APPRECIATION & INTERVIEW
Zsutti’s Breaking Bad Episode Poster series
Congratulations to Hungarian designer Zsutti (aka Molnár Zsolt) for completing his fabulous series of Breaking Bad episode posters. This makes 31-year-old mobile UX designer the first to complete a series of posters for all 62 episodes of the show. I’ve always admired the dedication and discipline it takes to produce a series like this (it took Zsutti five months to finish). What’s even more impressive is the consistent creativity, quality and originality expressed throughout. It’s a series worthy of a great show. As a graphic designer, I was curious about his experience, and Zsutti was kind enough to answer a few of my questions by email yesterday.
What inspired you to create this series?
Two things. The first was the series itself. When I finished it in late September last year, I was so blown away that I felt the urge to create a memento to honor the show. The other thing was that I hadn’t done anything creative for my own pleasure for years because I was working a lot. Suddenly I felt that there’s something that I like and find interesting so why not create a series of posters for fun? This is how it started.
Why Breaking Bad? What do you like most about the show?
It was the most intense TV show I’ve ever seen. I love everything about it: the cinematography, the symbolism, the characters, the actors, the plot, the drama. Vince Gilligan is a genius! Whatever he creates in the future, for TV or the big screen, I will watch it.
How would you describe the style of these posters? Were there any artists you saw as influences in creating this series?
I wanted to create minimalistic looking posters with one main or important object/subject from every episode and a quote that is not always directly related to the object/subject. Besides minimalistic, I wanted to make them a bit dirty because I felt that Walter White’s character and the whole show was kind of dirty so I ended up using some paper texture. I didn’t want to stick to only one typeface, so I started to experiment with a different font on every poster. I wanted to have fun and experiment a lot. It took creating two dozen posters until I got confident with the style but many challenges emerged later.
I tried to avoid copying other people and I didn’t really see much fan art until an ex-colleague sent me a link to the Heisenberg Chronicles. By that time, I was finishing the fifth poster and after that the Chronicles was a big inspiration source when I got stuck or was looking for quotes, symbolism, background info, etc.
I enjoy the works of many artists, like Simon Walter, Mainger, Gustavo Pergoli, error23, Ilya Shkipin, Robert Lockley, Florencia Brizuela, Jorge Garza, Dino Tomic, Jeff Nichol, Rafael Muller, Benjamin Russel, Michael Lapinski, Ivan Torres, José Gouveia, Gullbz, Alexandre Perotto, Anthony Geoffroy, Joshua Ariza, Redouane Sayah, Gautier Bourdonnay, Jeffrey Buchanan, Misa Rodriguez, Sangre Maleva, Patlon, Matt Taylor, Waref Abu Quba, Cat Lines, Tom Trager, Ale Giorgini, Fernando de Carabassa, Hugraphic, Skye Freeman, Frank Rizzo, Tom Whalen, Kevin Tong and many more. That’s a lot of names but they all deserve admiration! Some of them inspired me, some of them just made fantastic art.
What software did you use to create these posters?
I made lot of sketches and line drawings. In the beginning, I used Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop simultaneously but later I drew all the vector shapes in Photoshop only.
How long did it take to create this series? How long for each poster?
I started at the end of September (2013) and finished last Saturday (Feb. 15, 2014). That’s about five months. I made a rough calculation and it turned out that I spent about 400 hours making the posters. That’s 16.6 days, which is about 6.5 hours per poster. Some illustrations were finished in 3-4 hours but some took me an entire weekend with about 16-18 hours of work. Plus, I watched every episode 3-4 times, some of them 5-6 times. I did a lot of research for each poster which I can’t even estimate.
Which posters were the most difficult?
The tortoise in Negro y Azul, the RV in Four Days Out, Walter’s first depiction in Over, Gus Fring with face and with face off, Skyler was tough, Kafkaesque with the Darth Vader nail polish, Cornered, Hank in Gliding Over All, and the desert in To’hajiilee. It took me weeks until I figured out how I should depict the desert, after that the drawing was finished in less than an hour. Sometimes it was very hard to choose the main subject or even the quote. I had big fights with myself, a few episodes had alternate posters. Once I drew Jesse’s wooden box but never used it.
Which posters are you most proud of? Which ones are your favorite?
It’s hard to choose but my favorites are the Pilot, … And the Bag’s in the River, Four Days Out, Over, ABQ, Más, Sunset, Box Cutter, Fly, Cornered, Hermanos, End Times, Face Off, To’hajiilee, Granite State and Felina because it tells me that I was able to finish what I started.
What’s your favorite episode of Breaking Bad? Do you think your poster for that episode did it justice?
I can’t choose one favorite episode because there were many great episodes which had a big impact on the characters and the storyline – and on me as well. With every piece I wanted to do it justice and I think that I succeeded about 80% of the time. I think most people (even other artists) can’t appreciate how much effort and dedication it takes to produces a series of 62 posters.
What advice can you give other artists who are thinking about doing a series like this?
I made a big mistake in the beginning: I was so enthusiastic that I didn’t really take into consideration how much time it would take to finish 62 posters, along with the research, rewatching, etc. I thought I would finish in three months. I was sooo wrong. It challenged my relationship with my girlfriend. There were moments when I wanted to leave the project as is and go back to normal life. It was hard for both of us, but she was always the first person I asked for feedback. She helped me a lot with her insights and understood that this is important for me. I owe her a lot.
So here is my advice: Think ahead; double the time you think it would take because it always takes more; work ahead to keep your schedule; try to be consistent on the style; do a lot of research; be fanatical and let yourself go into that world and indulge every bit of information. But most importantly: DON’T GIVE UP BITCH! Giving up is easy but finishing something this big is worth (almost) every struggle. (I must admit, I would have been pissed off if this project would have screwed up my relationship, as it almost had.)
What’s your favorite piece of Breaking Bad fan art?
I can’t choose one. So here are my absolute favorites: Polygon portraits by Cat Lines, Hector Salamanca by Tom Whalen (fantastic work), Breaking Bad Guys by Anthony Geoffroy, Heisenberg by Sangre Maleva (fantastic lines), Season posters by Rafael Muller, Mr. White portrait by José Gouveira, Breaking Bad Houses by Florencia Brizuela, The Superlab by Kevin Tong and the Color & Death Toll infographics created by John LaRue.
What TV Show is next for Posterology?
Next I want to create posters for Hannibal. I would love to work on other TV shows as well but I don’t want to fall in the same pit as before. I want to make it slower and take my time. I also would like to create season posters for a few TV shows. House of Cards is my first choice for this.
– Interview by Shayne Bowman, Heisenberg Chronicles
I wanna hug that man so much!!!!!
Noone knows Loki like Tom knows Loki.
Don’t we all?? Seriously, the first Thor movie makes me cry because you see Loki just become an outright emotional trainwreck, and think to yourself “Are you fucking happy Odin?? You fucked up big time when it comes to parenting”