Friday, April 3, 2009

Teens need an etiquette guide??

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Good manners have always been in fashion and always will be. Of course, that doesn't mean quite few a children, teens and adults, are not in immediate need of a little guidance on the subject of manners from time to time.
I remember a rather jolting scene one hot summer a few years ago here in NYC when I was in line at a drug store behind a big, hairy man wearing a tank top. He placed a few items down on the counter to purchase, one of which was a deodorant. The young woman behind the counter took his money and then as she began bagging the items the man nonchalantly popped off the cap of the deodorant and applied it under both his furry-mammoth underarms right there at the counter, then strolled out the store! The young clerk and I both looked at each in shock, probably to confirm someone else had also witnessed this gross violation of public manners! It is quite easy to see how children of such a man might not be learning the essential basics of proper social decorum, and would be in dire need of a manners guide.
Which brings me to a book project I completed recently. I had the good fun to illustrate the upcoming Emily Post book "Prom and Party Etiquette" How Teens Can Prep for Their Big Night ...written by Cindy Post Senning and Peggy Post. The project consisted of me creating a color cover image, and about 45 one-color line illustrations for the inside of the book, all on the subject of guiding teens in the proper way to conduct oneself for all sorts of social gatherings, both informal and formal, leading up the pinnacle of teenage social events, the Prom. I am not sure when the publisher, Harper Collins, will be releasing the book... probably this fall.
The initial art director on the book was Matthew Adamec, then the responsibility was passed over to Jeanne Hogle, all under the watchful eye of Martha Rago, the Creative Director on the project. I created all the images in Adobe Illustrator, drawing directly with a pen tool on my Wacom tablet. In fact I did not even do sketches for the project. 45 inside illustrations were required, so I just by-passed the sketch stage and directly drew about 70 final images based on the chapter text, of which the editors then selected their required final 45 images. Of course, some of the 45 images needed re-working... mostly modifications to the character's hairstyles and clothes. The reason why I by-passed the sketch stage was because the inside illustrations were all simple line art, and depicting simple scenarios, and so it was just faster and more efficient for me to draw the final images from my mind directly to the screen.
Posted here is one of the designer's early cover layouts, next is the final cover illustration depicting a row of teen friends as if they were posing for an informal photo. There are two versions of this: a limited color version, and a full color version. (I think the full color version is being used on the final cover design.) Next are a handful of the inside illustrations. In the book these images will be printed in just black & white... but posting them here in the blog, I added a splash of background color.
If you have a teen approaching their prom years, this guide really is a fun, practical gift book that they will use.

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