Humble Pie

•September 19, 2008 • Leave a Comment

Have you ever found yourself needing to make amends with a friend? If you’ve been breathing long, no doubt you have. Such was the case for me recently. A part of that process was the design and printing of a greeting card. The cover of it is the image above (although in truth, this one is edited for a softer background than the original).

It was designed in Photoshop. The background was the render : clouds filter using the two colors that you see. It was then cropped for effect. The type was set in various faces (really, it was 😉 ) and blended as a screen with transparency, each phrase on its own layer for ultimate control. It was then arranged until it felt right in my gut (designers know that feeling). The tag was then worked on until it had the right balance and punch against the background. But the best part was, that my friend really liked it and that I’d done it especially for her.

I’ve since re-purposed it as my wallpaper on my iPhone. Feel free to use it for yours.

Design ©2008 Johnny W. Brewer

Browser Differences

•September 19, 2008 • Leave a Comment

There are serious differences in the way different web browsers are rendering and displaying this blog. I’m on a Mac with a calibrated Apple flat panel Cinema display. I set the blog up using Opera. The header image is a tad saturated, but rich and truer to the way I remember the image appearing in print. Safari, on the other hand, almost makes it look flat by comparison (although truer to the original). While still aesthetically pleasing on its own in Safari, when placed side-by-side, Opera wins hands-down.

And it is with deep regret that I inform you of the passing of a saint, as Camino won’t even display the header. Rather, it jumbles the frames together, with no image anywhere to be seen. That’s even with all of the pop-ups and web ads enabled, so the blockers aren’t responsible for the aberration.

…OK – I just uploaded a “tweaked” version. It now looks fine in Safari, although not quite as saturated, by way of comparison, as it previously did in Opera. However, (and I knew this was going to happen) Opera is now unbearably saturated and contrasty. So, what to do? I think I’ll leave it as is with this “tweaked” version, until I can hear from some Internet Explorer users (hint, hint…).

Amazing as our technology is, nothing is perfect. I know I’m not. So how could I expect a tool to be?

May I Have This Dance?

•September 18, 2008 • Leave a Comment

Another image from the series for Workbench Magazine. These are drafting tools from the early 1800’s. Due to the wide angle, up close and down low perspective, there is a sense that they could be dancing.

Shot on 4 X 5 Ektachrome 100; 75mm Fujinon; Broncolor lighting.

It can’t be seen (by design), but there is a black rod in the top right corner that the spreader bar of the upright divider is leaning against. I had fun designing this one and it was very well received.

Image ©1988 Johnny W. Brewer

Kicking It Off!

•September 18, 2008 • 1 Comment

(Update: Header image has changed to Reedy River Falls since writing this post. Was this, as talked about below.)

Let’s not talk about why it’s taken me (a tech-nerd extraordinaire) so long to get around to writing a blog. It’s a long and involved tale that would require the patience of Job to endure, so we’ll leave it be. Instead, let’s get about the business of enjoying this slice of life we’ve been given the opportunity to sample.

Let me start by sharing a little about the image I’ve chosen to use in the header for this blog. It was shot on assignment for Workbench Magazine some years ago, as one of a series on antique tools that I was privileged to do for them. I’d been doing some light woodworking as a hobby at the time. Finding myself in need of some fresh portfolio images, I designed several with tools and materials that I had on hand. Within a couple of weeks, I found myself showing them to the editor there at Workbench, Bob Hoffman. It just so happened that he’d been working on a feature plan for antique tools. It was to run in every issue opposite the inside back cover as a single-page, full-bleed, “hero” shot. Type would be fit into negative space designed into the photo. I was contracted to inaugurate it.

Have you ever been too successful? After about four issues, we received a back handed compliment that I cherish to this day. It seemed that the folks who were laying out the big bucks for that inside back cover, were none too happy at finding themselves in visual competition for the hearts and minds of the readers. Looking back, I can see their point, but at the time it brought a smile to my face. Still can at times!

Back to the image. It’s of a brace from the late 1700’s and it’s laying on the arm of a Windsor chair that’s in production. In the upper right corner, you can see a portion of a spoon bit that would have been used with the brace to drill the holes for the spindles in the seat, arms and back rails. The photo is severely cropped to fit the blog header, as it ran as previously described, as a full page.

It was shot with a 4 X 5 Horseman studio camera, a Schneider 150mm G-Claron lens, on Ektachrome 100 film. (For those who don’t know, that’s like a super large slide. Same film, just larger.) It was lit with Broncolor lighting (lighting done right – those Swiss know their business). Warming gels were used judiciously on the lamp heads to keep the brass and wood from appearing washed out. Finally, everything was tacky waxed into place and dust sprayed with an airbrush connected to an 80 lb. nitrogen tank. Final Polaroid check and then film was shot. Then, I waited in anxiety until I saw the film. Hallelujah, it was art!!!

Thanks for reading.

Until next time – Johnny