Tag Calliope’s Book

Calliope’s Book : Stop + Rest Sketch Color

Closer and closer…

Stupid Robots!

I think this kid goes by the name “Duck”. He likes to work on archaic mechanical things… like power cores, mercuric condenser circuits, and tech-chipper artifacts from the age of the Orange King.

Calliope’s Book : Stop + Rest Sketch Refined

Moving closer to completion on this poster. I drastically simplified the center of the image over what was shown in the original. Simplification goes well with resting, no? I also redrew most of the line work to bring it up to spec.

Calliope’s Book : Stop + Rest Sketch

Awake out there? Take a sneak peek at some upcoming work! If you’re confused, read about the mysterious origin of Calliope’s Book!

Parasignals

Today, I wanted to write a bit about the “secrets” in Speed + Time… and “secrets” in artwork generally.

In graphic design classes, communication of a message is typically broken into three components: alphasignal, parasignal, and infrasignal. In short: alphasignal is understood to be the message itself, parasignal is the way that message is being conveyed, and infrasignal is the behavior of the source of the message. (Note: If you’re interested in greater detail, read Crawford Dunn’s paper on the subject — it’s great.)

I am fascinated by strong parasignals in artwork — particularly, parasignals which reinforce (or contradict!) the alphasignal or which decode to different messages depending on the audience.

All artists include parasignals — conscious or unconscious — in the production of their work. Conscious inclusion of parasignals would seem to have two immediate benefits. First, the elevation of the creative challenge — which, ideally, would force the artist down new creative avenues. Second, the increased interest of the artwork’s audience (either in further appreciation of the message conveyed by the work or born of curiosity over the mechanism by which that message was delivered).

To provide a concrete example, I’ve created a diagram which illuminates the parasignals consciously included in Speed + Time. When looking at the diagram below, ask yourself what would happen if those elements were removed. Now that you realize their presence and know their meaning, would you consider them essential to the message conveyed in the artwork?

(My apologies if this comes across somewhat muddled — I’m low on sleep. Let me know what you think!)

(My further apologies for the awful title of the artwork referenced in this post. I’ll edit it to something more fittingly lyrical soon.)

Calliope’s Book : Speed + Time

Stand clear! Calliope is taking off.

Calliope’s Book is a story about a little white cat who lives in a forested world of rusting mechanical chipmunks and shining metal wings.

What’s particularly special about the image?
1. For a digital image, this is truly huge: 18 x 24 inches @ 600dpi. I’m a former pre-press designer and strive to make my work look particularly great when printed.
2. Look close! This image contains parasignals!

This poster is now available in my deviantArt store.

Calliope’s Book Poster

Calliope’s Book is a story about a little white cat who lives in a forested world of rusting mechanical chipmunks and shining metal wings.

This illustration is now available in my deviantArt store.

Calliope’s Book

Calliope’s Book is a story about a little white cat who lives in a forested world of rusting mechanical chipmunks and shining metal wings.

This illustration is now available in my deviantArt store.

Calliope’s Book : Origins

Someone out there might be asking, “How did this Calliope’s Book thing get started, anyway?”

I’ll tell you. Someone posted a picture of a cartoon cat — much like the one below — on an internet forum I frequent.

Random conversation ensued:

Idiotprincess: gaah! who let calliope use a computer???

me: That cat cannot be stopped. Check out the way she’s tearing up the keyboard!

Idiotprincess: she has ambitions to write the Great Feline-American Novel. unfortunately most of her sentences look like this: ,./,.ettrpol;cbbpop[er,.,./,./rrel;l;bopopee,./,./bbxp,./,./ertrt

me: …AND she is fond of having her characters utter the words ‘snur snur snur’ to indicate their amusement. They are always amused!

Idiotprincess: yes, she is a creative genius. it’s really unfortunate that she’s such a bad typist. on the other hand, she can dictate her stories. after all that’s where Neil Gaiman says ‘Stardust’ came from.

me
: Didn’t David Eggers refer to her work as ‘indescribable’ and ‘confounding’? Those words are at least two syllables. Maybe three. That means quality. Oh! I just heard Neil Gaiman and Calliope are co-writing a new book about mechanical chipmunks which construct — and subsequently abandon — elaborate ambulatory tree houses deep in the heart of a globe-spanning forest. You know how crazy the rumor-mill can be, though…

Idiotprincess
: TOTALLY crazy. it’s neil stephenson, not neil gaiman! and i have no idea where the mechanical chipmunk thing came from, it’s about flying cats. with mechanical wings.

There you go. All the ingredients of a good tale.

(Apologies in advance to Mr. Gaiman, Mr. Stephenson, and Mr. Eggers if they ever see this…)