Monday, April 12, 2010

Blast from the Past #292: Hot air balloonists

I probably drew this one back in the early 1980's for "Hampshire Life", but -- from the "not used" note written on the side -- I guess it never saw print. I'm not sure why.



I find this piece interesting because it incorporates a technique I employed only a few times -- using a manipulated photo as a background for drawn art. I'm not sure where I first saw this technique -- probably in magazine or newspaper advertising, but possibly in those cool photo collages Jack Kirby used to do in some of the comics he drew in the late 1970's.

For this one, I used the trick of copying a photo, then copying the copy, then copying the copy of the copy, and so on. This had the effect of enhancing the contrast and removing most of the lighter grey values, until you arrived at a point where the image was almost completely black and white. And if it worked properly, you would end up with something that retained enough detail to be readable, while having the added benefit of not needing to be screened or halftoned.

These days, with the aid of computers, this is no longer a problem. Creating a printable halftone from a photograph is a snap, and if the higher contrast effect is desired, it's a lot more easily done with various controls in Photoshop. -- PL

4 comments:

AGLIAREPT said...

wow it actually gives off a subtle fading affect from the balloon to the background. its a very cool trick. its def faster nowadays but its interesting that you did this so long ago and it seemed like a real hard task. very nice!

Adam Riches said...

Did you still ink over the Xerox, once you had the values fully separated?

PL said...

"Blogger Adam Riches said...

Did you still ink over the Xerox, once you had the values fully separated?"

I think in one or two of the instances in which I used this technique, I may have inked over parts of the final copy (just to be absolutely sure of a solid black), but I don't believe I did it in this case. -- PL

PL said...

"AGLIAREPT said...

wow it actually gives off a subtle fading affect from the balloon to the background. its a very cool trick. its def faster nowadays but its interesting that you did this so long ago and it seemed like a real hard task. very nice!"

Thanks! I just remembered another part of this technique which is a LOT easier now, with the aid of computers and programs like Photoshop -- actually getting the drawn image superimposed on the copied background. That typically involved laboriously cutting out the drawn parts to that the copied image showed through the negative spaces. These days, it would take a few minutes using the Magic Wand selection tool in Photoshop... and you wouldn't carve up your original drawing! -- PL