Ben O'Brien Bleep of the Wild


For his art print Bleep of the Wild, Ben O’Brien (Ben The Illustrator) started out with the concept of fun in nature and the outdoors.

“We hit on mixing nature and videogames – something you don’t often see – and considered a Donkey Kong-style game, full of the joys of nature,” he says. “I sketched various elements, knowing they’d be repeated throughout, like in an arcade game. We never planned on them being too game-like – they weren’t pixellated – but they were simple, drawn elements. At this point, we thought other aspects – type, colour – could lean more towards arcade-game styles.”

They redrew the sketches as brightly coloured vectors to play on the 1980s arcade-game inspiration, and developed a simple platform-game layout.

“But once we added the animals, it didn’t gel, so we tried more natural colours,” says O’Brien.

They then refined the scene to make it busy enough to evoke a game and keep the eye interested, but not to be so hectic as to look unnatural.

Feeling that the black was too heavy and masculine, and wanting the print to appeal to couples, O’Brien softened the background, before adding pixellated retro-game type. “This jarred too much with the softness of the characters and trees, and so we tried a number of different font options, settling on Candy Script, which couldn’t be further from our initial thoughts. But it held everything together and took the arcade game idea into a new creative dimension.”