Black and White Scratchboard Blowout

AHMM, Newsday

In March, I was handed a rather complex trio of illustrations from a Mid-Michigan advertising agency. These would be a series of full page newspaper ads, in black and white scratchboard, having something to do with the Michigan economy/ecology. Each were challenging in their own way, but overall, the biggest challenge for me, was pulling off a scratchboard assignment of this size, since I’ve been most comfortable working on smaller spots, and even full page magazine page assignments intimidate me a bit. Buildings and Landscapes are also not my strong suit, so I had to get better at each of them, and real quick.

Probably my favorite of the three, even though it was a rather strange design, was the ‘ying/yang’ illustration above. I liked how I was able to play with the tones and layout, in order to keep one side primarily dark with a white spot in the middle, and the other side primarily light, with the dark spot in the middle. The buildings came out the best in this one, too, probably because I was more heavily leaning on my research materials.

The one thing I didn’t like about this last one, was the way I treated the ‘road’. It was supposed to be a central part of the image, leading toward the ‘utopian city’ on the horizon, but I wasn’t happy with the way I chose to treat it, spending much more time concentrating on the surrounding countryside, and in consequence, ignoring the problem right smack dab in the middle. In retrospect, I probably should have left it solid black (or even made it a divided highway, with a few bridges along the way), in order to build up a bit more contrast.

Also, this month, I had another fiction piece for Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine. This one concerned a murder at an Incan archaeology dig. I liked how I used the strong vertical layout to build from solid black at the bottom to white at the top.

Another black and white piece I had this month, was the same day assignment for Newsday, pictured at left. This was an image of George Bush, and I don’t remember what the circumstances of the story were, something to do with his public speaking probably. Not one of my best likenesses of the guy, and something about it seems a little ‘off’ to me, looking back at it now (probably the feet and crossed legs, which I should have researched better).