Friday, March 27, 2009

My kingdom for some junk

I waffled on whether to post this or not, it seemed so obvious. Anyway, This cd cover is at the front of a row of my cds and I see it several times a day, seven days a week. When I first saw it, I thought, "That's fine if you have a huge illustration budget." I could visualize a bunch of guys in the photographer's studio building this thing over the span of a few days, then getting the light just right, taking a bunch of different angles and making it beautiful. About $10,000 worth of beautiful.

Then the other day, I looked at the base of the assemblage. It looks like a small cafe table base, and it occurred to me that most of the stuff was junk that even I could find around here for under $100.00. Put it together, clamp it to the table top, making sure it is balanced, prop up the Cello behind everything and shoot away. There is a lot of duct tape and non-audio stuff thrown in. It must have been fun creating this.

The upshot is that it is an idea I would have dismissed out of hand as too time consuming, too difficult (after all, where would I get a Cello to tear up), too "out there" to be worth the effort. Another example of defeating oneself before you get started. I would have ended up with some series of flat cut-outs, overlapping, wild colors, boring but effective. Or should I say that the other way 'round?

Even the photographer must have had some input about lighting, color and placing the highlights, dropoff, everything. The photography merges the layers with even lighting so you can put a real Cello up there and "suspend disbelief" when the camera flattens the assemblage. I think I could pull it off for under $2,500. If I were a student, my labor would be class/grade driven and I could probably drum up a garage in which to shoot it, maybe having to pay a studio for a cast-off seamless. Or I could build a real cove. Then turn it into a skateboard ramp when I am done.

Putting a little distance between the creative burst and the execution allows the idea to gestate a little before you get into logistics. Creative execution is necessary too, but the difficulty shouldn't stem the creative tide before it has time to crest.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Mana from Heaven

I look for unconventional sources of inspiration and this book falls into that category. Besides the rich colors and unfamiliar combinations, the way another culture portrays imagery is fascinating. And 140 pages of matchbook themes ranging from serous religious images to daffy illustrations of common situations is a lot of stimulation. I know, you're now thinking, "Stimulation? Thompson get a life!"

This is my life.

The top picture is the cover (enlarged, the box is roughly 2 x 3 inches) of one of two boxes of matches that turned up in my brother-in-law's golf bag. He bought it at a thrift store and it came complete with an empty pint booze bottle, some rolling papers, a little golf towel and these matches. Go figure. Endless possibilities.

The book is compiled by Warren Dotz, published by Ten Speed Press. Measures 8.5 x 5 inches and is softcover with a hard slipcase. $16.95 as of this post. Look for it used on Amazon, or better yet,

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Somebody else's site, but useful and entertaining

Eric's site in

Although he posts about as much as I do, he finds a lot of valuable, quality design material both in samples and news. His references are simple and accessible.

Eric also has many posts that pertain to the basic stuff of plying the design trade. Check it out.

Inspiration again

Some interactive fun: A little romp
And something from Adobe

And a personal journal in text and images. The power of wonderful imagery.

Apologies if I mixed up the links. But you still get the point.


Just a quick post