Posts Tagged ‘Graphic-Design’

Go On No Joy 4

GO ON NO JOY is a collage I created several years ago. This is version number 4. 


Book cover design and concept by Carolyn Dyess, Illustration by John Dyess

This book cover was a joint project with both John and Carolyn. St. Louis author and  therapist, Doris Wild Helmering, employed the couple to visually represent her creation, “The Boy Whose Idea Could Feed the World”.  The E-book is now available on Amazon and iTunes. John did his iconic black graphic line work and texture to render the darkling beetle. Carolyn came up with the “world” map idea coming through the body of the beetle, and designed the bold typography that pulls the whole cover together. The variance in size, case and color, using the ever dependable Helvetica Black Condensed, with the black pseudo drop shadow, “contains” the bug from escaping off the page.

John did 6 full color illustrations of various bugs and worms used as vignette art throughout the chapter openings of the book. Those illustrations will be featured individually in upcoming blog posts.

For more information about Doris Wild Helmering visit:


“Grocery cart” mixed media art by John Foster Dyess

I have been creating images like my “Grocery Cart” for several years. These images are created using photographs I have taken.
I merge a high contrast black and white conversion of my photograph ,in photoshop, with a scanned texture layer I have created traditionally. The final step is to print these images on canvas and paint over the print with oil or enamel paint.
For me this art represents hunger,and homelessness.
Other art I have created is available as a print and is also available printed on towels,pillows tote bagsT shirts,cups and other items. To view my paintings and drawings please visit

Miles Davis Jazz Track

Miles Davis Jazz Track

I gave a written assignment, to my students in Drawing for Graphics class, to write a paper about  my blog posts on Vinyl Album covers. Below are two of the student papers.


Graphic design has a much to do with images as it does with type. Looking at the Vinyl covers John Dyess posted on his blog I found that they also relate a lot with type. The placement of words as well as the font that was used is a big part of the design. The images on the covers are very modern focusing a lot on shape and expression of emotion. Taking Graphic design here at Meramec Community College has taught me a lot. I use to think it was easy but now I now there is a lot of thought put in. I can tell that there was lots of thought and skills put into those album covers. The album Subliminal sounds uses color wisely and sparingly. The choice to make the text white and background black was really nice and I feel like it helped set it apart from the other albums. I felt like there were just as many photos as there were illustrations I liked that variety.

I have always felt like Album covers where a great expression of art. The covers were big and stood out unlike more of the CD covers we have today.

Nowadays it seems like all covers are just pictures of the artist. I wish more were paintings and abstract. The ones that are left to the viewers interpertaion allow for the listener to interpert the music however they like. Someone might see a cover has happy while another sees it as sad. But with CD nowadays everyone just sees who made it and It leaves less for the imagination.

Miles Davis Jazz Track is the album I kept coming back to look at. It has a wild design and is very abstract. To me it looks like a monster with a hand coming out of it’s mouth with fire around. It being so abstract I have trouble finding something I dislike about it. Maybe they could have used a wider range of colors? I am not sure. There are probably people out there that don’t like it because it is so abstract but I really like the feel it gives off. Makes me want to check the album out to see what the music must be like.

Saul Bass is very much a modern artist. I could tell from looking at his work that he plays a lot with color, text, and simplism. His artwork has a clean sleek look about it. But the colors are what I like the most. He uses bold whole colors that stand out. The figures he uses are abstract and the text looks like it is well thought out. I really enjoy his style and find it very refreshing and modern.

Jesse Weisman-Pitts

When thinking of vintage album covers, I associate such and aesthetic with a certain minimalistic elegance. In fact, I often find myself drawing inspiration from album covers of the past in my own designs. Muted colors, even gutters, and sans serif typefaces are examples of design elements from my own work that I see on countless covers of some of my favorite old records. One particular album that comes to mind is “Jazz Goes To College” by The Dave Brubeck Quartet. The design features a modular grid of photos, some of which are layered with an orange tint that matches the color of the type on the cover.

Classic album cover design is still prevalent in today’s music industry. Many typefaces, color palettes, and layout elements are being used in recent years that share the same roots as their classic predecessors. For example, The Black Keys’ 2010 release “Brothers” pays homage to The Beach Boys’ 1966 album “Pet Sounds” through its use of the classic Cooper Black typeface. The Foxboro Hot Tubs record “Stop Drop and Roll!” is strongly influenced by rock and roll records of the 1950’s and 60’s. The top of the record features a label reading “Stereo” and at the bottom boasts, “This is a newly recorded high fidelity record!” While stereo recording has been industry standard for many years, the design reminisces on a time when high fidelity recording was considered a new and innovative technology. The hand drawn typography on the record is very playful and seems to be strongly influenced by the typography of Brian Wilson’s “SMiLE”.

Such examples are only the tip of the iceberg when discussing the impact that vintage album cover design has had on design as whole. Iconic albums of the 50’s and 60’s, particularly in the genres jazz and rock and roll have set standards to which many designers, myself included, continue to work
Jake Hunn

Foxboro Hot Tubs

Foxboro Hot Tubs

Detail of Future Time by John Dyess

Today’s post is page 4 of the previous three posts which features written reports by my illustration students at Meramec Community College, on their thoughts about the future of illustration and design twenty years from now.

thoughts about the future by Derek Fultz

Thoughts about the future by Rita Conner

Thoughts about the future by T.E. Thompson



Future Time by John Dyess

Today’s post is a continuation of  of yesterday’s post featuring reports, by my illustration students at Meramec Community College, on their thoughts about the future of illustration and design twenty years from now. The following report is by Ed Koehler ,who is a student and professional illustrator.

Hi John,

Here are my thoughts on Illustration when Dominic is 20 years old.
I will make an educated guess that illustration will undergo a revival of traditionally produced art. Print media will return, not to early 20th century glory, but in sizable enough numbers to feed a healthy specialty market. Digital media will continue to undergo rapid transformation and will carry the day for conventional information (news, technical info, entertainment, education, et. al.) and yet there will be enough of a craft-driven ethos to support a resurgent print market. I predict it will be a large enough trend to nurture an equally viable traditional illustration market.
I don’t predict this out of mere nostalgic wish. I am largely a digital artist and find no incongruity between traditional image making and the digital process. I do have a decided preference for reading from the printed page and I enjoy the tactile experience of handling paper books, magazines and newspapers. I believe there is something deep in the human psyche that finds pleasure in the handling of well-crafted materials. This is why scribes developed calligraphy and illuminated manuscripts. This is why paper-makers took their craft from flattened reeds to fine laid cotton. I suppose books could have been bound with drab slabs of unfinished wood rather than beautiful leather and gold leaf. We are drawn to beauty. We may ignore it for a time, neglect it out of laziness and even distort it for some nefarious reasons, but deep down we know beauty and craft and physicality matters. Therefore there will be a print and traditional illustration Renaissance. It won’t eradicate digital, nor is it necessary that it do so, but it will be a healthy enough movement to carry on into the next century. It will ebb and flow, but it will stay, like Jazz and poetry.
Now that I’ve established that traditional image making will make a viable comeback, healthy enough on which to build careers, I’ll step out and imagine what images may look like. This is a prediction, only a grand speculation. I think creativity and pushing the envelope will continue, but I think there will be a resistance to follow trends. I think there will be less obsession with urban art, graffiti, and the like. They will still exists, but this art will return to a marginalized sector and probably be the better for it. Middle class homogenization of indigenous underclass art has rarely begotten a successful aesthetic.
I believe we will also see less tolerance for kitsch, even kitsch that is supposed to look like kitsch. It’s cute, but it will have seen it’s day, because it is ultimately boring and false. I believe there will be a renewed interest in painting. We may see work being done with genuine skill, on the order of Golden Age illustrators. I’m not saying there will be Arrow shirt ads or Parrish type posters (though there may be), but we are already in these past 20 years seeing incredible revival of painting being done by well trained illustrators. It never went away, but for a time it got hidden under photography and minimalist drawing. In fact I believe it is photography that will start to wane. With the ability of virtually everyone with even a small income to buy a high quality camera and Photoshop Elements, the unique ability to take a photo will garner less of the media budget. Believe me, it won’t die, but illustration will rise up and fill the longing for creative beauty that can’t be had with an effects filter and adjustment curves.
Remember,  this forecast is brought to you by a digital artist, not a Luddite. I enjoy the digital world and the process and even the beauty of Macintosh computers. But I am not content that they be my only connection to the written and illustrated word. I think most people find deeper connection with that which they can handle and feel and grasp with physical awareness. Over thirty years ago I worked in a large medical center library wherein the head librarian foresaw a glorious future devoid of books and periodicals. Her dystopian future(in my opinion, but one which she imagined with relish) was filled with information burned onto . . . microfiche. It was too early for her to see computers go beyond those horrid green screens and orange text. She, I recall, thought microfiche was the future. Others apparently saw that a future of microfiche would be would also be a future of epidemic blindness from reading reversed out text in a dim, ugly box.
Perhaps ecology drove her dream, I don’t know. But the microfiche dream died mostly because of the advance of the personal computer and yet also, I like to think, from the refusal to be satisfied with ugliness.
I use this to defend that humans can’t not know that they desire beauty, even when they try with all their effort to dismiss it as unnecessary. It is telling that Steve Jobs insisted that the inside of a Macintosh, which no one would eventually see, be every bit as beautiful as the outside. This is how we are made. And this will continue to be reflected in what we make.
Ed Koehler

Future Time by John Dyess

On my blog post for October 19,2012, I posted a photograph of my wife and grandson Dominic John. This photograph of Dominic was taken shortly after his birth. The assignment ,for my illustration students at Meramec Community College, was to write a few paragraphs about what they thought illustration and graphic design will be like when Dominic is twenty years old. I will be sharing my student’s papers on this assignment for the next few days.

Firstly, congratulations on the birth of your grandson! I think Dominic John is being born into an exciting time for not just art and design, but for technology in general. Through the internet, inspiration and information are easier to pass from artist to artist than ever before. As Dominic grows up, he will receive tremendous benefits from being reared in a completely digital age. If he aspires to be an artist, he and others like him will have to navigate through the subtle obstacles this creates as well. The flood of information and availability of opinion that the internet brings can be a blessing and a curse. The internet will expose them to exciting and inspiring possibilities, but they will have to learn to recognize it and filter out the rest. In the coming years, the way we receive and digest information and art will change, but I do not believe that our appreciation for traditional technique will become completely obsolete.

Art making is becoming more accessible and cost effective as technology develops. Many traditional techniques can be reproduced digitally in an increasingly convincing way, without a tremendous initial investment. With this in mind, many people believe that, maybe even by the time Dominic John is 20 years old, paper and traditional art will become obsolete. This is especially becoming apparent as the announcement that magazines, such as Newsweek, will be moving forward with a digital only format, abandoning their printed format all together. In many ways this makes sense. The number of people who get their magazines and news online has risen steadily, since devices such as smart phones and tablets made these things readily available at any given moment. 

I believe there is a distinction between publications such as Newsweek transitional to a purely digital format and the abolishment of all paper production, though. For many people, their first contact with art will not be digital. It will be at a very young age, making crayon marks on paper and walls. I believe this is a reaction to an almost instinctual drive humans have to just create. For these people, the love of creating art doesn’t just lie in the end result, but in the process. As mentioned before, there are digital means to emulate traditional technique. There are no digital means to manufacture the experience of creating in a traditional style. For this reason I believe, while digital art is on the rise for it’s ease and efficiency, the regular pencil on paper will never be completely.    Kayla Richards


Brooke Weaver 10/18/12

John Dyess Illustration 1

The Future of Illustration

I feel like this is a hard thing to write about with how quickly technology is advancing everything we know. Who really knows what the future could possibly bring the art community. I suppose all I can really hope for is a new technological breakthrough that causes a mass hiring for all types of artists and keeps me gainfully employed till retirement (I can dream!). I suppose a lot of it would have to go with how people are viewing advertising and entertainment; something will continually advance in the TV becoming more of a world to hop into. 

I think that the 3D world will be the continuing advancement. That when we want to play a game we will probably be able to put on a helmet or suit, that gives us full control over our character. Probably have to stand on a special plate or something that will move as to the shape of whatever terrain you are going through in the game. The artist’s job then will be to create that super life like and truly interactive world the gamer jumps into. Also to develop more ways than just seeing the enemy or task in the game, but to also have the other sciences be involved. I hope that’ll be the next step in the artwork. That could be a true accomplishment there! 

Also think that if that advancement was made in gaming or movies what then could be done for an artist having a galleria event. You could come to the art showing, put on the special gear and walk into the artists very world that they made to present their artwork. The art would then be more than canvas, but something you could walk through and interact with. I think that would be an amazing development!

I can’t say for certain that this would happen, or that it’s even possible in 20 years. But in saying that you also have to think that twenty years go there wasn’t a computer in any home, now they are everywhere! There weren’t cellphones available. Now you can call people from your car and even talk through a small blue tooth ear device without even needing to pull your phone from your pocket. Cars park themselves, which never happened before. They actually have TV’s now that can curve to fit a room! So I’m choosing to think big about what there will be in twenty years.

Illustration and Graphic Design are rapidly changing fields incorporating a multitude of styles, and techniques that advance every day. Twenty years from now I believe Graphic Design and Illustration will become closer hopefully and if I had any say in it more experimental. I believe when Dominick is twenty years old, the fields of Fine art, and Applied art may finally be considered the same thing because, you’re using the same techniques of composition and much of the isolation that is involved with most Fine art will be done away with because the internet will have opened most of those Fine artists up to let people see their work online and have more input which can have positive and negative affects.

Applied art to me shouldn’t be separated from Fine art. to me Applied art was started by fine artists wanting to make money in fields where they could use their aesthetics they built up themselves to create their own niche in Applied art. To me Illustration is part of a larger picture which is mainly broken up into Fine art and Applied art that can have effects on anyone and that’s not going change much in twenty years besides broadening up into a larger area that’s more diverse as the years go by and as technology advances.
Daniel Madrigal

I would enjoy reading the thoughts of the future of communications in twenty years by viewers of this blog.













circles and textures

I finally added color to my black and white collage Thursday Oct.25,2012

black and white collage


Four Saul Bass movie posters

During the early  part of my career I was fortunate to view film title designs by Saul Bass (1920-1996). During his career Saul Bass created over 50 title sequences for directors Otto Preminger, Alfred Hitchcock, Stanley Kubrick ,John Frankenheimer and Martin Scorseses. Two sequenses  I like or  from the movies “Walk on the Wild Side” and “Grand Prix”. A more typical Saul Bass title sequence from his early work is “It’s a Mad Mad Mad World”.

I have noticed that there currently is a trend in graphic design to create illustrations and designs that look back to the work of Saul Bass and other work being done during the 1960’s. The title sequence for the cable television shoe “Mad Men” reminds me of the designs of Saul Bass.

I will be giving an assignment to my illustration class to research and discuss additional Saul Bass title sequences.