Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Diggin' Through the Vault: Vintage Winter Sports Style

The hype surrounding the upcoming Winter Olympics in Vancouver and Whistler (see last post) prompted me to dig up this pre-computer era (for me, at least!) moldy oldie from my art tomb to share avec vous all this week.

From approximately 1991 to 1999 I designed, illustrated, hand-lettered (completely at first, then just mostly), and hand colour-separated the colour covers and black and white interior illustrations for a local municipality's parks and recreation quarterly catalogue.

I used pen and ink on paper, Letratone adhesive film for the grays, four sheets of Amberlith film (I cut them with an X-Acto knife and laid them over the art to designate where each colour and colour screen (lighter colour) was to go), hand lettered text and logos, and personally delivered the art, in a big cardboard folder I would make for each project, to the local printer.

The example above (front cover) and below (back cover, natch!) are from one of my last - illustrated in mid-1998. These guides were printed in two colour (plus black) on messy newsprint, but I spent a CRAZY amount of time on most of them trying to get all I could out of the process.

I had been using a Mac for years, first for the small educational company I did animation for, and then later (starting a year before this cover came out) using an earlier version of Photoshop while assisting/collaborating with a fellow illustrator. But I was still more than a year away from buying my own computer and still did things by hand, BY CHOICE!

This cover's a bit of an anomaly as I did use a photocopier to duplicate some of the figures, and the folks at Saanich Recreation had just begun to provide me some computer laid-out text on the back cover which was printed out and cut and pasted (with scissors and REAL paste for those youngsters out there!) by me onto the back.

It was all incredibly labour-intensive for the measly fee I charged, and I shudder when I recall it all now. But it was pretty cool to think at the time that tens of thousands of copies of each of these labours of love would then be showing up in the mailboxes of folks in the area.

By the time this issue came out photographs were beginning to replace the more expensive spot illustrations I provided, and a glossy cover was in the offing. I left as my career began to expand to broader areas and the guide took the opportunity to change format. Luckily I was able to get back most of my original art from this client, so I may post some scans of the hand separation process in the future.

I still hand draw on paper 95% of my work, and hand colour and letter when possible. But it's comforting to know that other options are now available if the deadline or budget doesn't allow.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Work in Progress

With the Winter Olympics rapidly approaching in nearby Vancouver and Whistler B.C. it's not surprising that one of the jobs I have on the go right now is a winter sports-themed children's magazine spread due for a coincidental release in January/February 2010.

Above are a couple of pencil sketches from that project in their original form. Sometimes when I have a lot of little spot illos on a larger spread I rough them out on a number of different pieces of paper at different sizes (fer instance... the roughs above won't be next to each other in the final) and then composite them together later. That way I'm not as constrained and can concentrate on the individual elements. Of course I then have to make them work together, but I have more choices about how I do it.

I'll post this section of the final printed piece when the magazine hits the stands.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Bum Art!

On Halloween Saturday two weeks ago you would have found, amongst the assembled throng of Klingons, zombies, and fans of the superly-abled at the first annual Victoria Comic Book Convention, a respectably-sized dealer's room filled with comic book ephemera... and little ole' me... drooling.

Thanks to a free ticket from a friend (mucho apprecianado, Bri!) that came with an invitation to act as a tour guide (I've done the comic convention thing a number of times in the past and speak fluent geek) I checked out my home town's most recent venture at starting a lasting Con. Hopefully it'll make it to "Second Annual", and from the looks on the ghostly white faces, not to mention the hordes of costumed undead, folks seemed to be having a good time. But the highlight for me was getting to see, in glorious two-dimensions and beautiful black and white, the piece of original art pictured at the top of this post.

On display courtesy of Gareth Gaudin, of the best darned comic book store in all of Canada (offically!) Legends Comics, this pen & ink illustration is from the cover to one of my favourite 7" records of the 1990s. A split four song EP by two of Victoria's music legends...the cheekily-monikered Bum, and multiskilled producer/musician Scott Henderson.

Bum's awesomely-awesome brand of rockin'-pop-with-a-punk-twist was partially responsible for inspiring my own 1990s punk/rock/pop band (so much so that I recruited their first drummer), and we recorded with Scott a number of times for our 7"s and compilation releases, so you would think that would be enough to make me interested in this piece of local music history. But this is one of a number of Bum releases with artwork provided by the amazingly talented Pat McEown, one of the most skilled illustrators I've ever been lucky enough to know. Former Victoria resident Pat, who has worked in the big leagues of the comic, advertising, and animation industry should be a household name. He's very highly underrated.

Despite seeing Richard Hatch, Margot Kidder, and a gaggle of Star Trek actors at the Con... getting a good gander at this gem was the highlight of my nerdy day.

Thanks to Gareth for permission to share this wonderful work, and of course, all artwork © 1992 Pat McEown. And my apologies to all those confused souls visiting this blog under the assumption that this post's title refers to anything other than it does.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Flickr Fun - Finally!

Forgive me friends, it's been over a month since my last Flickr post.

This was due partially to the busy-ness of things lately creeping into my free time. BUT... mainly because I've just not picked up a lot of vintage books and magazines over the past year due to...

- Having a REAL LIFE at last!

- Finally running through the gigantic stack of vintage kids books and mags I bought at an estate sale two years ago.

- Almost depleting my Charlie Harper-filled stash of Ford Times publications from the 1950s purchased at the Paper Show also a couple years ago. But on that account, at least, there's enough for two last sets of images starting with the batch I uploaded yesterday!

- Recently finishing off a stash of old books and ephemera from my last US road trip a year ago.

Things should pick up again soon though, with the big bi-annual Paper Show at the end of the month (I was out of the country when the last one occurred), and a cross-continent road trip/move happening in the Spring that could afford the opportunity to hopefully run across some some vintage paper on the way back from Florida to B.C.

And even if I don't find much in the way of things to post to Flickr at least I'll get a wife and a lifetime of love out of the deal.

Not a bad consolation prize.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Prehistoric Periodical Pandemonium!

Once again it's time to shout from the street corners the overwhelmingly copacetic news that the new Know magazine has hit the newsstands and mailboxes of your favourite 6 to 9 year old science fan!
This issue's all about the fury, feathered, funtastic fauna from that former phase of the far-flung past we all call prehistory. Above is a small portion of my regular two-page Know Fun puzzles and activities spread from said magazine that this month features all manner of Cenozoic beasties and birdies.

Sunday, November 1, 2009