Saturday, February 11, 2017

Process (silkscreening "Winter Cars")

I'm taking a  silkscreening class at the wonderful Society of Northern Alberta Print-Artists (SNAP) just down the street from our apartment. This is my second screen printing class there in two years and I think I'm getting the hang of it.

Anyway, here's the project.

I wanted to do something winter- and Edmonton-related.

I walk the neighborhood streets for exercise and I take photos as I walk. And I thought, "Cars with snow on them."

And that's it.

Here are the unedited photos.

The cropped photos. I did the composition and color work in Photoshop.

Swapped out a couple cars.

Black and white.

Reducing the photos to individual shades using the Curves pallet. Posterizing. Here's the pallet.

Here's the picture with the posterized look.

Making the background color cutout by using Photoshop's paths.

Making seps. Two grays, one black and one background color of light blue.

Light gray.

Darker gray.


Background blue.

Okay -- I decided to do a three-color print first to see how it was looking. But I still wanted four shades. So I did the black in solid, and dots for the darker gray.

Here's the Photoshop proof all the colors.

Here's two colors actually screen printed. Starting with the light blue. I'm printing on an 8.5 by 11 -inch (21.59 by 27.94 cm) sticker-back paper.

And the screen print of three colors.

Here's a close-up of the Photoshop proof.

Here's a close-up of the printed piece. That's some serious dot-gain!

So, we've gone from real world, into digital photos into Photoshop, out into the real world for silk screening and then finally, back into the computer for this blog post. Whew!

Next challenge: The four-color version on good paper.

Friday, April 01, 2016

How much is that zombie in the window?

Hey! My zombie comic, "Post-Dead: After the Zombie Apocalypse," is available for purchase at Variant Edition Comics + Culture, 10441-123 Street NW, Edmonton, Alberta. You can see it from the sidewalk as you stroll by.

Here's the cover without the reflections.

Wednesday, January 06, 2016

Vue project #1051 Krampus edition

Last year at this time I was hard on Vue Weekly's 2014 Year In Review cover. I thought it was obscure. And I wanted more emphasis on the Krampus character and less on the talk show format.

But I've changed my mind on it because, as this week's cover makes clear, last year's effort was one in a series of Year in Review covers featuring a Krampus character. And seeing this year's Krampus cover makes me feel better retrospectively about last year's cover.

That said, there are definitely some improvements in this year's cover. I like the type treatment integrated with the illustration. I like the "Krampus" name tag on the bowling shirt. I like that the character is solidly put across by showing the hooves and tail. Plus, the pose is dynamic. The colors are well chosen and the white logo pops out of the page.

A quick search of shows me that the Krampus Year In Review covers started (probably) with the 2013 Review. Here's a screenshot of that cover:

Friday, December 04, 2015

Vue project 1049

Saw this week's  cover and thought it should be more fun. The subject matter is off putting, but fun in an alternative-weekly way. Parts of a horse that make a horse: horseshoes, horse neck, horse legs, horse tail, horse nose. Parts of horse on view in this illustration: horse legs, horse tail and horseshoes. But the hand and the sandwich kinda take over this illustration.

I thought I'd tighten up the headline a bit and put the whole horse on display. And believe it or not there are horse meat butcher charts much like this available for view on the internet. I constructed my own, so the all-Cheltenham type would make a unified cover.

Logo this time: Antique Olive condensed bold lowercase with a few alterations.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Vue project 1047

Vue Weekly introduced a new section this week. Named, "Pop." When I hear the word "Pop," my brain jumps to Pop Art. Specifically the work of Andy Warhol (high contrast silkscreen images) and Roy Lichtenstein (the guy who did the versions of comics with the black lines and the big dots) come to mind. One other thing that this cover brought to mind is the Batman television sound effects lettering onscreen. Particularly the one reading "KaPow!"

Photo credit:

Here's the original Vue Weekly cover. I like the bright colors of the type and the large, white "Pop!" really pops out of the background color. Didn't like the cryptic, unlabeled photos connected with a blend. What are the two photos about? Are they from the same pop culture niche? 

I took all that and made my own version of this cover. Reducing the art to high contrast black and white made it easy to combine the two separate images into one -- taking some care to make the people the same size. But then I labeled the two separate things so the reader knows there are two subjects. Perhaps they are combined into one article, perhaps not. Logo is Gill Sans with mutated letters for "e" and "k."

Friday, October 23, 2015

Vue project 1043

Canada's latest national election just ended. Justin Trudeau is now the Prime Minister of Canada. It's a big switch. It's big news. So all the newspapers are making a fuss.

Here's how the Vue Weekly did it.

I like the National Enquirer vibe of this original cover. I like covers that have a lot of headlines on them. Looks newsy. But I thought it could been taken further. So I did this version.

Friday, August 07, 2015

Vue project 1032

I like the Schwinn Sting Ray. When I was a kid, my dad told me I couldn't have one because the wheels were too small and the wheels would wear out faster than big wheels. But I still wanted one. And I still kinda do.

This week's issue of Vue Weekly features the Death Spoke Bicycle Club -- which despite its scary name, has a large percentage of Sting Ray riders. The published cover is actually very nice. The colors are strong and simple. The type is pretty cool. And I like the headline.

But when I read the story inside, Sting Ray bikes are mentioned in the first paragraph! And I liked the inside headline better: "Swell on Two Wheels." So I thought I'd shorten that headline for the redo, and also include an image of that iconic bike (stolen from the internet). I just couldn't help it, Dad.

This week's reworked logo is Franklin Gothic, with a couple twists.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Vue project 1030

Nice cover. Great image by Ivan Otis. Lots of inviting white space. A fun and furry treatment for Vue Weekly logo. Looks good.

Minor quibble: Even though there are four "A"s in the artist's name, the most interesting part of any word containing a capital "Q" -- is the capital "Q." So I'd include it in the artistic treatment of the name. Kinda like this.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Vue Project 1024

This Vue Weekly cover is okay. But the back cover is pretty fantastic.

Imagined meeting notes

An imagined meeting shortly before the release of the new Simpsons tie-in, Duff Energy Drink.

BEVERAGE PROFESSIONAL: We made the color like you wanted -- it's between the color of Budweiser beer and the color of Orange Crush. But frankly, this seems like an ugly color.

MATT GROENING: I approve. How about the taste?

BEVERAGE PROFESSIONAL: It's just as you asked, Red Bull crossed with Okay Soda crossed with Mountain Dew. Again, we're not sure that's the direction we'd recommend you go in.

MATT GROENING [Taking a sip]: Whew! That is terrible! Again -- I approve.

BEVERAGE PROFESSIONAL: So . . . we proceed with this? Actually release this -- this stuff?

MATT GROENING: Yes. Proceed.

Note: My photograph doesn't capture the urine-like color of this stuff. It's quite an astonishing hue.

Monday, May 04, 2015

It was a dress, but it could be a cape

This image on Twitter got my attention. Because I couldn't figure out what it was trying to say.

I searched the internet using Google, and eventually Tin Eye, and found that it was a promotion for a software-writing company. And the thing that wasn't a dress was -- a superhero cape. And there is even website. It's all in the cause of promoting women as superhero software programmers. Or something. And that's cool. 

But I think the poster could use some improvement so it's a little more clear in its message.

Here's my redo.

I did a couple specific changes for clarity. First -- bigger scoop on the neckline so the top of the cape is more visible. And then I made the superhero outfit more obvious -- adding full-body spandex with a logo on the chest. Plus boots and pants. Now there is a superhero outfit.

Then I thought perhaps the cape isn't emphasized enough with the colorful outfit -- so I made one with the colors muted. 

Now it's obvious enough so that even I get it.

Update: Jake Seamans, in a comment, pointed out something: "What about getting rid of the 'It's a cape' line in your redesign? It seems to have more impact when you leave that line out and let the audience fill in the rest themselves."

Jake, I agree. I was over-explaining with that added line of text. Here's the reworked design minus the extra text and plus the company tagline.

Update #2: Changed the headline from "It was never a cape" (which doesn't make sense).