Friday, 24 June 2011

The Pressures of Print!!

If you've entered my Last Supper competition, then you should have got a prize pack by now... I say "should" have, but.. er.. you haven't! Very sorry, but there's been loads of technical delays!

The deal is that most of said items in the prize pack are printed material, very much like the original postcard, however as I stated in the last post I was unhappy with the print quality of the last supper postcard, all my big print jobs are now handled by a printers in town.

I was hoping this was a one off blip with my printer's machines, as they've generally been brilliant over the past 18 month or so i've been using them, alas it seems they are having a few technical problems, and this has meant that yesterday I was out seeking a new printer in my neck of the woods.

It turns out that finding a great printers, ie; someone that knows what they're doing, someone that is easy to work with, and most importantly can deliver a perfect (or close to) print are as rare as hen's teeth!

Too many of the proofs I did yesterday, were just not right.. and y'know it's not the artwork this is the same artwork that has already seen print before, so I know how it should print.. it's just a case of everyone's machines printing different... and literally everyone's print of the same artworks is different.

My original printer, who still arguably does the best colour correct print, is in the process of getting a new machine, which should be in his hands over the next two week (I'm told mine is first job scheduled for it!) then it'll no doubt be a case of trying to get this one to print perfectly..although i'm told there will be teething problems initially... Gulp!

This whole thing with printing has driven me a bit loopy, I don't like things being taken out of my hands, also it's hard to get my head around as I know without fail when I give my artwork over to a client, and it sees print it 99% matches the work on screen.. Aaarghh, it's so frustrating!

I could go on, and on at this stage, but well after yesterday's debacle i'd be ranting like a mad man.. or of you know me, even madder man.

I do apologize to anyone waiting on a goodybag, but hopefully they will be with you shortly.. if not i'll formulate a new idea for a different set of prizes.

On the positive side, if you haven't entered (and i'm still sending out postcards) then you've still got plenty of time!

Monday, 6 June 2011

Mac Format- Gestures Ganesh!

Here's an image that has just seen print in the latest issue of Mac Format, which came out last week.
Alex Thomas the Art Editor of the title got in touch last month during that dreaded double Bank Holiday/ Three day week, which was an incredibly busy period for me, in fact i'm still recovering from it.. I became a little burnt out for a while there!

I was initially worried that I wouldn't have time to do this piece, but as soon as Alex told me he wanted a drawing of Ganesh.. well what can I say I was hooked.

The illustration is for a feature about using gestures on Apple's range of notebooks and desktops, 'gestures' are like little keyboard shortcuts using multi touch hand gestures, the kind of thing you would see using trackpads.

Alex gave me the brief, around midweek and I went on to do a pretty comprehensive drawing for him to take a look at the day after one of the Bank Holidays, I should point out that I couldn't start this image because of other commitments until the weekend, so this was turned around in about three days.

Luckily for me, Alex loved what i'd done on this and only asked for a minor change with regards to the head being made a little larger and a removal of a decorative border, however Alex decided that the image worked so well that it went from being a single page image to being extended out to a double page spread... which.. er.. as you can guess meant I had to do a bit more work than I expected... tricky when you have more jobs on than days in a week!

This is what I would say with regards to changes and alterations, i'm not one to cause too much of a fuss over these things although in certain instances perhaps I should, because these things need to be done for the right reasons, not because an Art Director wants his/her thumbprints on an illustration.

Changes should really only be made on a final for two reasons; the first one being to improve the readability of the image, or to tweak details, the second is to make alterations so that it fits the layout better.

This is why Alex is such a great Art Director, the alterations he asked for served one purpose and one purpose only and that's to tweak an already great illustration and make it better, and to make it more cohesive with the magazine's layout... I hope other AD's are taking note, because the best Art Director's like Alex make these things look easy, I'm not questioning his decisions because they make complete sense, and at the end of the day you know you're on the same side trying to make the image the best it can be.

I think this is one of the illos i'm most proud of this year thus far, I think it came out well, because it plays to my strong points, first of all the brief is a good fit, it's fantastical and imaginative which are areas I work best in.
Second of all the composition is simple, so it allows me to be my most direct and bold, this comes across in both the linework and use of vibrant colour, it also frees time up to add to those little details.

Ideally these are the kinds of briefs I would get all the time, and I'd hope to produce work that didn't drop below this standard everytime... one day maybe!