masthead


Big Smash LP

Wreckless Eric

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          title: Big Smash LP
   artiste/band: Wreckless Eric
   record label: Stiff Records
         format: 12" gatefold double LP cover & 40"x30" poster...
   release date: 1980
           misc:


brief / approach

...my plan was to create a cover that was like a panel from a comic strip - using the pulp comic book's classic halftone dots to 'colour it in' - this was done using Letraset's 'Letratone' rub-down transfer sheets of different sizes of little black dots - that would then be printed cyan, magenta, yellow & black (CMYK) to make it 'full colour'...

...to do this you had to  have your image/illustration separated out into 4 'layers' - one for each of the CMYK colours - this artwork usually consisted of a high quality artboard base for the black (mainly text & lines...) and 3 exactly aligned together (or Registered) semi-transparent overlays for the CMY colours - this was know as print-ready or camera-ready artwork for the printers to print from...                                                                                                 (...now, digitally, when you've created an image/piece of work you just click on 'print' and the computer makes all the colour separations for the printer to print from...)

...in order to print a black & white photo - technically known as a Continuous Tone Print - which theoretically consists of 100 tones of grey from extremely pale/almost white or 1% of black through to mid grey or 50% black to very dark shadows or 99% black - you have to turn it into varyingly sized & spaced out little dots by projecting it through a semi-transparent 'halftone screen' in a photo-mechanical technique using a large studio camera - then very pale greys are represented by the smallest size black dots relatively widely spaced, and to mimic the 'greys' getting darker the dots get progressively bigger and the white space between them gets smaller - so that by mid grey/50% black the dots & spaces are equal - after that the B&W illusion inverts as by the time you get to 'representing' very dark grey/90% black the black dots have merged together into a solid background broken up with relatively widely spaced, small white dots - you can see all this in B&W 'photographs' printed in old newpapers...                                                                                   (incidentally they were coarsely printed at 72 dots to the inch which is why that seemingly random number is used for basic, lo-res computer images only now they're for pixels...)

Anyways, the Letratone transfer sheets of black dots came in 8 stages of percentages from 10 to 90% and when you apply them in seemingly endless permutations to each of  the 4 different layers you've designated for  CMYK colour inks you end up getting a 'full colour' image printed - which is explained further across in the Backstory section...

 

backstory

...this cover follows on my technical learning curve from the image I created for Lew Lewis'  Win or Lose single bag & poster - where I learnt to 'hand mix' the 4 semi-transparent ink colours universally used for printing; Cyan (a bright, lightish blue), Magenta (a pinky,  light purple), Yellow (almost neon) & Black or CMYK  (K is printer's shorthand for black) to make all the colours & tones I wanted...

...for the Big Smash cover - or any comic book-style imagery using halftone dots - when you mix solid (100%) cyan & solid yellow you get a bright green, mixing solid magenta with solid yellow gives you pillar box red, solid cyan & solid magenta gets you dark purple - when you mix or overlay 50% dot tones of magenta with 50% dot tones of yellow you get orange - like the middle ring of the Big Smash cover's 'explosion' - solid cyan & 50% magenta makes a dark blue, 50% cyan & 50% magenta gets a lilac and so forth - you get the idea of how many permutations of colour & tone you can achieve using the different 10-90% halftone dot screens and that's without the added complexity & subtlety you get when you 'darken' the tones of colours with percentage tints of the K/black dots..!?

...along with the cover above is a 40"x30" lanscape format  poster - we did it that way round and bigger than the usual 30"x20" portrait posters so it would better obscure more of the opposition's public fly posters...

...also, there was a promotion ashtray/paper weight 'big smash' brick- with a green baize bottom soasto not scratch your desk - that was a promo give away that we'll upload a pic of asap...