So after deciding that I’d stick with using Cast-Iron Billy as my subject for the London Transport Museum competition, I tried to focus on one of the happier parts of his life: Racing. According to the interview the races had been going on for about half a century and that, in the “good old days”, competition was far fiercer than it is at the time of the interview.
My only problem was that I didn’t want to give the viewer the impression that his life was all fun and games, as there’s sometimes a tendency for the Victorian lower class life to be romanticised. I clung onto the idea of portraying Cast-Iron Billy’s daily routine, humanising him and showing them that he had his share of aches and pains.
^ I wasn’t happy with this layout, particularly as it doesn’t read well, but also because I felt the middle portrait of Cast-Iron Billy was a bit imposing, as well as potentially giving the wrong message; that he was a middle/upper class man of privilege rather than a lower class omnibus driver.
^ I was still fixated on the idea of portraying his day-to-day routine, so I sketched a bunch of activities that I thought he’d do before work. I also made some notes on what i was drawing and what I could work on. I don’t think I consciously decided on a style for the poster, but looking back at it the scruffy looseness of my sketches appeals to me as I feel it reflects well on the type of character I was trying to portray.
I got some good sketches and ideas out of this, but I decided I needed less of his morning routine and more of his racing. Another important thing was to figure out a layout, and I managed to figure something out:
While this might seem a bit more like a comic-book spread than a poster, I felt that, considering the topic was London Stories, I could probably get away with it. The idea of the little closeups/information seemed like a strong theme which I could repeat throughout the poster, although it would have to be done in a way that wasn’t too cluttered or confusing. I also saw a chance to have some fun with the drawing, as evident from the madcap smiles of the stickmen and the notes like “*insert immature comment here*”. I briefly considered using stickmen in the final poster, but felt that the poster would lost most of its impact if done with stickmen.
The layout works well I feel, as it draws the eye around the page, although I was unsure about the gap in the bottom left, and I was worried about composition, so I simplified the segments and made a general layout in my sketchbook which you can see in the image below.
And then, I began to mess about with the layout, but using post-it notes so that I could easily make adjustments:
You’ll notice there’s a black border at the top and bottom. This is because I realised after making this that I hadn’t taken into account the poster sizes of the competition (Double Royal – 635 x 1016mm (25 x 40 inches) or Double Crown – 505 x 760mm (20 x 30 inches)), so this was my way of working out in my head what the scale would be. Now that I had a good idea as to my layout, I decided to try again, fleshing out my stickmen to contain some character:
I was fairly happy with this as a general layout, but I felt that it didn’t really symbolise London specifically, it could literally be anywhere that ever had tophats and omnibuses, nor was the story particularly happy nor vibrant in a way that the brief seemed to be asking for. I decided not to use this particular idea, but I am fairly happy with some of the idea of the bubbles containing little close ups and nuggets of information, so I may use this in a future project.
All London Transport Museum project related posts:
Third year Project 1: London Transport Museum Brief
Cast Iron Billy
London Transport Museum Competition Progress 1
London Transport Museum Progress 2
London Transport Museum Progress 3
London Transport Museum Progress 4
London Transport Museum Progress 5
London Transport Museum Progress 6 – Final Submission
London Transport Museum Progress 7 – Epilogue and Reflective Summary