E. Final Production

    Production by reproduction is the final step from the drawing board to the media of consumption. The industrial paradigm traditionally dominates this penultimate portion of the creative graphic design process.1 Kuchka products range from the informal conceptual sketch to the style of the slick eye candy of industrial advertisement, but the preference is for graphics on the informal side where the free hand can be seen. With this in mind, an economy of production can be informed by the three principles in Box FPB.

Box FPB.

The emphasis is on avoiding the well-machined-look and unnecessary polish, whenever possible. For example, in the Censorship Moiety (Figure CM) the central panel, the censored book, and most of the flow icons have been brought back from the original thought-drawing. They provide organic elements in the machine-like environment of the computer execution.

Figure CM.

Figure CM. Censorship Moiety. Kuchka nd, unpublished.

    In summary, what we are advocating here is a philosophy of graphic expression in defense of the amateur, the non-professional draftsperson. This is an extension of the tradition of recognizing the value of Naïve Art. For most of us, the enthusiasm we had as a young child for expressing ourselves in visual art was likely killed by a poisonous pedagogy that resulted in the negative valuation “I can’t draw…I’m not an artist.” By about the age of eight or nine most of us accepted this spirit-breaking judgment on the part of The System. It is one of many institutional tactics to control communication and individual expression, this one reinforced by the multiple environments of social class and the art industries’ self-interests. If not sooner, young adulthood is the time to set aside this bias of the industrial art system and explore once again the personal possibilities for graphic expression. [See the section on The Child as a Free Thinker, in Part II of Graphic Language.]     In post-modernity offset lithography was replaced by the computer. Now an annotated second generation design model usually acts as a guide for a computer graphics expert to complete the drafting. But a more informal approach is possible. The retro-tech wing of the Kuchka recommends the following. Ink over pencil and erase the pencil. Ink-copy, or freely trace, the pencil design model with onion-skin paper and a light box. Photocopy an assemblage of inked puzzle-like pieces and clean it up on the computer. Experiment with technology to create a personal production procedure that preserves your right to draw and design with a free hand.     The free hand Mandala of Creativity (Figure MC1) bears comparison with a thoroughly machined computer drafted version (Figure MC2). Use your reading and editing skills to decide the combination of free hand and machine drafting that suits best the goals of your own communication project. Share your critical thinking and design solutions with others.

Figure MC1.

Figure MC1. Mandala of Creativity. Free-hand graphic combining Kuchka versions of de Bono’s green and blue thinking hats in order to depict the divergent (green hat-like), and convergent (blue-hat-like) duality of individual creative thought. See Box 6H for de Bono’s Six Thinking Hats idiom. This Mandala of Creativity (MC1) also reflects elements of the phenomenology of imagining, critical thinking, and a minimalist epistemological hierarchy.

Figure MC2.

Figure MC2. Mandala of Creativity. Computer drafted.

A reflective comparison of Figures MC1 and MC2 plus the Hat cartoons in Box 6H may suggest that we have the least tolerance for hand lettering of any of the free hand graphic forms. Looking at the diversity of the forms in the written-words seen in the Six Thinking Hats cartoons, do you detect a self-preference for the machine lettering compared with that of the free hand? If not, then enjoy the possibilities that post-modern production offers for the inventive free-hand.2 Create a style that only you would come up with, and consider alternatives that broaden that style while you learn more about the transgenerational developments in graphic language that have occurred in the past few hundred years.

Box 6Ha. Black HatBox 6Ha. Red Hat Box 6Ha. White HatBox 6Ha. Yellow Hat Box 6Ha. Green HatBox 6Ha. Blue Hat Box 6H b.

Box 6H. The Six Thinking Hats. (a) The Six Hat Cartoons. (b) The Supporting Text and Captions. [Modified slightly from Appendix of Method for Theory: A Prelude to Human Ecosystems (JEA 2001 Vol. 5). Based on E. de Bono. 1990b. Six Thinking Hats. London: Penguin Books]

  • 1. In the second half of the 20th Century, the industrial (business) paradigm dominated comic book production to the point that what had once been the creative work of one individual was usually segregated, and a team made up of visual artists, font designers/letterers, and writers created the comic (Eisner 1985/2008). Much of this was anticipated...
  • 2. Eisner (1985/2008) notes that hand lettering will always be the most individualistic and expressive way of creating word balloons and text panels. Suppression of the free-hand style in Eisner’s time was not new. It occurred in the 19th Century English and French plagiaries of Töpffer’s work, in his lifetime (Kunzle 2007). Töpffer’s attractive handwritten captions and wavy-lined panel borders were replaced with standardized calligraphy or typography, and his frame lines straightened (i.e., ruled). His work was “regularized,” as in normal commercial lithography.

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