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PROCESS

RIVERFRONT Jack Frischer Word and Image I — Spring 2018 Sam Fox School of Design and Visual Arts


“You will produce five images which addresses the Riverfront as a place. Your role will be that of a journalist, echoing the ‘special artists’ of the 19th century and the ‘visual essayists’ of the mid 20th.” 2

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CONTENTS

05 Research 08 Discovery 19 Refinement 23 Criticism Process Book: Riverfront

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Figure A | Scanned Images from Graphic by Steven Heller and Lita Talarico

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Research

Most of my research aimed to study the Riverfront onsite, and to effectively capture the place in my sketchbook. Prior to visiting the Riverfront, I looked at Graphic by Steven Heller and Lita Talarico (Figure A). The book collects images from designers’ and illustrators’ sketchbooks, providing a glimpse to how they develop their creative practices. I found works by Nathan Fox and Paul Rogers to be excellent examples and inspiration for recording quick takeaways from observations (whether places or people). For class we visited the Riverfront to take initial observations with photographs and sketches. This was my first time seeing the Riverfront, and used that to my advantage by capturing any immediate reflections. During my trip, I predominantly sketched the bridges, pathways, and statues closest to the Arch (Figure C). Because I spent the majority of my time sketching, I made another trip to the Riverfront and photographed areas I initially missed (Figure B).

Process Book: Riverfront

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Figure B | Images from the Riverfront

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Although my sketchbook drawings did not influence my compositions directly, these initial observations helped me identify what elements contributed to my experience at the Riverfront. I referred to these initial sketches as inspiration for what I wished to include in my final images. For example, I chose to illustrate Eads Bridge in response to drawing several times in my sketchbook, and researched dredging because the boats were the most prominent subjects when I visited both times.

Figure C | Sketchbook Studies

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Figure D | Thumbnail Sketches

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Discovery

After visiting the Riverfront, I immediately explored different compositions. I began to think about hierarchy, and what I’d like the viewer to first identify about the Riverfront. I sketched out thumbnails on post it notes, each focused on an observation from the Riverfront such as the stone arches of Eads Bridge, St. Louis Arch, or area for Helicopter Tours (Figure D). Furthermore, I thought about the contrast of my image compositions. I created thumbnails highlighting either small details or large landscapes to establish a variety among the spreads. Doug challenged me to capture the Riverfront beyond singular frames of observation. With this in mind, I created thumbnails that included more elements of the Riverfront than would be correct in perspective (Figure E). I continued thumbnailing throughout the class with hope that one of these sketches would become a final composition. I did not gravitate towards any of the concepts in the end, but the exercise was rewarding in loosening my definition to visualize a place.

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Figure E | Thumbnail drawings to capture the place in whole, manipulating perspective

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Figure F | Acrylic paintings after second visit to the Riverfront

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Figure G | Acrylic Painting: Dredging

After my thumbnails in class, I returned to the Riverfront a second time as mentioned earlier. In response to my second visit, I worked in acrylic to create images (Figure F, G, H). I decided to paint in a monochromatic palette of either blue or grayscale to capture the separation of land and water at the Riverfront. After making several paintings, I reworked paintings of the dredging boats and ears bridge bridge (Figure G, H) to be final images for my spreads.

Figure H | Acrylic Painting: Eads Bridge

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Figure I | Ink/Colored Pencil Drawing: Construction

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I finished painting and began to create more ink drawings for a greater variety of images. My first drawing was an ink and colored pencil drawing of the construction taking place at the Riverfront (Figure I). In class, Doug asked me to draw the same seen, but from memory and with my left hand in parts. Doug continued to remind me to draw objects identifiable. “Artistic gestures are not going to win in Pictionary� as Doug stated. The process seemed unnecessary at first, but it became the most important lesson I learned moving forward in the project.

Figure J | Left hand separate drawings

I was left with four images that seemed sloppy and made by a child. However, when combining these images digitally, they formed an image (Figure K) that better reflected my takeaway of the Riverfront compared to my initial colored pencil drawing. The ovals to evoke gravel, for example, captured my memory significantly more than the lines I was creating in Figure I. From this, I focused to illustrate with legibility, asking if this would win in Pictionary.

Figure K | Construction Scene (Left Hand Digital Composition)

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Figure K | Thumbnail Sketches post left hand exercise

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Figure L | Final Ink Drawing: The Arch and Riverfront

Figure M | Final Ink Drawing: City view behind Riverfront

Figure N | Final Ink Drawing: Construction

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Riverfront Meta Book

Riverfront Didot

Riverfront Adelle PE

Figure O | Color Iterations for Construction

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Refinement

I began scanning and editing each image digitally in Photoshop. For my ink drawings, I multiplied my scans and added flat color to block out forms (Figure O, P). Initially, my drawing of construction used purple, pink, and green to evoke the unnatural presence of construction by the river. During an in process critique, it was mentioned the large range of colors made it difficult to see the images as a set. In response, I gravitated to use blues, beiges, and reds in order to connect one spread to the next. It was pointed out that there was tension created by the small area between the Arch and top of the ink drawing. As a result, I extended the top to better communicate the quiet and peaceful tone of the Riverfront. For my acrylic paintings, I scanned and experimented with gradient maps and color overlays. In the end, I overlaid red on my painting of Eads Bridge (Figure Q), and did not change the dredging boats besides small adjustments to the levels. Once finalizing my images, I began to explore the layout of my spreads. Initially, I held my images all within my margins to sustain order and

Process Book: Riverfront

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Figure P | Flat Digital Color additions

Figure Q | Color Iterations for Construction Scene

consistency as a set, and create variety by the scale between images. Hearing feedback to bleed off the page, I went overboard to bleed all my images. Eventually, I organized my spreads to include bleeding over the edge and be held within the margins. The end result created a better visual interest in variety while hold as a set. As I was finishing the layout of my spreads, I started to develop small sentences describing my images. My first attempts were too generic, not specific to characteristics of the St. Louis Riverfront. “Boats reside

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Figure R | Color Iterations for Construction Scene

along the Riverfront,” and “Construction surrounds the Riverfront” are examples of my early sentences. I conducted further research on what the construction and boats were for, developing new sentences such as “Construction for the Arch Museum continues” and “Dredging keeps the Riverfront wide and navigable.” For my type, I looked at a variety of seriff and san seriff type families. I chose to use Didot based on it’s clean and thin characteristics with hairline seriffs, evoking a tranquil nature I wanted to communicate in the Riverfront.

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Criticism

Looking at the spreads in their respective purpose – to address the Riverfront as a place – I believe they do a fair job. Each image captures a distinct purpose or characteristic of the Riverfront, the colors associate the imagery to the large body of water and the Riverfront’s dreary tone and the layout provides a clear direction for reading between spreads. I wonder if my spreads would benefit if I fully strayed from local color. If I were to go back, I would redo my drawing of the city behind he Riverfront. The drawing is not very informative of what is taking place, and the almost square format seems to box in the content. Furthermore, I wish I made a image which better connected my ink drawings to my paintings. I feel there is a large contrast between the drawings and paintings that imapact the legibility of the spreads as a set. As a whole, though, I am proud of the work I produced for this project. I learned more than expected about illustrations evoking a place, and recording experiences in your work and sketches

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Word and Image I Process Book: Riverfront  
Word and Image I Process Book: Riverfront  
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