Olly Gibbs' design for Our Londinium 2012

By other museum staff on 11 Jun 2012

In the run up to the opening of our new exhibition, Our Londinium 2012 at the Museum of London, illustrator Olly Gibbs talks us through how he created his illustrations for the exhibition’s marketing campaign. We challenged Olly to create four different designs – two modern objects made up of Roman object doodles, and two Roman objects made up of modern object doodles, find out how he did it below…

Hello all, Olly Gibbs here! I have been kindly asked to give you lucky people a glimpse into the creation of the latest illustrations for the upcoming Our Londinium 2012 exhibition at the Museum of London. A quick bit of background info about my work is that it normally revolves around machinery and motifs of machines but in a doodle and detailed style. The challenge here was developing the style to incorporate the Roman and modern objects that were to be included in the exhibition into the work. This was very much a new direction for me and I was pretty surprised by the final result in that the pieces still looked very much like my original style!

Example of Olly Gibbs' usual style
To begin with I was treated to a tour of the Museum itself to get my head around the scale of the project as well as finding out more about what kind of objects I would be dealing with, this included the likes of a sarcophagus and a bust of Hadrian. The key part of my illustrations is the level of detail I try to put into them. A new challenge again for this project was doing enough detail that would work on an enlarged format as well as printed small – this required a lot of trial and error and printing! Not only that but I needed to get the perspective spot on, as well as adding depth to the objects. For me, the final posters where it works best are the amphora and helmet which required attention to detail to add a 3D feel to them.
Individual object illustrations
Details of the amphora design
My first attempts for the illustrations weren’t as detailed as the finals, using larger objects and less of them. The number of layers on each of the illustrations soon grew especially when I needed to create the illusion of a corner or round surface. Many hours were spent looking at pixels and there’s a lot of hand drawn dots and small objects put in there for this effect! A lot of work was involved but the outcome is very worthwhile! In addition, each object needed to be historically accurate so there was a lot of time spent getting all the features correct – this was key for the centurion helmet plume which took on a few different shapes of helmets in the Roman era.

Skeleton of the centurion helmet

I was very pleased with the final outcome of the illustrations and it was fun working with the Museum on the project as well as meeting the Junction youth panel who chose me for the project! Cheers guys, I’m looking forward to seeing it all come together, the rest of you are in for a treat!

Olly Gibbs' final four designs

Our Londinium 2012 final poster
Our Londinium 2012 opens at the Museum of London on Friday 22 June 2012, entry is free.

> Find out more about the exhibition
> Find out more about Olly Gibbs

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