By Danny Garrett, Austin, Texas
Although I am mainly an artist/illustrator that creates original art for both fine and commercial art arenas, by virtue of being a freelance operator for many decades I have also developed production art skills as well. And while I’ve worked on many projects that involved traditional approaches to render art fit for printing, I have never faced challenges like those I encountered in preparing for print media the original artwork for Princess April Morning-Glory.
When Letitia Fairbanks set out to create this book, she did so without any knowledge as to how the printing process worked generally and how art must be created and presented for publication. Therefore, she rendered her art in the same way that she perceived a book in its reading. She created one page then turned it over to create the next – in other words, art on the backside of art. Because the media she used was watercolor and India ink, bleed-through problems were created. Specifically, it was the ink text that bled through from the back of the page onto and around the delicate watercolor illustrations and illuminations on the front of the same page.
It was this problem that prevented publication of Princess April Morning-Glory for decades. In point of fact effectively dealing with the art as it was created was virtually impossible until the advent of digital graphic programs late in the 20th century. And this is where I come in. I had acquired enough digital skills in my seven years in the computer game industry to actually be able to deal with the bleed-through problems. With the help of Photoshop, one such program, the problem that had plagued attempts to publish was now solvable. I was able to develop a technique that eradicated 70% – 90% of be bleed-through where it fell on open space. However, when it impacted the delicate watercolor illuminations or foreground text, I would have to literally go down to the pixel level to salvage them. It was a tedious and exacting process, but it worked.
What you see in the pages of this book is the result of those efforts. Thanks to the wonders of digital graphic technologies, Princess April Morning-Glory now lives as a published work.