Blame it on a misspent youth watching old
science action and horror movies, Star Trek and The Outer Limits.
Throw in a little H.P. Lovecraft . Add megadoses of nightly news
reports about politics and world events. Shake vigorously and you
get People of Earth.
This idea originally came to me when
Reggie very generously shared some vellum so that we might
experience writing on such a wonderful surface. I was intrigued by
some of the interesting pieces he had spread out for us on the work
table. Maybe it was the shapes or the color or the fact that they
were made from animal skin, but one thought lead to another which
determined my next project on italics. So much for writing on such a
wonderful surface—these pieces would become parts of a space alien’s
In the movie e Day the Earth Stood Still, an alien
from a distant planet visits Earth, warning us to behave ourselves
or suffer the consequences. In my image, the alien delivers this
message via television. A hole in the universe opens through which
emerges a strange vision composed of TV test patterns, giant snake
skeletons, etchings of cloud bursts and the all-seeing eye. In the
center, an alien appears on a floating Sony TV set to deliver his
warning to all naughty Earthlings.
People of Earth is
actually a multi-media collage. The TV alien and the background were
created separately. The TV alien was glued on top of a high
resolution digital print on watercolor paper which was spray-mounted
onto thick illustration board.
It appealed to me conceptually to create the alien’s face using both
Arches paper and vellum, thus making the alien part plant and part
animal. The jaw was made with Arches watercolor paper which I glued
to the black illustration board. I attached the alien’s vellum eyes
with brads (which I thought worked nicely with the texture created
using various shades of FineTec metallic paint).
is written in an italic variation and colored by computer so ware.
After practicing for a few days, I wrote the text in W&N gouache on
Arches paper with a Mitchell #2 nib, scanned it and placed the pdf
file in Photoshop. I particularly enjoyed doing the lettering for
the words “People of Earth” which was my own variation drawn with
graphite and then scanned. The remaining text was typed and computer
I found the stars, TV test patterns, light
bursts and giant snake skeletons online and altered them in the
computer. The skeletons were tinted in shades of blue which I
thought created an interesting and eerie Lovecraftian effect in the
final jpeg file. Unfortunately, they were barely visible in the
digital print which I think made the total image less impactful. I
might have taken another crack at were it not for the expense and
This homework assignment was a wonderful
opportunity to use a variety of materials and production methods for
expressing different interests and obsessions I’ve had since
childhood. My goal was to use calligraphy, subject matter and images
to express some fairly serious concerns in a fun, entertaining and
nostalgic way. As a loyal Trekkie, I thoroughly enjoyed “boldly
going” where I’d never gone before.