The Challenge of the Project

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.

As a specific example of bleed-through, examine the third line of text. You can readily see the words 'Great World' with the outline of the globe above them, but as you read the next word - beyond - you can see that just after that word there is the mirror image of a capital 'F' bleeding through, as well as the illumination of trees showing up from the other side if the page.

As a specific example of bleed-through, examine the third line of text. You can readily see the words ‘Great World’ with the outline of the globe above them, but as you read the next word – beyond – you can see that just after that word there is the mirror image of a capital ‘F’ bleeding through, as well as the illumination of trees showing up from the other side of the 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.

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Danny Garrett

About Danny Garrett

Danny Garrett, Digital Restoration Artist for "Princess April Morning-Glory" Danny Garrett is best known for his contributions to music ephemera of Austin, Texas, especially in its heady early days in the 1970s. His pen & ink poster portraiture advertising the latest shows were a must-have addition to any blues-lover who saw such greats as Muddy Waters, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Buddy Guy, and so many more at the legendary Antones nightclub.As computers came of age, Danny adapted and began working for digital game companies, later transitioning to teaching both traditional and digital art. While holding a tenured position at Auckland University of Technology in the Graphic Arts Dept., Danny developed digital techniques to restore Letitia’s artwork to its full glory, and render the previously unprintable pages, printable. Second only to Letitia, we would not finally be reading copies of Princess April Morning-Glory had Danny not graciously volunteered to take this project on.

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  1. Pingback: Silent Movie Bookshelf: Princess April Morning-Glory | Movies, Silently

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