Olly Moss on being one of the most sought-after designers in the movie poster world
(CBR) Olly Moss might only be in his mid-20s, but he’s already become one of the most sought-after graphic designers in the world, thanks to his work with elite poster company Mondo. His limited-edition movie posters, which include popular "Lord of the Rings" and "Star Wars" sets, regularly fetch hundreds of dollars online.
Moss’ work isn’t limited to movie posters, however; he’s also created covers for the comic "Before Watchmen" and the video game "Resistance 3", earning him even more acclaim.
The artist spoke with Spinoff Online on the final day of Comic-Con International about his latest Mondo work for the event, how he became friends with "The Losers" artist Jock, his creative process, and much more.
Spinoff Online: I heard from Jock you just went to walk around the con floor for the first time this year. What cool stuff did you see?
Olly Moss: I literally just went to check it out. There were a few things that I saw, but mostly I was just stuck behind people. [laughs]
I was here last year and I don’t remember Sundays being this busy. I feel like the hall is busier today than it was yesterday.
Kevin Dart runs a booth, and he always brings amazing prints and stuff. He actually had a cool new vinyl toy. He does this thing called "Yuki 7". It’s a kid’s book and might become a cartoon at some point, but he had a vinyl toy of it that was just amazing. He’s one of those guys that are so far on another level that it just blows your mind.
Are you representing Mondo at the con this year?
Well, I’m here representing myself, but I did some stuff for Mondo. I did "Spirited Away" and "Howl’s Moving Castles" posters for them.
How have sales been?
Much calmer than last year, because we did the online pre-sales. It was really leisurely, no pushing or shoving or craziness like that. I was happy with how they came out, very nice prints.
What does it feel like to go from being a student to the top of the design game in just a few short years?
I don’t know if I’m the top of the design game. [laughs]
But it’s great. The only real difference from when I was starting out is now I get to pick the work I want to do, which is really nice. It keeps me from getting too bored. That’s the best thing, getting to work on the stuff you really want to, it just makes the work better.
What’s an example of a project you were able to choose for yourself now that you have some clout?
The Oscars poster was one. I mean, obviously it was a great opportunity either way, but I really, really wanted to work on it. To be able to spend as much time as it required making that thing good was nice. I had an idea I liked and they liked, but it was really, really work intensive. It was nice to not have to take on other work at the time, which would have pushed it back. I got to focus on one thing for a long amount of time and make it a really good piece.
You’re good friends with fellow Mondo poster artist Jock, and he told me you guys first met when you worked on the end credits for the 2010 film adaptation of "The Losers". How did that come about?
I was working at a company called Prologue, and I was the designer on "The Losers" end credits, although it was art directed and animated by other people. They said they wanted the credits to look like Jock’s drawings because, of course, if you had Jock’s drawings why wouldn’t you want the credits to look like that? They’re amazing! So it was a case of chopping up his work, recoloring it and arranging it in a way that made sense for the titles. Through that I discovered Jock’s work; I didn’t know about him before that. I loved it, I thought it was brilliant, so I started following him on Twitter. Then I did those "Star Wars" posters and saw Jock tweeting about how much he liked them, so I emailed him and told him I also did some work on his movie "The Losers". It happened to be Andy Diggle’s 40th birthday when I contacted him, so Jock just invited me to go along to his apartment. I did, and we’ve been really good friends ever since.
I remember those "Star Wars" posters! Were those commissioned, or something you did for fun?
Those were commissioned through Mondo. They said, ‘Hey, we got a new "Star Wars" license, do you wanna do a piece?’ I said of course I do, it was crazy! I was super-excited to do it, obviously. It was tough, though, to do something for a property that I love so much and has had so much brilliant work done for it. To come up with something that was a little bit different was hard.
I can only imagine how hard it is to come up with something unique each time. What’s your artistic process like for designing a new poster?
It really depends on the project. Sometime it’ll just pop into my head almost fully formed and I’ll just do it. Mostly it’s thumbnails, though. I work mostly digitally so it’s really easy to move things around and shade stuff and change shapes. That really helps, especially with the optical illusion stuff. You don’t have to keep redrawing the same thing over and over again.
Going from sketch to final varies, too. Sometimes I can finish a drawing in an afternoon and sometimes it’s quite longer. I can usually finish it quite quickly but then I tool around with it for like two weeks, moving stuff around the page. I go crazy with the detailed bits!
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