Norwegian Wood poster contest – notes on image construction

Norwegian Wood hand drawn typography by Heidi Burton

Work-in-progress photographs from my recent poster design, created for the Don’t Panic contest to produce a film poster for Norwegian Wood – directed by Anh Hung Tran and based on the novel by Haruki Murakami.

As some of you may know from previous work based upon Murakami’s writings, I absolutely love Norwegian Wood, it’s my favourite book – not just of his, but of all books. I wasn’t much of a reader but his books broke me in to reading, in a sense.

Below you can find preparatory images created during my design process.  These show my laborious and time-consuming approach. First I brainstorm on paper, then sketch a few initial ideas. Next is the research. A lot of research. Hours of it. Sometimes the best idea will emerge while walking to the shop or drifting off to sleep – I always have a journal handy to scribble it down.

Next stage is to combine research with ideas and create the characters, it can take a long time and a lot of practice to produce a likeness of a person, if I’m lucky enough to do that at all.  Each element is worked on separately, scanned, edited, and the whole lot  woven together (in Photoshop) to create the final image. I’ve included some of the ideas that were dismissed due to a lack of time, would have liked to explore them further for this contest.


Here is the final result:


As a lot of searches for the contest winner have led to my blog, I’ll mention here that the winner was announced yesterday on the Norwegian Wood Facebook page as Bertie Simpson with this poster. It was the second highest voted in the contest, and looks fantastic! See his blog here.  I also really like this poster design by Lucie Rauer as it evokes the atmosphere and emotion I felt when reading the story. More of her work here.


Filed under Illustrations, News, Traditional

11 responses to “Norwegian Wood poster contest – notes on image construction

  1. These are awesome Heidi. I love seeing work-in-progress shots almost as much as the result 🙂 Good show.

  2. Wow!
    I love your entry!
    It definitely makes me want to read the book too.

  3. Ah, please win this!
    If you do, this will prove to me that life is fair:)
    I’m not familiar with the story either, but your work would certainly draw me in for more.

  4. Thanks so much! Opinions like these from such esteemed personages makes all the effort worth it. I really appreciate it 🙂 x

  5. That is brilliant and beautiful. I love your work.

  6. Love your entry. It was one of the most interesting and beautiful.
    Do you know who finally won. Wrote to but they didn’t even answered back. Anyway was fun and chellenging!


  7. Thank you so much for reading 🙂

    Michele ~ thanks for your comment!
    I’ve added the info/winner at the bottom of my blog post. Seems a lot of people are trying to find out, and after a rummage I found the result announced on the Norwegian Wood Facebook page yesterday.

  8. Wow! Congrats for your entry, it’s just amazing! I did also participate in the contest, but didn’t get much time to work on in though…

    See you around in other contests, hasta luego!

  9. pratikshya2

    Love Love the poster.. wow.. i have not watched the movie .. but just finished reading the book.. wow.. your poster has that nostalgic feel to it…

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