An Apple For The Artist

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 82685 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.

Personal Exper­i­mental:

Job Subjects:

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.

Ann Thompson