inkwell.vue.136 : Adam Gertsacov and Donna Atwood: Rhode Island A to Z
permalink #76 of 228: (bratwood) Wed 16 Jan 02 07:03
    
I'm not sure I agree with generalization that Rhode Islanders don't
like to travel. Seems like Adam is frequently reporting trips to the
airport both for himself and his family and friends. If I ventured a
guess about the obscurity of Rhode Island, I'd say that it simply lives
in the shadow of the vastly popular Boston and New York. That
wunder-burb location happens to be one of the things I adore about the
state. You are close to all the benefits of east coast urban
sophistication and far enough away to enjoy some beautiful scenery.

Answering Patrizia's question from post <65>, here's a basic process:

1. Gather any and all research available for each of the subjects.
Visits the sites, take your own photos, buy the books/reference
materials, obtain physical objects where possible. example:
For the lobster, Adam and I went down to a fishing village with his
mother and had a tasty lobster dinner. His mother cleaned the shell
carefully and then shipped it to me later. None of the photos I found
had sufficient clarity in the head area, so I used the specimen for
clarification of details. Adam and the spinner in the "textiles"
section are the only live human models I had. We went to a historic
recreation event and I photographed the spinner for reference.

2. After you have all the possibilities, sketch out each element
modifying as needed by combining the best aspects of all references.

3. Scan all sketches and save a pict files for vector art drawings in
Adobe Illustrator.

4. All elements are drawn individually in Illustrator and saved as
line art (vector art images).

5. Compositions are developed through various trial-and-error
attempts. You can compare the initial Kingscote to the final Kingscote
composition to get an idea of the process. 

6. Background details are added after major image components are
assembled. For example, I just hinted at the cylindrical shape at the
hub of the carousel rather than attempt to illustrate it realistically.
The actual carousel is so busy with embellishment, you'd be drowning
in detail had I not simplified it.

7. Once the composition is complete, it can be imported into Adobe
Photoshop and rasterized (converted from line art to pixels). There I
use the various brushes and tools to fill the contour lines with color.

Photoshop is a great medium because of all the potential to
experiment. I'm traditionally trained and can get these images together
manually with ink and airbrush, but I would never be able to manage
the range of color to the extent possible with digital color. Also,
since I'm working with cmyk from the start, I don't face the
disappointing conversion from pigment colors to printer's inks. I know
exactly what I'm going to get long before the printer sees the job.
  
inkwell.vue.136 : Adam Gertsacov and Donna Atwood: Rhode Island A to Z
permalink #77 of 228: D (bratwood) Wed 16 Jan 02 07:38
    <scribbled by bratwood Wed 16 Jan 02 07:39>
  
inkwell.vue.136 : Adam Gertsacov and Donna Atwood: Rhode Island A to Z
permalink #78 of 228: Donna Atwood (bratwood) Wed 16 Jan 02 07:40
    
(Another scribbled redundant post)
  
inkwell.vue.136 : Adam Gertsacov and Donna Atwood: Rhode Island A to Z
permalink #79 of 228: It's all done with mirrors... (kafclown) Wed 16 Jan 02 07:44
    
Well, I  do travel quite a bit, but I think I'm the exception, rather than 
the rule.

Actually, I'd say that it's not that Rhode Islanders don't travel--  it's 
just that they don't  travel IN-state.
  
inkwell.vue.136 : Adam Gertsacov and Donna Atwood: Rhode Island A to Z
permalink #80 of 228: Linda Castellani (castle) Wed 16 Jan 02 17:12
    

My grandmother was born in Providence.  Just thought I'd mention.

One thing about Rhode Island I'm curious about is why it, and Providence 
in particular, is known as the jewelry capital of the world.  Any ideas?
  
inkwell.vue.136 : Adam Gertsacov and Donna Atwood: Rhode Island A to Z
permalink #81 of 228: (bratwood) Wed 16 Jan 02 18:25
    
Yay! I wanted "Jewelry" to be our letter "J" (but lost that debate). I
love jewelry. Adam's grandmother, now 101 years old, used to be a
stringer of pearls in her youth. I think Rhode Island had lots of
manufacturing centered in Providence, particularly costume jewelry.
Adam is bound to have more details.
  
inkwell.vue.136 : Adam Gertsacov and Donna Atwood: Rhode Island A to Z
permalink #82 of 228: Linda Castellani (castle) Wed 16 Jan 02 23:35
    

My grandmother was a pearl knotter.
  
inkwell.vue.136 : Adam Gertsacov and Donna Atwood: Rhode Island A to Z
permalink #83 of 228: It's all done with mirrors... (kafclown) Thu 17 Jan 02 06:58
    
That's what my grandmother did!  She  had a small company, (Woodman's=== 
She felt that Gertsacov was far too ethnic  to do business, so she took 
her sister's  husband's  last  name)  She and her two sisters would sit 
all day stringing pearls.  She was one of the tops in her business-- even 
up until she was 95 or so, some of the Jewelry companies would give her 
small jobs.  Pearl stringing is kind of a dying art.

My grandmother is 101 now, and as a matter of fact, last night I took her 
out for ice cream!  She still lives by herself-- so pearl stringing might 
be the secret to longevity!

As for Providence being the capital of Jewelry, even today, approximately 
25% of all fashion jewelry (costume jewelry) is manufactured in Rhode 
Island.  (I think at one time that number was as high as 50%)

in the late 1700's, Nehemiah Dodge, a goldsmith from Providence, invented 
a method of gold-plating base metal.  That became big business around 
here.  Over 1000 manufacturers are currently based in Rhode Island, 
including big boys Swarovski, A.T. Cross, Quill, Tiffany, and Vargas.
A skilled labor pool, and then the advent of more jewelry designers when 
RISD was created, kept the jewelry industry here.

Although they never named it as such, Rhode Island could have been 
Rhinestone Valley (were it a valley!)

Jewelry would have been a good thing to include for our J. (And indeed it 
was on there for a long time)  But Johnnycakes are part of Rhode Island 
tradition (Roger Williams penned the first recipe for them in 1636)--  
they are one of the unique Rhode Island foods.  We had to make the more 
kid-friendly choice.
  
inkwell.vue.136 : Adam Gertsacov and Donna Atwood: Rhode Island A to Z
permalink #84 of 228: David S. Greene (dsg) Thu 17 Jan 02 07:39
    

What other potentially great choices ended up on the proverbial cutting room
floor?
  
inkwell.vue.136 : Adam Gertsacov and Donna Atwood: Rhode Island A to Z
permalink #85 of 228: It's all done with mirrors... (kafclown) Thu 17 Jan 02 08:32
    
Hey, we already fought those battles, and now you are bringing them up 
again!  :o)

Seriously, I want to be clear-- I don't see having to cut things that 
would have made good subjects as a loss, even though they may well have 
been worthy.  The book as it stands has a great mix of cultural and 
natural history.  Part of what makes it a good book is its brevity-- even 
if we had the extra 64 pages, thus doubling the book, that would have made 
the book very informative but too long (and also too expensive to produce, 
and less likely to make our money back)  I think the book is the right 
length, and all of the subjects are worthy and the right subjects.  We 
both had to make some compromises.

That being said, there are lots of great topics in Rhode Island.  Some of 
them were included in some way (either the introduction, or the timeline, 
or as part of one of the other subjects)


Dorr Rebellion
Triangle Slave Trade
Piping Plover
Independent Man
Freedom of Religion
Immigration
Jewelry
Harbor Seals
The Otter
Cumberlandite (the state mineral)
Beavertail Lighthouse
Newport Bridge
Seagulls
Woonsocket
Rosecliff or The Elms (other Newport Mansions)


These are just a few off the top of my head...  
  
inkwell.vue.136 : Adam Gertsacov and Donna Atwood: Rhode Island A to Z
permalink #86 of 228: It's all done with mirrors... (kafclown) Thu 17 Jan 02 09:44
    
And not book related, but in case you were interested....

I just had a little article about my flea circus in the Boston Phoenix:

BITING ENTERTAINMENT
Flea for all

BY NINA WILLDORF

If your idea of an entertaining Saturday-night
activity is straining your eyes and getting
itchy, you¹re in luck. Providence clown Adam
Gertsacov will debut his flea circus (one of
about five that perform worldwide) at
Brookline¹s Puppet Showplace Theatre.

That's right. Flea circus. You may have
thought they went the route of bearded ladies
and burlesque, but Gertsacov, who¹s been
touring the country for the past five years
with his two miniature stars, Midge and
Madge, claims "there's kind of been a
resurgence" of the Victorian-style side show.

For the rest of the article, check out  <http://shorterlink.com/?KZ3M13>
  
inkwell.vue.136 : Adam Gertsacov and Donna Atwood: Rhode Island A to Z
permalink #87 of 228: Gail Williams (gail) Thu 17 Jan 02 10:04
    
Great stuff!

I am enjoying this topic immensely.  Reading your creative process makes me
want to make coloring books, but since I don't have the time or the talent,
I have a lot of hare-gbrained suggestions and questions instead.  Forgive
me, I can't help myself...

Rhode Island is often used as a size-comparison reference in the western
US, where spaces are wide-open.   I remember when I lived and worked in
Yosemite years ago it was one of the "bigger than" comparisons tour guides
would use.

So that made me think of parks.  An alphabetical Yellowstone, Yosemite,
Grand Canyon, etc series would be very cool, with your writing and
illustrative comments. Animals, historic people, landmarks, recreational
activities, plus the R for Ranger park stuff if you wished. 

Most parks have two kinds of bookstores, the Visitor Center run by the
parks, and the concession gift chops.  Getting into one or the other or
both would be the goal, though there would be some additional interest in
the bookstores of surrounding towns.  And you might get to visit great
places as part of the project.  

Just a fantasy.  Count me among those who think your collaboration is very
cool, and who hope you do more.
 
  
inkwell.vue.136 : Adam Gertsacov and Donna Atwood: Rhode Island A to Z
permalink #88 of 228: Linda Castellani (castle) Thu 17 Jan 02 10:09
    

I love knowing more about the jewelry business in Rhode Island, and I 
didn't realize all those companies were based there.  Oooh.

In fact, what I don't know about Rhode Island could fill a book!
  
inkwell.vue.136 : Adam Gertsacov and Donna Atwood: Rhode Island A to Z
permalink #89 of 228: It's all done with mirrors... (kafclown) Thu 17 Jan 02 10:43
    
Not harebrained at all Gail.  Actually, Yellowstone, Yosemite, Grand 
Canyon and lots of other places already have coloring books.

It's true that Donna and I could probably make excellent coloring books, 
with a different spin than the ones currently out, about any of the 
national parks,  but ours would probably cost more, take longer to sell 
through, and be in competition with a bunch of other products.

There's one other coloring book about Rhode Island, but it's not a 
learning book, and it quite frankly stinks!  It looks like the 
illustrations came out of the crackerjack box.  It's one advantage is that 
it's $2.95.  We don't feel it's competition to us-- we're a real book.  Not 
every store  will feel the same way, but enough do so that they are 
interested in continuing on.

Our advantage in Rhode Island is that I'm local, there's nothing like it, 
and our price is right (and Rhode Island has a broad range of tourists)

As for parks, there are professional interpreters who do little more than 
come up with titles and materials about the parks and the various 
educational stuff that goes on inside them.  Donna is a member of the 
Professional Interpreter's Association (or whatever the title is)
The National Association of Interpretation <http://www.interpnet.org/>

I'm pretty sure that Donna was working on a Great Smoky Mountains title 
for a while, (it's one  of the largest tourist parks after the Grand 
Canyon and Yosemite)  She could probably talk more about the business end 
of doing parks.
  
inkwell.vue.136 : Adam Gertsacov and Donna Atwood: Rhode Island A to Z
permalink #90 of 228: Linda Castellani (castle) Thu 17 Jan 02 18:36
    

As a formerly rabid rubber-stamper, I know for a fact that reduced 
versions of the illustrations, and/or fragments of the illustrations would 
be well-received by rubber stamp enthusiasts.
  
inkwell.vue.136 : Adam Gertsacov and Donna Atwood: Rhode Island A to Z
permalink #91 of 228: It's all done with mirrors... (kafclown) Fri 18 Jan 02 08:06
    
Hmmmm... rubber stamps, eh?  

(Sound of cash register clicking.  Eyes turn to dollar bill signs.
An "Ayuga" Car Horn Sound is heard.)

Sounds interesting....
  
inkwell.vue.136 : Adam Gertsacov and Donna Atwood: Rhode Island A to Z
permalink #92 of 228: David S. Greene (dsg) Fri 18 Jan 02 08:23
    

Posters!  Coffee mugs!  Lunchboxes!  Seriously, how much merchandising is
reasonable for this project, and what might be a good, creative and alluring
idea?
  
inkwell.vue.136 : Adam Gertsacov and Donna Atwood: Rhode Island A to Z
permalink #93 of 228: It's all done with mirrors... (kafclown) Fri 18 Jan 02 09:03
    
Well, we could create a whole line-- but the question is, do we want to?  
Will it be worth it, not only from the financial perspective, but from a 
time perspective.

I am not opposed to it-- and more than likely we will do something along 
those lines--- but truthfully, it comes down to "Do I want to be a 
publishing and gift store tycoon or do I want to be a clown/ artist?"  
Personally, I'm much more interested in creating cool projects than 
marketing the hell out of them, and if I have to toil in obscurity as a 
clown, then so be it!

I know it doesn't seem that way, because I seem to market the hell out of 
things in general, and it seems like I must like it.  It's not that I 
don't like marketing (it's fine) I just really would rather not have to do 
it.  Sadly I realize that I must, and so I do as much as I can when I can.
  
inkwell.vue.136 : Adam Gertsacov and Donna Atwood: Rhode Island A to Z
permalink #94 of 228: Gail Williams (gail) Fri 18 Jan 02 10:19
    

Eventually you may find established or independent publisher/distributors to 
take on the stuff that keeps you from doing more art.  May it be more so 
every year, for the two of ya, for that matter.  
  
inkwell.vue.136 : Adam Gertsacov and Donna Atwood: Rhode Island A to Z
permalink #95 of 228: It's all done with mirrors... (kafclown) Fri 18 Jan 02 12:15
    
Yes I suppose.  But most publishers wouldn't touch this market because it 
is too small... Not enough cash in it.

It's enough cash for Donna and I because we don't have to support a 
gigantic infrastructure.

We are small and nimble (which is kind of a pun, if you haven't met me.  
Nimble is not the word that you would choose to describe me.)
  
inkwell.vue.136 : Adam Gertsacov and Donna Atwood: Rhode Island A to Z
permalink #96 of 228: Donna Atwood (bratwood) Fri 18 Jan 02 12:22
    <scribbled by bratwood Fri 18 Jan 02 13:21>
  
inkwell.vue.136 : Adam Gertsacov and Donna Atwood: Rhode Island A to Z
permalink #97 of 228: Donna Atwood (bratwood) Fri 18 Jan 02 13:21
    
Say it in a Monty Python voice: "Oh He's a Nimble One He Is!"

Remarkably, independent publishers/distributors are difficult to come
by and don't do the miracle job one might imagine. Working the market
here in the Southwest for the past four years has made that clear to
me. There are plenty of salespeople who really don't want to work their
territory, they just want somebody to assign them a self-selling
account (like "Beanie Babies" at the Zoo) and collect their commissions
over leisurely lunches/afternoons at the golf course. Staying focused
on creating and not getting sucked into the business miasma is a
challenge for any artist.
  
inkwell.vue.136 : Adam Gertsacov and Donna Atwood: Rhode Island A to Z
permalink #98 of 228: Donna Atwood (bratwood) Fri 18 Jan 02 13:23
    
Um... Some technical bug reposts my entry if I hit "reload" in
Netscape. Strange phenomenon.
  
inkwell.vue.136 : Adam Gertsacov and Donna Atwood: Rhode Island A to Z
permalink #99 of 228: Linda Castellani (castle) Fri 18 Jan 02 13:35
    

I don't know about that bug, but I will pass along your comments to 
helpdesk to see what they might know about it.

Is there a way to license your work to someone else who might want to do 
the work for you?
  
inkwell.vue.136 : Adam Gertsacov and Donna Atwood: Rhode Island A to Z
permalink #100 of 228: Donna Atwood (bratwood) Fri 18 Jan 02 13:48
    
That's an idea I've been bouncing around for a while now. I've
discussed it in depth with Scott and Nancy over at Adstock Stock
Photography. They are geared for the best of Southwest photography and
have been considering working with illustrators.
http://www.adstockphotos.com

Scott is an expert at licensing images and we both have a good
relationship with Jordan Meschkow, a local attorney who specializes in
intellectual property/contracts. Most agreements can be negotiated from
some fairly established guidelines. Still, I'm not sure where I really
want to go with that. I dread losing control of my images.
  

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