Bloomsday Poster Series Completed

topdogArt and Design

Four years ago I began a series of posters for Bloomsday. Back then, the concept was fairly simple: an illustration depicting Bloomsday runners passing by with the word BLOOMSDAY overlaid on top.

The series began in 2017, and each poster would have a dominant color, and usually ten runners (the 2019 poster featured eleven runners).

Using my own photos as references, I arranged the whole crowd in Photoshop, clipping and sizing individual photos to create a feeling of depth and motion.

For each panel, I took the Photoshop rough as a reference and sketched out the images in Corel Painter. I generally avoided tracing, instead trying to capture the runners traditionally with a quality sketch.

The painting process took about six weeks for each panel, a schedule which allowed for plenty of breaks. I didn't want to rush the paintings.

Over the course of four years, I completed each section of the poster in January of that particular year. Of the forty-one runners depicted, I ended up swapping out four or five for newer images that seemed to work better.

It was truly a big project.

Each art panel was 18" x 30" and the final posters were 19" x 34" each.

This being the final year for the series, I was asked to create one big full-size poster with all four art panels in sequence, thereby "completing" the image.

Of course I was pleased to do this.

The final 4-poster combo is quite impressive at 74" x 37". I was looking at it when Don Kardong (the founder of Bloomsday) came up and commented that it was my "masterpiece".

That was very nice of him to say, and I thanked him. But then my Compliment Negation Fixation kicked in and I added, "It may be my masterpiece, but I'm seeing a lot of mistakes."

He laughed, as did I.

It's true. I can't look at anything I've created without noticing the flaws. Self criticism makes me a better artist. It also makes me a crappy salesperson.

Bloomsday posters and artist Steve Merryman

Four years. Four illustrations. Forty-one people. What's next?