I was recently asked to design some promotional posters for an upcoming charity match taking place at the Riverside Stadium on May 11th 2012. Last years match saw fundraising top the £30,000 mark and its hoped that an additional £10,000 can be raised this time round.
Garrincha aka ‘Joy Of The People’ aka ‘Angel With Bent Legs’. Call him what you will he left an indelible mark on world football. This is my fourth attempt at capturing the ‘Little Bird’ and I think i’m finally happy with the outcome. I wanted to use the black and white of Botafogo as the starting point for this piece and just see where it grew from there really.
Having produced a large number of non-Boro illustrations over the last few months, I thought the time was right to redress the balance a little. With that in mind, I have decided to create an epic Middlesbrough FC poster, each individual drawing will depict a key player or event from Middlesbrough FC history. Once all the individual illustrations are done I will try to knit them all together to make one single image.
A tribute to the Dutch Master… Johan Cruyff. Basically i wanted to play with the idea of ownership regarding the Cruyff Turn, hence the copyright symbol. But I also wanted to show it in all its glory, especially as its original entrance to World Football was a “blink and you’ll miss it” 9 second affair.
This illustration was originally done to accompany a written piece that appeared on the quite excellent Lovely Left Foot. Originally I wanted to try and work Barnes nickname ‘Digger’ into the main illustration itself.
However, after various illustrations of JCB’s (John Charles Barnes) and caterpillar tracks churning up the touchline I felt that a minimal approach would probably be the better option. So instead I opted for a play on words as part of the title and a traditional portrait of the man himself.
Quite a few people have suggested I do an illustration featuring the breath-taking talents of Hugo Sánchez, so I thought why not.
For me, whenever that name comes up there’s only one thing that goes through my mind and that’s ‘Scissor Kicks’. Type the name Hugo Sánchez into YouTube and you will be presented with an endless list of outrageous acrobatic goals.
After the reception my Garrincha illustration got, I thought I’d better have another go at doing his strike partner, Pele. I made a conscious descision to go for the younger model Pele, before he became weighed down by his own legacy. In doing so I hope this particular piece has a degree of innocence to it.
I had wanted to tackle this Real Madrid legend for some time. Finding such an iconic nickname to work with I couldn’t wait to get started.
However, after a while it became clear that the ideas I was jotting down weren’t quite doing the man justice. I spent weeks with various half formed ideas rattling around in my head but no end product.
I knew the piece needed a ‘victim’ to be the focal point, but it was only when I stopped focussing on defenders and goalkeepers and instead looked at the ball itself that things finally fell into place.
Whenever I think of Danish football I think of the Laudrups and the classic Denmark kit from 1986. Despite not wearing that distinctive half pin stripe number in 1998, Brian Laudrup still took centre stage scoring a great goal against Brazil before rounding it off with an iconic celebration.
I really couldn’t decide between the two icons to be honest i.e. the strip or the celebration, so decided to use both. There was always an effortless grace about Laudrup’s play, some people describing him as almost balletic, I wanted to emphasise this by incorporating his laid back pose and some literal typography.
Ever since i started doing these illustrations one name kept cropping up again and again… Carlos Valderrama. The number of requests, suggestions and pleas i’ve had to tackle this particular icon has finally forced my hand.
I spent what seemed like ages trying to come up with a Non-Flying Dutchman illustration, but soon realised it relied too heavily on peoples knowledge of trains.
The fact the original Flying Dutchman was also a ghost ship just made the whole concept confusing. It was at that point a friend of mine suggested i try Bergkamp’s other nickname whislt at Aresnal i.e. “The Iceman”.
I was recently contacted by Bundesliga Football (@BLFuk) who are launching a new website dedicated that corner of the globes footballing powerhouses. Anyway they were after a logo / brand and wanted to know if i could come up with something suitably ‘Germanic’
I knew the site would be based on the black, red and gold colours of the German flag, so thought what better muse than the German Eagle to accompany it. An authorative and imposing theme, I felt it would give just the right kind of vibe to a site in its infancy.
I always knew I wanted to include Sir Bobby’s trademark comb-over for any illustration I was going to do of him. So after a bit of thought I came up with this Adidas angle which seemed to be the perfect fit. Especially as the famous three stripes could be made to look like his fly away locks.
When I decided on Terry Butcher as my next subject, there was an obvious temptation to splash the claret everywhere. However, on reflection I thought I’d try to adopt a ‘less is more policy’.
The thinking behind this piece was that whilst other players might be taking on water during Englands qualifier with Sweden in 1989, Butcher would require fluids of an entirely different kind. If you look closely at the various sticky labels and bar codes you should be able to make out a few other references too.
I’m not sure what Terry Butchers actual blood type is but B+ seemed rather apt.
Callum Hamilton over at the tremendous Surreal Football asked if I’d have a go at doing an Eric Cantona piece to compliment his latest Approved XI article. You’d think a character as huge as Cantona would be an easy option but it actually proved to be the opposite.
This particular piece has been on hold since October of last year. I originally intended to do it after receiving a request from a Celtic fan to do a Jinky Johnstone tribute. Instead i went off on a bit of a tangent and ended up doing the Lisbon Lions illustration that is currently sitting in my online gallery.
Whilst the feedback for the Lions piece was good, i still had a nagging feeling that I had unfinished business as far as Jinky was concerned.
I’m not sure this one requires much explanation really, essentially i wanted to single him out from the rest of the team but also show them as a unit. Hopefully the route i’ve gone down achieves both those aims.
As England’s first black player Viv Anderson went a long way to changing people’s attitudes and opinions, blazing a trail for others to follow. If you read any article about Viv, it will invariably begin with a reference to that key achievement.
This one doesn’t need much explanation, i knew i wanted to incorporate the iconic CCCP lettering and a nickname like ‘The Black Octopus’ just lends itself to this kind of characterisation, so it wasn’t too difficult to imagine how it was going to turn out.
The colour palette is meant to reflect Yeshin’s famous black jersey fading into Octopus ink squirts, the contrast of the white CCCP lettering and Russian red of course.
I had originally used this idea for a tongue in cheek reference which hinted at ex-Boro hard man Dean Glover. However, on reflection i thought the story of Andres Escobar had far more gravitas and was more befitting of the image / concept.
Known as ‘The Gentleman of Football’ his quote “Life doesn’t end here” became strangley prophetic after his untimely death / murder on 2 July 1994.
If you haven’t already done so, please check out ‘The Two Escobars‘, a thought provoking documentary that examines the public face Columbia was trying to portray at the time and the contrasting reality that lay beneath its surface.
Having already done a Sheff Wed illustration (via my Chris Waddle poster), I felt it was time to redress the balance and turn my attentions to United (The Blades).
The idea here was to try and replicate the geometric shapes you find at the centre of old school razor blades. I wanted to create them using the names of past players, so that hopefully from distance they just look like normal razor blades but viewed closer you can see the names etc.
The “stainless” logo hints at their “legend” status i.e. untouchable but also gives a nod to Sheffield steel too.
I have to admit i got a bit of a kick out of doing this one. I had hoped that the untucked Wednesday shirt would be enough for people to recognise the man in question. But i had a horrible feeling that it might not be enough and wanted to plant another clue.
So if you take a look under the club crest there should be something there that will ‘hammer it home’ as Swiss Tony might say. The idea being it mimics the Latin phrases a lot of clubs use on their badges, for example Blackburns ‘Arte Et Labore’.
I recently ended up speaking to the good people at In Bed With Maradona (IBWM). They asked if i’d be up for the challenge of adapting my style and applying it to some of the big name players of the last 30 years (Cruyff, Van Baasten, Romario, Gazza, Maradona etc).
For my first piece i decided to tackle the IBWM brand itself, so set about creating a Maradona illustration. I borrowed from the styles of both Argentina 78 plus Mexico 70 and 86. Speaking of 86 the panels of the ball are made up of finger prints. The theme of the poster is that despite what he achieved during his career and despite how he ‘should’ be remembered, Maradona will always be tarnished / tainted by the handball incident of 86 i.e. his prints will always be there etc.
For many years, the Spanish periodical Don Balon fastidiously collated a record of the best 100 young (aged 23 and under) players in world football. The list was well thought through, well thought of, and maintained a real global outlook. It was always interesting to see which players on that list truly blossomed and which had become ensnared in a spiral of terminal decline.
I came up with the idea for this one (cat kills bird etc) before deciding which goalkeeper to attribute it to. So I ended up being quite torn between Sepp Maier and Peter Bonetti.
I decided to give the final nod to Sepp, mainly because ‘The Cat from Anzig’ (his nickname) sounds just that bit cooler than ‘The Cat’ (Bonetti’s monicker). I wish I had a better explanation for the choice but I don’t.
I had the good fortune to see Roger Milla play in USA 94 at Stanford Stadium. The game I attended (Cameroon 1 – Russia 6) was extraordinary for two reasons. Firstly Millas consolation goal meant that he became the oldest player to appear and score in a World Cup Finals (he was 42 years and 39 days old). Whilst in that same match, Russia’s Oleg Salenko became the first and only player to ever score five goals, quite a game.
Anyway i digress, the dance steps shown in Cameroonian colours are a nod to Millas famous goal celebration, whilst the bottom left of the illustration is meant to represent the corner flag markings etc.
Jude Ellery over at Football Farrago ran an article on Nigel de Jong as part of hisMan and Ball – Issue Two. As a prelude to that article he asked for illustrations depicting the volatile Dutchman as part of an online competition. Never one to turn down a challenge I thought I’d give it a go myself.
A few of the early entries predictably focused on his hard man image, so I thought I’d try and approach it from a more reserved standpoint.
The graphic is meant to be a tongue in cheek ‘Opta’ style analysis of ‘The Lawnmowers’ movements during a game, I was attempting to show that he may have earned his nickname from covering every blade of grass on the pitch rather than mowing down the opposition etc.
A few days ago a Celtic fan got in touch to ask if i’d considered doing some illustrations featuring Scottish players. We initially spoke about Jinky Johnstone (an idea i may yet return to) but it soon became apparent that if i was to do a Celtic illustration it would have to feature the Lisbon Lions. At first i thought this piece wouldn’t require much explanation but some people have been trying to read far too much into it. So just in case its not obvious, the images represent the half-time oranges given to the mere mortals of Inter when compared to the raw meat fed to ‘The Lions’ from Glasgow etc.
As a footnote to this piece: i have also spoken to Rangers fans in the last few days, so get your suggestions in for Ibrox legends too and ill stick another illustration up for balance.