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Entries in Illustration (17)

Thursday
Oct212010

Meeting Steward Sketchnote Illustration

The Basics of Meeting Stewardship Illustrsation

Today I received a nice surprise: a copy of Associations Now magazine in the mail with my latest sketchnote illustration appearing on page 57.

In September I was commissioned by the magazine to create an illustration to complement an article by Jeff Hurt on the basics and benefits of bringing a meeting steward for meeting planning.

In 2009 I was hired to illustrate a cover and feature story on Visual Thinking. The Associations Now staff and their readers loved the sketchnote style, so when I had a chance to create a follow-up piece, it made sense to follow a winning formula.

I was given the space of a single magazine page for my art — either the top of two pages for a horizontal piece or a single full page for a more vertical piece.

Concept Sketches

First I did some pencil sketching to figure out elements I wanted to use and to figure out the best format — either horizontal or vertical.

In the sketch below you'll see I began playing with elements from the article text in a horizontal format. I really liked the feel but was feeling that I would need too much space vertically, even in a horizontal format to make the flow work right.

Meeting Steward Concept Sketch - Wide

Since I liked the detail of this sketch, I drew up another concept to work out how the same elements would look on a single page, in a vertical format:

Meeting Steward Concept Sketch - Full Page

This seemed to work better from a flow perspective as you can see on the right page as I mapped out how generally the eye should be drawn across the illustration.

Inking

Once I had the direction, I started by laying down light pencil shapes on paper at actual size and then inked in elements of the piece. After the ink dried, I erased the underlying pencil and scanned in the art to modify for production in Photoshop.

I wanted to add a little color to the piece, though I really liked the cream and black look I've developed for my sketchnote art. I decided to add warm red highlights specifically to the arrows, as a way to draw the reader's eyes through flow of the conference imagery.

The Basics of Meeting Stewardship Illustrsation

Final art was sent to Associations Now and worked great for the article. As a side benefit, the art director was able to reuse arrow art for feature quotes on the following pages to carry the theme all the way through the article.

You can read the online version of the article at Associations Now magazine.

Friday
Sep032010

Creating REWORK Slides on the Road

It was Friday, and I'd just arrived in Austin, Texas for SXSW 2010 Interactive festival.

I was enjoying the vibe, warm spring weather and seeing old friends, when I received an email from David Heinemeier Hansson of 37signals.

David was preparing a deck of slides for his talk 'Why You're Not Done Yet' set for Sunday at 11am, when he realized he could really use several new pieces of art for the presentation.

He asked if I'd be willing to knock out 3 illustrations and I said yes. Of course, I'd decided to leave my Canon flatbed scanner at home.

How in the world would I get 3 new illustrations into the 37signals Photoshop slide document?

Solving the Drawings First

First things first. I had to solve the drawing challenge before I could focus any energy on making them into slides.

David provided good descriptions of what he needed for the slides, so I started there.

Here are the 3 slides I needed to create artwork for:

1. Giving up is good
2. Restate the problem
3. You can always do less

I grabbed my Moleskine and started thinking on paper. Here are my solutions:

1. Giving up is good

On this slide, my first thought was to use typography. While sketching out the type for GIVE UP! a white flag popped in my head as a perfect, universal metaphor for giving up on something. I added it above the words:

One down.

2. Restate the problem

For this one, I thought of simple ways to get this idea across. What about (A) the words RE-STATE and PROBLEM stacked with arrows pointing to each other?

Too complex. Then I flipped the word PROBLEM backward and stacked another PROBLEM word going the right direction below (B) — simple and effective:

Two down.

3. You can always do less

The last slide graphic took a little more pondering. After letting it brew a while, an idea came to me related to resizing objects in design software.

What about the word LESS in the lower left corner of a rectangle with an arrow pointing from the upper right corner back at LESS? Yep, perfect:

The third and final piece down and out.

I sent iPhone photos of the sketches to David and he loved all 3 ideas.

Solving the Scanner Problem

But how would I get these 3 ideas from my Moleskine onto my MacBook and into the master Photoshop slide document?

That's when I thought — why not use my iPhone's camera?

I found good natural lighting and shot photos of the 3 sketches as close-up and straight-on as possible. Photos were synced to my MacBook and into iPhoto.

The iPhone's camera quality was just fine.

In Photoshop, I played with levels, contrast, brightness and sharpening to get the art to the same quality as the rest of David's presentation images, to match the scanned REWORK illustrations he was already using.

Slides Done. Ready to Rock

When the slides were done, I sent David a set of PNGs for his presentation:

David was pleased with the new art and the Saturday afternoon delivery.

Mission Accomplished

On stage Sunday morning, David's slides looked great. I loved solving the challenge creatively and technically with the limited tools I had on the road.

Next time you find yourself faced with a challenge and what seem like limited tools, revise your assumptions. Think creatively about how you can embrace limitations and use what you have to solve the problem.

Friday
Mar262010

REWORK Artwork on ABC News

On Wednesday the 24th, my REWORK illustrations appeared on ABC News with host Tory Johnson on Job Club. In the segment below, Tory interviews the authors, Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson about themes in the book:

REWORK has also become a New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestseller in a little over 2 weeks after release.

It's very exciting to see the book really taking off, especially having been part of the team that made REWORK happen.

Related Links
'Long Lists Don't Get Done' - ABC News
Authors of 'Rework' Answer E-mails - ABC News
Order REWORK at Amazon

Wednesday
Mar242010

Illustrating REWORK (Part 2 of 2)

A few weeks ago, my guest article Illustrating REWORK (Part 1 of 2) appeared on the 37signals blog, Signal vs Noise. In that article I shared how Jason Fried and I worked together to create illustration ideas for the business book, REWORK.

Today, Illustrating REWORK (Part 2 of 2) appeared on Signal vs. Noise, to complete the story. In part 2 of the guest article, I reveal my process for translating pencil sketch concepts described in part 1, into final artwork ready for print production.

Here's an excerpt from part 2:

Inking

Using batches of approved pencil sketches, I began inking illustrations for the book. Batching was important for inking the illustrations, as I could get into a groove and knock out multiple pieces at a time. It also provided a consistency of style, important with such a large group of closely related illustrations.

When I live-sketchnote an event, I listen to a speaker and capture ideas in real-time, using only a gel pen and a Moleskine pocket sketchbook. On the REWORK project I had the luxury and flexibility of taking a more methodical approach to the final illustrations for the book.

Chances were high that I’d see late, last-minute changes in the publishing process and I wanted the ability to make those changes quickly. Rather than inking each illustration as a complete unit, I inked multiple elements separately which were scanned and stitched together in a layered Photoshop document.

First, I created a variety of separate elements on a single spread for multiple illustrations, then used the elements which worked best after scanning the entire page into Photoshop. –Photo by Brian Artka.

Here’s a photo of the final illustration, printed in REWORK. This photo shows how various elements were scanned and stitched together in Photoshop to create a single, unified illustration. –Photo by Brian Artka.

Read: Illustrating REWORK (Part 1 of 2) and Illustrating REWORK (Part 2 of 2)

A big thank you to Brian Artka for shooting my sketchbooks for both of the articles, and Gabe Wollenburg for proofreading and editing tips on the pieces.

Listen to the Podcast

Listen to the 37signals Podcast No. 9. At 28:43 into the podcast, Jason Fried, David Heinemeier Hansson and Matt Linderman talk about why they hired me for the illustrations and their perspective on the illustration process. Here's the MP3 file.

Review 5 Chapters

Check out Scribd to read 5 chapters of the book, including my illustrations.

Buy REWORK!

I'm very excited now that REWORK has been released. It became a New York Times and Wall Street Journal Bestseller only a week after release! If you pick up a copy, please leave a comment here about the illustrations.

Order REWORK at Amazon

Saturday
Mar062010

Illustrating REWORK (Part 1 of 2)

I'm thrilled to share with you an opportunity I've had to write a guest post for the 37signals company blog, Signal vs Noise.

Jason Fried of 37signals invited me to write the post Illustrating REWORK about the process of illustrating their new business book, REWORK.

I went into detail about how we started the book illustration process, worked with Crown Publishing, generated illustration concepts and prepared pencil sketches for review, approval and final production.

Here's an excerpt from the article:

Pencils vs. Inking
Initially I’d planned on inking each illustration in a Moleskine sketchbook, making the reviewable artwork as close to final artwork as possible. But after thinking about what would best suit the review and feedback process, I decided it would be smart to review uninked pencil sketches instead.


Pencil concept sketch for “Everyone on the Front Lines”. –Photo by Brian Artka

This proved to be a time-saving decision. Had I inked pieces as near-final art, I would have lost time re-inking multiple illustrations to accommodate changes.

Because I invested up-front time in solving the illustrations as pencils, I only had to ink once before moving to Photoshop for final artwork.

Writing Part 1 of 2 was great fun to do, because I've learned over the years here that people are fascinated by the design process. You can also read Illustrating REWORK (Part 2 of 2) for the full story.

Many thanks to Brian Artka for shooting my sketchbooks for the articles, and to Gabe Wollenburg for proofreading and editing tips on the pieces.

Listen to the Podcast

You can also listen to the latest 37signals Podcast. At 28:43 into the podcast, Jason Fried, David Heinemeier Hansson and Matt Linderman talk about why they hired me for the illustrations and their perspective on the illustration process. Here's the MP3 file.

Review 5 Chapters

Check out Scribd to read 5 chapters of the book, including my illustrations.

Buy REWORK!

I'm very excited now that REWORK has been released. It became a New York Times and Wall Street Journal Bestseller only a week after release! If you pick up a copy, please leave a comment here about the illustrations.

Order REWORK at Amazon