Friday, May 21, 2010

Labels, Adobe, and More

For this week, I thought I would share some beer labels that I worked on. The very cool designs were done by Dantinne Design Communications ( They contacted me to work on the illustration part of the project. Even though I usually do cartoon or kids stuff, I also do a couple of other styles like the engraving look for these labels. The way I created the label illustrations was first to sketch out the composition. Once the roughs were approved, they were tightened up and submitted for feedback. After final sign off on the layouts, I enlarged the drawings to 8 1/2 x 11 and placed paper over top of the originals. I used various sizes of Sharpies to ink the final art. That was done freehand so the lines would have an organic, rough look to them. White gouache was used in areas to clean up edges and help get that woodcut look. The inked drawings were scanned back into Photoshop at 600 dpi and reduced 75%. The scanned images were imported into Illustrator where I used the Live Trace to vectorize the artwork. Lines were cleaned up, if needed, and color dropped in on various layers. This process helped maintain the old engraving/woodblock look the client was after. I think everything fits well and gives the labels a classy, old-time look and feel. Now I am waiting for the liquid samples!

Has anyone tried upgrading their Adobe software? Am I the only one confused by their upgrade process? I think their online tech people are as well. I am trying to upgrade CS3 and CS4 versions of various software as a bundle (so it is cheaper next time to upgrade everything) but they have different prices and packages. The tech guy had me upgrade to a package that I thought had everything that I used but when I got an email receipt, it listed software that I do not use. So for the last few days I have been trying to cancel this order. What a pain-in-the-ass this has been. I love Adobe products but they really need to make upgrades more user friendly. Of course, less expensive would be nice too.

The other thing I have started doing is writing my first children's book. After much prodding from my wife, I finally gave in. An idea struck me a few weeks ago so now I am in the early stages of flushing out the idea. Once I have it written, I will send it to a few people for proofing and thoughts. I want to work up a cover and sketch out the interior pages to submit to a publisher. We shall see if there is any interest in it. If not, I may either self publish it or give it away online. But first I must get the thing written and see if it is any good before we head down those roads.

I will leave you with this quote: "Drawing is putting a line (a)round an idea." Henri Matisse

Until next week!


theartofpuro said...

Great work on these labels!
Good luck with your children book:)

Russ Cox said...

Thanks Puro!

Lee said...

Thanks for sharing. I love seeing what other artists are doing, especially when it comes to Adobe based illustration, about which I know nothing :(. I'm excited to learn more about your progress with a children's book and would encourage you to forge ahead. On another note, I see you are a fellow transplanted "southern" Mainer. Me too! Georgia to Maine and I lived there (Portland!!! I'm one of the original Mr Bagel girls!!!) for most of my life. I only go back when its warm now though...too much of that southern girl in my blood.

Get Your Sketch said...

Awesome work on the labels Russ! Thanks for the the insight into your methods. I do appreciate the graciousness of artists like yourself sharing your thought processes.

Looking forward to backtracking on your blog when time permits!

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