Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Alaska Book Festival

This year's Alaska Book Festival (the 3rd annual) had been yet another gig looming over my head. Ultimately wound up in the worst possible scenario for any graphic artist; so close to the production deadline that the tshirt printing actually got canceled (restarted mere hours after reaching the second take) and folks resigned to having no posters just days before the event. Getting backed into the position where nobody knew what they wanted, and with no clear direction I wasted hours going off on the wrong path. Once I figured out who wanted what the when was almost too late.

Combined with the stress factor all around there was some strung-out art diva moments from yours truly. Life's way too short to deal with last-minute clusterfucks and even if the money made it worth it, my priorities have to go with students in my classes. This sort of tragedy in overlapping gigs is something I try to avoid at all costs, to the point where I'd much rather potentially lose a job than run the risk of hurt feelings caused by dropping the ball so late in the game. It's always hard to say no but overloading yourself isn't a very professional way to burn bridges. Sure enough, a couple new queries have cropped up in my in-box which for the sake of sanity I needed to prudently decline. So after having the initial concept logo rejected (inset) there was a reorientation/recalibration rally, and I went back to the drawing board and banged out something a little more in line with what was originally hoped for. Now every one's placated and the tshirts are getting printed along with the posters, and an important lesson relearned.

Here's the line art...

...then the 5-color tshirt variation (shown on dark brown tshirt color background): special thanks to Rick over at Trademark Screenprinting for bailing me out on this one...

... here's the black & white version with a swiped and manipulated daguerreotype effect texture in the background. The contrast between these three variations on a theme points up how it's almost impossible sometimes to try and communicate just what exactly you have clearly in mind for the ultimate look of a project, especially compared to the initial design.

The idea was to leave some room for all the participating authors to autograph editions of the poster which would be given out at the close of the festival. Hence the rather open composition, plus successive lightening of the background so as to make sure signatures show up (not everyone carries around a Sharpie I guess). The final stage below was knocked out by Shauna the graphic art goddess at Date-Line Digital Printing who slapped a Photoshop filter to give it the perfect sepia tint finish.

This made for a good show & tell to the caretoon class (in conjunction with the shrew design) as far as how basic cartooning skills are so easily applied to commercially viable endeavors. That and how to watch your teacher gradually implode then burn out right before your eyes...

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