Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Drawing on Beer Bottles

St. Louis, my home town, is known nationally for a few things, the Arch, good baseball, and beer. Specifically, St. Louis is the home of Anheuser-Busch, makers of Budweiser, Busch and Bud Light. This company has had a long history of working with St. Louis artists and illustrators in their campaigns- and now it is my turn in the batter's box.

A friend at Cannonball Agency called me for an unusual assignment, drawing on a Bud Light bottle. Bud Light has some new bottles out for the summer months that have a small section of the bottle where you can draw on it with a key or coin. Not only did I need to do the drawing, but they were going to film me doing it live, to demonstrate how it works.

When I first heard this idea, it seemed crazy. Based on the limitations, I really did not think I'd be able to get a good drawing out of it, but I loved the challenge. The creative directors came to my studio and we played around with the bottle and some ideas of how to draw on it. But, even if I could get a good drawing on a bottle in my studio, I'd eventually have to replicate it on set with cameras rolling! The final video is posted above, and here it is on the Bud Light facebook page. They want fans to upload images of their own drawing to the site (it is harder than it looks!)

I came up with a lot of concepts for the image, which had to focus around the idea of Bud Light, making friends and enjoying the summer.

I had a few meta 'art jokes' in there, including a reference to Magritte that would have required an expensive licensing fee (not to mention that fact that no one would get it). 

The creative directors settled on two ideas, the aliens/astronaut peace treaty and the meta-BBQ image. Once we picked these, I started practicing on actual labels on a flat surface.  The challenges were easy to identify right away. I'm creating a drawing in a space about 1" x 1.5" wide, on a rounded glass surface, using only a key or metal stylus. The one thing I didn't anticipate was how hard it was to draw on an unstable surface, especially one as small as a round bottle. 

On the actual shoot, we had an afternoon to do two drawings, and it was much harder than I expected. Not only did I have to do the drawing on a rounded glass surface with an unusual stylus, I had to do it in front of 10 people. Getting the bottle to stay in place during the shoot was tough, and not only that but it was coated with water when I was drawing- making it slip out of my hands. I didn't practice that in my studio! 

One of unexpected experiences along with this project was that I was required to get a manicure before we did the video shoot. Attention me: we are missing out on this experience. I didn't have the guts to go in alone... so Andrea went with me and had a good excuse for her own manicure. 

Here are a few details of the actual bottles with the finished drawings on them. Next time you see one of these, pull out a key and see if you can knock out a quick masterpiece.


josh said...

gorgeous hands!

Gillian said...

so cool! I loved reading all the behind-the-scenes stuff with all your drawings ... I can't imagine how hard it would be to draw on a wet beer bottle! with people a-watching and time a-wasting. good work!!

BirdandKey said...

Sa-weet. Good to see the fruit of that which was a mere proposal when last I was in Saint Louie.