If you are in the air-cooled hobby at all, the Buses by the Bridge event in Havasu City, AZ is an event that has taken on almost mythological proportions. It is by far one of the largest and and most revered VW Bus based events in the U.S. I’m fortunate to have been given a shot at doing the art for the 20th annual show. It meant the world to me to be asked not only because of the magnitude of the event, but because the show organizers are dear friends of mine. I don’t have a lot of people that I get to be “without my armor” around, so this is one of the gigs that kinda sits “on Olympus” for me. Here’s a quick look at what went down.
As always I break out my trusty zebra tech pencil and attempted to sketch the idea that was presented to me by the notoriously infamous Ronnie F of Bustoration fame. I’m pretty good at extracting the vision from a clients head and turning it into a vision on paper. Ronnie understood what he wanted and through a little back and forth we got there. I appreciate his candor. Sloppy sketch aside, it was fun.
I’ll skip all the little steps and get to the first comp. Historically this event has used a very similar design every year. A few years back I got to do the art and it was cool but it was more of a “me” take. It went over well, but it didn’t hold the tradition like it should have. This time I went back to the roots, I mean damn….20 year old roots!! Gotta stay true I figured. It ended up being a decent call. The uncomplicated loose toon look of buses rolling over The London Bridge fit the bill. The buses didn’t belong to anybody in particular, I just thought they were cool.
In the second comp I locked it all down and cleaned up some elements. A few years ago a big balloon launch became part of the BBB weekend so it was important to get that element in. There’s a lighthouse that is a spot of importance at the event and I added a duck, like I did last time I did the design. I know there is some significance, but I forgot the back-story. If you go, ask VW Howard or Corey…they know everything…EVERYTHING!!
The next part was relatively easy. I opened Photoshop and broke out my crayons….(note: I pronounce it “KRANZ”….Merica!!) I know the color for 20th year stuff is platinum or emerald but it just didn’t fit and it’s so hard to get greens in title text to work on multiple colored garments. The color scheme just kinda built itself. I mean I was painting it, but the cosmos made the decisions, I was just there. These low res jpgs don’t really show the crispness, however if you go, get a shirt and a poster and you’ll see. It landed OK so in the end I was good with it.
I don’t know how many color options there will be, and I don’t know how much extra goodies will be produced. I do know that I saved and signed every original element of the design in it’s pencil on paper form and I will be sending the originals to the show organizers to use however they see fit. It was an extremely cool gig for me and I want to thank the London Bridge Bullis and all my Havasu City friends for giving me a re-shot. This one mattered. Thank you guys.