Thursday, May 28, 2015

Eddie Thomas Goes to the Dark Side

Here's the scenario: you're an illustrator at a major metropolitan daily newspaper. The lifestyle section is planning to run a serialized historical novel over the summer months. The story is about a young woman who immigrates in the early 20th century to the part of northern Minnesota where they mine iron.

Your brief is to illustrate the story for the first day it runs. It will be in full color, covering most of a full broadsheet page. Then the image or some part of it will be used again, much smaller, when the story runs each day. Got it?

If you're Eddie Thomas at the Star Tribune, this is what you come up with:

It's hard to express how ugly this artwork is at full size. It's usually a mistake to run a bunch of black ink on newsprint in the first place. Then there's the badly drawn profile, the creepy dudes inside her head, and even the braid down the back of her head, which doesn't read very well as a braid at all, but rather as some kind of alien scallop spine, รก la Star Trek: The Next Generation.

And here's how that large image reduces to thumbnail size for the daily version. Good planning there, Eddie.

Oh, and did I mention that the first-day installment also featured a collage of more illustrations on an inside spread? Another chance for some painfully bad art to assault the reader's eyes.

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