Bringing the GAOTG campaign to life

Picasso artist

Since the launch of the Get Ahead of the Games advertising campaign last month, there has been quite a bit of interest in the artwork used for the posters and website.

Last week, we had a chance to catch up with tokyoplastic (produced by Picasso Pictures), the artists and designers responsible for bringing the campaign to life.

What is the process that takes a basic line-drawing concept to a completed piece of artwork?

The concepts are sent through to us from the advertising agency as very basic line drawings. We start by creating a base sketch by hand, then we add detail and final polish using digital paint programmes. Because the drawings are all so detailed, the initial sketches have to be quite large. Then they are scanned so that they can be worked on digitally. The backgrounds are developed as three-dimensional computer-generated layouts, then small sections are filled in with two-dimensional illustrated characters.  The image is then scaled to the correct size for printing.

How many artists are working on the Get Ahead of the Games campaign?

There are probably around 25 artists all working on these posters at the moment. We aren't all based in the London office. Many of our artists are freelance and work remotely from all over Europe.  Each artist has a different role to play in the production pipeline and it is exciting to watch the process develop from first layout to a finished painting.


What is the hardest part of creating the ads?

This is quite a large campaign with lots of different illustrations. It's a lot of work to complete in a short space of time. The most time-consuming of all the posters was the wheelchair basketball picture, which took about six months to complete. It is so detailed and has so many individual characters, it's almost like a Where's Wally? picture.

How did you decide on a style for the characters?

We have tried to avoid caricatures and have made our characters more contemporary. As in life, everyone is different, so our characters are too. The initial sketches were created by our lead designer, Damian Johnston, so he set the style. As artists all have individual styles, it can be quite difficult to match someone else's style, and also to find artists who are willing to recreate someone else's work, rather than use their own individual style.

Do you have a favourite character?

We all have some favourite characters, it's usually the ones where we think the characters have the most personality.

Illustration Directors: tokyoplastic

Executive Producer: Jane Bolton

Producer: Inga Johnson

Lead Designer:  Damian Johnston

Senior Designer: Daniel Lambert  

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