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FANTASY (1993)

SYMMETRY. Reflection about a vertical axis. This image looks the same when seen in a


INSPIRATION. Created as part of a puzzle for the March 1993 issue of NewMedia magazine.

STORY. For the past seven years I have written and illustrated the puzzle on the back page of NewMedia magazine, the largest trade magazine for the computers and multimedia industry. The puzzles are great fun to create, and give me a chance to learn about different aspects of the industry, try new pieces of software, make up puzzles and art, and correspond with readers.

In March 1993 I created a puzzle called "Filter Fantasies," which you can find reprinted in my book the NewMedia Magazine Puzzle Workout. The puzzle involved applying filters from Kai's Power Tools, a plug-in for Adobe Photoshop, to an image. Applying the filters in different orders created different results; the puzzle was to figure out the filter order for each of six resulting images.

The idea for this inversion had been brewing in my mind for many years when I finally decided to include it as part of the Filter Fantasies puzzle. I refined the design the way I usually do: make many sketches in pencil, scan my favorite into Adobe Illustrator, and tweak the design in Illustrator until the curves are just right.

The shapes are influenced by the work of fantasy artist Roger Dean, who has a special flare for inventive organic lettering. Dean is a favorite of KPT's creator and namesake Kai Krause, who I had met a couple years earlier. Bits of fantasy symbolism crept into the lettering: the central T strong suggests a sword, while the initial F rears back like a flaming dragon in order to make the final Y.

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