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.

Fitchburg, Mass., Sentinel & Enterprise turns over A1 to an art project

The Sentinel & Enterprise — a 15,031-circulation daily in Fitchburg, Mass. — is running an interesting experiment on page one this month.

The normal front page pushes inside to page three while the front is taken over by a community art project, spearheaded by a German-born artist, illustrated by more than two dozen artists around the world and supported by a team of six interns from Fitchburg State University.

What’s more: This little project displaces the front page for 26 days.

The project launched more than a week ago: Monday, July 13. Here was the front page of the Sentinel & Enterprise that morning:

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That’s right. The theme for Day One was the letter A. Note how the three stories — actually, two stories and a poem — each have headlines that begin with the letter A.

The theme for Day Two? The letter B.

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Now, who out there can guess what the theme was for Day Three?

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That’s right: The project will depict one letter of the alphabet per day.

The project was commissioned by the Fitchburg Art Museum with an “Our Town” grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.

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You’ll notice the museum looks a lot like the artwork for Day One typographical illustration. I’d have to believe that was intentional.

Born in Germany but now based in New Orleans, project leader Anna Schuleit Haber

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…has been working for months with her team of interns on “the Alphabet.”

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A profile the paper ran earlier this month described Schuleit Haber as…

…a visual artist whose work lies at the intersection of painting, drawing, installation art, architecture and community. Her works have ranged from museum installations made with paint, to large-scale projects in forests, on uninhabited islands, and in psychiatric institutions using extensive sound systems, live sod, thousands of flowers, mirrors, antique telephones, bodies of water and neuroscience technologies.

She studied painting at the Rhode Island School of Design, creative writing at Dartmouth, and was a fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Studies at Harvard. She was named a MacArthur Fellow for work that has “conceptual clarity, compassion, and beauty.”

Current projects revolve around seriality and memory, and include a body of 104 paintings based on Thomas Bernhard’s short fiction, as well as large-scale drawing commissions for architecture.

Ready for another couple of pages? Here was Thursday’s Day Four…

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…and this was Friday’s Day Five:

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The list of contributors is suitably eclectic for a project of this nature:

A – Felix Salut
Specialty: Multimedia artist
Based: Amsterdam

B – Andreas Schenk
Specialty: Calligraphy
Based: Switzerland

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C – Dan Keleher
Specialty: Letterpress
Based: Hadley, Mass., near Amherst

D – Matthew Carter
Specialty: Typography
Based: Cambridge, Mass.

A story about the contributors says Carter is…

… the creator of web fonts Georgia, Verdana, Tahoma and Bell Centennial. He has designed type for publications such as Time, The Washington Post, The New York Times, The Boston Globe and Newsweek, and has won numerous awards for his contributions to typography and design, including an honorary doctorate from the Art Institute of Boston.

E – Shoko Mugikura and Tim Ahrens
Specialty: Typography
Based: Munich

F – Nina Stoessinger
Specialty: Designer
Based: Netherlands

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Assisting Schuleit Haber on this effort are six interns from the local college. From yet another story published earlier this month by the Sentinel & Enterprise:

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Townsend resident Justin Keohane is the graphic design intern, and is helping Schuleit Haber lay out each of the 26 front pages.

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Jarad Nelson of Leominster is handling public relations, and will work on the project website, draft press releases and make phone calls.

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Fitchburg native Ariana Garcia, Orange resident Shannon Gugarty, who grew up in Fitchburg, and Pepperell resident Johnathan Jena are writing short pieces on Fitchburg and Leominster for the front pages. Each piece will be somewhere between 100 and 600 words, and will focus on history and local culture, looking into things like the history of street names or old buildings in the city.

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Jonathan Berglind of Leominster and Anthony Earabino, who recently moved to Fitchburg, will film all aspects of the project, from meetings between Schuleit Haber and community members, to interviews for the written pieces, to the other interns at work.

“Anything that happens while Anna is in Fitchburg,” Earabino said.

“We’re going to put footage up on the website as we go,” Berglind added, “and then hopefully end up with a 10- or 15-minute documentary.”

My favorite of the nine pages published so far was the letter G, which ran Monday:

G – Cyrus Highsmith
Specialty: Typography and illustration
Based: Providence, R.I.

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The paper reported:

His “G,” Highsmith said, came about when he was sketching and doodling.

“I was fooling around, imagining it printed big,” he said. “I wanted to do something fun, something to catch people’s eye.”

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He initially sketched his design with paper and pencil, then filled in the letter with ripped paper to make a sort of collage. The coloring and precise lines he did on the computer, he said.

Here was Tuesday’s page:

H – Laura Meseguer
Specialty: Typography, logos and book design
Based: Barcelona

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And here is today’s page:

I – Therese Schuleit, sister of project leader Anna Schuleit Haber
Specialty: Visual and audio artist
Based: Beirut

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If you’re like me, you have two burning questions at this point. Sentinel & Enterprise editor Charles St. Amand took a few minutes this week answer them for us:

Q. Do you have a conventional front page on the inside of each day’s paper? On page three, perhaps?

A. Page 3 has our “regular” front page. Page 2 contains any jumps from the Alphabet Page 1, a brief “About ‘The Alphabet'” explainer, a story about the designer and writers who contributed to the project that day, a profile of the artist leading the project, and photos taken by her interns, my staff and ​submissions from readers. We’re also going to include some reader feedback.

Oh, and “The Alphabet” takes Sundays off.

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Q. Do you have a contingency plan for a day you have breaking news? Might the letter of the day get pushed off page one for some reason? What happens then?

​A. We can delay the project for a huge story that must get out front. We haven’t come close to that having to happen — yet. As I mentioned in a Page 1 column to readers the day before the letters began appearing, giving up the ​front page for 26 straight days would not have been possible without our digital-first mission. We don’t hold breaking news for print.

We’ll know when we have to put “The Alphabet” on hiatus. I hope we don’t have to.

There is much more about The Alphabet project on the paper’s web site. Caution, though: The Sentinel & Enterprise uses a metered paywall that allows you to see only five or six stories before you’re hit up to buy a subscription. So take a moment and choose which of these stories you’d like to see before you start clicking:

All of the photos illustrating this blog post were shot by the Sentinel & Enterprise staff and Schuleit Haber’s team of interns. Many thanks to Charles St. Amand for making this archive available to us.

Thanks to Dave Dombrowski for the tip.

On the Mississippi state flag issue, no fence-sitters allowed

The Clarion-Ledger of Jackson, Miss., attempted to find out whether state lawmakers were for or against removing the Confederate Battle Flag imagery from the state flag.

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Sixty-seven legislators went on the record for or against. But 106 of them weaseled out by claiming to be undecided or not responding at all, despite repeated contacts.

This was the front page the Clarion-Ledger of Jackson, Miss., ran this past Saturday. Click for a much larger look:

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This was truly a team effort, says Merry Eccles of the Gannett Design Studio in Nashville tells us:

It was Executive Editor Sam Hall’s idea to poll the legislators. After the lack of response, he thought it would be good to publish the names and faces of those who weren’t responding and dodging the question.

The first round of emails and a good portion of the first calls were done by their intern, Royce Swayze. Political editor Geoff Pender also contributed a good bit to it, as did reporter Sarah Fowler. After a few days, they divided up among the entire news staff the names and contact info of all those who had not responded. Everyone called and emailed four, five or six people in an effort to mark more off the list.

I pulled the mugs, and did the layout. And Richard Mullins double-checked me.

Sam said they  will continue to call, email, Facebook, etc. for the foreseeable future. And the poll is live updated on our website and remains on the front page of the site.

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Average daily circulation of the Clarion-Ledger is 57,710.

A couple of weeks ago, I showed you two front pages Merry did for the Clarion-Ledger on this topic.

Also, I wrote about the day in 2000 they took the Confederate Flag down from atop the State House in Columbia, S.C., and how the State newspaper covered it.

A lush graphic look at a biodiverse mountaintop rainforest

Have you ever heard of the Google Forest in northern Mozambique?

Me, neither.

Botanists from the Kew Royal Botanic Gardens near London theorized there must be some virgin biodiverse rainforest-like territory near Malawi and Mozambique, nearly a mile above sea level.

They used Google Earth to search for likely spots and eventually zeroed in on Mount Mabu.

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Bingo! The area proved to be as biologically diverse as hoped. Scientists have been studying it ever since.

This happened ten years ago. My friends at Graphics24 in South Africa celebrated this anniversary with an ginormous graphic that explains how what’s become known as the Google Forest was discovered and some of the species found there.

Click this for a much, much larger look:

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Graphics24 graphics editor Andre Gouws tells me:

I had an idea for this one when I read an article that this forest was discovered by Western scientists ten years ago. I thought it would be great to show this amazing forest in all its beauty in an infographic.

I did the research, found the names of all the new species, and told Hanlie Malan about my idea to sketch the forest filled with all these beautiful creatures.

I love doing these kind of arty graphics with Hanlie.

Hanlie picks up the story:

This graphic was Andre’s great idea. He asked me to make sure to create the feeling that when you look at it, it must feel like you are inside a forest.

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First I made a study of all the trees — I found a great site with all the info, then I proceeded with a rough drawing to be able to figure out where each bird/plant/insect etc must go. I discussed it with Andre first, and then I started the detailed drawing of the trees, after which I added the colors and effects. This took me one whole weekend and the following Monday nonstop.

After that was done, I started drawing each animal/insect separately, knowing it would facilitate the process as I go along, in case it needed to be made bigger or smaller or moved to add info later on.

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The snake took many hours to draw.

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Andre supplied a lot of info which helped me to me able to illustrate a lot of the newly found fauna and flora. I used a few different artist pens for all of the drawings. I added each one’s colors separately as well, and these took me an additional two weekends, but I also worked on this a few times during the weeks, when I had time, between my other work.

Yes, you are 100% correct by saying I drew it first, scanned it in and then added the colors in Photoshop. I drew everything quite big so that it could have a lot of detail afterwards, when scanned and reduced in size. I tried to make it look hand-colored with the effects I used.

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And yes, I added the ‘halo’s’ to make them stand out, I am glad you say it works.

Andre finishes the story by adding:

I sent the graphic to the researcher, Dr. Julian Bayliss (he is in Malawi now)…

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…and he very kindly responded with some additional info. He also asked for a copy of the graphic. He says he likes it a lot.

Graphics24 is the infographics division of South African media giant Media24. Among the company’s many holdings: Daily Afrikaans-language papers in Johannesburg, Bloomfontein and Cape Town, two large nationally-distributed Sunday papers — one publishes in Afrikaans and one in English — and a number of tabloids. I did quite a bit of teaching and consulting work for the company’s print operation between 2009 and 2011.

This graphic ran in the English-language Sunday paper, City Press. I’m told it’s possible it might also appear in City Press‘ Afrikaans-language counterpart, Rapport.

Hanlie Malan works out of the company’s Port Elizabeth office.

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I posted about her work from time to time during my trips to South Africa. Here’s an example of her graphic work.

Here’s what I wrote about graphics editor Andre Gouws back in 2010, when Media24 appointed him to be graphics director:

Andre is very sharp and very organized. He has a ton of experience as both and editor and a manager, having worked in Cape Town and then at the Gulf News in Dubai.

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When I was here [in 2009], I helped write a job description and recommended criteria for a departmental leader. Seems to me they’ve chosen wisely.

In November of last year, Andre and Hanlie teamed up to create a nice piece on the Berlin Wall. A month later, they worked on a piece that observed the 10th anniversary of the gigantic tsunami that affected the Indian Ocean.

Find the Graphics24 online graphics archive here.

The day’s nine best gay marriage front pages

Here’s a look at what I feel are the nine best front pages today dealing with Friday’s landmark Supreme Court ruling on gay marriage.


STAR-LEDGER
Newark, N.J.
Circulation: 278,940

If you haven’t seen this page already, then you’re probably not spending enough time on social media.

This is the Star-Ledger of Newark, N.J., which elected to lead today’s front page with a charmingly simple illustration of a rainbow heart and the closing lines of Friday’s majority opinion, written by Justice Anthony Kennedy.

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That was designed by the Star-Ledger‘s sports designer, Kiersten Schmidt — who is soon leaving the business, she says, to go to grad school at the University of North Carolina.

Kiersten wrote last night on her Facebook timeline:

In my last few months as a newspaper designer, I’ve been fortunate to design pages for some pretty cool events — the first Triple Crown winner in 37 years, the 29th player in MLB history to reach 3,000 hits (who also happens to be one of my favorite players) — but this one was far and away the best.

As I move onto North Carolina and a (ever-so-slight) career change, this is the page that will stay with me.

To be honest, a lot of days it feels like what I do doesn’t really matter. Not today. Today I decided to stray away from what you’re “supposed” to do when big news breaks because I felt that today’s news deserved something a bit more.

I hope when the people of New Jersey pick up their papers on Saturday, they feel the happiness in their heart that I felt when I designed this page. I hope they think of this page and Kennedy’s words when they remember the day we all became a little more equal.

Love wins. And good design matters.

Nicely done.

Find Kiersten’s web site and portfolio here.


PLAIN DEALER
Cleveland, Ohio
Circulation: 246,571

The Cleveland Plain Dealer also led today with just the text of Justice Kennedy’s
opinion.

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The text against the stark black background is very sharp indeed.

This was designed by Josh Crutchmer, I’m told. Which explains why it looks so awesome.


VIRGINIAN-PILOT
Norfolk, Va.
Circulation: 142,476

From a stark black background to a stark white background: The Virginian-Pilot today also used that same excerpt.

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Notice how designer Wes Watson used the same trick Josh did in Cleveland: He emphasized that last emphatic sentence.

Wesley tells us:

As I understand it, Paul [Nelson, design team leader] and new editor Steve Gunn had the idea at the same time to use the excerpt as the front.

So Paul had me work it up quickly to see how it would play out. I knew I didn’t want to knockout text; I wanted it as light and fresh as possible. We tried a couple of versions where we had another story and refers, and then just refers. My feeling was if we’re going to dedicate this much space — because we’re saying this is important — having anything else out there takes away from that message. And everyone seemed to agree.

So we removed everything else we could all the way down to the barcode. Simple and clean.


BAXTER BULLETIN
Mountain Home, Ark.
Circulation: 9,156

I realize this is probably stock art…

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But, hey: I’d argue it’s the perfect piece of stock art, used in the perfect way on the perfect day.

UPDATE: I’m told this was designed by Valeria Rodriguez of the Gannett Design Studio in Des Moines.


SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE
San Francisco, Calif.
Circulation: 229,176

In San Francisco — ground-zero for the fight for same-sex marriage — the Chronicle published this fabulous front page today.

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That is Jewelle Gomez and Diane Sabin, who were plaintiffs in a 2004 lawsuit involving gay marriage, at a City Hall news conference. Staffer Tim Hussin caught them in silhouette, against what appears to be a gay pride flag.


OMAHA WORLD-HERALD
Omaha, Neb.
Circulation: 135,223

A number of papers went out to find local folks rushing to be the first married under the new world order.

In Omaha, Jenna Stanley and Kelly Brokaw had planned to get married in Iowa this weekend. But the ruling Friday morning caused them to move up their schedule and to stay at home.

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The picture is by staffer Ryan Soderlin.

Note how clean that page is. When you have a gorgeous picture like that and it tells your story well, you know the drill: Play it big and get the hell out of its way.

UPDATE: I’m told this page was designed by Tim Parks.


LEAF-CHRONICLE
Clarksville, Tenn.
Circulation: 14,596

That’s exactly what the folks did at the Leaf-Chronicle of Clarksville, Tenn.

Meet Travis Arms and Michael Vanzant, now husband and husband. Staffer Autumn Allison photographed them getting married by the Montgomery County Commissioner himself.

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Nice headline, too.


VICTORIA ADVOCATE
Victoria, Texas
Circulation: 26,531

My former colleagues at the Victoria Advocate — deep in conservative South Texas — also ran their lead art big today and got the hell out of its way.

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That’s Nicole Dimetman and Cleo DeLeon at Central Presbyterian Church in Austin Friday evening, photographed by staffer Jaime R. Carrero. The local significance: DeLeon is a descendent of Victoria’s founding family.

The wonderful Jessica Rodrigo had superb access to Ms. DeLeon for several months and wrote a great piece for today’s paper. Read it here.

That terrific page: Run it big. Get the hell out of its way. Right? That’s Kimiko Fieg, who’s semi-retiring this month after a decade or so as the Advocate‘s presentation editor.

Also, for what it’s worth, I left the Advocate with an exhaustive — but, sadly, incomplete — timeline history starting with the birth of the modern Gay Rights movement in New York City in 1969 and running through… well, my last day on Wednesday. My former colleagues updated the timeline and ran it in today’s paper.

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In addition, my pal Jordan Rubio converted my work into an interactive version. Find that here.


NEWS-LEADER
Springfield, Mo.
Circulation: 35,531

But the award for luckiest shot of the day — which made for perfect lead art, if somewhat accidental — is this picture by Valerie Mosley of the Springfield, Mo., News-Leader of a rainbow after a Friday afternoon rain.

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Does that sum up the story perfectly, or what?

UPDATE: This page, I’m told, was designed by Eric Fields and Sean McKeown-Young.

I put out a few messages this morning, seeking names of designers and so on. If you have any information to share — especially a few sentences on how the page came together — please send it to me. I’ll add it here as quickly as I can.

These front pages are all from the Newseum. Of course.

The debate over the Confederate flag moves to Mississippi

I mentioned on Tuesday the state flag of Mississippi, which incorporates the old Confederate battle flag — a symbol of hate and derision throughout the South during the fight for Civil Rights in the 1950s and 1960s.

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And, in some cases, to this very day.

Monday, the speaker of Mississippi’s House of Representatives — a Republican — announced he thought it time to begin talking about changing Mississippi’s flag.

The Clarion-Ledger of Jackson, Miss., led Tuesday’s edition with a story about that shift.

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That page was designed, I’m told, by Richard Mullins of the Gannett Design Studio in Nashville.

Wednesday, the Clarion-Ledger came back with two stories — one on the division among Republicans on whether or not to start this discussion. And one on the background of the flag and how people feel about it.

This page and the illustration were by Merry Eccles, also of the Nashville studio.

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Merry tells us:

I wanted something that wasn’t inflammatory or biased to either side. Trying to visually bridge the gap for readers with an image that would convey “coming together,” the dove came to mind.

I pitched having a single subject front without any skybox and [the editors] were on board. I didn’t want a Wednesday Taste refer to take away from the seriousness of the page.

Gorgeous work.

Average daily circulation of the Clarion-Ledger is 57,710.

A few samples of Merry’s work:

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I’ve written about Merry a number of times over the years:

From designer to design editor to sportswriter to… photographer for a young adult book cover?

Matt Erickson really gets around. He’s assistant editor of MMAjunkie.com, which covers mixed martial arts fighting. That site is also part of the USA Today sports group.

You might remember him as a truly awesome sports designer for the Munster, Ind., Times of Northwest Indiana. The visuals project for which he’s best remembered, perhaps, was when he built alternate covers for the paper’s 2004 high school football section…

so that all the area schools could be on the cover that year.

All 29 of the area schools.

It was an amazing effort that earned him two silver medals and judges’ special recognition in the annual SND contest. If you’ve got a 26th edition of Best of Newspaper Design handy, check it out on page 43.

On the side, though, Matt has a hobby: High Dynamic Range — or HDR — photography. Matt explains that HDR…

…allows for a much higher range of luminance between the dark and light areas of a photo. This is done, typically, by combining three or more exposures of the same shot — one overexposed, one underexposed, one neutral. The resulting images are a closer representation of what your eyes would have seen — though perhaps not always all at once.

The technique has been around for more than 150 years, believe it or not, though [now] it’s a little bit easier to do the post-processing in a digital darkroom than it was in the 1850s.

The result is something that looks a lot like a painting. Except it’s not, of course. It’s a photo.

Matt says:

That shot is three exposures layered on top of each other — 1/640, 1/160, 1/40: One underexposed, one neutral, one overexposed. Because of the technique itself — three exposures merged into one image — it obviously isn’t “photojournalism.” Rather, it’s just an artistic photographic technique.

Matt has been experimenting around with this stuff for years.

Matt even sells prints of his work. Find his site here.

Today, however, I want to draw your attention to this HDR picture of a high school football field that Matt shot a while back:

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Matt writes via his Facebook page that this is…

…an HDR photo I shot before covering a game in 2010. I was stringing for The Times as a writer and wasn’t there to shoot photos; I shot it on my own, killing time waiting for kickoff.

A major book publisher spotted that picture and bought it from Matt for use on a book cover. He writes:

It’s called Until Friday Night, and it’s the first in what, I guess, will be a series of Young Adult books in the Field Party line.

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The Simon & Schuster cover designer added the foreground image of the kids in the truck and the fence and bushes and Photoshopped out the logo on the field, and then went and put words all over my beautiful clouds and sunset.

The book will be released Aug. 25. It lists for $17.99, but Amazon is preselling the hardcover for $13.85.

A 1997 graduate of Eastern Illinois University, Matt immediately joined the the Times and worked there for 13 years as a designer and, eventually, director of presentation and visuals. He spent time as a regional director for the Society for News Design and coordinated the SND annual contest in 2005. Matt left the Times in 2010 to strike out on his own as a freelance sportswriter specializing in MMA. He spent a year or so working with Heavy.com and joined MMAjunkie.com in 2012.

How the Clarion-Ledger honored Mississippi’s own B.B. King

Lindsey Turner — creative director of the Gannett Design Studio in Nashville, Tenn. — writes to share something from a couple of weeks ago:

This was the 1A (and cover of a special section wrapping the paper) of the Jackson, Miss., Clarion-Ledger the morning after everyone learned B.B. King had died.

The ever-thoughtful Merry Eccles designed it. Those are song titles there, forming the contours of Mr. King.

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Merry tells us:

I knew The Clarion-Ledger had been working on some content because B.B. King is a native Mississippian but we hadn’t talked about design. I had heard he went into hospice and I was going on vacation the next week and I really wanted to do something for their readers and King’s Mississippi fans.

I did two options. One was typographic approach with a silhouette of King overlaid on the complete list of his songs. I wanted to show his enduring contribution to music and when I was doing some research I came across a compilation of his songs over the years and it was massive, so I thought what better way to show it then use it in some way.

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The other option I did was a little more conceptual. It mimicked the shape of a guitar with the Bs when you looked at the page as a whole, but in case The Clarion-Ledger wanted to show photos of King, I wanted to give them the option.

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Q. How did the page come together?

A. Probably equal parts taking the initiative to do it before it was needed and having great bosses and editors who allow me the time and opportunity to be creative and really push for something bold and unconventional on their special projects.

Q. Was this a difficult concept to sell?

A. Not at all. The executive editor, Sam Hall, liked both options but was won over by the song list version. The design studio has done a great deal of progressive designs for the The Clarion-Ledger and they’ve been open to them.

A few samples of Merry’s work:

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I’ve written about Merry a number of times over the years:

Average daily circulation of the Clarion-Ledger is 57,710.

Illustrating a sensitive topic in a small community paper

Jay Redfern, assistant editor of the Register-Mail of Galesburg, Ill., posted his paper’s front page on Twitter Sunday.

He tells us the page…

…was designed by Adam McHugh at GateHouse Center for News and Design [in Austin, Texas].

Adam fills us in on the details:

It was the first part of a 7-day series. For a paper its size, this is a truly ambitious project.

I handled all of the design/graphics and wrote the main headline.

…The original plan was to shock the reader with police photos of several victims of domestic violence in the area, but decided it was just too jarring and might scare some away.

We thought about ways to illustrate it, including use of shadows featuring arms and hands in conflict, but felt that would border too much on cliche.

After reading all of the Day 1 content, I went back to an illustration that incorporated a simple stock image of a hand imprint.

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I originally felt it conveyed the idea of someone desperately trying to get out of a situation, but then realized it’s also about the hands of these perpetrators, the hands of those trying to help victims and the hands of a community who must come together to address this issue that is plaguing their county.

I built in a lot of white space to make an already stark image pop, then used small accents of color to play off the black and white.

The text on page one essentially set up the series and, specifically, Sunday’s part one. The story itself began on page A2.

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Note the graphic at the bottom of the page. You just about have to use little dots or squares to convey numbers of this type. Anything else might seem cartoonish.

The story jumped to the middle of page 12, where it was accompanied by a couple of key sidebars, including one illustrated with a jarring photo of a victim.

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That portrait is by Register-Mail staffer Chris Zoeller.

The amount of data covered by this series is downright staggering. Editor Tom Martin wrote in a Sunday notebook column about the project:

We collected 4,815 digital police reports from four years (2011-2014) and dumped them into a Google spreadsheet and then with each report we noted the gender of the aggressor, whether minors were present, whether alcohol was involved, whether a weapon was used and if the conflict was physical.

The Knox College journalism class of Assistant Professor James Dyer worked with us on this series, researching, writing and logging data. In fact, we might still be logging the police reports if not for those journalism students. Everyone in the newsroom who worked on the series was required to go through at least one month of reports. It helped everyone understand the problem.

Then reporters matched up the arrests from the police reports to the actual court cases and followed them through to see how many cases during those four years were dropped and at what point in the process.

…The series includes 30 stories, along with graphics, maps, photos and videos. The regular news didn’t ease up for us while we put this together, which required us to push the date back a month. It was a lot of work, but we feel this is an important story.

Find the series online here.

Average daily circulation for the Register-Mail is 10,059.

Reading Eagle’s Craig Schaffer featured in ‘Cartoon Picayune’ comic

Heads up, comics fans. Here’s something you might want to add to your collection.

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That’s issue 7 of the Cartoon Picayune, which is being released today.

Craig Schaffer of the Reading (Pa.) Eagle tells us that the comic book…

…will be available to order at cartoonpicayune.com, on the comixology app and at a few select comic book stores. It’s a non-fiction comic by news illustrators. Issues cost $4.

Craig took the time to answer a few questions for us:

Q. What more can you tell me about the work you did for this issue? Did you write and draw it, or just draw it?

A. I tried to answer the question “Why is there a pagoda on the mountain overlooking Reading?” I’m not originally from here and didn’t know the answer to that question. It’s a unique symbol of our community.

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Q. How many pages is this story you illustrated?

A. It’s only 2 pages and got picked up for the issue after I had completed it and Josh Kramer [the comic’s editor] learned of my work. Normally, they use 10-page stories.

Q. How long have you been working on this?

A. I wrote and illustrated mine in about two weeks.

I tweeted it to some other comic creators who inspired me from a book called Syncopated and they directed me to Josh. Issue #7 has a “chance” theme. I’ve never seen a copy in person. This is my first.

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Q. What do you use? Markers? Pens? Bush-n-ink? Wacom tablet?

A. I use pen and ink, sometimes a brush, then a wacom tablet and Photoshop to color. I letter the page in illustrator.

A 1998 graduate of the Montserrat College of Art in Beverly, Mass., Craig spent several years as an archaeological illustrator before joining the Intelligencer of Doylestown, Pa.

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He moved to the Reading Eagle in 2005. He creates a weekly graphic for the Eagle‘s business section. Find a gallery of his Snapshot work here.

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Yeah, that one is about famed book designer Chipp Kidd. Read more about that piece here.

For a while, Craig also produced a “hand-drawn nature column” called Sketchbook that appeared every Wednesday in the Eagle‘s Berks Country section. Find his Sketchbook gallery here.

Find Craig’s online portfolio here and his blog here. Find his Twitter feed here.

Order a copy of Cartoon Picayune No. 7 here.

Behind that cool illustration afront Sunday’s KC Star

Charles Gooch, A1 designer for the Kansas City Star, took time Sunday to tell us about his paper’s big presentation on domestic terrorism.

He tells us:

I really liked the way that the whole package came together.

The story itself was a nearly year-long enterprise project by Judy Thomas that started after a tragic shooting spree at the Johnson County Jewish Community Center by white supremacist F. Glenn Miller in 2014.

Sunday was day one of the series (it will conclude next Sunday) and dealt mainly with how, 20 years after the Oklahoma City bombings, federal authorities have failed to prevent recent attacks from domestic extremists and how the threat from those sort of attacks is growing.

The cover itself came out of a series of sketches by the great Hector Casanova, who singled in on the concept of terror groups “metastasizing” inside of the U.S. like cancer cells would inside of a person.

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The concept of his watercolor illo of blue and red cells making up an American flag growing and fighting paired well with the project title “Ignoring the terror within.”

As for the page itself, Mike Fannin (our editor) and Greg Branson (AME of presentation and innovation) had been planning on going big with this from the beginning. (After all, the story and its sidebars fill five full inside pages.)

Once Hector’s illustration started coming together, we realized that we’d need the entire width of our page (and most of the depth) to do it justice. The scope and feel of the page (and inside as well) is definitely a departure from our norm. We felt it was a story that commanded the attention of the readers and deserved a visual approach that could push that idea forward.

Here are the inside jump pages 16 and 17. Click for a larger, readable view:

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Here are pages 18 and 19:

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Page 20 shows the 52 people killed by domestic terrorism in the U.S. since 9/11.

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As the intro copy notes, this does not include victims of the Boston bombings or the shootings at Fort Hood. The FBI does not consider “copycat” incidents such as these to be true terrorism.

Charles adds:

In addition to the print component, there’s also a very nice digital build that was put together by our programmer Jay Pilgreen.

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A 1998 graduate of the Kansas City Art Institute, Hector Casanova spent six years as an artist for the Star. He left in 2005 to work as a comics artist, an art gallery director and an instructor at his alma mater.

He returned to the Star in 2008 but continued to handle freelance assignments for clients such as Sprint, Andrews & McNeel, Scholastic Books, MTV and Coca-Cola.

Hector has drawn two graphic novels: The Lurkers (in 2006 with writer Steve Niles) and Screamland (in 2008 with writer Harold Sipe).

A few samples of his work from my collection:

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Find Hector’s portfolio site here and his Facebook fan page here. Find an extensive Q&A with him here.

Average daily circulation for the Kansas City Star is 200,365.

An amazing display of data visualization in Sunday’s Washington Post

Did you see this piece of genius data visualization in Sunday’s Washington Post?

The conflict in Syria just passed its fourth anniversary. Over those four years, more than 220,000 people — nearly a quarter of a million — have been killed.

Richard Johnson of the Post took a doubletruck to illustrate just how many lives that is. Running across pages A10 and A11 is this enormous illustration of a Syrian flag, drawn in a form of stipple — it’s made of thousands of little dots.

Click this for a much larger view:

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How many dots? 220,000 of them. Each dot represents a life lost in Syria.

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Is that amazing, or what?

Richard didn’t just give readers a realistic illustration of a Syrian flag. Note how the red portion at the top turns into droplets of blood…

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…while the black parts below depict Syrian citizens in freefall.

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Here’s what the artwork looked like before it was converted it into dots:

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Richard was kind enough to reply to my queries:

Q. [I was wondering] how you plotted the artwork. Is there software that did that for you?

A. Ha. I wish. Nope, all plotted by hand in Adobe Illustrator. Had it gone black and white, I would have scaled the dots to make the shades in black.

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Q. Wow. That’s what I was afraid of! About how much time did you spend on that?

A. I had about six hours on Friday and three [Saturday] to get it ready after the concept was cleared.

Q. Awesome stuff, man. As usual.

I’d invite you to visit the online version of Richard’s piece, where a little magnifying glass allows you to zoom in on various sections of the artwork…

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…and see the detail work for yourself.

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Those of you who have sat through my slideshows on infographics — and especially my “graphics for word people” sessions — have heard me talk about infographics vs. data visualization.

Typically, infographics quantify and compare, using data to help you get a handle on information that may — or may not — have meaning for you or your family or your career or your government. Or maybe just on something you care about — a hobby or an interest.

Data visualization, on the other hand, typically doesn’t really compare data or actually quantify anything in a way that invites analysis. Typically, data visualization is there just to help you get your head around something. It’s more there to make you say Hmm. Or maybe Wow. Or even Holy shit!

Richard’s piece definitely does that.

But that’s not surprising. He’s done this sort of work a lot, over the years. On the left, below, Richard used simple data visualization to show the number of people who had been killed by handguns in just the first month after the Sandy Hook incident.

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The piece on the right is equally stunning. This shows the equipment — and especially the ammo — carried by the man who shot up the movie theater in Colorado three years ago.

I wrote about the “31 Days later” piece at the bottom of this blog post. The other graphic ran while I was teaching in Kenya, so I missed it at the time. I use both of these in my slide shows, however. They’re both amazing.

See more of Richard’s infographics work here.

In addition, Richard has made a number of trips to Iraq and Afghanistan to produce battlefield sketchbook work.

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Twenty of his sketches, in fact, now reside in the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History. Here’s a Tedx talk from last year in which Richard speaks about his battlefield work:

Richard made his first war zone tour when he was still with the Detroit Free Press. The Freep collected his work into a book.

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It normally lists for $19.95 but is on sale right now at the Freep for $12.95. Amazon, too, has discounted the book. Buy it from them for the nice, round number of $16.81.

Richard is really amazing. You saw earlier that he did this Syria doubletruck Friday and Saturday. But what did he do in his spare time Saturday and Sunday mornings?

This little piece…

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sketched on-site, of course.

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Wow. Again.

See more of his “urban sketches” here.

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1989 graduate of Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design in Dundee, Scotland, Richard was an artist at the Detroit Free Press. He was named graphics editor of the Globe and Mail of Toronto in 2005. He moved to the same position at the Toronto National Post in 2007 and then left newspapers for nearly two years as an Information Management Officer at the United Nations. He returned to the National Post in 2010 and then to the Washington Post in October 2013.

Find Richard’s web site here and his Twitter feed here.

Front page of the day

There’s a brilliant conceptual centerpiece on the front of today’s Lafayette, Ind., Journal & Courier:

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Ingredients:

  • A question headline — normally, I hate question headlines. But this one is very effective.
  • A wonderful typographical treatment on said headline.
  • What appears to be a little piece of stock art.
  • Lots of white space.
  • Nice decks on the two stories below.

This would have been designed in Gannett’s Louisville design studio. If anyone there can fill us in about details —  who designed it, how it came to be — please share.

This is the same paper — and the same design studio — that produced this page, back in January.

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That, too, was stock art. I sent out several messages at the time trying to get details but came up empty-handed.

Both pages are great examples of how to build powerful, powerful work using stock images. Kudos to the kitchen staff.

Average daily circulation of the Journal & Courier is 25,531.

That page image is from the Newseum. Of course.

A cool front-page illustration by a newcomer to newspapers

Carli Greninger is an illustrator for the Herald of Grand Forks, N.D. In fact, she’s the paper’s brand new illustrator: I’m told her first day of work was the Monday after the week I taught in Fargo for Forum Communications.

Which means she had been on the job less than three weeks when she scored her first front-page illustration.

She took a few minutes this week to tell us all about it:

I was approached by one of the reporters asking me if I would feel comfortable with doing a huge centerpiece. Of course, I said yes.

I started digging. I came across some poems online about addiction. They were intriguing and, overall, what mostly inspired my piece. They referred to “demons.”

I took a reference photo of a female and then illustrated that:

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I then took a copy of the illustration and placed newspaper where I wanted emphasis. I then took Prismacolor markers and played with grays and blues on tracing paper. The tracing paper allows it to play as a watercolor feel when using the blender.

I scanned all three and brought them into Photoshop. I then played with blending modes and created textures. I also drew that bottle and placed it on the photo.

The only other illustration in the inside was just me emphasizing quotes and setting up the typography.

Read the online version of the story here.

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Carli is a graduate of Alexandria Technical and Community College.

A few samples of her work:

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Find more at her web site.

Average daily circulation for the Grand Forks Herald is 24,022.

Let’s shine a spotlight on this page that shines a spotlight

Lately, I’ve been talking a lot with folks about how to design pages when you have no lead art.

I especially love this new example we have  from yesterday’s Montgomery Advertiser, designed by Patrick Armstrong of Gannett’s Design Studio in Nashville, Tenn.

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Patrick tells us:

This has been a big topic Montgomery has been following with the Central Alabama Veterans Health Care System, and with it being Sunshine Week this cover really needed to pop. So I just went with the theme of shining light onto our government.

While reading the story it seemed to me the whistleblowers were being interrogated. So this light shining into darkness also represents being in an interrogation room.

So, when your stuck, go less with the literal and more with the metaphorical. Got it.

But wait! There’s more!

Patrick adds:

It was such a surprise to see this photo…

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…of Rep. Martha Roby, R-Montgomery, holding up the cover during a subcommittee of the House Appropriations Committee. Especially because it was on my birthday!

A 2012 graduate of Austin Peay State University in Clarksville, Tenn., Patrick served as editor-in-chief of the student paper there, the All State.

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He spent a year as managing editor and creative director of Out and About Nashville before joining the studio in 2012. Find his portfolio site here.

Patrick turned 27 Thursday.

Behind the Washington Post’s fun NCAA emoji page

The Bracket Monday page that seemed to create the most buzz yesterday — and deservedly so — was this one masterminded by Dan Worthington of the Washington Post.

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Click that for a much larger look.

Dan wrote Monday via Facebook that he…

…spent an unhealthy amount of time with emoji in my life after Brian Gross said [back in January] “what about emoji?” for our NCAA special section.

Found an amazing illustrator in Julia Heffernan who has a special talent for creating emoji. Cover design and art direction was me. Headline by David Larimer.

Those little emoji icons are cute as can be. Spend some time with them and you’ll find some you love.

One of my favorites is the Alabama-Birmingham Dragon…

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…although I might argue the Iowa State Cy looks an awful lot like the Louisville Cardinal.

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You gotta love that UC Irvine Anteater, though. Zot!

The Duke University Dookie sure looks as if he’s up to something, doesn’t he?

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Also, the Oregon Duck made me smile…

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…as did the all-feline Villanova vs. Lafayette matchup…

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…and the canines vs. felines N.C. State vs. LSU bracket.

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Wonderful illustrations, made even better by the Post‘s eagerness to give them away so fans could add them to their text messages, social media feeds and whatnot.

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And if you scroll all the way down to the bottom of the page, you’ll find the “bubble” teams that had emojis drawn up but then didn’t find their way into the tournament.

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Hey, why let perfectly good emojis go to waste, right?

Find the entire set here.

Naturally, the presentation had its naysayers. Indiana fans, in particular, seemed displeased with the emoji that represented their team — as you see here, reported by the Indianapolis Star.

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That’s supposed to be a basketball fan with her face painted for a game. Indiana fans complained about the rendering. Never mind no one seems able to explain just what is a “Hoosier” in the first place.

When I think of Indiana basketball, I think of chairs being flung onto the court. But that’s why the Post didn’t hire me to draw the emojis.

The wonderfully talented artist who did draw the icons — as Dan mentioned — is New York-based illustrator Julia Heffernan. Here’s a self-portrait, drawn in emoji style.

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Julia specializes in emoji art. Here are a few examples of her work.

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Naturally, she does other types of illustration as well:

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Julia seemed delighted to get a byline on the front of Monday’s sports front.

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Find her web site here, her blog here and her Twitter feed here.

A graduate of Western Illinois University, Dan Worthington spent a year-and-a-half as assistant sports editor of the Daily Review Atlas of Monmouth, Ill. before moving to the Beaufort (S.C.) Gazette and the (Hilton Head) Island Packet in 2008.

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He moved to a sports design position with the Star-Ledger of Newark, N.J., in 2009 and was promoted to assistant sports editor a year later. He moved to the Post in 2013.

A few samples of his work:

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Find Dan’s web site here, his YouTube channel here and his Twitter feed here.

‘What I love about his work is how absolutely unexpected it is’

Sean McKeown-Young, creative director for the Gannett Design Studio in Des Moines, Iowa, writes to tip us off about some great work being done there.

He tells us:

I wanted to make sure that you noticed Dave Lafata’s work. He has rapidly become an ‘uber-designer.’

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Aside from being a really great guy with some really exciting ideas about what newspapers can look like, he has a stunning talent. These first two examples are just from [Wednesday]. I am blown away.

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He’s originally from Warren, Michigan – so he’s another Detroit-metro dude. He graduated from Central Michigan University with a degree in Fine Arts in 2012. He started in the studio in 2012 designing Wausau/Wisconsin Rapids/Stevens Point/Marshfield Sports. It’s amazing how fast he grew.

He is now the lead designer for Green Bay. That is huge for a young designer.

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We’ve been so lucky to have some tremendously forward-thinking editors that have really collaborated to let his vision shine.  Dave is also really lucky to work with Bill Wambeke, the Wisconsin Team Leader. Bill has been a huge influence on Dave’s career, allowing him the room to grow and the coaching to hone his statement.

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What I love about his work is how absolutely unexpected it is. It feels relevant and relatable but totally fresh. I think that’s rare. He is a tremendous artist and his work increasingly has elements of his fine arts work; he’s blending hand drawn work with digital.

I get really excited when I see new talent and designers coming into ‘their voice.’

Sean has bragged on Dave before — when Dave built a series of covers about a huge air show in Oshkosh. I posted a batch of these covers in 2013 and again in 2014.

A few samples:

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Gannett’s Dave is not the David Lafata who is an internationally known soccer star. As far as I know.

A fun — and simple — page-one illustration on housing issues

As I mentioned yesterday, I took a week off of my new job in Victoria, Texas, to teach in Fargo, N.D. One of the main topics we covered there: How to build centerpieces when you have little art to work with.

On my way home Saturday, I stumbled over this delightful example of exactly that from the Tennessean of Nashville.

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Bill Campling, a designer for the Gannett design studio in Nashville, tells me:

I put together the Saturday cover.

The main story was about the impact gentrification is having on affordable housing. The study the story refers to talks about Nashville’s efforts to maintain affordable housing as being haphazard.

The concept of the main package was based off of a conversation I had with reporter Tony Gonzalez that focused on the term “scattershot,” which was used specifically in the study.

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A graduate of the State University of New York at Brockport, Bill Campling worked at the State of Columbia, S.C.

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He moved to the Observer of Fayetteville, N.C. in 2008 and then to Nashville in 2011. Find his portfolio here.

A 2008 graduate of Hillsdale (Mich.) College, Tony Gonzalez was a merit scholar and editor-in-chief of the student paper.

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He interned at the Toledo Free Press, the Detroit News and the Minneapolis Star Tribune. After graduation, he spent three years with the Waynesboro, Va., News Virginian before moving to Nashville in 2011, where he specializes in stories about family issues. Find his Twitter feed here.

Also, I might add, my former Orange County Register news editor, Marcia Prouse, is now a storytelling coach at the Tennessean.

Average daily circulation of the Tennessean is 118,589.

Previous appearances of outstanding visuals from the Tennessean here in the blog:

  • Sept. 9, 2011: My favorite Obama jobs speech headline of the day
  • Jan. 12, 2012: Nashville Tennessean shows us what’s inside President Obama’s head
  • Feb. 4, 2012: Four clever and fun page-one illustrations
  • Feb. 12, 2012: Eight cleverly striking Sunday page-one visuals
  • Feb. 18, 2012: An appreciative reporter brags on the designer who worked on his story
  • Feb. 28, 2012: A few outstanding pages from last weekend, courtesy of Gannett’s Nashville Design Studio
  • March 20, 2012: Paths not taken today in Nashville
  • March 30, 2012: For your Friday enjoyment: Two truly clever illustrations
  • Aug. 19, 2012: A big day for illustrations on page one
  • Sept. 26, 2012: What you need is a big glass of whiskey
  • Oct. 23, 2012: Inside the Nashville Tennessean’s 10-page special report on athletic concussions
  • Nov. 6, 2012: Today’s five best Election Day front pages
  • June 26, 2014: Inside the Nashville Tennessean’s addicted baby presentation
  • June 30, 2014: Nashville Tennessean celebrates a college baseball championship

A collection of newspaper tributes to Leonard Nimoy

Unless you’ve been living under a rock this weekend, then you’ve probably heard that Leonard Nimoy — the actor who played the iconic science fiction character of Mr. Spock on Star Trek — died. He was 83.

Nimoy was originally from Boston and it reportedly took him years to ditch his Bahhstahhn accent. Astronaut Terry Virts tweeted this little tribute from the International Space Station — high above Boston on Saturday.

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That, of course, is the Vulcan hand salute, typically used when one wishes another to “live long and prosper.”

I spent this past week in Fargo, N.D., where I taught staffers of the Forum newspaper company. Among the topics we talked about were ways to have fun with skyboxes and when to alter the paper’s nameplate. After my week was over and I returned to my hotel Friday night, I nearly fell out of my chair when I spotted this little gem on Twitter.

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Sure enough, that was the Forum’s nameplate Saturday. Outstanding.

Several papers paid homage to Nimoy Saturday or today. Most looked rather like this one, on teh front of Saturday’s Lexington, Ky., Herald-Leader.

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The Associated Press moved that portrait of Nimoy, shot just a few years ago before his health began to fall off. Note the secondary photo of Nimoy, shot during an appearance at Eastern Kentucky University in 1978, around the time the first Star Trek movie was being made.

Also, note the downpage interview with Walter Koening, who played Star Trek‘s Ensign Chekov,

My favorite front page of the day was this one by the Hartford Courant.

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That is essentially a centerpiece promo to a story inside. But it was clearly assembled by someone who had a lot of love for Nimoy and for Star Trek.

The Staten Island Advance led Saturday’s front page with a collection of ten “pithy sayings” from Nimoy’s character.

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Here’s a closer look:

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The folks in Pensacola, Fla., received the benefit of some great timing: There was a comic book/scifi convention in town this weekend. Sending someone to poll the folks there about the loss of Nimoy was a no-brainer.

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My friends at the Villages Daily Sun in Florida went out and asked locals about Nimoy and Spock.

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It’s great if you have a science fiction crowd in town. But this proves you didn’t really need one. Nearly everyone loved Star Trek and Mr. Spock.

The two major New York City tabloids were regional twins yesterday. The Daily News used that AP portrait with a rather obvious “Beam me up” headline….

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…while the New York Post wrote a similar headline but stuck with a vintage 50-year-old photo from the original TV series.

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My former colleagues at the Orange County Register in Santa Ana, Calif., pushed back whatever they had planned for Sunday’s Focus page and spent their Friday putting together this nice page on the career of Leonard Nimoy.

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Jeff Goertzen and Kurt Snibbe get brownie points for pulling out a picture of Nimoy singing. Ugh!

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Kurt drew this little bit down the right side of the page showing three seemingly mystical aspects — or abilities — of the Spock character.

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The Los Angeles Times Saturday led page one with a fairly recent portrait of Nimoy — shot through a window, for some reason — and a very nice obit.

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I didn’t quite understand the little graphic at the bottom of the package, though. Here’s that same little graphic, from the web site.

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This turned out to be a little refer to a fun online listing of all of Nimoy’s onscreen appearances as Spock, created by Javier Zarracina. There’s a little icon of Spock for every episode in which he appeared.

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Mouse over each to find out what episode it was and when it was broadcast.

As you continue to scroll down, you see variations in Spock’s wardrobe for the odd episode here and there — like, for instance, the dungarees and stocking cap he wore when he and Kirk visited Earth in the 1930s in the episode City on the Edge of Forever (upper right). Or his fighting stance in Amok Time (second row, second from left). Or the “evil” alternate-universe Spock from Mirror, Mirror (second row, far right).

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The little figures are animated, which is guaranteed to make you smile. Especially the Amok Time figure.

As you scroll to the early 1970s, you find icons for the animated Star Trek series from that era…

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…and then the Star Trek movie series, which debuted my last year in high school.

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Here, you see the final original Star Trek movie in which Spock appeared, his two appearances on Star Trek: The Next Generation and then his surprise appearance in the Star Trek reboot movie in 2009. Note the 18-year time gap.

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I didn’t quite understand the little figure in 2012 until I read up on it: That year, Nimoy voiced a vintage Spock action figure in an episode of Big Bang Theory.

Fun, fun stuff. Go here to see it for yourself.

And then there’s this fine tribute to Nimoy by the Washington Post — which I would have never seen had it not been for my monitoring Twitter during my travel layover Saturday at O’Hare.

First, there’s this great headline atop the job of Nimoy’s obit in Saturday’s paper.

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But the truly outstanding part was this fabulous illustration on the front of Saturday’s Style section.

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That was created by London-based freelance illustrator Noma Bar.

Noma writes, on his web site:

I am after maximum communication with minimum elements.

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Right. Well, he certainly pulled it off with this Spock piece.

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Find Noma’s Twitter feed here.