Friday, October 3, 2008

If At First You Don't Succeed, Part Three

My supply of walnut ink crystals is still in transit, so I won't be distressing my "Ponape Scriptures" project today.

Instead, I want to work on the actual graphic and try fixing the problems that were bugging me over the weekend. Before I start I want to make one thing clear- I'm not an artist. I don't have any training in art and don't have any particular talent for it, but I ended up doing stuff like this because no one else was making the things I wanted. So if you think I'm full of crap, or you have a better way of doing things, please feel free to drop me a line with some pointers. You're not going to hurt my feelings by pointing out I'm a hack. I know I am. Part of the fun for me is that I just keep hack, hack, hackin' till I get the results I want.

That said, here's the original graphic:

It's not bad, but I just wasn't happy with the end result. It looks like something produced by a desktop publishing program instead of an eldritch scroll written with squid ink using a sharpened fish spine for a pen. To break it up a bit more I'm going to try a couple of different things. First, a fourth graphic element, some kind of astronomical calculator or orrery, to break up the blocky layout. Second, the overly-large font needs to be toned down a bit while the layout of the text needs to be more irregular. Third, the text itself needs to look more natural and hand-written. Here's what I came up with after fiddling around for a while:

Much better. The text looks hand-written without looking like a meaningless scrawl and the orrery figure at the top really breaks things up and adds some visual interest. The only problem is that it still looks too fresh and clean. Realistically, those blocks of solid black ink need to have some fading and flaking added. A little blur, a little noise, some texture, and we get this:

It might look too light in pure black and white, but that's won't be a problem when it's printed on the aged paper. In my experience solid black ink looks far more jarring and artificial.

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