Portrait Illustration

I went to see Iron Man 2 when it came out in 2010. It was a great movie and served it’s purpose well. It entertained me, and everyone there to see it, for the couple of hours that we were in that movie theater. There was one image that I could not get past though. The “Iron Man Hope” poster as a lot of people called it caught my eye very early on. Having been a fan of the original aesthetic of Shepard Fairey’s iconic and controversial OBAMA HOPE poster, I knew I had to have an Iron Man version of my very own. I looked, and looked, and looked. eBay, poster sales websites, the almighty Google. No one had that exact same one. I even checked Shepard Fairey’s own page. There, I found that he hadn’t created the parody poster seen in the movie. All signs were pointing to it being a one off created by the studio for the movie. So, I began researching the image and bid my time. I couldn’t find the poster I wanted. I was going to make it.

…neither is it possible to copyright a style, nor would I want to restrict visual dialog by discouraging others from paying tribute to styles I have used. – Shepard Fairey

I began by creating a rough version of the image from the low quality images I found on the internet. My Iron Man Hope Poster – Mark I was complete. I decided to create it using Shepard Fairey’s original HOPE poster color scheme and made it 24in x 36in in size. At the time, I was use to working on large event posters, so the large format felt right at home. It was done, it looked good, but I found it…wanting. It felt incomplete and it lacked the detail of the original. I knew I wasn’t done, not yet anyway.

5 hours of Adobe Illustrator later…

Finally, later that year, the movie came out on DVD/Bluray and I couldn’t wait to pick it up. I ran to my local big box retailer and picked up and and ran straight home to watch it and to create my poster. I put the DVD into my computer so I could watch it on my 2nd screen as I worked on my 1st. The explosions and music fueled my creative drive to complete the poster. The scene came and I paused it to admire the original on digital display. As I did I noticed something and immediately ran to the living room tv and put in the Bluray, and there in 1080p glory I fast forwarded the movie to the scene in which the poster is revealed and that’s when I saw a detail I had missed. The tonal transition from yellow to blue on his helmet and other “gradated” areas wasn’t a color mix, or a gradient or even a 3rd color. It was a pattern, or a cross hatch to transition between the two colors! I ran back to my computer, mind blown by the revelation and went right back to my mouse and keyboard. I devised a plan of attack with my new found information. Then using screen grabs I found on the internet and other images as references I set out to create my masterpiece. Before I knew it, the movie was over and I still had work to be done. So, I did what anyone would do…I started the movie over again and kept right on working. Almost done I looked over to see the final credits playing for a second time. After watching the special scene at the end of the credits for the 2nd time (once in the theater and again on the 2nd play of the DVD) I started the movie a third time. Finally, after 5 hours of Adobe Illustrator, or about 2.5 times through the DVD movie itself…I was done!

I contacted the printer we used at work for our club event poster and inquired into the cost of printing the poster. It was late October, early November, so I decided to get it printed as a present to myself. The print came out great. The poster isn’t an exact duplicate of the movie poster. Some of the lines aren’t perfectly aligned and I may have added a few shapes here or there, but the poster was true in spirit to the original movie version and more importantly, I loved it. Apparently, I wasn’t alone in my search for said movie poster. I found when I uploaded it to DeviantArt, people loved it also. To this day I get requests for prints or the files so people can print one for themselves.