| Forgot Password?

Illustration

The Challenge: Draw a Letter a Day

Posted by Rebecca Blake on October 28, 2013

Draw a Letter a Day, © The Weekend Lab

 

Need a quick creative break (and coffee just won’t do it)? The Weekend Lab is hosting a fun project, Draw a Letter a Day. Visitors to the site are invited to draw a designated letter on screen, download it to their computers, and submit it to either The Weekend Lab’s tumblr page or tweet it to @TheWeekendLab. The project’s tmblr page shows a charming range of letter ideas, from a stick-figure A to a Dino-the-dinosaur D. Since the letters are drawn on screen, each has a wonderful hand-drawn quality.

The project was designed by Savannah College of Art and Design graduate Andrew Herzog, and has already appeared on Best CSS. If you’re interested in participating, dive in soon. The project launched on October 23 and, with one letter appearing per day, is due to complete by November 17. As of Monday, October 28, they were already up to the letter F.

Images © The Weekend Lab.

CARE for Sandy, One Year Out

Posted by Rebecca Blake on October 25, 2013

Care for Sandy before & afterOn the first anniversary of Hurricane Sandy, it's fitting to revisit one of our favorite charities — one which creatives with good Photoshop skills can assist. CARE for Sandy (Cherished Albums Restoration Effort) was started by creative director Lee Kelly in response to a web post about a wedding photo which washed ashore after the hurricane devastated Staten Island. While tracking down the photo's owner and offering her restoration services, Kelly realized she could tap into her network of colleagues to organize assistance for other owners of damaged photos. On November 10 — 11 days after the hurricane slammed the metro-New York City area — CARE for Sandy was launched.

In the year since then, the organization has conducted numerous scanning events in Queens, Staten Island, Long Island, New Jersey, and Brooklyn, accruing a backlog of thousands of photos in need of repair. Over 550 volunteers have contributed their services so far, removing spots, grime, and scratches, repairing heavy water damage, and even rebuilding entire areas of the photos that have flaked or torn off. To date, over 1,100 photos have been adopted for restoration by volunteers. While CARE is not at the moment running scanning events, families or individuals can submit scanned photos to the organization by following their submission guidelines.

The CARE for Sandy website offers numerous resources for potential restorers or those with damaged photos. Amateur restorers intent on building their skills should visit the website's Restoration Toolbox. It features a number of how-to videos on clone and heal tools, color correction for restoration, and masking tips, as well as guidelines on avoiding painted or noticeably artificial results. For those with photos that are  stuck to their frames, or have become "photo bricks" – photos that are stuck to each other once dried, or maybe even still moist, creating a solid “brick” of photos — the website has posted Salvaging Tips.

Moving forward, CARE for Sandy faces significant challenges. One is finding restorers with advanced retouching skills; as the website’s before and after gallery demonstrates, many of the photos require restoration skills which verge on the magical. Another obstacle is the abandonment of restoration projects (often with no communication) by volunteers who either become too busy or realize that their projects are too advanced for their skill set.

As an incentive to lure volunteers, the build-your-own-website company (and Kelly's webhost) virb has extended a discount of 50% for three months to CARE for Sandy volunteers. An additional incentive is a commemorative exhibition being planned for as early as this Spring, which will showcase the volunteers’ retouching skills. (CARE has received an impressive amount of press coverage – yet another perk for volunteers.)

While CARE has about 150 active volunteers at any one time, they are actively looking for more assistance from qualified individuals. Individuals interested in assisting can register online. For those wanting to see a sample of the kind of restoration work which is required, the website has posted ten “Adopt Me” galleries categorized by priority and skill level.. Kelly can also use help for a number of activities beyond photo restoration, from printing and framing photos for families, to creating content for CARE's news blog and contacting photo recipients. After countless hours of running CARE for Sandy, Kelly could also use a bit of personal assistance. As an experienced freelance creative director, she's always looking for paid work herself. After all, someone needs to pay the bills.

Above and below: some samples for CARE for Sandy photo restorations. Images © CARE for Sandy.

Adobe Reports Cyber Attack Breached Information for 2.9 Million Customers

Posted by Rebecca Blake on October 04, 2013

On October 3, Adobe reported that cyber attacks enabled attackers to download the customer data of about 2.9 million customers, including customer names, encrypted credit or debit card numbers, and expiration dates. Adobe does not believe that decrypted credit or debit card information was removed from the Adobe systems.

The attacks also permitted the removal of source code information on Adobe products, including Adobe Acrobat, ColdFusion, and ColdFusion Builder. While Adobe isn't aware of any "zero-day exploits" targeting Adobe products, they recommend the use of only supported versions of the software.

Adobe is resetting the passwords of affected customers, and has sent an email notification to those users with instructions on changing passwords and Adobe IDs. Adobe is also contacting customers whose credit or debit card information may have been compromised, and has notified banks processing Adobe customer payments. Federal law enforcement has also been contacted by Adobe.

Adobe has posted a security announcement on their website, as well as a blog post on the illegal access to their source code.

Copyright Office Closed for Government Shutdown

Posted by Rebecca Blake on October 02, 2013

Because of the Government shutdown, the Copyright Office is closed as of October 1st, 2013. While you can continue to use the online electronic copyright registration system, your copyright registrations will not be processed until the Office reopens. We'll keep you posted on when that happens.

Road Trip! The Journey Behind the Cover Art for the Handbook’s 14th Edition

Posted by Rebecca Blake on September 25, 2013

So what do Mr. Dill, a burnt draft card, a hula  doll, and a wooden nickel have to do with pricing guidelines? These are some of the characters making an appearance in José Cruz’s cover art for the 14th edition of The Graphic Artists Guild Handbook: Pricing & Ethical Guidelines. Depicting the view from the driver’s seat on a long road journey, his illustration is an exhuberant, I-Spy mélange of detail. Look closely; the cover tells a tale.

Right click onto the cover image to pull up a large version. © Jose Cruz

Cover art Graphic Artists Guild Handbook: Pricing & Ethical Guidelines, 14th edition © Jose Cruz

Cruz had long been familiar with the Guild’s Handbook, having used it when he started his freelance design career in 1977. He was recommended by Michael Doret to create the latest cover art. (Doret is the husband of Laura Lynn Smith, the illustrator of the 13th edition, and is the designer of the Graphic Artists Guild’s logo.) Inspired by two of Cruz’s published works – “Mars vs. Earth” (Workman Publishing), and the serial illustration, “13 Bullets for Sam Spade” -- the Handbook’s art director, Sara Love, suggested a roadtrip as a concept for the cover art. The concept is apropos for the Handbook, implying that the book functions as a road map for planning a successful creative career.

Below: An early sketch for the cover art. © Jose Cruz

early sketch for the cover art, © Jose Cruz

The resulting artwork tells the story of a long, adventurous cross country road trip. Clues to the identity of the driver (Joseph Cross, Cruz’s alter ego), time period, and location stud the illustration. A partially burnt draft card, with a registration date of 1964, places him squarely in the 1960s. The arrow-straight highway, with mountains looming in the distance and coyotes lurking at the side of the road, put the car in the southwest. A baseball card for a Yonkers player tells of the driver’s New York City origins, while the Bay State engraving on the car key, tickets from the Indiana State Fair, and trolley tokens from San Francisco hint at the driver’s circuitous route west. The journey is portrayed in the placement of the artwork, with the front cover depicting where the driver is going, and the back cover is the view through the side window, showing where  he’s been. The glowing sky appearing over the horizon line hints at the unknown future.

Details from the cover art, © Jose CruzThe artwork also depicts the artist’s own creative journey. Homages to Cruz’s creative influences from his early career sprinkle the illustration. The fly perched on the steering wheel is a representation of an image by iconic album artist Charlie White III, one of Cruz’s first inspirations. A subtle reference to Milton Glaser, Seymour Chwast, and Pushpin Studios (hidden in a Gold Star trading stamp) acknowledges their support of at the start of his career. (Pushpin & Associates represented Cruz in the 1980s and Milton Glaser provided encouragement and exposure.) Even Cruz’s daughter Jo-X Rae and close friends, Daniel Pelavin and Michael Doret, make an appearance on the label of a 45 rpm record.

Cruz also skillfully places the Handbook and the Guild as central to the artist’s creative journey. The title of the book is framed in the steering wheel and dashboard, with the Guild logo functioning as a compass. (There’s also an homage to graphics software programs embedded in the steering wheel; familiar icons for pointers, cropping, and other tools appear to be engraved in the central column.) On the cover back, the description of the Handbook appears as the text on an actual roadmap.

The illustration is a showpiece for Cruz’s skill, and reflects his philosophy of “less is more and more is less, more or less.” His work ranges from the deceptively simple (such as his Simpletons), to the lushly complex. Working digitally permits him to construct layers of simple objects, creating  complex, rich images. For the Handbook illustration, Jose researched source materials extensively, so that the details (such as “atomic” paddle ball souvenir) fit with the 1960s timeframe. The artwork also reflects Cruz’s artistic influences: the art deco styling of Joseph Binder and A.M. Cassandre, the geometric artwork of graphic designer George Hardie, the designs of the English artists Bush Hollyhead and Mick Haggerty, the lushness of Charlie White III’s illustration, and the beautiful typography of Michael Doret and Daniel Pelavin.

A nationally recognized illustrator with an impressive list of clients, Jose attributes his success to a lot of hard work – entering illustration annuals, and hauling his portfolio from meeting after meeting with art directors. He received his early art education at the Dallas Skyline High School from Bud “Norton” Hemedinger, a former NASA employee who taught commercial art, and from his TCU teachers graphic designer Margie Adkins, and illustrator Don Ivan Punchatz. Cruz's first job was working for Punchatz at The Sketchpad Studio, a realistic fantasy-art shop. However, upon seeing the geometric artwork of George Hardie and Mick Haggerty, Cruz changed his style.

From that point, he began as a freelance illustrator, building in the 1980s and developing relationships with then prominent art directors such as Judy Garlan from The Atlantic, Fred Woodward from D Magazine and The Rolling Stone, Dan Lloyd Taylor from Money Magazine, Mitch Shostak at BusinessWeek, Milton Glaser, James Noel Smith from both the Dallas Morning News and the Times Herald, and Stan McCray from Houston City and Boston Magazine.

All images © Jose Cruz. www.x-factor-e.com/home.html

Previous Page   Next Page

How to Start your Very Own Communication Design Business!

Start Your Own Design Business - booklet cover - image

Digital Download

Enter your email address below to receive a FREE download of "Starting Your Own Communication Design Business" written by Lara Kisielewska. 

By signing up you will receive our monthly newsletter and occasional e-mails about our advocacy work. You will have the option to opt out at any time.

 

Guild Webinars

Webinar Banner image by Rebecca Blake

Looking to keep up with industry trends and techniques?

Taking your creative career to the next level means you need to be up on a myriad of topics. And as good as your art school education may have been, chances are there are gaps in your education. The Guild’s professional monthly webinar series, Webinar Wednesdays, can help take you to the next level.

Members can join the live webinars for FREE - as part of your benefits of membership! Non-members can join the live webinars for $45. 

Visit our webinar archive page, purchase the webinar of your choice for $35 and watch it any time that works for you.

 


Share

Follow Us