Detail Number Two

Detail Number Two

Here I go again with half an idea. I really hate that because half an idea is a pain in the neck. I must admit it’s better than no idea but it’s still not ideal. At least with half an idea I can find a start to spot. When I have no idea I have no place to go. My half an idea that I was working on was a concept for a book I want to make. I still haven’t quite finished the last digital book I was working on “Moments Float Back To Me” but none the less I want to start a new one. “Moments” is probably 99% if not all the way done except I’m not really sure how to finish it because it’s not like anything I’ve done before. It’s an art and story book. A short story mixed with art. I think it’s finished since I worked on it a long time and went through many drafts but I still haven’t had anyone else read it yet. I don’t know why except due to the general indifference to my work it doesn’t seem to matter if I release it or not. Of course if it doesn’t matter than I may as well. Or not. That’s the bit of murky water I’m swimming in.

This second digital book of mine that’s only half an idea at the moment is another mixture of art and words but first I have to mix together some drawing and photography. It’s working title is “Big From Small and Small From Big”. That kind of describe what I want to do. At least visually. I’m mixing (page design-wise) my small baseball card size ink drawings with some of my digitally manipulated photographs that I call Photocaps because they have words on them. The ink drawings are going to be blown up much larger than the size I drew them at. This changes their context and make me look at them in a different way. Small gestures become large ones. It makes me look at the drawings in a whole new way. By default photographs are not life sized. They’re the largeness of life captured as an image a fraction of it’s real size. I had never really thought about that before. Pairing them with the ink drawings made me realize it. I’m not sure what is going to come out of that realization though.

I also have to decide on the exact size of the book. I’m a print guy. I really really want to make a print version of this. A real life book. But I doubt that is going to happen. But still I find myself reluctant to totally jump into the idea of purely digital. So I set up the design document with the automatic formatting for an iPad but I’ve found that makes me uncomfortable. Not for any technical reason but because I’m used to setting things up for print. It’s a weird psychological hurdle. I’ll get over it but until I do I haven’t.

I’ve been mostly working on some new Photocap photos. I’ve got the process down for them pretty good and sometimes they go quickly but often not as quickly as I expect. I make the Photocaps with Photoshop filter actions that I use to make the digital manipulations. That means in order to get a certain effect I run four or five different types of filters on the photos and manipulate the different layer styles and layer opacities to get the look I want. The good thing about that is I can figure out how to get the look and then record what I did with an Action (a macro). So next time I work on a Photocap I just have to press a button to get the same style. This saves a lot of time. Of course I’m always looking to make new filter recipes so I decided to work out a new one this week. That takes some time. I think it took me three hours to get what I wanted. But that beats three extra hours per Photocap.

I start one of these Photocaps by looking through my files of street photos. I shortened the process a little bit this time by starting with some of my regular, already finished, five by seven inch street photos. I have about thirty street photos that that size that I made into finished photos and printed out. I have a little easel that I keep on my desk and I put one of the five by seven inch photos on it. I change the photo out every day or two. It gives me something to catch my eye every now and then. I found a few of those street photos to turn into Photocaps. They went smoothly.

When looking though all my unfinished street photos things go less smoothly. It’s good that I have a lot of them to look through but that also means I have to look through a lot of them. And that’s real work. I flip through them on screen just using the OS’s “Cover Flow” view searching for something that catches my eye. After it catches my eye I have to decide if I can work with it. It’s funny how some things stand out some days and not on others. Photos have caught my eye only to be cast aside on one day and another I figure them out. Some never catch my eye. Until they do.

If I’m lucky the words I want to put with the photo come to me as I’m looking at it. Often they don’t. But that just means I’ll have to think of them as I’m working on the image. Part of picking the image is believing I’ll be able to write some words to go with it. Even if I don’t have them right away I’ll get them. I thin this is why different photos stand out to me on different days. I’m trying to find the words as I’m looking.

So I got a handful of new Photomaps ready to go with my recently scanned in 160 ink cards. I’m still not sure what story I’ll get out of it all but I’ll work on it. It’s the only way to get work done.