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Plum & Blackthorn Gin Bottle

Collective Arts Brewing


The Brief

I was contacted by Bob Russell, one of the co-founders of Collective Arts Brewing with an exciting opportunity to design a bottle for their Plum & Blackthorn gin. The design would be part of the very first rollout of gins that the company would issue, entering the spirits and cocktails space for the first time, and I was proud  of being chosen to be involved.

Collective Arts took the same philosophy of promoting the work of artists from around the globe by showcasing their work on the various products the create.

The artwork would be screen printed on the bottles and would have to be designed in a way that would appear seamless in nature. Also, it was expressed that the colours chosen would have to work well with the colour of the gin.

Development Process

Collective Arts once again gave me a blank canvas to work with in creating a concept, so I took the route of going with my subconscious to come up with an idea. I was given an approximation of what the colour of the gin would be, and the purple that was chosen was a DEFINITE inspiration.

I love the colour purple. I even had a purple suit at one time long ago. In ancient times, the labour intensive process of making the dye made it so scarce that wearing it was a symbol of status and wealth.

My process in developing my current style originated by doing hundreds upon hundreds of drawings using just a black Papermate Flair marker and my subconscious. And the confidence I built in working that way helped me create a visual language that I draw on to this day. But for client work I like to lean on pencil and paper for sketches or drawing on the iPad, which is the way I prefer to work currently.

I presented a number of pencil sketches using a symmetrical design that would wrap around the bottle for a seamless design. The one that was chosen has the central character who appears to be in a meditative state surrounded by other creatures that are in a similar state.


After approval of the sketch, I would proceed to work on colour variations based on a rough black line drawing in Adobe Illustrator. Colouring in Illustrator gives me the flexibility to come up with a numerous colour versions very quickly, and the software has become an integral part of the way I work over the years.


Only after the approval of the colour stage did I continue to the final black outline stage with all the detailed line-work created on my iPad using the app Autodesk Sketchbook. Adobe Illustrator's Live Trace feature is used to convert the black line art into a vector format. Having the artwork in this format provides a lot of flexibility for any future use that may arise for the artwork, allowing the client to enlarge the image for a large poster or even a billboard without any loss of quality.

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