…as my former brother-in-law Bobby used to say “It’s like being nibbled to death by a duck”
I am referring of course to the protracted production process involved in getting Midnight Son into print. Subtitled “Growing up in 1960’s Alaska” the book will include edited/expanded posts from this blog along with new material such as maps, illustrations and bonus text that will see print for the first time in this volume.
At this point I find it had to keep from hopping up and down on one foot or rubbing my hands together in glee – It’s taken more time and a LOT more work than I had anticipated (hence the opening quote) but the initial print run through Kickstarter will go live by September 1st so keep an eye out for the official announcements.
You also need to know if you want an autographed print copy of the book you’ll need to jump on the initial Kickstarter campaign. I hate those “limited time only // not sold in stores” advertising slams as much as you do but unfortunately I’m working against some very real physical limitations.
If truth-in-advertising laws applied to higher education only twelve of the thirty-six months I spent earning my Master of Fine Arts degree would judged as being worth the tuition I paid – oh, I was busy all the time and made great strides in my work but that success was due primarily to faculty members from other departments, visiting professors and my own hustle. The regular tenured faculty members I had to interact with on a regular basis were less than effective – one professor in particular took great pride in scheduling office hours for the most inconvenient times possible in order to (and I quote) ” avoid being bothered with those pesky students!”
….however there was one time when she actually did come up with a decent idea when she tasked the members of the graduate seminar to create a autobiographical allegory of our lives in a design motif. I came up with a pretty nifty solution to the assignment and while I don’t have an image immediately available I have a copy of one of the components on hand.
Make that “partial image”.
I’m still trying to get used to this new printer/scanner and I was able to get only a portion of self-portrait time-line from that 1991 project. Hopefully I will quickly get that issue resolved and find a place that still can make a print from a 35mm slide.
…so why am I going to all this trouble? A couple of months ago I wrote that in the wake of not having my contract renewed at the college I was considering conducting workshops just as I did after leaving Nossi College of Art in 2010. I am considering a year-long series of on-line sessions documenting the creation of another allegorical artist autobiography, starting with the initial research and ideation through the construction and display of the final project. As I know just a smidgeon about the way media works on WordPress and even less about Patreon the project won’t be starting for a while yet – but I think it’s going to be fun.
I look forward to your comments and concepts!
This cut-paper sculpture figures prominently in a post I wrote a couple of years that was entitled 2003: Have You Ever Heard of an Artist Named David Deitrick.
(You’ll find information about the BEYOND INFINITY – the book it illustrated)
While rooting through old files today I found the preliminary sketch and I thought it would be kind of cool to show the two versions side-by-side. For both personal and professional reasons I’ve always put a lot of effort into my sketches- creating the final art is made much easier and it’s harder for clients to complain if the sketch they approved beforehand is meticulously followed.
One of the first publishers I encountered when stumbling into gaming in 1977 was Fantasy Games Unlimited. As an ardent H.Beam Piper // Lord Kalvan of Otherwhen fan I was delighted to score a copy of ‘Down Styphon!” in a Seattle bookstore and proceeded to read the covers off the book as we alternately drove up then down the Alaskan Highway that summer…so when I started freelancing full-time FGU was one of the first clients I pursued, even when publisher Scott Bizar apologized about the low rates he had to pay.
I ended up doing two jobs for him in 1986, the titles of which I have completely forgotten. The first was a book full of man-to-man combat rules that could be adjusted for various time periods and tech levels and this drawing was a preliminary sketch for a group of secondary characters that would end up about 1/3 the way up from the bottom of the cover. Unfortunately the original is long-gone as is the right half of this pencil drawing, which included a mail-clad Norman knight swinging in the same arc as the others.
I’ve loved the idea of sequential photos/images showing closely spaces stages of action. I first encountered the concept in the opening credits for the fourth series of The Avengers, also known as the first season featuring Dame Diana Rigg as Mrs. Emma Peel and the last season to be shot in black & white.
( A clip of those credits is at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2V–6WPKFtk )
In the rush to embrace digital rendering techniques the illustration industry discarded some pretty cool methods and mediums. This portrait of a Wrath of Khan/Undiscovered Country era Captain Sulu was made using Radiograph pens and Kraft-tint paper, both of which have fallen into disuse. You might find the pens but the paper hasn’t been sold or even manufactured for about ten years.
Kraft-tint was the favorite of editorial cartoonists the world over for its ability to capture subtle half-tone shades. The paper was actually printed with two sets of invisible half-tone lines and was sold with two types of developer:
- Brush on developer “A” and one set of half-tone lines would appear, giving you about a 20% shade
- Brush on developer “B” and the other set of lines would appear giving you a 40-50% half-tone shade
The only draw-back was price – which I don’t remember other than it was steep for a freelancer just starting out. Looking back I would have pawned something to lay in a supply but the adage “Hindsight is 20/20 vision” is as true with illustrators as anyone else.
…and yes, this image is not “square” to the format. The original disappeared long ago and I suspect this copy wasn’t cropped correctly.
I first met Lance Nelson – albeit in passing – at an LDS youth conference held in 1968 in Anchorage Alaska. Three years later we were classmates at the University of Alaska (Fairbanks); six years after that we were classmates at BYU with wives bearing similar names (Laura/Lori) and soon after children of very similar ages. Lance is one of the few people that can call me Dave with any authority and has proven to be a solid friend in every way.
…which means his kids are like niece/nephew to me. Recently his son Taylor found a wife of his own and I drew this picture of the Marvel hero NOVA for them as a wedding present. I’m not completely up to speed on either current Marvel comics or the Marvel Cinematic Universe so I worked up a version of the Nova Corps uniform from a dozen years ago.
Technical notes: Designer’s markers, colored pencils and gouache on paper mounted on presentation board. The inset graphic design motif was cut from a piece of marbleized paper I made and attached with Series 77 spray adhesive.
This illustration may have been the first assignment I received from the Anchorage advertising firm Murray, Bradley and Rocky. After I ran the ARCO illustration on the 22nd I got to thinking, which got me to rooting around what tear-sheets and records I still have from that time – and this is what I came up with. I know that I did it in late 1980 but so much was going at the time I can’t be sure which one happened first
…and my records are so spotty. For years I kept meticulous records, hauling at least two (and sometimes more) full file cabinets everywhere we went but after thirty-nine years and seven moves I’ve lost a lot of stuff. It’s the kind of illustration you’d see now only in a specialty publication or used to establish a nostalgic theme and would now be done in Photoshop or purchased from one of the numerous photo houses that flood the Internet.
It’s also of a time before internet commerce lead to the proliferation of ‘dead malls”. While Northway Mall was headed in that direction long before the rise of the Internet, when this advertisement first ran it was the one nicest shopping centers in Anchorage, anchored at each end and the middle with major retailers like Safeway and Pay-n-Save.
…though we were more interested in the Waldenbooks, gaming arcade and Art’s Video Mart stores where a good portion of my lieutenant’s pay was squandered on the 1st and 15th of every month….
In late 1974 vocalist Mac Davis did a cover of the Kevin Johnson tune “Rock and Roll I Gave You All the Best Years of My Life” . It was a catchy but bittersweet tune about unrequited love, not for a person but for a music genre and career field. I’ve always felt the message to be valid in my own creative career as I was drawn to fannish subjects and clients but rarely got the recognition or success I could get in other fields.
This brochure cover is a case in point: I produced it at about the same time as I was painting a cover for a role-playing game company, but while this piece earned me a sizeable chunk of cash and a BONNIE (Best of the North//ADDY award) the cover paid a much smaller chunk and was barely acknowledged.
While I was heavily involved with Space:1889 the bulk of my work involved conceptual design rather than cover paintings, so when I did get a cover it was a real treat. One bit of trivia – I used myself as a model for the erstwhile Naval Landing Brigade lieutenant, which was kind of neat as at the time I was serving in the U.S.Navy Reserve as a Restricted Line (Intelligence) officer….with the rank of lieutenant!
Technical notes: Acrylic on 16″X24″ Masonite panel. It was my first cover painting rendered without the use of an airbrush. It was pretty much a Christmas vacation produced in Sterling over the late December ’88 /early January ’89 time frame and shown at BOSKONE a month or two before print.
As an ardent Gerry Anderson fan I had to wince a bit at the use of ‘Space: 1889” as a title for the game series – I was never sure what the intent was in the play off the title of Sir Gerry’s Space: 1999 program.