As part of this years 30×30 London show, we asked Dave Merrell to help us out with our event poster. He has smashed the concept and execution on this, but we also wanted to know a bit more about him and his work. So recently we caught up with Dave to find out more.
Thanks for sparing the time to chat with us today. How did you initially hear about AMP?
No probs, thanks for having me – I first saw AMP on Instagram.
What is your background? Did you always want to be an artist/illustrator?
Oooh yes most definitely always wanted to be an illustrator.
I fell into graphic design but used my illustration skills as a bonus.
I’ve designed a lot of things from children’s toys to greeting cards to websites but nothing compares to illustrating things you’re passionate about.
What did you always draw as a kid?
I used to draw characters out of comics (2000AD mainly), copy video game covers and movie posters. Remember roping my brother to have drawing battles, whether he enjoyed it or not.
How would you describe your style?
The basic foundation of my style is classic 80s but I throw in contemporary techniques/aesthetics to try an offer a unique look and feel. I love the balance of a concept and execution plus adding finer details (Easter Eggs) that you may pick up on second/third look. I want the artwork to urge the viewer(s) to go and watch the movie, whether it’s for the first or the 100th time.
How do you approach a project? Sketch first or straight to the computer?
It differs from project to project. More often than not, I sketch thumbnails to get the composition/concept nailed, plough my resources for references from then on it’s all pretty much a digital process.
Which tools/applications do you use on a daily basis?
I couldn’t live without my Wacom Cintiq now, it’s pretty much an extra appendage, then there’s Photoshop and Illustrator.
Is there anything you don’t like to draw?
Anything without character.
Which stage of your work do you enjoy the most?
It differs. Sometimes the concept stage, others it will be the drawing or colouring. Just depends what kind of mood I’m in.
Do you have a piece of work you’re most proud of?
There are many pieces of work I’ve done that I’m proud of for different reasons, but I definitely feel a sense of achievement from the Top Gun poster. I scribbled down the idea and composition and immediately thought, nah – I’ll never be able to do that.
But I pushed myself and it turned out pretty well.
Who would you say has been or currently is your inspiration?
Drew Struzan and Alex Ross inspired me to take illustration seriously, currently I do like then I take inspiration from everywhere, whether it’s a sticker on a lamppost or an overheard conversation, I’ll try and mould ideas to fit into current or future concepts.
Alex Ross- Captain America
Drew Struzan – Blade Runner
If you could collaborate with anyone on a project, who would it be with and why?
Olly Moss, I love the way he thinks and how his ideas are composed.
Do you own any AMPs (ALTERNATIVE MOVIE POSTERS)? If so, which ones, and do you have a favourite?
Sounds narcissistic but the main bulk of my AMP’s are my own.
However, I did buy my first one the other month which was a Karl Fitzgerald ‘Predator and Prey’ – he’s got such a gorgeous style.
What would you say are your top 3 movies and why?
Haha, that’s an impossible question.
Off the top of my head (and liable to change at any time) they are: Raiders Of the Lost Ark – It’s Indy, the best one.
Total Recall (1990) – First 18 rated movie I ever saw at the cinema.
Jaws – Just a flawless movie.
What would you say are your top 3 books/novels and why?
I haven’t read many books, but out of those I have read:
Ready Player One
Karl Fitzgerald – Predator and Prey
Karl Fitzgerald – Kill Bill
Any projects for 2020 you can tell us about?
At the moment, I’ve got three AMPs getting ready for release and just about to start on four and five, with hopefully many more to follow 😉
The new 30×30 1989-90 show poster:
Where is the best place for people to view or buy your work?