September 2010
Sanity & Colbs
Jon Stewbeef and Stephen Colbert are hosting a rally/ march on October 30 in DC. If you watch the Daily Show (a satire) or Colbert (a parody) you already know this, but allow me to perform a See Section for our older, unawares folks.
You see, Beck's aesthetic was hinged on restoring America to an earlier time, using something Heller calls the sachplakat (I just say "Micheal Schwabby"). I've always considered Beck a bi-polar clown. This poster, by Neal Aspinall isn't bad actually. The colors, type and a few details in the drawing are lacking but overall I think he channels Micheal Schwab well. Notice the steps under Lincoln.
Comedy Central's version (seen here) has dear Stewart as Der Fuhrer. Notice the steps borrowed from Beck's poster. Why? It makes no sense! Can you imagine being in the meeting that this was sold in? Were they drunk? 
Check out the weird grey halftone and blue containment line. Its a mess.
The lesson here is that aesthetics trump concept. The intern's concept was to parody Beck. But heres the thing: NO ONE GIVES A SHIT. Beck's rally is over. Done. If you're going to parody Beck, make the aesthetic actually mean something.
Heres my Stewart rendering. Does he really look like David Sedaris?
Here are a few T Shirt ideas I've been toying with. I was rather proud of myself for pulling out Sweetness (Colbert's gun on the show)
Heres a brilliant idea from Marc Burckhart. As I was working on this, I sent it to a few friends, one of whom, Greg Mably, noticed the red/blue discrepancy in the original Comedy Central design. Red should be fearsome conservative, blue is sanely liberal. Let us know your thoughts... who knows. with any luck they'll come around and use something better than what they are using.
New Directions Direction
Rodrigo Corral called a few weeks ago just after I had hurled into an empty butter container. It was a breath of fresh air between food poisoning and appendicitis (which lasted a week before I said fuckit and drove myself to the emergency room). Anyhoo, Rodrigo need a logo design (a refresh, 75th anniversary) for New Directions Publishing. I had heard of this publishing house but on doing research I began hurling again. 
New Directions was founded in 1936, when James Laughlin (1914 - 1997), then a twenty-two-year-old Harvard sophomore, issued the first of the New Directions anthologies. "I asked Ezra Pound for 'career advice,'" James Laughlin recalled. "He had been seeing my poems for months and had ruled them hopeless. He urged me to finish Harvard and then do 'something' useful." Intended "as a place where experimentalists could test their inventions by publication," the ND anthologies first introduced readers to the early work of such writers as William Saroyan, Louis Zukofsky, Marianne Moore, Wallace Stevens, Kay Boyle, Delmore Schwartz, Dylan Thomas, Thomas Merton, John Hawkes, Denise Levertov, James Agee, and Lawrence Ferlinghetti. Soon after issuing the first of the anthologies, New Directions began publishing novels, plays, and collections of poems. Ezra Pound and William Carlos Williams, who once had difficulty finding publishers, were early New Directions authors and have remained at the core of ND's backlist of modernist writers. And Tennessee Williams first appeared as a poet in the early Five Young American Poets.
The handsome color jackets featuring abstract designs for which New Directions was known in the 1950s were the work of designer Alvin Lustig. In order to give ND books a distinctive look in the early days of the paperback, Lustig suggested switching to black-and-white covers exclusively, which for many years was a house trademark. The colophon of the centaur was designed from a statue by Heinz Henghes sculpted in the 1930s.
The colophon (logo) was designed by Heinz Henghes, an old roomate of Ezra Pound who escaped to America at age 17. I didn't understand the logo's meaning in regards to new directions. Nonetheless, its has been around for 75 years unchanged. As I went about researching Henghes work I discovered quite an artist. This is his self portrait.
His sculptures spoke to me. How was I going to channel this cat? 
perhaps I could do my linear thing and say it was inspired by some of his sketches. 
Here is another one of his sketches/ drawings. I don't know about you but I immediately thought of fellow drawger Doug Fraser.
THis is Henghes in his studio with a sketch of the sculpture that would become the logo for New Directions. Looks at those sculptures. Thats Fraser all the way. I actually told Rodrigo to call Doug and was thinking he surely would while I waited it out in the hospital for 4 days.
These were my first thoughts before I went into hiatus (hospital). Looking at them now I want to get sick again. They're that terrible. I'll show them small so you don't spew.
Its shocking Rodrigo didn't fire me right here. Actually I don't think I ever sent these (Or did I? I was hallucinating pretty badly after 7 days with no food. I probably did all kinds of things)
Once I got back I jumped on it and drew up this sequence and tried to make sense of things. Believe it or not it worked. We sold the damn thing. Happy 75th Anniversary New Directions.
I wanted to toss up a Google snatch of Rodrigo's work. Its really inspiring to see his covers and ideas develop over the years. He has his shit goin' on, brosephine.
Frey's "Million little pieces" (another excellent design) was shot by my old pal from Dallas, Fredrik Broden- a great artist/ photographer. You can spot one of Yuko's covers in there too. The "No longer Human" cover appears to be inspired by Juan Arp. And last but not least there you see Debbie Millman's "Look both ways" cover.
If anyone has ever had a burst appendix and lived to tell the tale this would be a good place to share your story. For me, I thought it was just food poisoning. Apparently the appendix is a storage house for the "good" bacteria and should you get a wicked case of food poisoning the toxins may override whatever natural defense system you have.
Drawgers for Paul
A few years a ago I posted a link and story about one of my best friends from TX, art director/ designer Paul Jerde. Paul was bulldozed by a truck while riding around White Rock Lake and went into a coma for months. He's fighter and woke up eventually but had to relearn everything. I mention this story for several reasons: 1) to give you an update on Paul's progress (see link) and 2) to to formally thank the drawgers who gave me free art to sell on Paul's behalf at the golf fundraiser we held for him. Its pretty unbelievable we raised 64K at a weekend tournament, and we could'nt have done it without Don Kilpatrick III, Leo Espinosa and Harry Campbell. 
I really appreciated it fellas and I know Paul's family was touched by your art.
Here's Leo wizardry. Paul loved to golf (still does just not as avid as he used to be) and was a big fan of illustration. He also served as president of the DSVC (DAllas Society of Visual Communication) for a while. Whatever Paul does, he commits fully.
Thanks for busting this one out for Paul, Leo. It's a beaut. Captures him perfectly.
Here's Harry's piece. I was impressed Harry took the time to help out on this one because (like me) he isn't accustomed to doing portraits. But he nailed this one. THx Harry.
Here is DK III's painted portrait. I forget who bought which paintings but this one ended up back at the hospital and rehab center where Paul stayed (I forget the name of it, way out in east texas). Great job DK3.
Here is Paul's family: Patty and Buzz. Buzz is named after Paul's cousin who was seated directly next to one of the terrorists in the first plane to hit the Trade Center. Patty is rock for Paul and an inspiration to those who have seen her through tough times. 
The second benefit for Paul will be held on October 11, 2010. For details click here. Thanks again to DK III, Leo and Harry for supporting Paul and his family through this tough period. Another reason to appreciate this site is the power of the artists who give time to help others (even the ones they've never met). Cheers.
thoughts on drawger
Tim O'Brien said something memorable at ICON6: "Bad realism offends me". His admission rang bells for me, because bad type (or logos) also make me uncomfortable. Sometimes angry. Now, I don't know who the hell designed the drawger logo and frankly I don't want to know because I may get beat up after this 30 minute review/ redeux. Apologies in advance. Hurt Tim. He inspired it.
There aren't too many faces worse than bauhaus, the face that gives a face to this site. OK, Gil Sans is bad. It coulda been worse. Optima is fairly vomitous, you're right. But how about Comic Sans? Faces like Comic Sans are OK to me. Only because people seem to pick on them too often. Comic Sans is my friend. Chill.
just messing around with it
You know what would be cool? If drawger had a voting system ala Brand New. Have you ever been to Brand New? It gives people a kwik, anonymous way of judging whether something is inspired or offensive. I don't know how well that would translate here but my guess is that it might. So with that, here are some icons I designed many moons ago for a creative site called the Social Design Network.
They didn't like them/ didn't use them. Which is fine. The idea of judging art online by punching goofy buttons isn't exactly high brow now is it?
But here we are. Go ahead. Rip me a new one. "Kill me now" or let your pet vulture peck my eyes out while Tim tosses the rest of me into a trash bin. 
You have to agree, there are a lot of agreeable comments posted here on drawger. Sit down Ronaldo, I wasn't talking to you.
So, as you sit there asleep in your chair and wonder what the hell a drawger is and why you still own that old school wooden art desk you found outside on the curb in 1986, I ask you: what offends you these days? bad realism? bad type? badly construed articles on drawger? Hit me.
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