Monday, April 17, 2006

Modular illustration



Today, one of my illustrations ran on the front page of my hometown newspaper — my full-time gig. By now, creating illustrations are no big deal — that’s what I do. But this one proved to be somewhat…special.

My assignment was simple: create an illustration/infographic that included a road with obstacles symbolizing the road legislators might encounter on their way to tax reform. Now, remember, the first love of my career is illustration for kids. The second love of my career is illustration for kids product licensing. So, illustrations to symbolize tax reform ranks down there with sweeping floors or cleaning toilets. Well, not really, but you get my meaning.

This assignment was really no different than others in terms of deadline and content. At least it started off that way. Because of it’s physically large size, I assumed — as did everyone involved — it would run somewhere deep inside the paper. So, you can imagine my shock when I learned it was running on the cover! Illustrations traditionally don’t run on the covers of newspapers, particularly dang-near full-page illustrations. Those are saved for Features fronts and occasionally Business or Sports. Problem is, once an illustration is bumped to the front of the newspaper, everyone involved is suddenly freaked out — you gotta make everyone look good, or everyone’s heads are gonna roll. And that ain’t no fun.

Since I wasn’t working the weekend shift, and the illustration was running on Monday, and I ddin’t want to get called in to work, I had to create sort of a modular illustration — you know, create individual illustrated pieces, plus a background which a designer could use to create their own thing. That’s kinda scary ‘cause my byline would be front and center no matter what the outcome.

As a writer, could you imagine choosing a select grouping of words and phrases, in which to give to me, that I might use to write a story — with your byline?!

But, all turned out fine, the front page looked nice.

*Note, the little vulture icon I created to represent lawyers was omitted in favor of a scale of justice, which is good. I have some law friends whom I hold in the highest esteem, so that would not have been fair.

7 comments:

San Nakji said...

That's awesome. You must be so proud. It is great to be able to live your dream, I am envious!

Miss P AKA Her Royal Cliqueness said...

Looks really nice. What a thrill to have your two worlds collide in a nice way.

Now, not to start trouble - b/c I'm really just curious... when illustrating for work, knowing the reader of the paper you work for, was it assumed when you got the assignment that the illustration would depict a certain race?

rindawriter said...

Okay, okay, okay, Don....you asked for this idea!....A story challenge! (We do quilt challenges in quilt guild, and they are FUN! People come up with such different ideas for the same fabric. This year the fabric is awful--makes it a real challenge.)

Only since you are working so hard on art...how about you get the break and be the challenger and challenge us all out here in blogland? You throw out some words and very short two or three word phrases on a blog? Say about five and challenge folks to make a 500 word picture book text out using all of the words/phrases you chose? If you do it, I'll take the challenge....

rindawriter said...

P.S. LOVE the front-page picture! Congratulations!

Don Tate II said...

Rinda, I like the idea, but don't think enough people read this blog to do a challenge. I need some more quilters to run up my traffic.

rindamybyers said...

I'll try to find some, Don, but I'm afraid most of the quilters I know just QUILT! Unfortunately...but people must be reading your blog even if they don't comment? I don't keep track of traffic on mine...don't know how to do it...but am ready to take on a challenge from you any time.

paula said...

Wow, Don! I think your paper gig would be an awesome place to work. But that's just me. I'm not partial to drawing for children, I just like to draw for whatever. It's all a challenge to me. Anyway, I think your huge illo turned out great! Congrats on the front page coverage!

PS: rindawriters idea of a book challenge sounds quite ambitious to me. I mean, it's a neat idea, but I know that if I were to participate, it would take me a lot more time to pull off than I could give. But perhaps I'm wrong and it could be considered a quick exercise. Hmmmmm....