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.


Marilyn said...

Ah yes, I remember the "all nighters"!

Todd Franklin said...

Great to see! The hand will always be mightier than the computer!