Bob Staake (1957-); O Cartaz Retro/ Contemporâneo
© Bob Staake, Chocolate. 2007
© Bob Staake, Static keeps it up. 2007
Um grande admirador do design europeu dos cartazes de meados do séc. XX, Bob Staake, tem vindo a prestar-lhes homenagem através do seu próprio trabalho gráfico desde que iniciou o seu trabalho pela via digital em 1995. Quando não se encontra a trabalhar em comissões para cartazes ou ilustrações, Staake gosta de criar cartazes para produtos fictícios, marcas imaginárias e bens de consumo não-existentes. Ele apelida essas imagens de “Fauxsters” (Falsos cartazes).
© Bob Staake, Zip Cola. 2010
© Bob Staake, Big Fat capitalist. 2005
“Criar estes cartazes…” diz Bob Staake, “…é como estar num recreio de crianças a brincar com um rato e um teclado”. Apreciando e compreendendo a sensibilidade de inúmeros artistas gráficos europeus das décadas de 1930, 40 e 50, Staake tem como objectivo manter viva a estética desse período e torná-la viável como vertente do design gráfico do séc. XXI.
“Tantos artistas comerciais europeus de incrível talento do século passado entenderam a importância da cor, composição e do paradigma “menos é mais” (less is more), quando criaram as suas ousados e poderosas imagens de cartazes”, refere Staake. “Artistas como A.M.Cassandre, Jean Carlu, Herve Morvan, Paul Colin, Herbert Lupin, Albert Borer, Donald Brun e outros, produziram um corpo de trabalho que possuía semelhanças gráficas e ajudaram a criar um tipo particular de grafismo que é percepcionado por nós hoje o “cartaz clássico” (Vintage poster).
© Bob Staake, MTA. 2010
“Gosto de variar o meu próprio trabalho em termos de estilo… mas muitas vezes é o tema, conceito ou propósito por detrás da peça que estou a criar no momento, que me leva a enveredar por um determinado caminho gráfico. No entanto, para mim, fico satisfeito com um cartaz que posso identificar como pertencendo à “escola” clássica e, ao mesmo tempo, contribuir com a minha sensibilidade contemporânea.”
© Bob Staake, Vive. 2010
Bob Staake utiliza o programa Photoshop para realizar os seus trabalhos. Eis um vídeo que demonstra o percurso de criação de um dos seus trabalhos:
Também poderão querer ver o site deste designer em: http://www.bobstaake.com/fauxster/index.shtml
This “Oddly Bizarre” Process
by Bob Staake
To say that I didn’t know a thing about computers in 1995 would the understatement of the century — both the 20th and the 21st.
I was fortunate enough to build a solid career as a humorous illustrator with a decidedly “cartoonish” style, a visual approach that many reviewers would categorize as “retro” or “1950s modern”, as if Hanna-Barbera, UPA and early MAD magazine were thrown into a blender and switched to ‘frappe’.
It was a style that saw me working for some of the top clients in the nation, an ecclectic mix consisting of every forum from The Washington Post to TIME, Cartoon Network to Hallmark Cards, Ralston Purina to the Children’s Television Workshop — and yes, even MAD.
My process then was simple, one detailed in HOW magazine andStep-by-Step photo spreads; I’d pass on a pencil and draw my line art in pen, paste those drawings to a board, Xerox it onto drawing paper, then paint the art in watercolor, gouache and prismacolor pencils. It was a process more grounded in reality — the need to crunch out a lot of work for reproduction, and no time to be a purist about how the original art might look framed on a wall.
I was comfortable working this way and found I could almost create those images in my sleep. You’d see my overly-colored drawings on cereal boxes, screaming from greeting cards, animated on tv programs, imprinted on almost any surface that could be imprinted.
I had no intentions whatsoever of goofing around with a good thing — until 1994. I was writing a book for North Light called The Complete Book of Humorous Art, and in the process of interviewing twenty other colleagues about their work methods, their approach to their art, their take on the future of the profession, I was amazed at how many of them were creating their images on a computer — or at least claimed to be.
Learning this, of course, fully plunged me into panic mode. How would I be able to “compete” in the mercurial world of commercial illustration if I wasn’t creating my art digitally like everyone else? How could I be expected to keep getting assignments when I’d have to FedEx them to a client when my colleagues could “email” their art to editors instantaneously? At the relatively young age of 38, I saw my future as an illustrator from blackened sunglasses as I was sucked deep into the tar pits to join the rest of the dinosaurs who didn’t have a clue what a ‘mouse’ was, who didn’t understand what ‘dpi’ meant.
It was a rude wakeup call to be sure, but then I recalled what a newswriting professor of mine at USC told me in 1979. “Staake”, he deadpanned, “the day will come when you’ll send your drawings to editors over a phone line”, and apparently, that day was now.
I called an art director friend at Ralston Purina to ask him how specifically I could make the transition from paint to pixels. I explained to him that I didn’t want to kill the goose that was laying all those golden illustration eggs week in and week out, “I just want to be able to draw my art with a pen, digitize it, and then I guess apply color”.
“Hmmmm”, he said. “Well, you can do that in Photoshop.”
Photoshop. I’d heard the word before. It was a “program”, I thought, but I wasn’t sure if it washardware or software. The bottom line was that you’d put this Photoshop into your computer, you’d hook up this thing called a scanner, and then you would be able to use these digital “tools” to color the artwork.
It was obvious — I needed to buy a computer and start creating art in Photoshop. I bought a Mac Power PC 7100 (with a whopping 500 mb hard drive!), a Umax scanner (I think that set me back $1200), monitor that weighed slightly more than a medium-sized barnyard animal, a Laser printer, an external Syquest drive, and Adobe Photoshop 3.0.
I was April of 1995 and I was ready to go — I just needed somebody to give me a shove. That’s how I learned to swim as a child after all. In the middle of the Salton Sea in Southern California, dad threw me off our boat. I splashed, I panicked, I inhaled saline water — but I apparently swam, or at the very least was able to tread water. It was a traumatic experience, but it’s amazing how many times I’d call on the not-so-hidden message behind the event; find a way to swim or you’ll die.
The computer was set up, all spanking new, the drab Apple beige harkening more to the company’s Mac Classic period of the 1980’s than its candy-colored iMac comeback in 1999. I left for a quick two week vacation in Europe with my family and vowed that when we returned and as soon as the phone rang with an assignment, I would find a way to do it digitally on the Mac. No brushes slathering paint, no Prismacolors grinding in any of 200+ shades, no more waffling on the fence.
After we returned to the states, the phone rang. It was an art director at the Chicago Tribune asking me if I could do a spot illustration. I roughed up some sketches, faxed them to her, and when she selected one, I drew it up in my usual fashion — as line art created by using a black Fountain Pentel. Ready for coloring, I lifted the lid of the Xerox machine out of habit, but instead of reproducing the line art on a pristine piece of drawing paper on which I would typically apply color, I stuffed the drawing into the scanner, opened Adobe Photoshop 3.0, used the pulldown menu to go to File, then Acquire, and finally selected UMAX scanner.
A bright flourescent light leaked out of the heat ventilator holes on the scanner. I heard the sounds of gears turning and motors buzzing – then silence. The scanner hummed and recoiled to be ready to scan antyhing else I’d ask it to and as it did, my black and white lineart appeared on the screen!
What I didn’t realize then was that when my art director friend had suggested that I could scan my art using Photoshop, one would traditionally do so to gain a digital image of their art, but then open it in another program (Illustrator, Painter or Freehand) to add color. Since I knew absolutely nothing about computers let along digital imaging software, I simply plowed ahead in Photoshop. I discovered that if I clicked on an icon that looked like a paint bucket it would dump the color of my choice on the art. If I used a tool that looked sort of like a magic wand that I could highlight areas in which to add a variety of digital effects.
But by far the most amazing thing I discovered was how I could change the properties of a paint brush from ‘normal’ to ‘dissolve’ — and it is the discovery of that very simple little effect that wholly revolutionized my illustration.
By forcing the paintbrush to apply pigment in a dissolve mode, I could create the illusion of shading — but when deconstructed, the “shading” was nothing more than the result of similarly colored pixels being “spattered”. The effect was amazingly similar to working a dry toothbrush into paint of the correct consistency and then rubbing your thumb across the bristles so pigment could be coarsely spattered.
Stumbling on the ability to achieve a spatter-cum-dissolve effect digitally was mind blowing to me for two reasons; first, it looked amazingly similar to the “toothbrush” shading effects the Europeans employed on posters of the mid-20th Century and secondly, discovering how to create such an “organic” effect in computer software perceived by many (artists included) to be cold, detached and almost anti-artist enabled me to appreciate Photoshop not as some sort of malevolent technological new tool, but a program that could be used in wildly creative ways — perhaps ways that the designers of the program never even imagined it could be used.
At the same time that I was using Adobe Photoshop 3.0 to scan and color my traditional “cartoonish” illustration art, I was also utilizing the tools alone to create shapes, forms and visual effects. Using nothing but a mouse to in Photoshop always felt a little like I was “drawing with a bar of soap”, but it wasn’t difficult getting used to the process (I’ve never even tried using a Wacom tablet).
By 1998, I was working in two distinct (yet connected) visual styles that I found both the need and the desire to promote each via my web site. The problem, though, was not knowing how to distinguish each in the minds of the art directors I was already working with, and those who wanted to work with me. For lack of better terms, I called my more “cartoonish” line art-based digital work ‘Normal Bob’, my more “designier” work reminiscent of European poster artists of the Mid-20th century as ‘Digital Bob’.
Today, I continue doing cartoonish “Normal Bob” work for certain clients (a weekly piece in The Washington Post, illustrations forMAD, character design for Cartoon Network, etc), but my transition into the 100% “Digital Bob” world has been so rewarding that were I never to physically get gesso under my fingertips, that wouldn’t worry me in the least.
Ah, but Adobe Photoshop 3.0…
I continue to work in the program even although I have Adobe Creative Suite 2 on my G5. For me, the familiarity of Photoshop 3.0 keeps me locked into the program, even though my son says the days are officially numbered given that the classic program won’t physically run on the new dual processor Macs (and being an Apple employee, he should know).
Well, all great relationships have to come to and end, I guess — one way or another.
Then again, I suppose I could always find a good, used single processor G5 being sold on ebay, right?
December 30, 2007