illustration style


Alien on a beach. I have a background as an illustrator, but rarely get to bring that skill set to the IT table. Recently, though, I was added to a project that's already in process and I was told that part of my contribution would be illustration. A class is using a visual timeline of the evolution of our universe. Notable events along the timeline are represented by whimsical cartoons. My job, in part, is to create new cartoons of the same events. This illustration of the rains that covered Earth over the course of 40 million years is representative of my starting point. I needed to portray the same event, and in the process, develop a suitable style for this and other illustrations.

Alien on golf vacation. The layout seemed obvious; a title was needed as a serious grounding for the drawing-something to clarify and remove any ambiguity caused by the intended humor. Inside the cartoon's boundary, though, humor could take over. Aliens seemed like a given; and I kept the original's lead. As part of the science in the timeline, there were no life forms present at the time; talking rocks was a possibility, but a comment on some of the universals of golf was hard to pass up.

Close-up of moire.For the style of the rendering I wanted to experiment. Students must be accustomed to seeing clipped Larson cartoons in class Powerpoints. If the toon looked like it was clipped from a newspaper, moiré and all, it might have a professional aura. Or maybe a bit more credibility than something that looked obviously slapped together.

I created a set of four layers in Photoshop, and filled each with rows of dots. Each of the four layers was a separate color-cyan, magenta, yellow, and black. Each, also was rotated to match the standard plate rotation used by printers- 15°, 45°, 75°, and 90°. When I used different combinations and "printing order", I could get nice, "newspapery" color, even including the typical little rosettes that form.

A giant egg cell hooker and sperm on Harleys. I used multiple combinations of the black layer to simulate grayscale printing, too. After all, everything wouldn't come from the Sunday funnies... I have to say simulate because, even though the entire scheme is a simulation, within this simulated reality grayscale variation would come from different sized dots on the same grid. Though this would be possible, it seemed unnecessary for this particular use. It is all just experimental, and the moiré may be a failure. I hope to have the time to find out, and eventually to try more realistic grayscale simulation. Meanwhile, I need to make it all dragable, dropable, and scrollable in a Flash interface with AS3. Yeesh.

Penn State
April 18, Symposium 2009; reimagine.
New content. Symposium 2008.Digital Commons at Penn State. Improve the workplace; hire for variety.


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