Sunday, July 18, 2010

Victorian Thaumatropes

I've had quite the couple of weeks trying to recover old files off an ancient computer, that had an equally ancient harddrive in it that just happened to have every piece of artwork I've ever done written on it.

This was problematic enough, but then add in through a twist of fate that all those files had been DELETED off said harddrive and now you've got a problem that it takes about 48 hours of work and $75 to solve. I won't go into the particulars, but I had to buy new hardware and new software before it was all over... just to resurface all these old files that are literally the only existing copies of my artwork.

How did I let it get to that point? Why didn't I back up my files on a separate hard drive like you're supposed to? Why didn't I have hard copies of all my past illustrations?

These are good questions... but rather than go into how I'm a particularly exotic breed of careless and misfortunate - I'm just going to launch right into what I did with the files I pulled off it.

First up (as a pleasant little break from paper dolls) I designed a series of Victorian Thaumatropes. It doesn't really SOUND like a happenin' toy, but in Victorian times some paper and thread were all the poor kids had to work with... and now in modern times they're ridiculously quaint. The premise is that there are two images on either side of a 'medallion' and when you twirl it - the two images become one image. (If anyone has seen the movie "Sleepy Hollow" by Tim Burton, there's one in there... one of the few pop culture references to them.)

I did the white rabbit from Alice in Wonderland with his countdown clock on the other side. I found the online tutorials for how to make these a little too simplistic to be all that helpful. Truth is to make everything line up well you pretty much have to be a graphic designer with excellent habits of setting registration marks and measuring off your paper if you're going to do something complex.

I found that double-sided tape is once again a friend to me in my time of need. I used about half a roll today doing proofs and getting them to where they... ya know... actually work.

As far as packaging them for etsy, I think they'd look just lovely as a 'greeting card'. I know I'm bored with greeting cards in general... if I got one of these in the mail I'd think that was pretty awesome... and for the clever person what better way to say "Happy Belated Birthday!" than with the white rabbit who is always a bit late. The mini-brads work well to wind the string around, and are a lot more classy than scotch tape.

One thing you may notice from my photo is that I can't cut an interior circle to save my life... I'm going to have to expense a 3-1/2" circle punch because doing it by hand is just sad and a bit humbling.
My other two designs were a bit more challenging - I did the classic "bird in cage" thaumatrope but then decided to get creative and do a girl riding a horse side saddle. This was a bit of a problem trying to figure how I was going to get everything lined up and not make the horse look like he was cut in half. After some experimenting I found that her black dress when it's spinning makes more of a visual impact than the horse's torso... so they overlap really well without chopping up my images. (I'm making a mental note of that for future designs... the darker image wins in optical illusions.)

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