Guillermo Bolin Influence Poster

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I have always been interested in the styles of the 20’s; from the fashion, to the architecture, to the design, especially Art Deco, I love it all. I chose Guillermo Bolin as my influence for our Little 500 poster project because he too was influenced by the Art Deco movement, but also incorporated some of his own style into his work. He designed Vogue magazine covers throughout the 1920’s.

Since Bolin was working for a fashion magazine, all of his designs showcased tall, slender women right in the center of the design. They were always just standing rather nonchalantly, posing with an item or with another person. Like other Art Deco pieces, Bolin incorporated a lot of line work. His line work created strong directional force, but was sometimes a little less geometric than other Art Deco designs. Since his work was hand drawn, he used a lot of shading in some of his pieces to make his work more three-dimensional. He also sometimes used strong directional light to create a large shadow on the model. In terms of color, he used a mix of white, jewel tones, pinks, and dark colors such as brown and black. This time period was a rather showy time, with lots of bright colors and gold used everywhere; Bolin did use a lot of color, but some of his color was a little softer, or more underplayed than other artists of the time. Here are a few of his magazine covers that I used for inspiration:

In my design, I knew I needed to focus on a slender model in the center in order to capture the most basic part of Bolin’s aesthetic. I used a 1920’s style helmet on the woman’s head, and gave her a basic biker uniform. It was difficult to mimic his drawing style for my model, so I looked to a few of his magazine covers for help, and then modified her pose to make it original. I really focused on giving her long, skinny fingers and legs. I downplayed her facial features, because Bolin never made them very detailed either, using a very fine pencil to sketch them out, rather than a hard line to give it more of a “sketched” feeling. I drew a 1920’s style racing bike to use as her singular prop with which she could casually pose. I placed it behind her to make sure she was the central figure that draws viewers eyes.

I chose my color scheme based on colors that Bolin used in his covers, specifically the top two examples above. I decided to keep it simple with only a five colors (pink, brown, black, skin tone, and grey) so that the emphasis was not taken away from the model. Bolin’s models wore solid color clothing, so I kept her biker uniform simple, but identifiable. Many of Bolin’s models either did not have any hair, or had very little, so I too decided not give her hair, which especially emphasizes her helmet. I will admit that it is a lot more difficult to achieve shading on Illustrator than it would be by hand, so I did not incorporate as much as Bolin. however, I made sure to give my model a shadow because that is something Bolin did in many of his drawings. This means that I also incorporated a directional light to create the shadow.

For my background, I wanted to do on large grey diagonal stripe, kind of like Bolin did in the top right design above, because it represents the track that the model/biker will race on. Then, I created a few other lines to give it the strong directional feel of both Bolin’s work and the work of other Art Deco artists. I chose to use a checkered pattern for one of the stripes to represent the checkered flag at the race. However, I made the squares less than perfect geometric shapes because Bolin’s patterns in his work (see the bottom right piece above) were not always geometric. Even his stripes were uneven sizes, which is why I made mine uneven as well.

Finally, I chose my typefaces based on Bolin’s work, as well as Art Deco styles of the time. The typeface at the bottom, Parisish, is similar to the typefaces that he used at the bottom of his magazine covers. I also drew a line between the words at the bottom and the model to give it a bit of a magazine feel like Bolin’s covers. The typeface at the top, Kilsonburg-regular, is a mix between the minimalist typeface that Vogue used and the Art Deco style of the time where one side of each letter is thicker than the rest of the shape. I almost used a more dramatic version of an Art Deco typeface, but decided that I risked taking attention away from the model, who is supposed to be my main focus, in order to capture a similar look to Bolin.

Overall, I think that my design captures Bolin’s style pretty well. I wish that I could have created a little bit more dimension with shading, but I do not have quite enough knowledge of Illustrator to accomplish that in a reasonable time frame. I think that my model looks like his and that her pose with one hand casually draped on the bike handles is right for that time period of Vogue, and I think that is the most important part of this poster. I think that the line work in the background also matches well, especially with the directional light coming in from the bottom. I do want to note, though, that the colors of the full-size image are correct and match those that Bolin used. However the thumbnail appears too vibrant.


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