merged together in Photoshop.

At the final stage I did some color corrections and added post effects. I added (the usual) blooming, noise and vignetting effects. Besides those I added some film scratches & noise and blurred the bombs a bit to enhance the depth of field.

Granaatweken 27A
Granaatweken 27B
Granaatweken 24
Granaatweken 25

© 2014 by Marcel du Long