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Paul Rogers does dots

... putting Adobe Illustrator put through its paces

Ladies and gentlemen, it gives me great pleasure to welcome Paul Rogers, to DT&G today. Paul is a prolific illustrator and designer, with 23 years producing superb illustrations and designs for the high-end publishers and corporations.
      At right you'll see a thumbnail of the cover that blew me away. You can click it to view a 600 pixel sample of the full size cover. All through our interview today we'll be showing you lots of great graphics from the mouse of Paul Rogers...

DT&G   Greetings, Paul! Wow, this is great to actually get together after tracking you down through Travelsmith. Thank you so much for taking time from your busy schedule to visit with us today.

Paul:   Great to be here! Thanks for your interest, its good to talk to you.

DT&G   Paul, before we dig into that luscious Illustrator file, let's find out a little about you. Where might we expect to find Paul when he's not at the computer?

Paul:   At the drawing board, mostly. At Dodger Stadium with my son, Nate. or teaching my daughter Alexandra how to paralell park, on a golf course, or in a jazz club listening to some music with my wife, Jill.

DT&G   When I first saw this cover it blew me away! I showed it to my digital graphics class at JMU, and challenged my students to predict how it was done.
      It would have been my guess that is wasn't done on a computer but that's not correct, right?

Paul:   No, actually it was created in Adobe Illustrator on a Mac. It's important to me that my work doesn't have a real "computer feeling."
      Before the digital age I painted every piece with an airbrush, but not in a highly-detailed, rendered style. I've always drawn inspriration from the great poster artists of the early to mid 20th century, and I think of myself more as a graphic designer than an illustrator.
      Anyway, the techniques I used in airbrushing made the transition to computers fairly easy. I was used to cutting out shapes with frisket, and filling them in with color, which is the same basic concept I use in Illustrator.

DT&G   Paul, it's not enough that the drawing itself is so fresh and nicely drawn -- then there are literally thousands of dots! What tools/techniques in Illustrator did you use to help make that easier? (Assuming you used some form of automation?)

Paul:   There's a lot of dots, for sure. But the bad news is that I had to draw and place each one by hand.
      Tom Fong, the art director at TravelSmith and I have been working together for about a year, and sometimes he'll call with an idea that is not something I've done before. For this cover, they wanted to promote a polka dot dress that they call their Sun Dot Dress, and Tom had the idea to create a cover that recalled the famous pointillist painting by Georges Seurat "A Sunday Afternoon on the Ile de la Grande Jarre".

DT&G   After the initial drawings to delineate the shapes, what's your next step in such a complicated process?

Paul:   The first challenge was to design the overall composition of the piece to fit the vertical format and take some of the elements from Seurat so the audience would recognize the reference.
      I didn't want to just recreate the original with the Sun Dress in the painting. And since I knew that the dress had to be the focal point of the Travelsmith cover, I worked the composition around the woman in the center of the painting holding the parasol.

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