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Graphic Translation, a Graphic Design Project Guide Paperback – 21 Nov 2006


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Amazon.com: 3.7 out of 5 stars 3 reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars nice examples and thorough 15 April 2008
By E. Roberts - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Elam's book graphic translation is an excellent primer and a good didactic tool for image translation. The book provides nice process examples and variations for a given image. The focus is on high contrast image simplification with examples of variants and options. Overall a very good resource for design educators looking for an encapsulation of reductive image making.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Illustration Techniques from a Drawing Master 15 Aug. 2009
By William Lidwell - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
In the introduction, Kimberly Elam recounts her introduction to graphic translation at a summer graphic design workshop in Brissago, Switzerland. At that workshop a drawing master from the Schule für Gestaltung in Basel, Kurt Hauert, conducted a project in graphic translation of nature and water. Her initial reaction was skepticism. She states: "I was skeptical as to how green leaves and the constantly changing tones of lake water could be drawn in black and white. Students worked with plaka, a dense opaque white and black paint, first on paper and later painting on glass placed over the paper. The resulting drawings were startlingly crisp organic forms with light and dark highlights and reflections on foliage and waves. These drawings remain in my mind today."

The workshop clearly had a profound impact on Elam, and she shares many of the tricks she learned there. She offers concise guidance on a number of illustration principles, including shade and shadow, visual punctuation, eyes, repetition, closure, converting lines to points, and communicating movement and function. More than one hundred pages of examples are provided to demonstrate the various techniques.

Proficient users of Adobe Illustrator will quickly learn valuable techniques that can be immediately applied to improve the quality of illustrations. Elam's approach is no nonsense--I found it best to use the book while twiddling with images in Illustrator, so that techniques could be tested and then cross-referenced against the numerous examples. The thing I most appreciate about this book is that I, too, feel as if I have attended a workshop from a drawing master. And like Elam's experience at her summer workshop, I think the images and techniques in this book will remain in my mind for some time.
3 of 6 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars An inefficient process 22 Jan. 2008
By MMC 2100 - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
The "graphic translation" technique introduces unnecessary steps into the concept development of a graphic, needlessly complicating the process. The author takes ten to twelve steps to get where I (and many of my professional designer colleagues) get in two.

The concept of "visual punctuation" demonstrated in the book is particularly extraneous. The eye does not need literal punctuation (i.e. dots) in order to navigate an image. (Does anyone need periods and exclamation points to comprehend Michaelangelo's Creation of Adam?) In fact, such inclusions impede the eye's natural progress through the image.

The only redeeming value for this book is the demonstration of ways to imply movement in the subject of the graphic. However, this feature alone is not worth the price of the entire book.
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