Sunday, May 6, 2012

Cover: Anchorage Press

Did a cover editorial piece for the new issue of The Anchorage Press that hit the stands day-before yesterday. The assigned issue was the recent local election fiasco featuring an investigative report written by Scott Christiansen. The gig was a last-minute phonecall from the graphic artist at the paper, who pitched the initial concept of a voting booth with an "out of order" sign to represent how the past election has been thoroughly botched. I basically the following day to work up a sketch, ink up an illustration, scan + color it before the deadline.
More details on the process over the fold....

Here's the thumbnail roughs that were approved before moving on to the line-art (also posted below). The compositional arrangement of the elements needed to get tweaked, and as is often the case, the problem and the solution both lay in linear perspective. As I frequently state in Beginning Drawing classes, it's crucial to first establish a foundation for all the visual pieces to help a viewer construct a narrative. This is akin to designing a stage before the sets are arranged, or in terms of construction, a sequential process where one first has to have a floor plan before putting up walls, then the door, then the doorknob etc. This was one instance where I didn't resort to digitally rearranging the elements, as the thumbnailing and penciling resulted in being able to scan in one page as is. The core aspect I wanted to draw attention to was the loss of the (Northern) star on the Alaskan flag. This was accented by the drooping corner which in turn acts as a visual pointer (along with the arrow) down to the trashcan. Highlighting key elements by using color also accents the design flow and leads the eye across the page, whether using one panel or many (as in a comics page).  I was really pleased at how the CMYK file translated to the finished print version, on no small account of the slightly higher grade of newsprint used by the paper. That and my recent refresher course and critique assignments in the process helped too.

On a personal note, it was also pretty spiffy to sit in a new cafe in a new town and see random strangers pick up the new issue hot off the stands. Plus it was useful example to lay on the table at an interview later on that afternoon as to the dual nature of my teaching philosophy balancing the academics with practical, commercial application. Or put another way, one creative hoof on the street and the other planted in the studio. Along with pursuing some teaching opportunities I also scored a few other freelance gigs, including writing a graphic novel review. Hopefully this little bit of heightened exposure in the community will help spread the ripples, and also welcome to any new readers of the blog!

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