Re[3]: Doing your own graphics (an illustrators perspective)

Subject: Re[3]: Doing your own graphics (an illustrators perspective)
From: Arlen -dot- P -dot- Walker -at- JCI -dot- COM
Date: Tue, 14 May 1996 08:18:00 -0600

This agency has never had, nor probably never will, a person
officially categorized as a "technical writer."

Any specialized exerpience I have as a tech writer comes from my
journalism background and individual desire to learn. There's nobody
here to do specialized graphics; I don't know where in the Navy you
could find one who does.

I think Robert's post highlights the unreality of a writer "demanding"
technical illustrators.

Speaking only for myself now, I'm more than happy when the boss says I've
got the money to hire an illustrator. More often than not, however, when
the subject of illustrations comes up, the answer is, "here's a camera, go
take some pictures."

So I take the camera, take the pictures and spend some time in Photoshop (a
*truly* amazing program, I highly recommend it). Is a good illustration
better than a picture? Certainly there are many times when this is true.
But is it always enough better to justify the cost? My boss clearly doesn't
think so. And, I have to admit, sometimes I agree.

And that's the bottom line. Whether you're an editor, illustrator or writer
the project has to be done within the constraints imposed upon it from
above. My boss doesn't get the money he wants for all of his projects; who
am I that I should demand 100% funding for all of mine?

One of the trends in corporate life is doing more with less. When I use
Photoshop, I sometimes turn out less of a product than a technical
illustrator would have turned out. But it's all the project can afford.

There are three sides to the project triangle: cost, time and quality. The
first two are always constrained; my job is to make the quality side as
long as possible without overspending time or money. (A co-worker has a
sign which says "Cheap, Quick, Excellent: pick any two.") Yes, it would be
nice to always produce the absolute best possible manuals. The reality is
that we have to settle for "good enough," because that's all the market
will pay for. And if the market won't pay for us, we both lose.


Have fun,
Arlen
Chief Managing Director In Charge, Department of Redundancy Department
DNRC 124

Arlen -dot- P -dot- Walker -at- JCI -dot- Com
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