Oh, The Lessons You’ll Learn

eiffelThis graphic probably took me about 4-5 hours to make. It would have gone a lot faster if I hadn’t been in a car the whole time; bumpy roads were my enemy for those hours and every brush stroke I made had to be carefully planned before executed. The end result was well worth the hours of work and this graphic was used in a 6 page cover story in the next WSS issue.

The December 18th issue was one in which we tried quite a few new things: we had never had such a long cover story, we had never changed the font of the flag, nor had we ever had such a blank and dramatic cover. Because the cover story was such a serious topic, I wanted to create a design that would both engage the reader and reflect the tone of the story.

I had never tried to do any artwork in Illustrator prior to this issue because traditional graphics always fit nicely with the stories we did. However, for this issue I decided to go with a more artistic dominant element. I felt that graphics were almost too clean for a topic that was so messy, so I opted for the brush stroke in Illustrator and created this Eiffel Tower with individual strokes, changing the colors of each as I went along. I went with muted tones that followed the colors of France’s flag but also stayed with the serious tone of the article.

For the background, I created a grey gradient on top of an oil pastel-textured page. It took hours of experimenting to get it just right. Had I gone with a plain colored background, the Eiffel Tour would have looked very awkward and messy in comparison- the textured background was a necessity.

December 9th, exporting night, came around quickly. By that time, everything was falling into place nicely; the cover had been exported a week earlier, and the final draft of the cover story was being placed into the design. Gathered around my computer, all the writers read the story aloud to make sure there were no glaring errors. By around 8:30 we were finally ready to export the last 6 pages of the issue. Someone pulled up “The Final Countdown” on youtube and we all waited as the EICs exported the pages. Aaaand then we ran into problems-the file wouldn’t export because the graphics were so big. (We ended up playing “The Final Countdown” quite a few times that night…) I spent the next half hour converting the graphics into jpegs and replacing the old ones in the design. All the school computers are super slow so what should have taken 10 minutes maximum, took a lot longer. Eventually everything was fixed and the cover story was exported.

Attempting to make graphics on a bumpy road and not converting them to jpegs before exporting night were time consuming errors, but hey, it was a valuable learning experience. The more you know, right? ¯\_(ツ)_/¯


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