Wednesday, August 18, 2004

August 18, 2004
Beautiful morning out. Went for a walk with Kathy and the dogs. Got into office at eight. Right off the bat, got a prickly e-mail from Dan Buck regarding our ongoing by-line design issues:

“Jesus Christ (there's a by-line), how hard is it to come up with a consistent by-line style? For the longest time TW by-lines were hidden away in a murky box—find the author—now they're all over the map. The by-line on each article is in a different place, in a different motif—they're like a frigging scavenger hunt. Pick a system and stick to it.

“WYATT EARP WAS A CROSS-DRESSING PIMP, by Percy Dovetonsils. How hard is that? Think inside the box.”
—by Dan Buck

Dan, Dan, Dan,
You may know more than anyone about oxymorons but when it comes to by-line graphics, wake up and smell the typography. Magazine and newspaper layouts are changing even as you read this. Go look at a Time magazine from three months ago and you'll see that the department heads and by-lines have morphed, moved, changed in ways not even discussed at most outside institutions. Believe it or not, we have had our current, but soon to be outdated, graphic layout style for the past three years. This is equivalent to at least 35 dog years, in terms of graphics.

As a warning, it will change again, probably by the time you finish reading this. It's the graphaholic’s mantra: change it before anyone gets used to it!

Had an executive session at 11. Went over finances (decent) and proposed newsstand redistribution (challenging). RG is all over it, and has been studying where we are, where we aren’t and why. Daunting, but someone has to do it, and RG is the guy. This is our biggest challenge and I’m hopeful we will make some progress on this in the next 90 days.

Went home at one to meet the Sears repairman (“Your registered Sears representative will arrive at your address sometime between the hours of one today and five p.m. on the day of the presidential election. If you are not there, don't ever expect him again. To repeat this message, press two, to listen to the repeated message again, press three. . .”). He came around 2:30 and got the water on the Gray 25th Anniversary Behemoth to work. I used the time to lay in a solid wash on a potential cover painting on a certain Apache scout.

Speaking of which, this weekend is Jim Hatzell’s annual Artist’s Ride up in the Dakotas and I couldn’t make it but instead sent him a shot list of images I wanted along with a check for $300 for the models (he always gets the best). If you are interested in going it’s a cool deal. He gets all these authentically dressed Indians, soldiers, gunfighters and homesteaders to show up and photographers and Western artists come in from all over the world to take reference photos. Next year I plan to go, but this year Jim told me he’d follow my sketches. I know he’ll do a good job.

Sam just came in (5:01 p.m.) and informed me one of my Illustrated Life & Times of Doc Holliday first editions is for sale on e-bay for $117.08. If you don’t believe me, check it out:

“Noise proves nothing. Often a hen who has merely laid an egg cackles as if she has laid an asteroid.”
—Mark Twain

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