Poster Art for ‘The Sorcerer’ Musical

Every year I design the poster for the Bucks County Gilbert & Sullivan Society’s musical comedy and this year’s June operetta is Gilbert & Sullivan’s The Sorcerer. I love the wacky plot of this show, which is about a sorcerer in Victorian England who is asked to create a love potion that an entire town partakes of, with chaotic and comic results. It strikes me as singularly funny that instead of a cauldron like Shakespeare’s witches brew their potions in, this very proper society sorcerer brews his in a porcelain pot of tea!

I was lucky to be at an early costume fitting for the actor playing the title role, so I took photos of him in costume for reference when drawing, and they even had the large teapot that will be his prop in the show. I knew the kind of pose I wanted for the figure and started with pencil sketches –

I put some rough color on the sketched figure and placed him on the poster page, with the text that will go around him, based on previous posters, and drew in the background roughly with a digital gradation, markers & colored pencils, to get a rough design of the page.

I refined my line drawing of the figure and did more detail on the digital color –

I worked on the title logotype next, to shape it around the sorcerer’s arm & umbrella. I used a fun typeface called “Island of Misfit Toys, ” although I played with the letter shapes a bit, stretching and adding some curls, to balance things out.

I drew the cloud emanating from the teapot digitally and put the figure in place –

and then dropped in the title logotype and added some more magical swashes and particles circling the Sorcerer and the cloud, for the finished art.

This promises to be a terrific show, by the way, I recommend everyone comes to see it! Tickets go on sale April 15, through the website.

My Gilbert & Sullivan Artwork

I’ve just completed designing the show program for the Bucks County Gilbert & Sullivan Society’s June production, Trial by Jury and More! This production is a melange of two comic operettas and some magnificent overtures and solos from Gilbert & Sullivan.

I’ve been pleased to paint the poster illustrations for a number of these G&S shows, which I then use on the program cover as well. It’s a pleasure to get to know the witty and comical characters in these operettas – and they are truly operettas, with some dialog but a lot of gloriously operatic sung music. I really recommend these shows for anyone who loves classical music and good theatrical humor.

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My illustration for Trial by Jury and More includes the characters Mr. Cox, a hatter, and Mr. Box, a printer, who unwittingly occupy the same rented flat because one works all day and the other all night; they meet unexpectedly and both are furious with their landlord for double-dipping on the rent – until they discover they are, or were, also engaged to the same lady and neither wants to fulfill that contractual obligation! Also depicted in this cover are characters from Trial by Jury: Angelina, the tragicomically jilted bride, and the Judge, who is instantly smitten with her. Together these 1-act shows make up the operatic musical comedy Trial by Jury and More!  and it is set to open in two weeks, on Friday June 16 here in Doylestown – all info is on the website here.

With my art for HMS Pinafore I shoehorned the main characters into a tiny rowboat for comic effect: the gallant sailor Ralph Rackstraw kissing lovely Josephine and Captain Corcoran carrying his sunny Buttercup, with ornery Dick Deadeye paddling them through the waves and Sir Joseph admonishing them all to be quite polite. My husband played Sir Joseph in this show locally, and friends may see the resemblance in my rendering of him.

For Princess Ida I stood our stalwart princess front and center, and in the background her bastion for women, Castle Adamant. If you look closely you can see the brave fellows clumsily scaling the castle battlements – Hilarion, Cyril and Florian – who engage the theme of this battle-of-the-sexes play. For some elements of Castle Adamant I was inspired by the design of Marie Antoinette’s Hameau de la Reine, and you may notice I incorporated male-female symbols into the castle windows.

For the Patience illustration I painted sweet, sensible milkmaid Patience listening skeptically to the florid words of poet Bunthorne. (I enjoy that G&S often chose hilariously Dickensian character names.) Meanwhile the lovesick maidens of the village cling and swoon on Bunthorne, with even Lady Jane and her cello getting drawn into the undertow. There’s a lovely small magnolia tree in my neighborhood that I used for reference in the Patience art.

In all these illustrations I painted with acrylic paint on illustration board. If you’d like to see my sketches leading up to these paintings, I wrote about my process – Trial by Jury here, Pinafore here, Princess Ida here and Patience here. Leasing of my artwork for other productions is available, and inquiries can be made through my Contact page.

 

HMS Pinafore this weekend

I’m happy to remind everyone that the delightful Gilbert & Sullivan comic operetta, for which I painted the poster art, is opening this coming weekend: HMS Pinafore, performed by the Bucks County Gilbert & Sullivan Society.

The program cover, using my artwork:

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H.M.S. Pinafore will perform on Friday June 17 at 8:00 PM, Saturday June 18 at 2:00 PM and 8:00 PM and Sunday June 19 at 2:00 PM, at Delaware Valley University’s Life Sciences Building Theater, Doylestown. The story weaves together exceedingly polite naval officers, love-struck sailors and starry-eyed young ladies, all sung to Sullivan’s glorious music. Comic patter songs, ballads and madrigals are featured, including favorites “When I Was A Lad,” and “I’m Called Little Buttercup.”  The cast is accompanied by the full Bucks County Gilbert & Sullivan Orchestra under the direction of Lee F. Milhous

Tickets at the door are $23 for adults, $17 for seniors and $10 for students, and discounted prices are available by ordering ahead online here.  Delaware Valley University is at 700 East Butler Avenue and attendees should enter the campus from New Britain Road onto Admissions Drive and turn right into Parking Lot C, which borders the Life Sciences Building. For more information call 215-348-4837 or visit www.bucksgilbertandsullivan.org .

David Swartz directs the show, with Bob Binkley as Choral Director and Bill Buckman as Producer. The cast features George Achilles, Perry Beem, Bill Buckman, Bob Binkley, Carla Engebretsen, Tina Margot, Dennis Kloppel and Robert West of Doylestown; Jenne Carey of Manalapan, NJ; Derek Hess of Boyertown; Elise Bjordammen of Blue Bell; Michael Dutka of Kintnersville; Theresa Swartz and Nate Binkley of Ambler; Fred Dittman of Berwyn; George Bourrie of Exton; Sarah Darrow of Trenton; Clare Fannon of Newtown; Virginia Ziegler of Pipersville; Ridge Goodwin of Holicong; Sue Hudson of Media; Alice Deanin of Princeton; Doug Kurtze of Ardmore; Jim Palmer of Hatboro; and Jim Sanders of New Hope.

Leasing my artwork

In the past two weeks I’ve had a couple of requests from Europe (the internet is, at times, an amazing thing) to use some of my artwork in publications. I make much of my copyrighted art (though not all) available for leasing for a reasonable fee.

So my sketch of a flutist from the Quebec Sacred Music Festival will soon be appearing on the cover of a flute concert in Frick, Switzerland, and my H.M.S. Pinafore illustration will grace the posters for a production of that musical by the Bicester (pronounced BIS-ter) Choral and Operatic Society in England.

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If you have a request you can email me, and usually I can respond within a day or two. I make payment of the fee easy by putting a button on my website store page that allows credit card or paypal payment.

Finished illustration for H.M.S. Pinafore

In yesterday’s post I showed some sketches for my poster art for the Bucks County Gilbert & Sullivan Society’s upcoming H.M.S. Pinafore. After I made these line and color sketches I traced the drawing onto illustration board and started painting.

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And finally, added the type for the poster – I had thought of putting a life preserver on the little boat, but thought it would be more fun as the O in the title –

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My artwork, of course, is copyrighted, but you may email me through my contact page, for leasing fees if you are interested in using my original artwork.

It’s sure to be a great musical, the Bucks County Gilbert and Sullivan Society mounts really beautiful shows, with the help of local orchestra musician and amazingly talented singers.  I highly recommend you consider joining them in June!

Illustration for H.M.S. Pinafore

I always enjoy creating the promo material for the Bucks County Gilbert & Sullivan Society because G&S characters are always appealing and comical and yet dressed so beautifully. Most G&S operettas take place in Victorian England, and H.M.S. Pinafore, the Bucks County group’s musical scheduled for this June, is set squarely in that seafaring era of Britannia.

I wanted to portray some of the major characters in the show: Ralph Rackstraw, the handsome young crewman of the Pinafore; his beloved Josephine, daughter of the ship’s captain; her father, polite and upright Captain Corcoran; Little Buttercup, a jolly village woman with a hankering for the captain; Sir Joseph Porter, K.C.B., an older aristocrat who wishes to wed the much-younger Josephine; and I threw in Dick Deadeye, one of the hilarious sailors on board. I decided to stuff them all into a little dinghy, which is not a scene in the play, but sort of gives an idea of the witty, loopy plot these proper British characters find themselves in on the good ship Pinafore.

I blocked in my characters in their little boat, and the title in pencil  –

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I photocopied the pencil rough and used colored pencils to do a general color sketch. On the computer I tried a title font and added more ocean at the bottom, where text about the show will go –

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Tomorrow I’ll show some more steps and the finished art.

Painting Princess Ida, finished art

The finished art, painted in acrylic paints on illustration board, for Bucks County Gilbert & Sullivan’s June production of ‘Princess Ida, or Castle Adamant’. The show runs Friday June 13 and Saturday June 14 and all the details can be viewed at the Bucks G&S website.

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If you don’t know the story of Princess Ida, it’s a funny one about the battle of the sexes.  And it has an actual Battle of the Sexes, in Act III. .

It begins with King Hildebrand and his loyal subjects awaiting the arrival of rival King Gama and his daughter, Princess Ida, to marry Hildebrand’s son, the Prince Hilarion. Gama, however, arrives not with his daughter but with his three dull sons, and explains in his cantankerous way that Ida will not marry Hilarion.  She has instead devoted herself to ruling a woman’s university, where she instructs her pupils on the inferiority of man, among other subjects. Hildebrand sputters that Gama and his sons will be held captive until Ida appears and consents to marry Hilarion.

The story moves to Castle Adamant where Princess Ida and her learned ladies teach their students about the evils of man. Prince Hilarion and his friends Florian and Cyril sneak into the Woman’s University disguised as women (I think you need that bit at least once in every G&S show). Their ruse is uncovered when it’s shockingly observed that two of them are tenors and one a baritone. Ida promptly has the three men arrested, then King Hildebrand shows up to give Ida 24 hours before he demolishes Castle Adamant, if she does not marry Hilarion.

The women bring out the battle-axes to defend the castle but Hilarion and his friends easily win; Princess Ida yields to her prince, and with joy abiding, the opera concludes.