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Steven Noble Illustrations » Uncategorized

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Steven Noble’s Scratchboard Illustrations Collection

Thursday, April 4th, 2019

Celebrating 28 years (1991-2019) of Steven Noble’s vast collection of scratchboard illustrations sporting a vast array of subjects and variety of mediums that include woodcuts, linocuts, engravings, line art, and etchings. This collection represents just a small sampling based on original promotional materials over the years. The illustrations seen here are all rendered by hand on a scratchboard surface and supplied digitally.

Additional Steven Noble illustration links:







Prospect Wine Labels Illustrated by Steven Noble

Thursday, April 4th, 2019

Prospect Wines of the Okanagan commissioned Steven Noble to create a series of illustrations for their new line of wine label varietals. Okanagan Valley is the next hot wine region and crafts wines using age-old winemaking and viticulture techniques. The wines include Ogopog’s Lair, Mount parker, Cannon, Under Cover and Top Bench. The illustrations were created in a scratchboard engraving technique and tell the story behind each wine in a storybook style.


Fog Breaker IPA Label Illustrated by Steven Noble

Wednesday, April 3rd, 2019

Bulldog Drummond commissioned Steven Noble to render the new label illustration for Anchor Brewing’s “Fog Breaker IPA.” The illustration includes their symbolic anchor rising out of the fog illustrated in a woodcut style. Inspired by the brewery’s location in San Francisco’s Potrero Hill neighborhood and the sunshine that breaks through the daily fog. Fog Breaker is a new IPA with a Bay Area spin. which is also the first beer exclusively developed at Anchor Public Taps’ pilot brewery and features packaging that uses the same iconic International Orange color as the Golden Gate Bridge.


Sterling Vineyards Label Illustrated by Steven Noble

Friday, December 13th, 2013

In 2012, Diageo presented Steven Noble and Hatch Design with the opportunity to rebrand their incredibly successful winery, Sterling Vineyards. We both took a look back and discovered a beautiful SV monogram that, while an integral part of their past, had never been used externally or on any packaging. Steven Noble redrew the SV monogram to update the mark, and when combined with a clean modern design and their signature silver color, it was like breathing new life into the packaging for a time-honored brand. The illustration was created in a scratchboard woodcut style with particular attention being made to the building and vineyards.

BIO – Steven Noble Interview :: Ascender, July 2012

Saturday, November 10th, 2012

Interview with Steven Noble
“A good logo will transcend time.
When it’s done right, people will experience it and identity with it over and over again…”

Steven Noble has been called the hardest working man in illustration. And given his massive portfolio—which includes thousands of projects completed over nearly two decades—we’d have to agree. In this issue of Ascender, we find out what makes this prolific commercial artist a cut above the rest.

Your portfolio is bursting at the seams with big-name clients—Sam Adams, Altoids, Kraken rum, to name just a few. How did you discover your tremendous talent?

Illustration has always been an interest of mine. Commercial art obviously wasn’t a concept I was aware of as a child, but I drew as a kid—just doodling on whatever surface I had in front of me. My father was a portrait painter, and he had a great influence on me. I’m lucky to have inherited many of his qualities and his love for art.

Believe it or not, I went to college at the University of California Davis and actually majored in economics. It wasn’t until after I graduated that I met a commercial artist through my mother and learned about the field. He saw my work and recognized that I had this talent; I saw his studio and recognized that this type of career is a viable one.

It seems you’ve built much of your career on the technique known as scratchboard. Can you tell us how it works and how you discovered the form?

Unlike traditional illustration, where you’re adding dark strokes to a light-colored medium like paper, scratchboard works in the opposite direction. You start with a block and you carve away the dark portions to reveal the light. You sort of peel back the surface and the artwork reveals itself in reverse.

I’ve always loved line art and I’ve sketched in black and white my whole life. I needed to find a specialty—as an artist it’s really important to find your niche, so that you can refine a skill set and establish a unique style. I’m a great fan of work by artists like engraver Albrecht Dürer, so I started toying with scratchboard. The more I worked with it, the more engrossed I became.

Your work runs the gamut from editorial illustration to logo design. What’s your favorite type of project?

That’s a tough one … I think choosing a favorite type of project is a little like picking a favorite child. I love them all in different ways. Editorial, for example, can really let me stretch my creative legs and run with a concept. On the flipside, editorial artwork is fleeting—it’s the kind of thing people see once and may never go back to. Logo design, on the other hand, can sometimes be a little more restrictive creatively—say, if I’m working within an existing brand. But a good logo will transcend time, and people will experience it and identify with it over and over again. Some of my clients are still using my logo designs 15 years later.

Fair enough—we won’t make you play favorites. But is there a single project that stands out in your mind?

The identity for SLS Hotels in Beverly Hills probably tops my list. The logo was a significant challenge because it needed to include a number of individual components—my solution was this group of mischievous monkeys hanging from a chandelier in a Baroque style, each with its own personality and holding an object that represents the luxury of the brand, such as a fork or mirror. I started with pencil sketches and continued to refine the design through a few revisions, each time adding new elements. I used an X-acto knife to create the engraved lines on a clayboard background, and ultimately scanned the separate elements into a layered Photoshop file, so that the design could be used digitally in multiple ways.

An animated version of the logo was used on the SLS website, where the monkeys actually jumped onto the chandelier. The design was also used to create a three-dimensional bronze logo and headboard ornament for the hotel’s rooms.

Earlier this year you completed a series of stunning motion graphics for Kraken rum. Can you tell us a bit about that process?

This was a monster project—no pun intended. We worked for about three and a half months to pull it all together. I collaborated with a design firm and a team of animators to bring everything to life.

The animators built a wireframe of the scene, and I provided all the illustrations. The whole scene was built in four of five layers, so I’d provide the tentacles, for example, and then go back and draw the shadows on another layer and the lighting on another. Then they’d drop my illustrations into their software and work their magic. I always enjoy collaborating with other designers, so this was great fun for me.

>> See Steven’s Kraken animations

Another interesting project we’ve seen from you recently is a rebranding campaign for Got Milk? How does rebranding differ from other work?

For this particular project, I was commissioned to illustrate old-fashioned woodcuts that harkened to the ’30s and ’40s. Digital production firm Silk Tricky turned the illustrations into awesome motion graphics for a fun new website and TV spots.

Rebranding projects can bring their own set of challenges, but it varies by client. Sometimes the client wants a clean break with tradition to develop something totally new, which is in line with what I did for the Got Milk? campaign.

Other times, you have to consider a more gentle shift within the existing brand. I remember working on the Coors logo about 15 years ago. Coors wanted to update their traditional waterfall while maintaining that “high in the Rockies” feel. The original logo had a wide, rushing waterfall and Coors ultimately decided to go with a narrow, Yosemite-style waterfall for the new design. So we did some preliminary sketches with a new waterfall and followed that with test marketing that went really well. Then, at the last moment, the CEO stepped in and had us switch back to a wide-style waterfall. So we kind of came full circle, still updating the logo but keeping the same feel as the previous version.

After 20 years of client relations, what advice do you have for working well on such large-scale projects? How do you ensure that art is completed on time and within the agreed scope?

I can’t stress enough the importance of communication when working with clients. The more you ask, the more you discuss, the less will be left to chance.

Near the start of every project, I ask my clients to enter what I call the homework phase. This is where the client brainstorms internally and pulls together all the relevant material—research, thumbnails, samples, etc.— that will help give me something to work from.

For example, say a client wants an illustration of a dog. Seems simple enough, right? But what kind of dog? Do they want a portrait or a profile? Are there other elements to include? These details can create a drastic difference between a client’s vision and mine, so it’s important to work them out before I begin. It also helps guard against changes in scope later. Projects can shift like the sands, so forethought and proactive planning are a must.

University Of Colorado Hospital Map Illustrations: Old World Map Illustrations of the Human Body…

Friday, October 12th, 2012

Cactus Marketing Communications and Steven Noble worked over the course of a month to create these illustrations to represent 4 different parts of the human anatomy that includes Cardiology, Endocrinology, Neurology, and Oncology for the University of Colorado Hospital. The maps simulate the different shapes of the human organs such as the lungs, heart, brain, and thyroid but integrated into the landmasses on each of the individual maps. These map illustrations were created in a line etching style to give that aged “old world” map feel with parchment background along with a muted watercolor wash.

Got Milk Redesign…

Wednesday, January 18th, 2012

Silk Tricky commissioned Steven Noble to illustrate five new logos for the new redesigned “Got Milk” website and commercial national TV spots. The old fashioned style woodcuts were used on the original glass milk bottles from the 30’s and 40’s. Leveraging the awesome 3D and Motion work Silk is known for, combined with their smooth and fluid Flash animations, the new website is a fun and whimsical look at this beloved beverage. View the site at http://www.gotmilk.com

“Playing Gin” St. George Spirits is at it again…

Thursday, September 8th, 2011

Lance Winters along with the team at St. George Spirits collaborated with Steven Noble and Juli Shore Design to create three new original Gin labels: Terroir, Botanivore, and Dry Rye.


To showcase how distinctive and expressive gin can be, St. George Spirits distiller Lance Winters has created a brand-new liquid triptych with three distinctive variations:

St. George Botanivore Gin
Because of its broad botanical recipe, this gin is the most versatile of the three, with floral coriander seeds balanced by juniper and earthy California bay laurel. Botanivore also features fresh ginger, dill and celery seed, and cilantro, giving it an herbaceous brightness. Therefore, the illustration incorporates those ingredients to capture the essence of that distinctive flavor.

St. George Dry Rye Gin
Made with pot-distilled rye and a minimal recipe of cracked juniper berries, caraway, black peppercorn, grapefruit and lime peel, this gin has a pear aroma with deep malty, woody flavors. All the ingredients are
once again positioned within the illustration to help pronounce those flavors as if luring you into an unforeseeable bear trap.

St. George Terroir Gin (Mt. Tam Edition)
This drinks like a walk in the woods. It’s made with hand-harvested juniper berries, wild Douglas fir from Mt. Tam, California bay laurel and coastal sage. It’s what John Muir would have carried in his flask. The label
tries to convey the outdoors with the symbolic California bear with Mt. Tam as a backdrop.

All the illustrations were created in a handcrafted scratchboard engraving style and tinted in a sepia tone for that “aged” distinctive look.


KAC Ads…

Saturday, July 16th, 2011

The creative directors from Rowley Snyder & Ablah Inc. collaborated with Steven Noble to create a series of 3 portrait illustrations for an ad campaign for the Kennedy & Coe accounting firm that include historical figures: Abraham Lincoln, Ben Franklin, and  George Washington.

The portraits were dressed in the “steampunk” fashion to fulfill the campaign’s message that Kennedy & Coe are not your “ordinary” accountants.

This campaign highlights how one of the nations’ leading accounting firms will empower and protect every client dollar. You can see more of the campaign on flickr.

Steam Punk Washington

Steam Punk Washington

Steam Punk Lincoln

Steam Punk Lincoln

Steam Punk Franklin

Steam Punk Franklin

Seafood seal ensures responsible fishing

Friday, May 13th, 2011

PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) — A new symbol is taking the guesswork out of seafood shopping.

Illustrated by Steven Noble in collaboration with GMRI, the new seal will identify products caught in the Gulf of Maine, which stretches from Cape Cod to the southern tip of Nova Scotia.

Only seafood that has been harvested responsibly from theGulf of Maine region can earn the new quality seal from theGulf of Maine Research Institute.

Jen Levin is the Institute’s sustainable seafood manager.  She recently spoke with NEWS CENTER’s Lee Nelson about the criteria for the seal.

Levin said seafood producers must prove their fisheries are well-managed.  They must demonstrate the steps they take to prevent over-harvesting and explain the science used to reach their conclusions.  An effort must also be made to ensure that those fishing standards are monitored and enforced.

Levin said the Institute will work with fishermen to meet the annual goals required to qualify for the seal.  They will develop strategies to reduce bycatch, minimize habitat impact, protect spawning waters and lessen energy consumption.

In addition to the environmental benefits, Levin said the seal also helps the state economy.  It guarantees to shoppers that the money they spend on seafood supports a locally-produced product.

Some of the species that already meet the conditions for the seal include cod, haddock, northern shrimp and American lobster.  Levin said pollack and scallops are close to being added to the list.

Hanaford is the first supermarket to reach a deal with the Institute to prominently feature the seal at its stores.  Levin said it should begin appearing soon in the company’s seafood cases.

For more information about the seal, click here for a link to the Gulf of Maine Research Institute’s website.