If you find yourself nearby a St. Louis Post-Dispatch on Thursday the 31st, check out the Get Out section to see a bunch of illustrations I did, including the cover. Reporter (and pal) Diane Toroian Keaggy wrote a bunch of funny descriptions of Labor Day events around town this weekend, specifically regarding the real men and women whose hard behind-the-scenes work manufacture good times for the rest of us. I drew them in kind of a Labor Propaganda / WPA poster mode, both to reflect the origins of Labor Day and in fear that my normal cartoonier style would be overkill alongside Diane's funny character profiles. The one at the top of this post is for an unsung hero of the St. Louis Labor Day Parade, and here are ones for the Fall Festival of Art and the Japanese Festival at the Botanical Gardens, which will feature displays of Sumo Wrestling.I love the crisp shapes and interlocking 2-D "clockwork" compositions of those old WPA posters, but also the dramatic lighting and textured shading. Ideally, I would've actually painted my illustrations also - especially to to get those kind of textures - but given the mechanical concerns of newsprint reproduction (and the practical concerns of newspaper deadlines) I decided to suck it up and give it my best shot using vectors (warning: shop talk ahead!). I've experimented in the past with achieving a gritty blend using series of dots, like here:
But that still feels too digital. This time I tried creating a custom "pattern brush" tile using more jagged organic shapes, like charcoal on a toothed paper might create:
It still looks kinda crummy up-close, but looks okay in print. If anybody out there has better suggestions on how to create this effect, short of actually using scanned or pixel-based textures (my antique computer can't handle humungous file sizes), give me a holler. Happy Labor Day!