Posts filed under Illustration

Featured Art Print: The Cautionary Tale of Hansel and Gretel

There's nothing quite like a famine, starving children and an evil witch to set the scene for a good bed time story or art print, for that matter! 

That's why we've included a more whimsical interpretation of the classic German cautionary tale for our "Hansel and Gretel" art print, illustrated by artist Shelby Rodeffer

"I've always loved German cautionary fairy tales, like the Struwwelpeter, that walk the line between cute and creepy, Shelby said. With a cannibalistic witch and a cottage made of candy, there's really nothing not to like about this story!"

Shelby's take on the classic Brothers Grimm tale, first published in 1812, illustrated by Ludwig Richter in 1842 and made popular by the 1893 opera by Engelbert Humperdinck is inspired by gingerbread houses and the beautiful landscapes by artist Eyvind Earle.

Earle really knew how to make a flat image look expansive, Shelby said. I wanted to make something big like his pieces yet simple enough to work with two colors, so I was also looking at a lot of old textile illustrations like these."

Shelby's focus on the house details and typography work well with the mid-century inspired illustration style, which each original illustrated print in our Fairy Tales art print series adheres to. 



Posted on July 16, 2015 and filed under Illustration.

Featured Art Print: Retro Gals "Rockers" by Babs Tarr

This week our friend and collaborator Babs Tarr is in San Diego for the annual Comic Con. Babs has the distinct honor of recreating D.C. Comic's heroine, Batgirl, and we couldn't be more proud of her!

Before Batgirl, I had the distinct honor of collaborating with Babs on our poster series, "Retro Gals Mods and Rockers." This series was inspired by the British cool kids of the 1960s. Working with Babs was great fun! Her contribution to the series is the original art poster Retro Gals Rockers.

Working with Babs was great fun. She was so upbeat, it was infectious! Any bit of art direction I threw her way, she took to heart, and then came back with something even more awesome than I was expecting. It was also great to see her process. Her sketches were so loose and gestural, but the attitude and style still came through, even in the earliest phases.

Be sure to check out more of Bab's work!

Posted on July 8, 2015 and filed under Illustration.

Featured Art Print: The Romantic Tale of Sleeping Beauty

"She sleeps: her breathings are not heard In palace chambers far apart The fragrant tresses are not stirred That lie upon her charmed heart" wrote Alfred, Lord Tennyson in his poem "The Sleeping Beauty" in 1830. But the famous British poet wasn't the first to bring the romantic tale of the beautiful princess, the sleeping enchantment and the handsome prince into the world.

The story of "Sleeping Beauty" actually dates back to 1697 by French author Charles Perrault and then later collected as an oral tradition by the Brothers Grimm. Of course, there have been many more adaptations from literature, visual art, musical theater and ballet to animation. 

So it's not surprising that when I was researching a fairy tale to illustrate, my visual idea for "Sleeping Beauty" just clicked. Instead of focusing on the princess for my Sleeping Beauty print as so many famous illustrations and paintings do, I was inspired to create an illustration centered on another important character: the castle.

As with all my art prints, my process begins with a lot of research. I found a picture of the German Neuschwanstein Castle that became my main inspiration; coincidentally the "Sleepy Beauty" castle design in the Disney Parks is also based on this. With its dramatic towers, it's easy to see why the 19th century Romanesque Revival architecture of the hilltop castle is the source of inspiration for both me and Disney artists.

From there, for type reference I found a magazine clipping from a 1950s issue of Harper's Bazaar, which influenced the typography at the top of my illustration; I hand-drew all of the typography to give it a warm and old-fashioned feel.

"Sleeping Beauty" art print is part of our Fairy Tales art poster series that includes illustrations of other familiar and well-loved classic tales including Goldilocks and The Three Bears, Hansel and Gretel, and Paul Bunyan.




Posted on July 8, 2015 and filed under Illustration.

Featured Art Print: The Intrusive Tale of Goldilocks and The Three Bears

Turns out our favorite bear family started out as three bachelors. And our favorite mischievous blonde wasn't even blonde! Or young! She was an old, ugly woman. Somehow "The Story of the Three Bears," the original title of arguably the most popular fairy tale, isn't that intriguing. 

But that's how it started with British author Robert Southey first publishing the widely told tale "The Story of The Three Bears," in 1837. From then the story evolved several times most notably in 1849 when author Joseph Cundall changed the antagonist from an old, ugly woman--he felt there were too many stories that centered on old, ugly women--to a pretty little girl. It wasn't until the early 20th century that this pretty little girl was named Goldilocks and the three bachelor bears became "Father, Mother and Baby Bear."

Early illustrations of Goldilocks and The Three Bears are quite serious and literal--no fun at all in our opinion. With our Goldilocks and The Three Bears art print, the goal was to find a fun, whimsical portrayal of the bears--not too serious like the original prints and not so too cartoonish like modern illustrations.

Like the other art prints in our Fairy Tales poster series, our Goldilocks poster, drawn by artist Julian Baker, is illustrated in our signature mid-century inspired style and features the orange and blue color palette. 


Posted on June 30, 2015 and filed under Illustration.

Now on Sale: The Fairytales Poster Series

I'm excited to introduce the latest Familytree poster series, Fairytales. This four-poster series is inspired by some classic fairytales: Paul Bunyan, Hansel & Gretel, Sleeping Beauty and Goldilocks and the Three Bears. Grab the whole series from the shop.

This series adheres to the Familytree signature style of a limited color palette and illustration reminiscent of the 1950s and 60s.

Each poster is 12x18 inches and is a two-color screen print of sky blue and burnt orange on off-white card stock, perfect for decorating.

This is the fifth Familytree poster series in which I've collaborated with other artists on a whimsical subject. Once again we've got a great line up of artists that have contributed to this series including: Julian Baker, Lydia Nichols, Shelby Rodeffer, and of course myself, Alex Pearson. Stay tuned for more about my talented collaborators.

Posted on June 17, 2015 and filed under Illustration.

Introducing The Grand Budapest Hotel Art Print

Once again I've been invited to participate in the annual "Bad Dads" group art exhibition in tribute to Wes Anderson. For this year's exhibition, I've illustrated the hotel from The Grand Budapest Hotel movie. Get it in the shop here.

As with The Belafonte art print, The Grand Budapest Hotel poster is another highly detailed illustration focusing on the architecture from the film. I really love the attention to detail in Wes' films, and it was a blast to research. I put quite a bit of time into getting all the little things right, so I hope you enjoy.

By now it must be obvious how much fun I have creating Wes Anderson-inspired art. Once again I have also created a video recreating a scene from the Grand Budapest Hotel to accompany my illustration, and explain all the details of the print.

Posted on November 28, 2014 and filed under Illustration.

2010 CMA Music Festival Poster

Country Music Association: 2010 CMA Music Festival Poster This illustrated poster was created for the attendees of the 2010 CMA Music Festival. The event was originally started in 1972 and was then called "Fan Fair." Since then the festival has grown larger every year and attracted attendees from all over the country. The Country Music Association wanted to express the wealth of heritage that past and present performers have added to the festival over the years. Their concept was ironically a "family tree" consisting of the names of those many performers. There are over 200 names in this illustration, almost 40 of them drawn by hand.

Posted on June 9, 2010 and filed under Illustration, Portfolio.

KEXP postcard

KEXP: Postcard

KEXP Seattle has been a providing creative inspiration during work time for the staff of Familytree before Familytree even existed. Obviously then it was an honor to be able to donate creative talent to such a great radio station that is listener supported and non-profit.

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Fuzzell Wedding Invitation

Brian Fuzzell + Marie Yarbrough: Wedding Invitation Friends Brian Fuzzell and Marie Yarbrough have been big supporters of Familytree. Alex has worked with Brian at two different design companies, and is also a big fan of Brian's band The Nobility. Brian came to Familytree to get a non-traditional wedding invitation, something that wasn't expected, but not too out there. Both Brian and Marie are creative and unique people and getting the invitation right was definitely important. Using the wedding's date as an inspiration, a beginning of Spring theme was chosen. All four pieces were hand drawn and screen-printed, giving them a very warm and tactile quality. Brian and Marie were thrilled and a number of recipients were pretty excited about the design as well.

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Diagram of a 10

Bankjobs ER : Illustration This illustration was created for the Bankjobs ER debut campaign.  Familytree helped Bankjobs develop their concept of hiring only 10s. A"10" being a firm's perfect employee with all the positive attributes that make a great hire. This illustration appeared on the cover of a large format brochure, postcards, magazine ads and on the Bankjobs ER website.

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Theory 8 Show Poster

cigarette-large.jpgTheory 8 : Show Poster To promote one of their newest artists, Caitlin Rose, Theory 8 Records commissioned Familytree to design a show poster. The art is inspired by Bill Callahan's smoky deep voice and Caitlin's self-proclaimed love of smoking.

Posted on March 11, 2008 and filed under Illustration, Portfolio.

My Feet Have Failed Me

devil-shoe300.jpgLipstick Magazine : My Feet Have Failed Me Commissioned to accompany an article written by a woman who could not quell her desire for flashy high-heel shoes, and is now paying the price for her temptation. The article is somewhat of a warning to her younger readers to avoid the path she has taken.

Posted on March 10, 2008 and filed under Illustration, Portfolio.