Puzzle pieces

It starts with a large sheet of paper — a template Art Director Michelle-Renee Adams generates for me from her iMac.

It starts with a second sheet of paper — a spreadsheet Production Manager Tina Gerami gives me after she processes a pile of paperwork generated by our advertising sales staff.

It starts with a list of stories, a ruler, a mechanical pencil and a pair of reading glasses.

These are the tools I need to start building the next magazine. My methods are pretty old school — I’m sure there are software programs I could buy that are much more efficient or high-tech — but I enjoy doing it this way.

Paginating the magazine in our conference room.

Somehow the process of putting pencil to paper helps the next issue come alive in my mind. As I draw my lines and squiggles and fill the spaces in the squares before me (each of which represents a two-page “spread” in the printed magazine) the weeks of planning that have come before this day start to make sense.

It’s like working a puzzle. I start with pieces scattered across the table. I look for logical connections and conflicts. I write, erase, start again. Eventually, everything finds its place.

It ends with a peaceful sense of relief as my roadmap for the next issue finds expression. I send my pagination sheet to Tina for review. I make her adjustments and then toss it off to Michelle. And await the blossoming of an artist’s vision.

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