PosterSpy PRO members are the backbone of this website, and it’s only important to celebrate them! Welcome to a new PRO Member interview series showcasing the artists and designers that keep the PosterSpy community alive and running.
Today’s spotlight is on Wolfgang LeBlanc, a freelance illustrator and visual artist who specializes in posters and cover work. We love his detailed, photorealistic style and his restrained color palettes that wouldn’t look out of place in a 1950’s movie theatre.
How did you get into the art of posters?
By accident actually. In 2018, a few months after I had quit my last formal job as an art director, I made a fan poster of the film Drive just for fun and uploaded it to my socials. Steven Moore, who runs Cult Classic Prints, noticed it and reached out to me, offering to make a limited screen print run out of it along with the opportunity of commissioning me for another film poster print run. That was basically my introduction to this niche bubble of artists and community. I owe Steven a lot in terms of the professional direction I ended up taking.
What are two (or three) of the favorite posters you’ve done?
This is tricky for me. I’m the type of artist who hates everything I do after I finish working on a piece because my mind starts seeing details that I wish I had improve further or changed all-together. But to entertain the question, I would say that two posters I’m quite proud of in terms of composition are my Obi-Wan Kenobi that I shared earlier this year and the Cowboy Bebop from last year. There’s a Lost in Translation poster I did that I’m also very proud of but it’s not public yet — I believe it’ll come out within the next week or so.
How long have you been with PosterSpy? What has your experience been like?
I really can’t say for sure. I just know that at some point Twitter started showing me tweets of artists I followed interacting with PosterSpy and that caught my eye. Eventually I realized how nice and supportive of a community there was around PosterSpy and wanted to be part of it. Nowadays I try to stay away from social media as much as I can, but it eases my mind knowing that Jack [the founder] is out there amplifying other artists’ work and just being a supportive force in the art film community.
Do you have any fun stories about making art?
This year I’ve received word that Mike Flanagan and Ewan McGregor saw and signed a copy of my Doctor Sleep poster and one of those copies is on its way to me. That’s quite exciting and fun to have, right?!
Could you walk us through your typical artistic process?
My process relies heavily on reference hunting, it’s the stage I would say I spend a crazy amount of time before I even put pen to paper. This is because I don’t like using the same stills and images most artist do for a specific title or actor for example, so I’d say that’s my way of attempting to stand out a bit more. I understand that sometimes there are legal guidelines that prevent artists from having too much creative freedom, but I usually try to push against that to make more interesting pieces.
After that, my process is fairly straightforward, but to simplify: sketching a bunch of stuff, refining the concepts that appeal to the client the most, making several colour mock-ups and finally working in the actual final piece I will deliver.
Your recent Ahsoka piece looks different to most of your other work. Could you tell us a little about your choices for the poster?
Yeah, there are two main reasons. The first one being that I’ve always been a massive fan of classic 80s and 90s anime artworks. I grew up surrounded by the medium thanks to my sister, so it’s always been a part of my artistic identity, but I very rarely get the chance and time to flex that side of me. I’m enamoured by the works of Yoshitaka Amano, Takehiko Inoue, Yoh Yoshinari and Yoshiyuki Sadamoto so I took Ahsoka, a samurai-like character, to express my anime influences through this poster.
The second reason is perhaps not as noble, but I don’t really like how they translated Ahsoka’s “Lekku” (the head tails) to live action since she was introduced in The Mandalorian. So I thought that one way to get around this without being offensive is to just give my interpretation of the character in an animated style.
What is your ideal poster gig?
Well, ideally I would just want to make a decent living by just drawing, that alone would make me feel like I won the jackpot of life. But speaking of dream-like gigs… perhaps making key art for Star Wars at some point, illustrating a full-on manga (whether it’s written by me or someone else), or having the pleasure of doing cover for Criterion-like releases. Tony Stella is a big inspiration and has the sort of career I aspire to have some day in terms of the kind of projects he’s usually involved with.