FINALLY! An update on the various stuff I’ve been working on. First and foremost, I have finished the artwork and text on “The Triassic.” Now all that’s left is to produce it…I don’t know how that’s going to happen since I’m not in New York, and therefore have no access to a print lab. I’ll figure something out eventually. Whatever project I’m working on feels like a Marathon: you start out very optimistic and full of energy, and as the project drags on, you’re becoming exhausted, and you wish it would just end already, except you still have a ton of stuff to do before you reach the finishing line. Even now, I’m not sure if I REALLY crossed the finishing line: I could endlessly tweak things to make it look perfect. But at this point, I think I have to recognize I’ve tweaked things to the best of my current ability. I need to let this go and move on to the next project.
It was particularly tough working on the Triassic: unlike the other prehistoric periods I worked on, there were a ton of animals to choose from, and it was difficult narrowing down the list. I picked a lot of the stranger looking animals. For instance, there are lots of different rhynchosaur species, but I chose Hyperodapedon because it’s the weirdest looking rhynchosaur… very hard to draw. Also, the biggest hurdle for me is drawing plants: so many leaves and branches going in every direction. At least with animals, they have bilateral symmetry, but plants grow whichever way they can. It’s a nightmare.
I try to be scientifically accurate, but I will tell you right now that I didn’t pay a lot of attention to putting animals from the same geographical region together. For instance, most early pterosaur fossils are found in Europe, whereas early dinosaurs are found in South America, but I’ve put pterosaurs and dinosaurs in the same spread because they’re both from the late Triassic, so they both have to be at the end of accordion.
Aside from the Triassic, I re-made my “Tree of Life” poster. Here’s the thing about my “Tree of Life”: it used to only exist as a silkscreen. I drew the “skeleton” of the poster on Photoshop, to plan out how the tree would branch and how I could fit everything in. Once I had the tree planned out, I had to draw the silkscreen separations by hand. Usually, I use a printer to make silkscreen separations, but the printer, at the time, couldn’t print a separation that was 20×30 inches big. Not to mention that working on a screen, I lose sense of how big a piece actually is. Anyway, I had no digital file of my poster, which meant I could only silkscreen it. And silkscreening a 20×30 poster is A LOT of work. I don’t want to get too much into details, but when you’re pulling a squeegee by yourself, you have to make sure there’s even pressure through the length of the squeegee for the ink to print evenly. The bigger the squeegee, the more strength it takes to have even pressure. It was just physically exhausting printing the poster. And I could only manage runs of 30 (also the paper was about $3.00 a shit, so that’s all I could really afford).
Anyway, long story short, I thought that most people buy the poster because they like the idea, not because it’s silkscreened. So I had to rebuild my Tree of Life on Photoshop so it could be printed by a machine. I got two test prints from shortrunposters.com.
After I received the prints, I made some tweaks to the design. Specifically, I made tweaks so the tree would fill out the 18×24 format better (since it was cheaper). I also changed the tree texture. But then I started thinking about the logistics of getting it mass produced because, right now, I need to save money. Moreover, I don’t know where I could store a bunch of posters. So I decided to try something different: sell a digital copy of the poster, so people can print it out themselves if they want. The upside is that I can offer my illustration for very cheap, I don’t have to guess how many prints will sell, and spend money on those prints. The downside is that someone could steal my illustration…my biggest fear is that some big company that distributes to museum stores would copy my poster and sell a bunch to museums. After much debating, I decided to take a chance on selling the digital file. I had the illustration copyrighted years ago, so at least I have that.
I have the file for sale at a new online store I opened up on Selz.com. My current online store host, Big Cartel, doesn’t sell digital files. Instead, you need to get a plugin that has a subscription fee for Big Cartel. I’m trying to save money at the moment, so that means I have to get a new online store that one digital file I have.