The main key art image for this years Raindance Film Festival is a piece of digital art that the Bobo studio had been working on in secret development for over 2 years.

After working on the design and marketing for the 2018 Raindance Film Festival campaign, we started to develop ideas that could be used for future festivals. We had been wanting to explore our more artistic side for festival art for a long time, however short deadlines, and the reality of being a small but busy studio meant that we knew if we wanted to properly explore different routes we would need to take the initiative and make an early start on development – long before  being asked by the client. So unbeknowst to the Raindance team, we started looking at the sort of posters we wanted to create given the freedom of no brief and plenty of time – something which can be both a designers blessing and a curse!
Looking back through Raindance festival history we drew our initial inspiration from their early days where the artwork was always a more abstract piece of illustration art. For several years this was created by the amazing Dave McKean, who was famous for his work on the Sandman graphics Novels with Neil Gaimon. His weirdly wonderful and dark illustrations would always drew us in and made us look closer at what was happening within the image, and we wanted to create something that was just as interesting and multi layered.
Independent film making, so strongly championed by Raindance, can be a whirlwind of a creative madhouse at times, and we wanted to capture that spirit in a single image, whilst also giving a nod to various films and past festivals. Our central charactor was intended to be someone who could oversee a world of wonderful lunacy going on around them, and yet still be mad enough to keep control of the chaos by pulling its strings. We drew inspiration for this from the dancing ringmaster in The Greatest Showman, and mixed it with the artistic style of a Tim Burton character – from Johnny Depps portrayal of the Mad Hatter, to Michael Keaton’s crazed ghoul in Beetlejuice – we were after just the right mix of controlled absurdity!
In early 2019 Bobo creative director & photographer, Robyn, worked with alternative model Janet Mayer on a photoshoot to capture a variety of dance poses incorporating puppeteers strings with contorted body shapes. Using a rough marionette string mock up as a prop, the idea was to always swap the items out later – but as placeholders we used whatever we had to hand…
Once we had the general design locked we started looking at ways that we could develop the image and add an odd edge to it. Using a technique of taking random colour selections of a photographs to distress it.  we slowly built up the character to a level we were happy with. At the same timewe also had our illustrator draw the image in multiple different styles. once we had the drawings and the distressed image we overlaid them with each other. it Wasnt quite as distressed as we wanted – so we then took some of the ripped paper from the 2020 Raindance festival branding and added that over the top.
We knew at this point that Canva were on board as the sponsor, so tried a background in their colour which thankfully worked really well with the colour of the tights, and gave the reds and black strong stand out.
Our final issue in composition was that we wanted to have something in our characters other hand, and nothing we had originally shot worked well. We ended up shooting another model holding an old cine camera (thanks Cali!) at the right angle and added it in using the same technique as before. Our original intention was to have the dancer stood on a camera with film spilling out of it, however this second camera meant that too many old cinema cameras were now being used – but losing the lower camera meant they were floating, and we needed it to be balancing on something.

It was at this point in the design when we finally told and showed Raindance what we had been working on – and thankfully they instantly loved it – but also gave the suggestion of using the raindance laurel to stand on to give it more prominence.

The final poster took a few more tweaks in development; a steam punk goggled face ( thank you Talia for the modelling) ; the dancing man from the 2017 festival poster on top of the camera; a projector from the 2018 festival trailer; a cinema ticket, the rain soaked background; and a tongue in check reference to festival founder Elliot Groves Glasses!

26 months, 17 GB of drive space, 3 models, 2 designers, 1 photographer, an illustrator, and multiple hidden film / festival references hidden in the artwork – and we were done.