About: First time using Wacom tools and works primarily with pen and ink, while using his computer to color separate his work for silkscreen.
Casey got his start in the illustration and design field back in 1993, as a freshman at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He was making photocopied flyers for his friends’ bands, and soon thereafter started silkscreening larger posters for area clubs. For many years, his full-time job was to create flyers, ads and posters for the legendary Cat’s Cradle night club.
"My work on these posters eventually led to other illustration and design jobs, mostly music related, dozens of record package designs and the inclusion of my work in books like The Art of Modern Rock."
More recently, Casey’s work was featured in the packaging for Modest Mouse’s album We Were Dead before the Ship Even Sank. His current work includes more rock posters, and a black history month calendar featuring portraits of twelve significant historical figures. A calendar? So he’s got some experience in the advent business.
Casey works primarily with pen and ink, and uses his computer to color separate his work so he can silkscreen it.
"This is my first time using Wacom tools, and so far I am loving it. I had no idea such subtle changes in line-weight could be accomplished with anything other than my trusty dip pen and brush."
As of 2006, Casey lives and works in Portland, Oregon, and is loving it. Almost as much as we’re loving having him a part of this project. Check out his work.
I usually work in a fashion that treats a computer like an analog tool. I come from a silkscreening background that calls for black and white positives, rubylith, razor blades, opaquing fluids, photocopiers, and plenty of ink. Over the years, I’ve replaced many of these tools and processes with the computer, and have hopefully managed to keep my work feeling organic.
My normal routine consists of the following:
I make a keyline drawing using dip pen, brush, ink. I then create my additional color separations on separate sheets of paper or vellum, on top of my keyline using a light box. If it’s a four-color piece, I end up with four black and white drawings. I scan all four into photoshop, and then bring all of them into individual spot channels in photoshop. Spot channels are like digital rubylith to me. I’m dealing with black and white layers with temporary colors assigned to each. Once I have cleaned up each of the channels, and set trap and choke, I split the channels and save each channel as a separate bitmap. I then stack the bitmaps in indesign, add any necessary text, and output each color onto a clear film positive that I use to expose my silkscreens. I mix my inks by hand, and start the long process of printing.
I approached this project the same way, but integrated the Wacom tools this time around. After playing around with the pens for a few days, I found that the grip pen felt most natural to me. The subtle lineweight changes that came with its pressure sensitive tip mocked my own pen technique pretty closely. Close enough that I decided I would use the Wacom for all of my secondary colors, as well as editing my original drawing.
I usually take reference photos to look at for my drawings. This time around, I was looking to take a photo of my friend Naheed Simjee holding an umbrella, to fit in with some sort of "April showers" theme. I went over to her house, and she turned the tables on me by showing me a great photo she had taken of her boyfriend (and Modest Mouse frontman) Isaac Brock. Isaac was sporting an umbrella in Italy, as well as a black eye. It cracked me up, and completely embodied how bummed out rain in April can make you feel. Isaac was down with being in the piece, so I headed home, and started drawing.
Once my drawing was finished, I brought it into photoshop, and cleaned up some areas using the grip pen. I was actually unhappy with how I had initially drawn Isaac’s mouth, so I almost completely redrew it with the tablet. The effect was seamless. I also edited many of my other ink lines with the pen without ever losing a hand-drawn appearance.
After I was satisfied with the line drawing, I set about coloring the piece in separate channels. Once again, the pen felt really natural, and I saved a good amount of time (hours, really) by using the tablet instead of scanning separate drawings. After I finished the coloring, I merged everything together for the final piece that you see in the calendar.
Hopefully this piece makes you pray for the sun to come out, just as I will once April comes to Portland.