Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Custom Artwork

Has your significant other ever threatened to make you art as a gift?  Mine has, and I promptly told him I would not be wearing a macaroni necklace to work. It wasn’t macaroni this year.  For my birthday Chris surprised me with this lovely custom piece of art. 
 If you are wondering what this is and why it is significant (as I admittedly was when I first saw it),  it is a page from our area’s local business directory in the 1880’s where the very first owner of our house, a gentleman by the name of William Pimm, advertised his gold leafing business.     

Pretty cool, right? 
I asked Chris to give me some details on just how he made this masterpiece.
He found the source document on a website of military and civil records called Fold3.   The site allows you to download digitized records of our country’s history, but more importantly it allows you to search through the documents quickly.  Chris was able to find draft cards of our family members, census records, and of course this directory from the 1880’s. I imagine old family records would make interesting artwork as well.  
Once he found a page with images that he liked, he exported the pdf.   It looked like this:

 From there it gets a bit more technical, but basically he pulled the image into Adobe Illustrator and did a tracing of the original document. The tracing allowed him to focus on the black and white and remove the gray tones and black border from the original copy.  He also adjusted the sides where the original book was folded over. Finally, due to the quality of the original image, he cleaned up some black marks and areas where the typeface had blurred together so the final copy would be cleaner. 
Once his image was complete, he scaled it up to poster size and uploaded the file at Vistaprint.  He said that it couldn’t have been easier and for about 20 bucks he was able to get a poster size version printed and shipped. 
He even took advice from my blog post here and went to IKEA to put the poster in an inexpensive frame.  
A one of a kind gift on my birthday.  Thanks babe!

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