My wife and I were famous (or infamous) for our dress up parties; Come as your favourite Dead Person (my favourite), letters, Heroes, Castaways, Halloween, cyberpunk, NYC... We would spend each year coming up with the next theme; weeks sourcing thrift and discount stores for costume components and props; days making the costume and decorating the house. It was an exhausting but rewarding process.
One of the last such parties was my 30th.
The theme was The Wild West, one of my favourite subjects from
pop culture and history. It is also a great example of a theme, that is
easy, yet with enough scope to allow the more creative to
run wild (west). It was a great night with some amazing costumes...
The invitation for such an event, is the front line of a battlefront that involves coaxing your possibly less than enthusiastic friends to dress up in crazy costumes (luckily most of our friends didn't need much help!). The invitation has to show that you care, that you are putting up the same ante you expect of your guests and most importantly, it has to set the tone. Not just communicate the theme but engage the invitee with the theme and trigger ideas for both the lazy and over achiever and challenge the bold while convincing the meek to can join in the fun.
The invitation, funnily enough began with a few incidental doodles of a few western themed characters. I basically I fell in love with them and decided to do more for the invite. As described above, I wanted to create an involved and generous palette of classic western characters that would inspire and hopefully remind guests of the possibilities of the theme.
I decided to incorporate the characters into a public notice board of wanted posters, 'disguising' the invite details at a first look, distributing them throughout the poster text.
Staedtler clutch pencil and HB lead. I can still picture the nights hunched over the dining table with these, they were a lot of fun to draw; the hardest thing was to stop creating new characters and get on with the invite! I do almost all my drawing now with a Cintiq but seeing these sketches reminds me to occasionally return to old tools ...
The final product above... Okay, maybe not worthy of Pentagram but a damned fine piece (IMHO) still, almost ten years later... It's been a while since we had such a party, but with my 40th next year, friends should beware...