Two Heads are Better Than One

Years ago, we designed a manual for Hanna-Barbera. We wanted to show an example of a shirt using Hanna-Barbera characters such as Fred Flintstone. But there was a standing rule that an “A” character such as Fred Flintstone always was accompanied by a “B” and “C” character. I put Fred’s head on the shirt and surrounded him with Hong Kong Phooey’s head and Ma Kettle’s head. To me it looked great. Noreen pointed out it looked like a multiple personality disorder, or The Three Faces of Fred Flintstone.

I love illustration that uses multiple heads. Even better is illustration that has things growing out of people’s heads. I understand the need to convey multiple characters and a scene. Both of these devices do this. I like the idea of someone else’s head growing out of your own like a mutant twin. This was a popular device in the 1970s and 80s. Now think about this, it’s not easy to make it look as effortless and make sense. Both Bob Peak and Richard Amsel were masters of this. I urge all movie poster designers to return to this device. I want to see a poster of the Twilight characters all growing out of the side of one person’s head.

 

Richard Amsel, Woodstock, illustration

 

 

The Chamber of Dreams

How many times have you heard, “You know, my parents had that same lamp/mug/sofa. I wish I’d kept it.” Fortunately, I haven’t had that problem. My grandparents saved every shred of paper they ever received. And my mother moves a lot, so you quickly learn that objects are transitory. There is one item, however, that my mother had for years that I now regret not saving. It was a poster for the movie Camelot. Growing up, I thought it was simply a 1960s groovy poster. Now I realize how beautiful it is. The poster was illustrated by Bob Peak and is a remarkable harmony of images and pattern. Since I spent 18 of my formative years with this poster, I find I know every square inch. I need to find out if my mother still has it, and if so, distract her and steal it.

My parents followed the philosophy that children should be exposed to many things and not sheltered. The first movie I remember seeing was Barbarella, followed by Camelot, and The Fox. The Fox is based on a D.H. Lawrence novella. This is imdb.com’s synopsis: Sickly, chattering Jill Banford and quiet, strong Ellen March are trying, hopelessly, to run a chicken farm in Canada. A gentle but powerful man, Paul Renfield, returns and puts things in order. But his proposal of marriage to Ellen awakens the lesbianism dormant in the girls: Jill uses her weakness to make Ellen feel protective, and the women become active lesbians.

Clearly this was not The Fantastic Mr. Fox. The art for the poster is also incredible. Based on the art for the book jacket, it is symbolic, sensual, and fluid. I may have been exposed to a whole batch of nudity as a 3 year old, but I also had a crash course in beautiful imagery.