Wednesday, November 10, 2010

DENVER? I Barely even KNOW her!



Hey guys,

A couple of months back, I was approached by Dave McKenna, the design director at Denver's own 5280 Magazine.

Dave and I worked together a couple of years back, when he was at National Geographic Adventure, when we did this together.

He actually called me about this particular assignment a month in advance to starting, to secure my availability. This is one of the reasons Dave is such a good art director -- he picks people he thinks are right for the job, gives them as much time as possible, and tries to turn everything into an award-winning feature. Just below, you can see the spread that he worked up with my image.

Pictured here is my opening illustration for the magazine's feature about the dark and dirty underbelly of the outwardly wholesome city of Denver, Colorado. Edited by Luc Hatlestad, the piece examines several different subcultures of the city, through the metaphor of the "Seven Deadly Sins." In this image, I have represented greed, gluttony, sloth, and lust. Subsequent illustrations for the feature represent the other three.

Since teaching at Baltimore's MICA this semester, I've changed my process a bit to reflect the good habits that I'm trying to impart on my students. This piece reflects those lessons in my color composition more than anywhere else.

The most important thing on the technical side of making images is learning to take your time, and break the process down into little steps--starting with getting lots and lots of good photo reference materials, and breaking down your process into a straight-forward formula that will allow you to handle one design issue at a time.

For this job, I put together an animated .gif file showing chronologically my design process. It doesn't seem fast to work this way, but in the end, it will be far less of a headache, you'll achieve a better result, and may just end up saving time because of not having to figure everything out on the fly.

Thanks for reading,

Frank