Establish Momentum

tools of the trade by Liane SebastianIt seems easier to start projects than to keep them going. Yet there is a way to focus on building a foundation of templates and formats to make series faster and easier. Sustaining a monthly publication has to scale to reality.

When producing Bowler Business Review #1, rough components were defined. Issue #2 conforms to what works. However, Issue #2 is longer than desired. The Sector feature on the appearance industry is really two articles, under one banner—and overview and a profile. Netera’s capable journalistic fingers can handle both. That leaves me free to focus on the Investment column that investigates virtual CEO’s and other writers to rotate on Integration and Choice.

Issue #2 pushes the design quality as well—particularly in the graphic handling of the photographs. Unfortunately, the outlining is quite time consuming and a technique  I have to use sparingly. The visual effects are really exciting in the way that focus and visual direction is enhanced.

I was not consulted when my two colleagues on the magazine decided that Bowler’s column, Choice, would be on my artwork. I struggled against feeling self indulgent, but since I do have something to say on the subject of virtual exhibitions, I wrote about what I have learned in almost two years.

A monthly needs scale. As I learn the composition of what works, the issues will reflect this refinement. Too long and it does not all get read. Too short and the reader is left unsatisfied. Five articles crafted from four authors is a workload and if committed to brevity, is accessible and offers something to interest most any reader.

Creating a magazine that is about virtual business is rich in visuals. The results are more like illustrations than photographs, though most sims attempt to be realistic and aesthetic in details. I do a lot to the images though—taking them out of being pure photography. Through outlining, adding screens, shadows, color shifts, tonal variations, and other visual techniques, I am experimenting with visual emphasis. All readers have busy eyes. To direct their attention exactly where there is the greatest message is the goal of any communication. I am particularly excited about the visual effect, so I represent one of my favorites here.

photo technique

Redgrave hair collection from article “Color Me Beautiful,” Bowler Business Review #2. Using the line screen to push back nonessential visuals, the images of the hairstyles are free to grab visual attention through emphasis.

Redgrave hair collection from article “Color Me Beautiful,” Bowler Business Review #2. Using the line screen to push back nonessential visuals, the images of the hairstyles are free to grab visual attention through emphasis.

Images like this one and the magazine cover are actually collaborative illustrations. Avatars are self-portraits created within a medium of virtual reality. Every one is as unique as the people creating them. For example, Sarah Nerd, who appears on the cover, chooses to have violet eyes, crazy hair, lots of jewelry, and tattoos—accented by a skull pattern shirt, bell bottoms, and crazy shoes. She builds a persona. Similarly, my chosen look is willowy and blond. The character of the avatar is an ingredient in the photographs which includes a picture of someone else’s creation. Then that image becomes the visual, subject to manipulation, enhancement, or deconstruction.

Part of what is the most fun for me is to see visual techniques enhance the message. By composing these pages, what is communicated that is worth reading should be as visually enticing.

Liane Sebastian, illustrator, designer, writer, and publishing pioneer

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