Monday, 24 September 2012

The Prometheus Puzzle!

I should have posted up this job I did for Empire magazine a while back, but alas i've been a little inundated so it's only now getting an airing on this ol' bloggo!
So Chris the AD at the mag got in touch around the time of the Olympics to see whether I fancied another job for Empire, my answer came very quickly; "Er, yeah.. whatever, whenever, however" As we've already established i'm a huge fan of the mag, to say I was keen was probably an understatement.

Chris explained they wanted to combine my stuff with an infographic based feature; "lovely" I thought, i've done bits in this area for both Nuts and to a lesser extent Men's Health, generally I get a list of things to draw and the Art Director put them in to tables, or puts on little arrows with type pointing to bits, that kind of thing.

Little did I know Chris had plans for me to get involved in the design of this thing, from typography, to arrows to... well the design of this feature, usually it's a case of me handing over illos for people to drop into a layout.

The feature was about the life cycle of xenomorphs from Prometheus to Alien, now I haven't seen the Ridley Scott's Prometheus, so initially it was a bit of a head scratcher trying to work out how many drawings would be needed to breakdown this who evolution of a species type diagram.

I was supplied with the main bits of info and went to work on a series of black and white illos of all the major bits, I would then colour these in and add more if necessary and send to Empire, job done easy, I think it was only after the B&W stage (see above) did it dawn on me that Chris wanted a larger involvement from me. Gulp!

It proved to be a very tricky affair for me, i'm hired purely to illustrate on most occasions, sure there may be design elements I have to think about, but generally I leave a lot of the designery/typsetting stuff to the people that do that best; designers and art directors.

So I endeavored to make sense of the whole Prometheus/Alien lifecycle, which in itself was a headache.. turns out that even if you've seen Prometheus, it's a bit of a headscratcher, the above two are early faltering attempts to make sense of it all, these are based on a early layout Chris sent me.. but well it became apparent that the plus and minus signs didn't help make the thing readable at all, on the positive side the blue background (created from a stamp book!) and type got the thumbs up.

I realised, even with me at this point pulling my hair out at this point at my lack of design skills that there had to be a cleaner flow through to the piece for it to be even readable, so above is one where I actually used any kind of design knowledge I have to make something that makes sense.. this took me probably two days to work out! This one would have had the blue background etc..

You see a lot goes into design, at this point your no longer thinking about pictures, but does the thing make sense, can you fit it all in the alotted space, this being a major issue, as it was only a smaller box on the page and with all that in mind, can you make the font readable at such a tiny size, to think nothing of which fonts to use!

At this point my head kind of exploded!

Luckily Chris was a knight in shining armour on this, and took over the design reigns for the final piece.. I think within a day he'd come up with the final layout, it follows my above version, but well brings not only more clarity, detail.. and well the whole thing is just a million times better than I was coming up with at that'd probably have taken 3-5 days to finally have ended up with something akin to what Chris did! I'm just talking same ball-park too, not actually anywhere better.

The first illustration at this top of the post was the final printed version for everyone to compare and contrast Chris's final with my meagre efforts.. it's on jobs like that I scratch my head and am in awe of some of the designers and Art Directors I work with.

I'd like to think that the final is a real 50/50 creation between myself and Chris... and I actually really love the finished piece, but I think it'd be fair to say Chris should take all the credit for actually making it work as a whole.

1 comment:

  1. Great to finally meet you tonight, Bill! I have 'tweeted' this and posted on Facebook – oh no! Have a good journey, Em x