What started off as a whimsical idea at the gym (upon hearing a Blue song for the first time in years) turned quickly into a moderate-sized mission. Deciding to design some 90s / 00s boyband cards ready for Valentine's Day seemed like a laugh, and I spent lots of time researching cheesy lyrics and discussing the final selection with friends, but I had not anticipated the hours spent perfecting facial hair and pouts that this series would involve. Finding the band members incredibly difficult to draw on first attempts, I identified that this was not only because I was rushing them, but also due to the fact that I was trying to achieve the portraits as part of group shots at a smaller scale, with the designs only really coming together once I super-sized each character's face separately before reassembling them (with some poor buggers like Duncan, Spike and Nick Carter still looking pretty fruity).
Managing to realise a capsule collection of 4 designs in time for V-Day, I selected hit songs Rule The World, As Long As You Love Me, Private Number and Guilty as the inspiration, sadly having to abandon my other chart toppers for time's sake (never has the number of members in Blazing Squad looked so daunting).
My original remit for the cards was that they should be appealing to both lovers and friends, encouraging people to express different forms of love on 14th February beyond the traditional romantic kind. Bromances, palentines, you name it; the nineties taught me everything I know about love, i.e. that friendship is absolutely as important as being part of a couple. Created with my besties in mind, it felt nice to send them a little something as a reminder of how much I love them, as well as pleasing my Take That-loving colleagues at work no end.
Far from my best drawings, this series has been quite a turning point for me because it has been a great exercise in creating products, working desperately to make turnaround times and finding the strength to see ideas through, pushing past when I really started to doubt whether it was worth it. It's also been handy to try out the small run on a new supplier, falling hook line and sinker for their gesso stock cards and kraft envelopes, so I will have an added confidence through this finish if producing more designs in future.
In fact, if this bunch is anything to go by, I should probably get started on Christmas.