Newsletter #4 Who's the winner ha! yes!

Knowing Time By Light is finalist in Utah Book Award contest

A couple of years ago, my friend Dave Hall, a fine artist, asked if I wanted to design a book for his other friend, poet Joel Long. I heard—from other, jealous impressionists—we’re Dave’s only two friends, but I couldn’t take any chances. So to avoid the possibility of alienating Joel and be left shouldering the friendship burden with Dave, I accepted. Plus, there was a darker reason.

Many people involved in artistic endeavours need their work graphically designed. Some become participants in contests involving their work. A few win. Or do they?

The fact is, they’re unwitting puppets of a mysterious shadow organization whose name is never spoken aloud: Designers Allied to Manipulate Numerous Earnest Dupes (DAMNED). In Utah, the local chapter is The DANGED, but you can only find out what the letters stand for by stripping to your socks and attending a special ceremony that involves a virgin and Cosmo, the BYU mascot.

Not content to win their own silly design contests, the DAMNED surreptitiously sponsor contests for other forms of art, knowing that the accolades are really going to be for the graphic artist. No one has to know, right? But we do. Oh yes, we certainly do.

So when you open Knowing Time by Light and savor the succulent stanzas punctuated with Dave’s evocative sketches and later put it aside, you may think, “Holy mother of Socrates, that book was well laid out. The typography was so appropriate, and those margin widths—breathtaking!” You won’t be alone in your relevation. You’ll be fulfilled and happy, as will the illustrator and author, joyously being finalists in a prestigious competition. Everybody wins! And when everybody wins, don’t we all win? Thanks, DAMNED!

Greener lawns and bluer skies. Only gray.

So you want something to be printed in black and white, do you? And you forgot to load the grayscale pixels into your digital instamatic. And you have a bunch of color pictures that you’ll extrude into your document and trust to turn out well when you output them as b/w. Well, don’t! Never trust color pictures! They all come from broken homes and have names like Busta. They may look charming, but they’ll turn on you. You gotta make them black and white.

There are things you can do to help them after they’re made grayscale, but there’s a cool trick that precedes that. In Photoshop, while it’s still RGB, go to Image>adjustments>black and white. There you’ll find sliders to tweak individual colors. Deep blue skies turn a dismal gray? Slide the blue and cyan markers. Florid, red-faced caucasians becoming unnaturally swarthy? Brighten the red and yellow. The top sample was simply converted to grayscale. The lower one got a brighter sky and less-ominous lawn through changing the cyan, green and yellow values. I’m working on a way to use this trick on my real lawn. Farewell, water bills!