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Hardware
posted: December 16, 2010
Popular Science - Jan.2011...
Couple of recent illustrations about hardware. First is for Popular Science about the way of comparing BluRay players. Seems it can be quite difficult even for a techie. One area is in the detail of human hair. Not sure as to how close you have to be to the screen? Art Director; Ashley Smestad.
Motor Trend - Dec.2010...

Another for Motor Trend about the release of two very different cars, the Ferrari 458, and Chevy Volt. The article describes the attributes of both. In my opinion the Ferrari ironically is more of going down the same trail. Expensive, fast, and flashy it's effect on the automotive world will be limited. Where as the aspirational implications of the Volt are much larger. Article was is titled, "Bolt & Volt". Art Director; Andy Foster.
While in New York back in early November, I was honoured to be asked to be on one of the Society of Illustrators juries for the annual exhibitions of the best of the year. Sorry, I'm not about to post any inside info about the process of the judging. It was a small thing that Edel Rodriguez did as an aside. While taking a break I noticed Edel opening a number of small packages, one of which contained I believe was a memory stick for his camera. He looked at the package, smiled, and pointed the logo out to me. I saw a blast from the past. My first reaction was that of some self effacing humour, followed by recollection. After arriving back home out west, and about a month later, I was pulling apart the morning paper, when what slides out?… another sale flyer from a local electronics store. There is was again, and now that I'm a little more aware, it's been popping-up more lately. It was sometime back in the early nineties that I painted the original. The assignment was to illustrate a human head sans the top. There were to be computer chips going into the head. I developed a background treatment based on the imagery of the technology of the time. I painted in oils on a gel base on heavy stock paper. It was an odd approach as it made reproducing the art a real challenge. I remember the term, "specular highlights", and frustration. A transparency was usually a necessary step in reproduction. Having access to a good photographer was a must. The texture evolved out of an approach going back a decade.
Kingston - Early 90's - oils on heavy stock...

gel textured base...

updated logo application. kingston changed the brow, and vectorized it....

In the logo on packaging today the texture is gone, but there's that red head with no top. It's been in use for a while now.
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13 comments
Victor Juhasz December 17, 2010
So solid. Great images.
John Dykes December 17, 2010
Nice group of illos Douglas - Love that Pop Sci eye.
NIck Wright December 18, 2010
Douglas like the texture on your's better!
Greg Clarke December 20, 2010
Nice subtle range of blues in that top image Doug. And I've always loved that iconic Kingston head.
Douglas Fraser December 20, 2010
Gentlemen, thank you for commenting during the Holiday Season! The subject of texture is an interesting one in these days of digital work. A painting looses something on a monitor in my opinion. There's a real effort by many to add some level of a faux texture or finish back into illustrations. It's kinda' backwards engineering an image. I've tried to embrace a certain level of the qualities of vector art for their own attributes. For me, I suppose it's the difference between communicating a subject, or just riffing an effect.
harry December 20, 2010
Doug, Does Motor Week ever let you test ride some of these? I had a neighbor who was a writer and even though he didn't write on every car, every week a new one showed up. Great stuff-as always. I take this digital realm for granted-I do recall the age of transparencies.
Douglas Fraser December 20, 2010
Harry! I almost spit my coffee all over my monitor. No, the text is the only thing I get to take for a test ride. That Ferrari would be hard to get near, as all the moto journalists would feel themselves the truly enlightened appreciators, or intermediaries. It would be interesting to test drive the Volt to me. It's the one with the more significant vision of the future public roads. Yes, the Ferrari would be exciting in the obvious ways, but hardly a new vision. The only time I've taken a test drive for a project was a FORD assignment for the Mustang.
harry December 20, 2010
Mustang yah! Funny how in this age of "green chic" the muscle cars are making a comeback-like that commercial with George Washington driving a Charger.
Douglas Fraser December 20, 2010
Yeah, I actually quite like that commercial. What can I say, I do feel a love for those cars. Not too many places outside Detroit, laid down a classic long hood, low roof line, and short deck line like that. sigh
Rob Dunlavey December 21, 2010
Love to hear your comments regarding faux texture, etc in otherwise slick digital work. Ironic yet completely understandable. People are funny that way. It's all kind of an out of body experience unlike linseed oil and paper that buckles.
Douglas Fraser December 21, 2010
Rob, as someone who's digital work I definitely respect, I would say that it's digital work that is not trying to deny it's origins that impresses me. Another digital artist/illustrator I enjoy is the work of John Hersey. His work IS digital. I suppose recreating the past media on a computer is like the mactac wood paneling that took up location on the sides of early seventies station wagons. Beyond the pop-pathos of that example, it's a dog's breakfast.
Mark McBride December 26, 2010
I like both of these Doug, the one about the blu-ray in particular. That really looks cool. I have a few co-workers who discuss the blu-ray thing a lot. Its not my cup of tea as blu-ray makes the movie look too real, like the soaps view almost. I prefer the big screen stiff look. By the way, I like the way you color palate looks now, much more colorful.
Dana MacKenzie January 3, 2011
Well put, regarding digital work that is not trying to hide the fact that it's produced on computer. At the end of the day, the medium used to produce the piece should be more about what is appropriate in achieving the final look/style vs what's the fastest/most-current method of production. This is what's great about your stuff, Doug - as you're still bouncing between your hand-painted work and your vector designs. Each has merits in their own right. While I produce most of my stuff in vector format these days, I must say that I am a HUGE fan of your tactile texture work. It's razor-sharp in execution, yet still has a human quality, that unfortunately many digital illustrations these days suffer from a lack of. 2 fantastic piece!
All images copyright Douglas Fraser