This illustration was created in 1997. It was created before the 9/11 terror attack on the World Trade Center Twin Towers. Maybe I am seeing too much into this illustration,but what I see into the right border is the  collapse of the twin towers. I often wonder if this was a prescience vision. Below I will show you the step by step process to create this illustration and the third step in developing a new illustration style.

Photo of John Dyess from a TV screen

Step 1. This is a photo that I had used in the 3D self portrait shown on the previous blog page. I liked this photo and wanted to use it  in another experimental illustration.

Screaming man

This is step 2 in the creation of the new illustration style and the Terror illustration. At this point I just called it “Screaming Man”. It was a collage of various copies printed from a copy machine on bond paper. I glued the copies on a 11″ wide x 17″ high piece of poster board. I then colored it with liquid acrylic paint. I used a tooth brush dipped in black ink to create a splatter texture on the illustration.

The only thing we have to fear-

Step 3 of this process came months or maybe a year after step 2. This screaming man was afraid of something. I borrowed part of President Franklin Roosevelt’s statement from his first inaugural address,”The only thing we have to fear is fear itself”, and added this to the illustration of the screaming man. I used the same process that I used in step 2 illustration. The size is 11″ wide x 17″ high.

Terror Collage

This is the final stage in the creation of a new illustration style. During the early 1990’s I purchased a book called “Typography Now the next wave” edited by Rick Poynor & Edward Booth-Clibbon. It talked about the transition from lead type to digital type. This is from this book “Typography now: the next wave is an interim report on these changes ,filed while they are still under way . It collects new work – from America,Britain ,Germany,France and the Netherlands- which is redefining our approach to typography.” In this book I first became aware of David Carson. This was a big influence on my work. I always was interested in the use of texture in my illustrations. This book introduced typography into my work. I also began using word definitions into my illustrations. I decided to change the title of the screaming man to fear. I built a collage out of a copy of my photography of myself ,a copy of the definition of fear , and words from the definition. I typed the word Terror on my MAC using photoshop software and printed a small copy of the word on my computer printer. I then began enlarging the type on a copy machine to distress the look of the type. I enlarged the computer print out about 60% than copied the enlargement about 200% and repeated the process until I got the size I wanted. I tore out the type leaving a ragged edge and then glued all of the copies down on poster board.I guess this is old stuff now but in 1997 I think I created something new.  This look can be gotten digitally but I prefer the way this hand done process looks. I made a copy from a copy machine on bond paper, glued it on poster board and applied color with a round sable brush using liquid acrylic paint. This was the beginning of a series of illustrations I called  defining images.


  1. Glenn Myers says:

    John, maybe this process can be mimicked via computer graphics, but the hands on process with all its little variations, “accidents’, but more likely “caresses” can as well be digitized by scanning or digital photo and then used as a computer image. Hands are good and have been for as long as man has made journeys into his creative spirit. Yes, they can as well type commands, click a mouse or wield a Wacom stylus, but is that as much fun as what you played with? probably not . . .

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