Gig Poster : Primus / by admin


Primus is a rock band fronted by Les Claypool. One might call the group's sound an irreverent take on bass-fronted jam rock set against a backdrop of other influences ranging from Frank Zappa to Rush. Their first album Fizzle Fry has been making me laugh since high school, so it was a crazy honour and surprise when curator Zoltron hit me up to take part in the Spring 2014 Primus Poster Series.


I immediately knew what I wanted to draw. My favourite song by Primus, hands-down, is Too Many Puppies so I immediately ran with it. Started by scouring through the Interwebs for images of various puppy and military-related reference imagery.

Some shitty but fun doodles. Messing around, figuring out how cartoonish I wanted the illustration to go. Primus are known for being kind of subversive so that's basically a license to go nuts.

Some less shitty and more fun doodles. Getting a little tighter. I recall thinking around then that I should probably just jump into Photoshop with the idea.

So this happened. Collaged together a rough composite of a scene filled by a platoon of marching puppies trailing smoke and destruction. I'm not a particularly amazing Photoshop magician but using a grid, some knowledge of anatomy, and common sense, I was able to fake the scene into existence.


The collage was then printed out and vertically-projected onto a piece of  (grey gesso) pre-coated illustration board, where it is traced quickly but mindfully, trying to establish form gesturally while accentuating or retaining telling details.

Progression. After the initial trace (with requisite extra time spent on areas like the daschund's face), I started using grey ink to erase or paint over the graphite. Doing this allows me to reap the benefits of hard-edged dry media while gaining some nice contrasting accents in the wet media.

Starting to 'spot black.' Hap-hazardously laying in lines and shapes, as well as blocking in lighter areas.

You can see general shapes starting to develop nicely around the sketch lines.

Using a variety of nibs and brushes to get some really random variations in the treatment.

Originally wanted to mask in the block texture on the fatigues digitally, but decided it looked better drawn in analog. I didn't have the patience to wait, and this was easier to control.

Laying in the flats for the faces.

I procrastinated on the guns a lot and as a result, they look really gestural.

Light at the end of the tunnel.

Overlapping details to create some more interesting details and shapes.

Finalized grayscale scan (monochrome semi-somposite).

"Fizzle Fry," Colourway.

"Green Naugahyde," Colourway.

Regular Colorway.

Also a glow layer because as always why not.


I was strapped for time during the printing of this poster so more effort went into production than documentation. As a result, in-progress pictures are a little scant. Here's the paper after two colours, around when things started to get interesting.

Clear screen for what looks like the drop-out midtone layer. Big red!

Registration using a three-point register system. I like to make tabs out of leftover trimmings from thicker stock which are then double-taped on one side and cut again so the point of adhesion is flush with the paper it is bracing. I sometime use thin paper so this is necessary or sheets tend to slide beneath the tabs.

Ink clearance using a sheet of newsprint.

Regular Primus Asheville 2014 posters drying on the rack.

Regular Primus Asheville 2014 posters drying on the rack. But a little closer.

Registration looks considerably tight.

Untrimmed "Naugahyde," colorways.

Untrimmed pile of 300 (give or take) prints.

Trimming the excess paper off the sides to turn the image into a more immersive full-bleed.

Workable stacks of posters. They are separated as such so my large electric cutter can make it through each portion without choking and leaving ugly frayed edges.


Thank you so much for reading! This Primus gig poster is available for purchase through The Shop.