Illustrator Chris Thornley – aka Raid71 – has created a poster for a gig in Rio de Janeiro tomorrow featuring The Horrors and We Have Band. It's beautifully composed, visually striking and would look great on the walls of many design studios, so we caught up with Chris to find out more about the project.

DA: What's your background?

CT: "I studied Typography at university. After that I worked as a designer/programmer/animator at various studios. In the last two years I've concentrated more on Illustration work and art direction."

DA: So how'd you get the gig, if you'll excuse the bad pun?

CT: "The client had seen my website, liked my work and contacted me via email. With the client being based in Brazil, email has been the best way for us to communicate especially with us both speaking different languages.

DA: How did you approach the artwork?

CT: "This poster had more problems than the usual band poster. The artwork had to reflect two very different bands playing on the same night.

The clients brief was very open.... "it just has to be colourful". They also picked out a few images of my work and asked for an image along those lines.

DA: What is it about the bands that makes you think of a girl falling surrounded by butterflies?

CT: "The best bit about any design or illustration work is the research. After listening to both bands, the two words [that came to mind were] 'beautiful' & 'dark'.

"I start with some very random doodles and tried to get a few ideas out of my head and onto the paper; because we are dealing with two bands I couldn't really have any band members in the image so I had had to have something more abstract. After rejecting a number of ideas I was left with three concepts (below).

"I worked these up in illustrator to a presentable stage for the client to see. Initially I had the girl falling through pigeons, then I changed it to parrots  – which was colourful and just what the client asked for. At the last minute – even though I'd spent sometime drawing birds – I thought butterflies would be a better fit. On a sliding scale of beauty, I think butterflies are much higher than parrots.

"I was happiest with the butterflies image as I thought this captured the right mood for the bands, especially the ambiguity of the fall (are the butterflies catching/carrying her or is she falling through?). I still had to give the client a choice so I sent all three images to the client for approval. Luckily the client agreed and went with the butterflies."

Here are the two artworks that didn't make the cut:

DA: What's next?

CT: "I'm currently just finishing off some Spiderman images for the launch of the new film. I'm also working on a few covers for a new comic that will be out later this year."