Blasts From the Past!
For those of us who love nostalgia, here's some oldies but goodies from the previous century-pre Y2K.
Before I found my way as a marine artist I had the pleasure of designing for many different markets. Consequently I had a style for every season and a knack for custom hand drawn lettering, once I finally mastered the French Curve tool. For body type I pulled from my collection of dry transfer lettering.
The images to your right are photos of actual screen printed 20"x20" pellon squares, which I have kept in my portfolio all these years. These are the only remaining printed survivors from Hurricane Ivan clean enough to display.
Most of these were designed, color separated, and screen printed circa 1980's-2000 BC (Before Computer). They were drawn in pen and black ink onto vellum using Rapidograph brand technical pens equipped with #0000 (4x0) or #000000 (6x0) nibs, which are about the same diameter as a thread. If there was to be a lot of black areas in the design I used scratchboard.
Once the drawing was finished it was taken into the darkroom, photographed to film using an Agfa process camera (about as big as a VW Beetle), then developed in trays using Kodak developer, stop bath, and fixer.
This first piece of film would act as the black printer which was then used as a template to create the other colors in the design. In the early days our press was limited to only 6 colors. Today's presses can accomodate up 14 colors.
It's hard to fathom now but the old art techniques could take up to 7 days depending on the number of colors to be printed.
The process was very labor intensive and time consuming and took years to master. Of course the computer was a Godsend to us artists who live and die by the deadline calendar. It has also been a blessing to our environment now that those nasty, silver laden darkroom chemicals are no longer being dumped down the drain at the end of each work day.
Thank God for modern technology.
In my previous life I once worked as a mediocre barback/bartender at a downtown watering hole for "Diehards", appropriately named the Don Juan Lounge inside the Sheraton Inn...I know, but it paid well.
I can no longer recall the recipes but I'll never forget some of the funnier drink names such as:
and of course "The Three Wisemen".
In 1995 I developed a tee shirt line based on these adult beverages and coined it "Hot Shots".
Runs were always a lot of fun for me. I had full creative control over each design and went crazy with different styles. My favorite teams to work with were Lufthansa Airlines and Delta. Their events were always held in tropical resort locales and I used to joke with the directors and say I needed them to fly me there so I could gather art reference. It never worked.
Every once in a while I come across one of my old run shirts at Goodwill and have to buy it for old times sake.
5k runs & marathons
Bars, restaurants, and casinos kept me very busy in the 90's. McGuires Irish Pub had an annual St. Paddy's Day event and ordered thousands of tees printed, sometimes with my designs. At the end of the night a few were sacrificed at their wet t-shirt contests. A truly noble cause indeed.
Although I didn't excel in this market like my artist buddy Steve Blair did (and still does), I tried my best. Some of these designs are still being sold today in their gift shops.
Dang, If I had a dime for every shirt sold since 1990!
a fishy business
Over the years the fishin' biz be veddy good to me!
During the "Golden Era" of fishing tournaments back in the 90's I had the privelage of working for 35-40 tournaments per year. Many of those were Southern Kingfish Association sanctioned events located along the Eastern Seaboard and Gulf of Mexico.
This allowed me to work with some of the best tournament directors around. They opened many doors of opportunity for me and I'll never forget their guidance and support, even when my early attempts at illustrating King Mackerel and Blue Marlin looked more like sea monsters from antique nautical maps.
Since then I've done a little better each year and have changed up my style a few times. I think I'm finally comfortable with my current way of working.
Better late than never I reckon. Using my own reference is invaluable and I make any excuse to go fishing so I can collect more.
Come to think of it I could use some more redfish reference...