Another batch of “the Alphabet” front page art from the Sentinel & Enterprise

Last week, we took at look at the Sentinel & Enterprise of Fitchburg, Mass., and the paper’s month-long project during which they’ve turned Page One over to an artist and her team of interns.

They, in turn, recruited designers and typographers all over the world to create alphabet-themed artwork and stories for the paper’s front page.

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The project started on Monday, July 13 with the letter A. The paper runs one front page a day — with the exception of Sunday — wrapping the Alphabet page around the paper’s standard front page. Which temporarily becomes page A3.

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When we visited this project last week, the paper had just printed the I page at bottom right.

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Here are the pages the Sentinel & Enterprise has run since then:


THURSDAY, JULY 23

The letter: J
Designer: Joe Riedel
Specialty: Typographer and letterpress printer
Based: Northampton, Conn.

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The paper reported:

“I wanted to pay tribute to the long history of the Fitchburg Sentinel and also to newspaper printing in general,” he said. “A couple generations ago, letterpress printing was a major trade, and it was far from the artisanal craft many consider it today. So I wanted to tie my project in to the newspaper and community.”


FRIDAY, JULY 24

The letter: K
Designer: Francesca Bolognini
Specialty: Type designer and font developer
Based: London

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SATURDAY, JULY 25

The letter: L
Designer: Anna Schuleit Haber
Specialty: Type designer and font developer
Based: New Orleans

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Schuleit Haber is the German-born artist who is overseeing the entire project this summer in Fitchburg. She chose the letter L for herself.


MONDAY, JULY 27

The letter: M
Designer: Franz Werner
Specialty: Typography and photography
Based: Providence, R.I.

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Werner teaches at the Rhode Island School of Design.


TUESDAY, JULY 28

And today’s installment is an exercise in the use of negative space.

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The letter: N
Designer: Frank Grießhammer
Specialty: Typeface designer
Based: California

Grießhammer helped develop Adobe’s Typekit font development tools.

Barring breaking news, the project should be complete by Aug. 11. Read more about it here. Read more about the contributing artists here.

Average daily circulation for the Sentinel & Enterprise is 15,031.

Birthdays for Tuesday, July 28

Here’s wishing the happiest of birthdays to six top-notch visual journalists…

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Liza Albrecht is media manager for the Democratic Alliance political party of the Western Cape of South Africa. A 1993 graduate of Stellenbosch University near Cape Town, Liza spent time as an assistant editor at die Burger of Cape Town and then national editor of the newspaper’s supplement. She served several years as the editor of Rapport, the Afrikaans-language national Sunday paper of South Africa published by Media24 in Johannesburg. The 2010 winner of the national Women in Media award, Liza was appointed to a new post in 2011 in which she oversaw digital operations for all of Media24′s Afrikaans-language newspapers. Liza left Media24 in 2012. Find her Twitter feed here. Liza turns 41 today.

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Michael Dupras is managing producer and graphics and staff development for for the Syracuse Media Group in Syracuse, N.Y. A 1994 graduate of the State University of New York at Plattsburgh, Michael spent three years as a copy editor and graphics editor of the Daily Item in Sunbury, Pa., before moving to the Syracuse Post-Standard in 1997. He served as a staff artist and art director before moving to the online side in 2007 as web development editor. He earned a master’s degree from Syracuse in 2009 and picked up staff development duties in 2013. He was promoted to his current duties in January. Find his personal web site here and his Twitter feed here. Michael turns 43 today.

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Scott Griffin is design editor of the Republican-American in Waterbury, Conn. A 1989 graduate of the University of Tennessee-Martin, Scott spent four-and-a-half years as a sportswriter, copy editor and designer for the Northwest Florida Daily-News in Fort Walton, Fla. before moving to Connecticut in 1994. Scott earned a master’s degree in journalism from Quinnipiac in 2001 and taught newswriting and editing as an adjunct there in 2002 and 2003. For about three years, Scott ran a fried chicken restaurant in the nearby college town of Hamden:

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Find his news design portfolio here. Scott turns 49 today.

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Ashley Kritzer is a reporter for the Tampa Bay Business Journal, specializing in real estate and retail. A 2006 graduate of the Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Ashley worked at the Progress of Clearfield, Pa. and the Lewistown (Pa.) Sentinel before joining the Altoona Mirror of Altoona, Pa., in 2007 as a features designer and copy editor. She moved to Florida in early 2010 to be near her sweetie, who she married in 2011. She spent four years with the Jacksonville Business Journal and moved to Tampa Bay last year. Find her Twitter feed here and her Instagram page here. Ashley turns 31 today.

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Will Pfeifer is marketing coordinator for Data Dimensions of Janesville, Wis., and a comic book writer. A 1989 graduate of Kent State University, Will spent 18 years as a designer, editor and movie columnist for the Rockford (Ill.) Register Star. He left newspapers in 2012 and spent a year with the Rosecrance Health Network in Rockford. In addition, he self-publishes comic books. Buy a collection of his best work here. He’s done a bit of freelance writing for DC Comics, including Catwoman, Aquaman and Red Hood and the Outlaws. For the past year or so, he’s been the regular writer on the newly-relaunched Teen Titans comic.

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Find his personal blog here. Will turns 48 today.

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Emily Rosenbaum is managing editor for No Limit, a public relations agency in Chicago, Ill. A 1991 graduate of the University of Nebraska, Emily spent eight years as a copy editor with the News & Observer of Raleigh, N.C. She moved to the Dallas Morning News in 1999 but then moved to the Chicago Tribune in 2000. She spent four years on the copy desk, moved to the international desk and then was named music editor. She took a year off in 2009 to live and write from Tanzania. She returned to work with the night desk and with RedEye. In 2010, she became editor of thenational and international news desk of the Tribune media group. She left newspapers earlier this month. Find Emily’s Twitter feed here.

Emily, Ashley, Lisa, Michael, Will and Scott share a birthday with actors Elizabeth Berkley, Sally Ann Struthers, Philip Proctor, Lori Anne Loughlin and Joseph Evans Brown; musicians DeAndre Cortez Way (better known as Soulja Boy), Hubert Prior “Rudy” Vallée, Ayla Marie Brown and Richard William “Rick” Wright of Pink Floyd; sports greats Vida Rochelle Blue Jr. (baseball), Ryan Timothy Tannehill III (football), Paul Douglas “Doug” Collins and Emanuel David “Manu” Ginóbili (both basketball); basketball great-turned-politician William Warren “Bill” Bradley; Venezuelan leader Hugo Rafael Chávez Frías; first lady-turned-book editor Jacqueline Lee Bouvier Kennedy Onassis; author Helen Beatrix Potter and Garfield cartoonist James Robert “Jim” Davis.

In addition, today is Buffalo Soldiers Day, National Milk Chocolate Day and World Hepatitis Day. Seriously.

Have a wonderful birthday, folks! Best wishes!

A coloring page. For grown-ups.

The latest stroke of genius from the folks at the Virginian-Pilot: A coloring page.

For grown-ups.

Click for a larger look:

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The instructions say:

The Daily Break encourages you to spend a lazy weekend coloring this page drawn by our own Sam Hundley. You may use crayons or colored pencils. Send your finished work to us. The most creative interpretation will be published in The Daily Break. Also, the top two vote-getters will receive a Crayola coloring kit like nothing you ever had as a preschooler.

Send the page, which also can be downloaded on HamptonRoads.com, to The Virginian-Pilot, attention Daily Break coloring contest, 150 W. Brambleton Ave., Norfolk VA 23510. Include your name, city, age, occupation and contact information. Deadline is Aug. 3. Oh, the most important rule: Relax while you color your heart out.

Sam tells us:

The concept was by features editor, Jamesetta Walker. I did the line drawing in a shift — couldn’t come up with anything better than butterfly people and flowers!

Drew it in pieces on pulpy paper towels to get that bleed effect – to conceal my lack of control and skill! Blew the drawings up 150 percent and kinda built the page.

First all black-and-white page in forever. We’ll see how many entries we get.

My favorite touch is actually below the coloring feature: Sam also drew Jamesetta’s mug shot for her column stripped across the bottom of the page:

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Average daily circulation for the Virginian-Pilot is 142,476.

Born and raised in Phoenix, Sam started his newspaper career as a staff artist for the Arizona Daily Star in Tucson and moved to the Virginian-Pilot in 1981.

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In 1990, Sam moved to the San Jose Mercury News where he was named design director of features, but then returned to the Pilot in 1994.

He’s also the nicest guy you’ll ever meet.

Find Sam’s web site here. Find his Twitter feed here.

Previous posts about Sam and his work at the Pilot:

  • July 6, 2015: You may not have seen Saturday’s most interesting Independence Day front page
  • Sept. 11, 2014: The three best 9/11 anniversary front pages ever
  • May 26, 2014: The day’s best Memorial Day front page
  • July 4, 2013: The one Fourth of July page you really need to see
  • June 11, 2013: An important historical anniversary observed, Sam Hundley style
  • Jan. 29, 2013: The magical properties of a clever illustration
  • Jan. 8, 2013: When illustrating a controversial topic, it helps to have a real, live visual journalism superhero on staff
  • Sept. 26, 2012: A look at the illustrations for the Virginian-Pilot’s NASA history series
  • Sept. 24, 2011: Newsstand alert: Check out the new National Geographic
  • Sept. 21, 2011: Behind those watercolor illustrations in the Virginian-Pilot this week
  • Dec. 18, 2010: A wacky pre-Christmas illustration in the Virginian-Pilot

 

A graphic novel approach to recount a disaster from 100 years ago

100 years ago last Friday, the passenger ship SS Eastland rolled over while tied to a dock in the Chicago River.

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The Eastland was to take Western Electric employees and their families to a company picnic across Lake Michigan. Already a topheavy vessel, the ship was loaded with 2,500 passengers shifting around on deck. The ship rolled over, drowning passengers mere feet away from the dock.

844 people were killed, including 22 entire families.

Rick Tuma and Ryan Marx of the Chicago Tribune teamed up to present the story in graphic novel style, done digitally with parallax scrolling — inaccurately but admittedly better known as Snowfall-style web design.

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While the page itself scrolls downward with the story, Rick’s drawings themselves are static. And beautifully rendered.

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Rick writes in the presentation’s credits page:

Many of the details of the Eastland disaster have been lost to time. Accounts and news reports in the immediate aftermath of the event — many by this newspaper — were conflicting and, at times, not accurate.

From storyboarding to the final illustrations, I have made every effort to be as faithful as possible to what has been verified or reasonably believed to be true. The scale of everything I’ve drawn is estimated, and the visual depictions of most characters are not based on real people on the boat.

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The illustrations are pencil on smooth Strathmore 2-ply bristol. Pencils ranged from 3B through 6B, but the 4B did most of the work. I love using pencil because it drops extra steps from the process — a very good thing when you have tight news deadlines — and makes it easier to retain the energy of initial sketches. Carefully boosting the contrast in Phototshop gives the drawings a brush and ink appearance.

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Rick writes that he chose to keep the color palette for the project low key. He took a cue from the Chicago River itself, using only two blue-greens, two yellow-greens and one grey brown.

He writes:

Choosing a limited palette gave me the freedom to maintain areas of clean white, something of which I am fond. Not every face needed color; buildings could be white and the sky light green.

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Midway through the coloring stage, I started to believe the panels needed one more color to tie the illustrations together. Recalling initial brainstorming sessions where one proposal was to create a soft water-stained background, I knew what to do: ‘age’ the edges of the panels with yellow. Risking a somewhat cliche solution, we are very pleased with the results.

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In addition, Rick was kind enough to answer a few questions for us:

Q. How long ago did you and Ryan begin working on this project?

A. Ryan and I began looking for a second narrative to develop soon after we published the Harsh Treatment graphic essay.

There were three major graphic components to the Tribune‘s enormous Harsh Treatment project:

1. In Her Words

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2. …Unsafe Haven, and…

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3. …Fight and Flight.

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Click on any of the links to see the pieces.

Rick continues:

Harsh Treatment was a visual companion to hard hitting investigative reporting. With Eastland Disaster we were considering a enterprise project that might stand on its own.

Harsh Treatment wrapped up late November and Eastland Disaster was born early December 2014.

Q. How much time do you suppose you put into it?

A. Start to finish, seven months.

Anyone in news will realize that there’s no way we had the entire seven months to work exclusively on this new project! In fact, progress was so stop and start that Graphics editors Jonathon Berlin and Ryan Marx made the determination to dedicate June and July to exclusively working on Eastland.

Q. Did you write it first and then do the artwork (screenplay style)? Or did you develop the visuals and then write around them (Marvel comics style)?

A. Having learned a few things with the first narrative I broke the project into stages.

First stage was a no-brainer: research. As I gained greater knowledge of the event I began to move into the second stage: note-taking and doodling in a spiral bound 9″ x 12″ sketch book.

Stage three was my storyboard. Some false starts in the beginning, but I soon had a story.

Eastland graphic essay story boards

I’m pretty sure that the story formed during my story board penciling. I can’t find a serious outline in my sketch book. Each panel led into the next until everything was said.

Q. Was this assigned to you, or did you pitch the idea? (And if you pitched it — was it hard to sell?)

A. I guess I’ve mostly answered this in number one.

Gathering a consensus to move forward required a good hard look at value for the time required. We discovered that the disaster was approaching its first centennial and found out that Metro and photo were planning coverage, so that helped.

Regardless, the project was a risk. Even after we began the enterprise, there was still concern over its value.

Q. What advice can you give a young artist who wants to try this at their own newspaper?

A. These require intense amounts of work! I would encourage the artist to be absolutely certain that she or he has chosen a topic that their skills can handle.

In my case, for example, I love to draw people. My excitement cools a bit when I have to draw machines and buildings. Someone else might struggle to make their people drawings look confident but totally score a win drawing machines and/or buildings. Choose a topic that plays to your strengths.

If you are going to make thirty, forty, or one hundreds illustrated panels you’d better attempt something you love.

Determine what this is going to look like. This can be choices like realistic drawings vs. loose styles. Black and white panels or color-added? How will it be published? Print or only online?

Ours began as online only, but we were asked to make a version for print. That required a ‘Reader’s Digest’ style, condensed version, removing half the panels.

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In addition to retelling the basic story of what happened that day, Rick also spent some of his time focusing in on one family: The Aanstads. Here, mom has a premonition that something bad could happen onboard the ship.

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As disaster strikes and the ship rolls over, Mom, Dad and their two little girls cling for life to a railing.

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And there they stay until help comes.

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Rick and Ryan also mention the oldest living survivor of the wreck…

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…and go into detail about how, over the course of days, bodies were recovered from the Eastland and taken to a makeshift morgue.

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Yes, that really happened. What’s more: The site of that morgue is now Harpo Studios: Oprah Winfrey’s TV production facility.

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Rick wrote on the credits page:

I could not have anticipated how deeply this story has affected me. Sadness and sorrow frequently ambushed me during research and even as I was drawing. I rarely walk past the corner of Wacker Drive and Clark Street without being haunted by the tragedy and courage of the Eastland passengers.

Find the Tribune‘s retelling of the Eastland disaster here.

A graduate of the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, Rick Tuma has worked for the Tribune since 1983.

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A couple of years ago, Rick walked us through how he created wonderful business-page portraits on deadline.

Rick also runs a free-lance studio on the side. Find his web site here and his Twitter feed here.

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A 2002 graduate of Lawrence University, Ryan Marx spent two-and-a-half years as presentation editor of the News-Enterprise of Elizabethtown, Ky., and then five-and-a-half years at the Times of Northwest Indiana in Munster — first as display editor and then as graphics editor.

He moved to the Tribune in 2010 as business graphics coordinator and was named assistant graphics editor in 2013.

Average daily circulation of the Chicago Tribune is 414,590.

For your consideration…

You may have seen the amazing front cover of the next issue of New York magazine. This was retweeted nearly 8,000 times Sunday night and — as far as I can tell — completely crashed the magazines servers.

Shown are 35 women who say they were sexually assaulted by comedian/actor Bill Cosby.

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The cover story was six months in the making, New York magazine tweeted Sunday night. Reportedly, New York was able to get 46 women to go on the record about their assaults by Cosby. Thirty-five of them were willing to pose for these cover shots.

The group, at present, ranges in age from early 20s to 80 and includes supermodels Beverly Johnson and Janice Dickinson alongside waitresses and Playboy bunnies and journalists and a host of women who formerly worked in show business. Many of the women say they know of others still out there who’ve chosen to remain silent.

The result is one of the most powerful magazine covers I’ve seen in a long, long time.

Not sure when New York will get its sever issues under control. When it does, you should be able to read more here.