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2012 Olympic Games Tribute, Or Who’s That Swimming In My Beer?

August 6, 2012

Have you ever thought to yourself: Must be nice to be an artist, and have cool ideas pop into your head all the time…

Well, I’m an artist, and that almost never happens to me. I have to sit and think. But once in a very great while an idea does just pop into my head. This was one of those rare times.

I was thinking to myself: I should do a piece about the Olympics before the Games are
all over. Then I thought of the five interlocking rings. And the image of a beer glass magically making colored rings on a bar flashed into my mind. A second later I saw the miniature swimmer in the glass.

Here’s the final:

humorous illustration for 2012 Olympic Games, showing the 5 interlocking colored Olympic rings as moisture stain rings made by glass of dark Guinness style beer which has a little Olympic swimmer swimming in the beer foam and a Union Jack flag coaster

Funny how it only takes a few lines to define a swimmer. I made the rings using a set of free “cup stain” Photoshop brushes that I had previously downloaded for some forgotten purpose. Here’s a close-up:detail image from humorous illustration for 2012 Olympic Games, showing the 5 interlocking colored Olympic rings as moisture stain rings made by glass of dark Guinness style beer which has a little Olympic swimmer swimming in the beer foam and a Union Jack flag coaster

The text effect was achieved by rasterizing the Text layer in Photoshop, accessing the Layer Styles window, and simply experimenting with the Inner Glow settings.

The 2012 Games are in London, and I thought a Union Jack coaster would be a nice touch. I downloaded a free flag image, cropped it using the Elliptical Selection tool, and added a bit of wear and tear using a scratchy brush and some partial masking. detail image from humorous illustration for 2012 Olympic Games, showing the 5 interlocking colored Olympic rings as moisture stain rings made by glass of dark Guinness style beer which has a little Olympic swimmer swimming in the beer foam and a Union Jack flag coaster

Where does one start on a project like this? I always start with a ratty little thumbnail sketch scratched out on scrap paper using an ordinary ball-point pen. Then I do a full-size pencil drawing, ink it using various markers, and scan it into Photoshop for coloring.

Here’s my scanned line drawing. Looks like I had a tough time spelling Olympics… : (

original black and white sketch for humorous illustration for 2012 Olympic Games, showing the 5 interlocking colored Olympic rings as moisture stain rings made by glass of dark Guinness style beer which has a little Olympic swimmer swimming in the beer foam and a Union Jack flag coaster

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What do you think? Were you familiar with the meaning behind the Olympic rings? Ever seen anybody swimming in your beer? Hope you’ll leave a comment.blank vertical space, 16 pixels high

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Other Posts You Might Enjoy:

The Wonderful Paperback Book Cover Art Of Illustrator Shannon Stirnweis

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Sherlock Holmes: The Case Of The Scandalous Soap

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29 Comments leave one →
  1. August 6, 2012 12:30 PM

    Mark! The Olympic rings as cup stains is pure genius! Truly orignial! I love that the stains are from a swimmer in a beer glass! So perfect. And you actually had a cup stains brush! Which tells me this was meant to be. Markie MacGiggles doesn’t miss a thing! If only your illustration could have been included in the real Olympics! You really should submit it to the powers that be for the 2016 Olympics. What a great T-shirt this would make! 😀


    • August 7, 2012 8:58 AM

      Aw, shucks, ’tweren’t nuthin fer a bony-fide genius, ah reckon… : P

      Thanks so much, Linda! Yes, I’ve always been good at creating stains. Take my shirts, for example– my bathtub– my teeth!! The list goes on and on… : (

      You’re right, I should have submitted it to the Games. The Queen could have landed on it as she parachuted in, then taken it home to the palace and used it as a placemat for her Corgis’ doggie dishes! What great publicity it would have been!! Oh, well. I’m putting it on my to-do list for 2016… : P

      Thanks again for your exquisite support!!


  2. August 6, 2012 2:42 PM

    I’m loving the games in London at the moment!! great illustration! especially the flag!


    • August 7, 2012 9:03 AM

      Thank you! And yes, I put the flag in there especially for you… : )

      Hail, Britannia! Glad you’re enjoying the games, and thanks for attending my “blog event”! : )


  3. August 6, 2012 3:39 PM

    A very creative idea – I like the effects, the watermarks are fabulous. I think these games are inspiring people in so many different ways!


    • August 7, 2012 9:09 AM

      Many thanks! I know from your lovely photos and beautifully formatted blog posts that you’ve got a designer’s eye, so your compliment means a lot. : )

      I looked for you in that mad bicycle race through London, but no luck. You must have stopped to take a picture. I think the Mother-in-Law was leading at one point, however… : )

      Thanks again for pedaling over!


  4. August 7, 2012 8:23 AM

    I like the artwork. 🙂


  5. August 7, 2012 3:14 PM

    I have trouble portraying landscapes (especially water) in (ironically) my watercolor paintings. I think artists are either up-close or landscape people!


    • August 7, 2012 7:37 PM

      Up-close or landscape… hmm, yes! that does seem to be the case. Of course, I can think of an immediate exception: Shannon Stirnweis. I did a post on his paperback book cover art, and he regularly painted up-close people framed against majestic landscapes. Truly amazing.

      Loved your “parenthetical humor”: trouble portraying water in watercolor paintings. Ha! Now that’s my kind of beautiful irony!! Well, keep at it, and don’t, er, water down your efforts… : )


  6. August 8, 2012 9:48 AM

    Very nice, Mark! I like how your mind works outside the box, er, circle. 🙂


    • August 10, 2012 11:00 AM

      Ha! Thanks, Jayne. My mind often runs around in circles, and sometimes it gets so far outside the box, it gets lost! : P

      Thanks so much for your good-humored support! : )


  7. August 8, 2012 2:37 PM

    Perfect idea for the London games! Reminds me of many wonderful times in British pubs. Loved the pint idea and Union Jack 🙂 I shall never look at a ring stain from a glass on a coaster again where I don’t think of my favorite artist!


    • August 10, 2012 11:06 AM

      Thanks, Tracey! Yes, what is there about British pubs that gives them that special mystique? Must be the Hound of the Baskervilles who’s always stretched out comfortably by the heath… : )

      Gosh! Knowing I’m your fave artist puts a spring in my step, and helps compensate for all the stains on my shirt. Thanks for your wonderful support!! : )


  8. August 9, 2012 9:02 PM

    What a creative work! Very nice! 🙂


    • August 10, 2012 6:25 PM

      Thanks, Inge! I have to believe that all my trips over to your blog have made me more creative… : )


  9. August 10, 2012 11:02 PM

    Pure gold, Mark. I heard the British drink their beer warm. Maybe great to swim in, but I would prefer a cold one. 🙂


    • August 13, 2012 8:26 AM

      Thank you, dear Judy, your kind words make my head swim! Since I just got up, I’ll hafta dunk it in some hot coffee instead of cold beer… : P

      Many thanks for your continuing support! : )


  10. August 11, 2012 3:41 PM

    wow .. It looks really good 🙂


    • August 13, 2012 8:28 AM

      Why, thank you! Yes, I’m good at making rings– you should see my bathtub after I take a bath… : (

      Thank you for swimming over and leaving that nice comment! : )


  11. August 12, 2012 9:35 PM

    This is very creative and fun! (As always)


  12. Margie permalink
    August 13, 2012 10:11 PM

    Very well done! I love the rings.


    • August 14, 2012 9:19 AM

      Uh, we also have french fries… No? You prefer the rings? One order of onion rings coming right up–! : P

      Thanks, Margie! Always lovely to see you here. : )


  13. robpixaday permalink
    August 18, 2012 3:50 PM

    NEATNEATNEATNEATNEATNEATNEATNEATNEAT!!!!! You let us into your creative process!! And that’s not a ratty little drawing. I’d work hard to make something that good!!!!

    Love the way you constructed the entire thing…the swimmer is super and those rings — WOW!!!!!!!!

    The Olympic organizers should have asked you to do their art.



    • August 21, 2012 8:17 AM

      Yee-ha! That’s gotta be the NEATEST comment I’ve ever received, Robin! My ratty little drawings have never been prouder– thank you so mucho!!

      The Olympic Committee awarded me a special gold medal for my efforts. Unfortunately, it was made of Fool’s Gold. Hmm… : (

      Thank you for your wonderfully cheery support, you Olympian Painter, you!! : )


  14. August 21, 2012 12:24 PM

    Ooooh me loves this very much Mark! The looking into the glass perspective-wise is great. Reminds me of those glasses you get that when you drink from it the little object/image floats upwards.

    I think everyone on here has pretty much said what I wanted to say! But at least you didn’t do the “typical” British/Londoner that everyone seems to think we all are : )

    It is such a simple idea combining the Britishness and Olympic-ness that has the whole get-go. Would be awesome if it was part of the merchandise!


    • August 22, 2012 8:27 AM

      What a lovely comment– thank you, Sabine! After meeting you, of course, it’s impossible for me to think of Brits as “typical”; I shall always consider them exceptional… : )

      Hope you enjoyed the Olympics. I’m sure you won the gold medal for Most Promising Graphic Design Uni Student! : )

      Thanks as always for your very kind support!!


      • August 22, 2012 6:28 PM

        I’m glad I have deterred you away from that conception and instead you think of us in a more positive light : )

        I certainly did enjoy the event, and hope you did too. It was definitely one of those times that you feel the burning passion for sports ^^ Unfortunately I missed the closing ceremony, though I’m going to try and find it online to watch at some point. But I’m looking forward now to the Paralympics : )


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