Long before an Apple Computer became one of my art tools, I was asked to create Illustrations “the old fashioned way” for the Apple IIGS Owner’s Guide (manuals are no longer offered).
Apple’s Macintosh had been introduced in 1984, yet the Apple II series of computers continued for about ten more years. When I was awarded the job on 8−26−85 my finished artwork was still accomplished with illustration boards, pens, brushes and inks. At that same time, I had my freelance and agency-in-house artist space in the Vicom Associate’s offices on Battery Street in San Francisco.
There were a couple of meetings with Apple, when I would drive down to Cupertino to plan an art style and page design and also determine my price for the job. Translating copy to art for Apple Computer’s IIGS manual, I was asked to keep my spots “light-hearted”. Everything developed smoothly and when I needed the accuracy of depicting the four Apple computers available those days, I turned to Richard Moore (freelancing from our home) to compose and create the finished detailed art of the four existing line of Apple II computers.
Apple IIGS Owner’s Guide. 1986, Apple Computer, Inc.
Concepts and Illustrations: Ann Thompson, Art Direction: Molly Tyson; additional product illustrations: Dick Moore.
Soon, more Apple II Guides were needed, but my original agency accounts in SF needed me. My contacts in Cupertino asked me “Are there any more like you at home?” and I said, “Yes” and Richard Moore completed several more manuals for them. Apple was glad that Richard set us up at home with an Apple IICX –$16,000 (at that time) including printer, scanner, (the works)! Richard’s Apple illustrations for the manuals were, for the first time, created with an Apple computer!
The Macintosh, A Better Apple Was Presented.
Apple’s Macintosh computers were being introduced and soon set up in Vicom Associates’ art department. At one point, the agency wanted to test the Macintosh’s abilities against my usual methods of making the large, 24” X 36” — presentation boards for the agency’s meetings with their various clients. The requirements: –quality of message and speed — I won, achieving both requirements!
The art department could only print letter-sized prints from their Macs. The crew in the art department had to (1‑search and choose from the limited choices of clip-art, (2‑compose the type, boxes, arrows and images, (3‑print out the document, (4‑send it out to a copy shop to make a Photostat up to display size and then (5‑wait for the b/w print and when it arrived, spray-mount it to a foam core board. I had the benefit of 1 sheet of large layout paper, full color (markers and pencils) and I could compose unlimited subjects. I often had to work through the night on those display boards that were to fly in the morning to an early meeting on the east coast. (Using the Mac, the agency would have had to keep the art crew and copy shop into the night.) My boards became known in this agency as “Annie-Boards”! When one of our art directors moved to another advertising agency, she, out of habit, asked for “Annie- Boards” to be made.”Animatics”?, “animation?”, her co-workers asked. She said that she had to describe my boards.
(Note: I don’t have the exact example from the competition, because it was shown at the planned client meeting.)
There were times that I could have asked for a Mac in my room in the agency, but there were young and eager hires ready to sit there with and art director over their shoulder, and I knew that I’d get into it on my own at home. When I did, we had an AppleIICX at home. My abilities grew as each new graphic software program became available. I experimented with all kinds of subject, yet I would keep trying subjects needed for my agency assignments.
With the earlier computers and drawing programs, drawing with a “mouse” (like a small brick) it seemed not to matter if I was left or right-handed. The very early computer line art had the large pixels. “Studio 8” offered a lot to the graphic artist, but the edges were still very rough. The Mac and the two Adobe programs: Photoshop and Illustrator offered a huge range of different qualities for different needs. These show the improvement of the graphic programs and my improvement using them.
Ten Second Manager
Around the mid ‘90s I received many assignments for Apple University (internal teaching publications). One assignment from Apple University was a pocket-sized handbook for employees — the style of the illustrations was to be “more humorous”. Following the copy that was written for the pocket sized handbook, 23 humorous illustrations were accepted.
Apple University – The Ten-Second Manager. 1996, Apple Computer, Inc.,
Copy: Molly Tyson, Design and Illustrations: Ann Thompson, Evangelism: Sherri Rose, Production & Moral Support: Ken Freehan
Internal Homepage: Apple University
The first meetings were with the title, “The Art of Management”. Many more page arrangements brought us to the next sketch that you see with the title “Apple University”. The final design is shown here on Netscape, the web browser of that time.
“Leader’s Lounge” was a link from the Homepage. The highlighted objects in the Lounge were “links” to additional pages with more written information.
Apple University’s Catalog of Services
Forty pages plus cover with 15 illustrations (mostly of them repeated from the Ten Second Manager.
These assignments, above, for Apple University were my favorites because of the amount of creative freedom they gave to me. The Mac became my favorite art tool. I’m on our iMac, now.