Thursday, March 31, 2011

The DINING & ENTERTAINMENT Magazine Logo & Planning With Thumbnails

When I found the Family Values logo sketches I also found thumbnails for the other magazine I had to edit/design called Dining & Entertainment Magazine. These thumbnails I did after I had designed the final logo and then had to work up some designs for a letterhead and business card. The two sketches on the second piece of scrap paper were for interior story layouts as I wanted to get an idea of how the text, headers, pull quotes and pictures would look as a whole. Even from these simply sketches you can get a clear idea of what I was going for at the time though they would change over the years I did them.

Here is the black and white version of the logo (for letterheads) and then the color version...

I added the color bar behind it to make it pop more as we always kept the text white as it always popped more as white than as another color. The color bar color itself was changed though every month depending on what we were doing. Below is one of my favorite covers I did and it was jam-packed with a lots of interviews that I did for that month, which was great since I really got to play with the design and layout of each interview as well as the cover. I try to give my covers room to breathe as well. Some magazines jam way too much text onto them and it makes them harder to 'read' at a certain distance.

BONUS: Here's a mock up cover with the super rare logo that only last two issues before we changed it. This was the second issue I worked on and this was the last time we used this logo. It was actually the first logo that I designed though and I really liked it as it had some tooth to it and looked like a steel-cut piece of metal and it had some energy to it. I went this way as originally we were shooting for a young and hip demo but that would change. Maxim was hot at the time and a lot of publications were trying to mimic the look. I got the idea from watching old episodes of Dragnet 1967 where after the credits ran at the end of the show there was a hand that came down and pounded out the Mark VII or something in the steel with a hammer. It stuck with me and so I thought a steel look would work well. 

Looking at it again after all this time, it's hard for me to call it a failure though. While everyone in the office liked it, it became somewhat of a designer's nightmare for me as it limited me in terms of the space I had to layout a cover. I had to run the photo flush left all the time to make it work and most press release photos simply weren't shot with enough bleed and it would have been a hassle each month to have to separate the person from the background and put a new background behind them that would fit. It was easier to simply run the logo straight across the top and then have a full square below it in which to play within. As the cover above shows, even by moving the logo down a 1/3 I still had some decent ratios to play within.

Hope you found this post interesting!

FAMILY VALUES Magazine Logo - Original Concept Sketches Found!

While cleaning out the studio I found my original layout sketches for the Family Values magazine logo that I created back in 2002 when I was hired to be editor/designer. The publisher had wanted to come up with something new for a look and he wanted a new logo as well. Above are the sketches I did with a ballpoint pen on some scrap paper. I did some other designs as well (but this one struck me as working well with the area that it would have to occupy on the cover and I liked it best) and then played with this one to get it to the next level.
Here's the final logo that I did in Illustrator as I wanted it to be vector art in case they ever wanted to make it bigger for something like a banner. I used these colors for the first two issues as they complimented the photos and text but then I would change out the colors to compliment the overall color theory or even to celebrate a certain holiday or seasonal theme. It also works well as a black and white image and could be easily converted if need be. I usually always design a logo with the idea that it must work in black and white first. Scott's Rule: If it works in black and white, it will work in color.

Here's a November cover for Thanksgiving where I changed it up so you have an idea of how it looked. The month before I changed it to black and orange for Halloween and it popped really well off the cover. It was kind of cool to find those original sketches still laying around here. Usually I don't save that stuff as thumbnails are mostly for the artist as a guide, but I have been saving more of it lately as scans just so I have them.

Friday, March 25, 2011

A Piece Of Digital Notebook Paper... Who'da Thunk It?!

Here's an interesting thing I found on my hard drive that I created back in 2003...a blank piece of notebook paper. Seems weird that you'd have to create something like that but I was doing a cover and art spread for Family Values Magazine for an article about safe schools for the August issue and I needed to create some props for the cover and for the main story interior spread where text would lay on top of it to give it a school time feeling. So I created a digital composition book cover since I didn't have one to scan and then I scanned some actual pens, pencils, erasers, and a ruler I had lying here so that I could use them in my design. I could have created those digitally but it would have taken time that I just didn't have. I remember scanning a piece of actual notebook paper and finding that it just didn't 'hold up' for actual use as the blue lines were so light and washed out. Even trying to save time and play with the levels in Photoshop was a waste of time so I created a sheet of digital notebook paper using the scanned page a guide. I kept the holes black for this look but I can pop those out and you'd be able to see through them if this page was laying on a table as you can see below from the final printed art.

This was some of my best design work at the time and somehow it really came together during the rush of the deadline to get it done. This is the two-page spread as I just wanted to give you an idea of how it was actually used. Even the wood table was digitally created as well. I haven't had a chance to use the notebook paper for anything else since though but I have the file so I have it in case I do. It might look good as a backdrop for some sketches as well to create a sketchbook feel. Anyway, I hope you all like this mini 'behind the scenes' process post!


Hello all! I haven't been slacking here in the studio, just slacking on posting stuff. I've been doing quite a few backgrounds of late and making some new brushes in Photoshop to paint with. I would post some of the new backgrounds I've done but I'm afraid after I post it and then possibly use it a few months later, some would call me a hack or something. Haha. With most of them I can tweak to make them work for other stuff or situations but it's nice to have the work already built and up and running.

Here's a painting I did in an hour yesterday playing around. I call it Hell Planet. The main work was doing the planet as a star field and cosmos took about 2 minutes to create (literally if you know how to do it) in Photoshop and from there I decided to make it a planet that was on fire and possibly burning itself out from the inside. Came out pretty cool as a concept piece. Hope you all like!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Creepy Cave Of Mystery!

Here's a new background I painted this week for fun where I tried to play with the environmental elements a bit more to create a sense of mystery while having a touch of realism to ground it. I like doing caves (and other outdoor scenes) as they're organic and easier to paint than doing a city which is built with exact lines and perspective. These have perspective as well, it's just looser in terms of depth as I like to work with foreground, middle ground and background. The cave hole in the center is a separate piece so I could pop it out and put another background there if I wanted it to have more depth. Like if I added a city scene in the hole to show we were nearing the cave entrance. I do like the color theory for it and it has a nice warm feeling to it. Kind of like autumn fall season in mid October as the leaves are falling off the trees.

Some House Drawings...

After I finished cleaning up Scooby, I had to do two house drawings for someone and I took a pic as I was doing some final touch ups. The people I did them for had moved around quite a bit due to work and had around 8 houses total over the 15 years that I've done these for them. Since I draw differently in many respects now, I had to pull copies of the older house drawings I did like ten years ago and try to go back and match the style so that they would all look like they would fit on a wall together in unison.

Cleaning Up Some SCOOBY...

Pic of me slapping some Pro White over some recent comic pages so I could then scan them and do less digital fixing.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Back In The SPRINGFIELD PRESS For My St. Eugene's Elementary School Appearance!

Just got the new edition of the Springfield Press in the mail today and saw my pic from my second appearance at St. Eugene's school so I thought I'd post it here. I posted other pics for it in a previous post.