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Illustrating Cinderella: Interview with Ben Barter

Posted on 26 October 2017

Illustrator and Designer Ben Barter, has created a beautiful new artwork for this year’s Belgrade pantomime Cinderella. In this interview, we explore the process involved from coming up with a concept to choosing a typography.

How long have you been working as an illustrator?
I have been a professional freelance illustrator for the past 4 years, but I have been obsessed with art and illustration my entire life. Ever since I was old enough to hold a pencil I have always been drawing (scribbling).

What made you first want to become an illustrator?
I have always been fascinated by art and design. As long as I can remember I would find myself starring at book covers and movie posters in awe, trying to work out the creator’s process. I’ve always enjoyed stories in any type of format: film, animation, comic, picture book, music etc. So from absorbing many wonderful visuals and stories it has made me extremely passionate to simply create. Discovering from a young age that you could actually be paid to design and illustrate images was the day I knew I wanted to be an illustrator.

What was the brief for this particular design?
The brief for this Cinderella poster design was to make sure I included all the main characters: Cinderella, The Two Ugly Sisters, Buttons and the Prince’s Castle with a clock at one minute to twelve, also, to capture the magical and entertaining element of the Pantomime experience.

Where did you draw inspiration for your design?
Everything starts with an idea, a pencil and a blank page in a sketch book. I believe the idea process is the most important stage of design and illustration. It’s the journey of discovering what ideas work and don’t work and coming to the most effective design. As I do with every design I do a lot of research into the Cinderella story and previous designs created (it has certainly helped that I have been going to the Belgrade Theatre pantomime every year for the past 6 years!)

What tools do you need to create artwork like this?

1. Sketching pencils and sketchbook.
2. Adobe Photoshop.
3. Adobe InDesign.

What was the process involved in designing the artwork? What are the different stages?
I started with pencil and paper developing rough thumbnail sketches in my sketchbook – keeping in mind title and text design placement. After reworking 2 or 3 of the best rough concepts I send them across to the client/art director for feedback. After discussing the feedback I would get to work on any edits or changes required to the chosen rough artwork and resend for final approval. After final approval on the rough artwork I would then begin work on the final design which will be used for all the branding and promotional platforms. To complete the project I add any final touches required before artwork goes to print.

How many drafts and different versions did you go through before you reached the final version?
When coming up with different ideas to best represent the iconic Cinderella tale I wasn’t sure whether to illustrate Cinderella within her rags or her magic ball gown. So we ended up developing both versions to be used for the final artwork! It was great to be able to showcase the magical transformation that is one of the most integral parts of the story.

What was the biggest challenge in designing the artwork for Cinderella?
The biggest challenge was making sure I included all the important elements and characters from the story. A successful poster design needs to attract the viewer and give them a small insight to the story, enticing them to want to see more.

How important is the choice of typography?
Typography is just as important as the artwork. A good typography needs to have a life of itself and link with the theme of the design. If the title of a story was completely on its own, without the design or artwork, you should still be able to identify the theme of the story.

Cinderella runs on the Main Stage at the Belgrade Theatre from Weds 22 Nov – Sat 13 Jan. Tickets are available now by calling the Belgrade Box Office team on 024 7655 3055 or book online.

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