1991: CATAlogue

CATalogue Folder

It wasn’t just the move from Alaska to Tennessee that brought about culture shock during the winter of 1990-91, it was also the collision of graphic design hipsterism with the more casual business world found in science fiction conventions. All of this playing against the backdrop of yet another artistic upheaval, namely the transition from physical hand tools like waxers and X-acto knives to the use of computers in the practice of graphic design itself.

It all felt I was trying to take just a little sip of water out of a fire hydrant but I had a family to support so I did my best to integrate new skills from the university with the solid skills I’d developed as a successful illustrator…and I had to do something: Though I’d been a full-time freelancer for a decade I was feeling real heat from new competition and figured that I needed to do a better job in promoting myself and my work.

My CATalogue project seemed to fit the bill by combining basic computer design work with rendering skills and a dash of humor to present my work in the best way possible, an approach that was made even better when marbleized paper to create hand-made book folders for presentation. Unfortunately to this day I am still trying to figure out just how effective the campaign really was. It was so labor-intensive that I only sent out two dozen books with mailings spread out over a six-week period and it was tough to make a connection between “who got a book” and “who sent work”. A few of the small press publishers in the science fiction market didn’t quite grasp what I was trying to do and returned the books, one with the damned-with-faint-praise remark that he liked the concept a lot more than he liked the art itself and it was twenty years before I tried promotions again with an equally ambitious campaign.

Thank You Kent Gardner

No – you’re not seeing things – the masthead illustration HAS gotten sharper and brighter, thanks to the efforts of my good friend Kent Gardner. Kent is a crackerjack designer from Vermont and he kindly took the time to clean up Emma and John for me. Gardner is also that rarest of commodities in the creative world: a designer who actually knows what he is talking about.

Design by Quigley….

2015-03-03 NSCC Art Club Poster 2

Computer-aided graphic design calls to mind the Tom Selleck movie “Quigley Down Under” . When asked several times why he didn’t pack a pistol in addition to his .45/70 Sharps rifle Quigley would just say “I don’t like them”.  At the end of the movie – after he out-draws the villain – he’s asked “But I thought you couldn’t use one?” to which Quigley replies ” I never said I couldn’t use them – I just said I didn’t like to use them.”

That’s how I feel about computers and graphic design. While I’d never want to go back to the days of manually creating a text-wrap I do prefer mixing  technical pens and  X-acto knives with a key-board…