15 March 1997

A Riot


Going through the invoices for March of '97, I recognized an assignment that still has a corresponding piece of original artwork in the file drawers. This assignment for an east coast design firm was for a magazine article about some riots that took place in the 1800s. The invoice mentioned 3 illustrations, but I was only able to find 2 to post here. This is a pretty good example of one of my better 'color' scratchboards from around this time.

Adding color to scratchboard was always a tricky matter in the early days. I used Dr. Martin's Dyes, and if I kept it light enough, I could still scratch in the occasional highlight after the color was applied. The biggest problem was in eliminating the dust that was created during the black and white phase. No matter how carefully you erased and wiped the board, you still got a certain amount of dust in the watercolors, which dulled the colors just a little bit. I've heard of some artists who would photocopy the black and white art onto quality paper and then color onto that, but I never got around to trying that method.

13 March 1997

Java Snob Review #2


The second issue of mine and my sister's poetry magazine, "Java Snob Review" for the spring of '97 featured a photo on the cover, taken by my wife, Terri, but laid out and art directed by myself. My sister and I were really into the game 'anagrams' which we had discovered rules for online the previous summer (using the tiles from several scrabble games), so I thought this was a fun inside joke. We also published a story of my brother's in this issue, entitled 'What Do You Call Your Penis?'.
For three bi-annual issues in '96 and '97, I helped edit and art direct a small poetry/prose magazine along with sister, who lived in Battle Creek at the time. We called it 'Java Snob Review', and advertised for submissions, selected favorites, typeset and designed an attractive digest style magazine, and managed to keep it up for a year and a half before we threw in the towel. I had a lot of fun designing the covers, and the logos, but to tell the truth, wading through the writing was a bit of a chore.

Anyhow, we advertised the magazine as a 'poetry prose and art' showcase, but in fact, we very rarely ever received photos or drawings to include, so I started doing some doodles on my own as page filler, and I've selected three of them as examples to post here. I also contemplated doing a comic strip for inclusion later on, but I don't think either of the two comics that I did ever actually got published.

The project was fun and a good creative outlet, but it was probably a good thing that we stopped when we did. I couldn't afford to keep throwing publishing funds down the toilet after this thing, and if we kept at it, it was sure to turn into a chore, and spoil the good relationship that my sister and I had. Our biggest problem was that we were both very introverted and really not very good at salesmanship, we probably would have done better if we'd have hired on one more partner in a sales capacity.

The most fun for me was designing the cover layouts for each issue. If I remember correctly, the first issue was a simple logo design with a coffee cup in the center of a creamy mocha cover, with individually placed 'coffee cup rings' on the lower left of the cover (the 'coffee' was actually Dr. Martin Dyes which we imprinted using an old coffee mug). The second issue featured a photo shoot, (photo by my wife, Terri, art directed and set up by me) with the name of the magazine spelled out in 'scrabble tiles' on a wooden surface, with a cup of coffee in the background (my sister and I were playing the game 'anagrams' quite a bit around this time). Then for the third issue, I drew a scratchboard illustration of a coffee cup and we printed this one in two color ink (brown and black) on a white glossy cover.

If you poke around the internet, you can still see poets listing 'Java Snob Review' in their publishing credits.