12.29.2008

7 Necessary Steps to Writing a Great Blog Post

Step 1: There are way too many posts with headings like this one. Its a tempting idea that you could take seven simple steps and become a great (fill in the blank). Despite the appeal I don’t think that this is the way people learn anything. I can’t think of a single worthwhile skill I've learned that after making a few simple changes I experienced a jump from mediocrity to proficiency. "Success made easy" posts appeal to those hoping to find a secret short cut to arrive at skill with out all of the annoying hard work. This way of thinking is naive at best. In fact it doesn't take much of leap to find this same kind of thought process in those that believe that buying lottery tickets is the way to become wealthy or that there is a magic infomercial pill out there that can help you lose weight instantly. Becoming good at something is a process that involves exploration, trial and error and persistence. Furthermore, the steps given in these articles typically don't represent the actual process the person went through to attain excellence, they represent the reflections of that person looking back at some important things they learned along the way. These bits of information can be a helpful supplement but they don't replace the journey it takes to arrive at skill and if they could the skill probably wouldn't be worth much anyway.

Mr. Incredible: You mean you killed off real heroes so that you could *pretend* to be one?
Syndrome: Oh, I'm real. Real enough to defeat you! And I did it without your precious gifts, your oh-so-special powers. I'll give them heroics. I'll give them the most spectacular heroics the world has ever seen! And when I'm old and I've had my fun, I'll sell my inventions so that *everyone* can have powers. *Everyone* can be super! And when everyone's super--
Syndrome: --no one will be.

8.11.2008

Self



Its been a while since I've drawn anything so I decided to get out the pencils and pens and get back to the basics. This isn't the most dynamic composition or expression you've ever seen, but just a way to get back to drawing after a long hiatus.

6.02.2008

Its Been A While

For those of you that still check this blog occasionally, I'm sure you've noticed the serious lack of updates. Surprisingly theres an actual reason other than laziness.
Here's the story; A while ago I was reading the book Inside the Business of Illustration to get prepared to do some freelance illustration work. As I read the book I became more and more aware that although I prefer drawing over designing the business of illustration is something I have no interest in entering. This isn't meant as a critique of Steven Heller's book but as a reaction to the realities the book revealed about the current state of the business. This really startled me because I'd originally gotten into design for the consistent pay check in light of looming student loans and the extreme inconsistencies associated with starting a career in illustration. My plan had always been to get on my feet, pay off my loans, start illustrating on the side and gradually accumulate enough clients until I could leave the design world and work as a professional illustrator.
Reading the book caused a major shift in priorities for me as far as preparing myself professionally. I have begun to place all of my focus on developing as a designer and begin to really dig deep into the craft abandoning the thought of illustration completely. Nearly all of my creative output has been refocused on design and so although this blog is not related to illustration it has been put more and more on the back burner. You can see some of the work I've doing lately here
Its not my plan to abandon this blog nor the medium of comics. Comics are just on a short break for a while I am continuing to refocus

3.27.2008

Right Brain Terrain: The search for visual inspiration on the internet

After leaving art school I experienced a serious lack of visual input/inspiration that made me feel like I was at risk of becoming artistically stale. It was like going from a bright toy filled nursery to sterile hospital hallway.
I turned to the friendly neighborhood internet for some relief and found that searching on Google with terms such as “web comics”, “art”, or “design” brings plenty of search results but no way to discern quality. Eventually I found several websites with interesting content that updated regularly, Bolt City, Kazu Kibuishi’s site, was probably the first of these. Even so my list of bookmarks grew pretty slowly until I stumbled Right Brain Terrain. They make motivational posters that are really well designed and fresh. They also have a great blog that updates nearly every weekday with interesting links covering a huge range of subjects although many of them revolve around the arts. Since then the amount of information and imagery I’ve been exposed to has been almost overwhelming. It’s definitely worth stopping by a regular basis.

3.08.2008

Taking Scott McCloud's Advice

Maxwell Cunningham

Alex Goodwin


As the title indicates, I've taken Scott McCloud's advice and have made some head studies. In his book Making Comics he talks about the importance of making a reference for yourself that stands almost like a master or template image of what each of your characters looks like. This is something that I have needed to do for a long time. In the first pages I drew Alex and Max's faces ended up blending together with no real differences. Hopefully now that I have a solid frame of reference they will be more distinct.

4x4 (copycat)

It seems like everyone is doing this on their blogs these days and by everyone I mean these two people: ghostschool, Noisy Decent Graphics Anyway I figured I might as well be a copycat and follow suit. Here goes:

Four jobs I’ve had
Paper Boy: This was my first job. The benefits were great: .05K per week for compensation, valuable neighborhood networking experiences, a built in exercise program and the opportunity to see sunrises every saturday morning. Despite the sarcastic presentation this job was pretty fun. I loved biking around the neighborhood and I met a lot of really great people in the process that I'm sure would have never spoken to otherwise.

Nursing Home Dietary Aid: After two years of the paper boy gig I graduated to dishwasher extraordinaire. Basically my job was to serve food to the residents of the nursing home and then clean up afterwards. Surprisingly this job was amazing. After 6 months of working there my best friend got a job there as well. We worked with one other guy and the whole cleaning process became more of an industrial sport than a job. The job was the set task of serving dinner. This needed to be completed in 4 hours but because our creativity and energy we managed to figure out ways to cut nearly 45 minutes off the of the time it took us to complete it and we even changed certain parts of the job into a competition between me and my friend and the other guy on our crew. When all three of us were on the same shift together I could say that I looked forward to coming to work.

Book-shelver: During college I worked in the University Library shelving books in the art and design section of the library. The art and design section was not the most heavily trafficked section of the library so I got a lot of down time during which I was able to explore. It was amazing to get paid to look through an enormous collection of art books.

Screenprint Designer: This job was probably the most difficult I've had, but I learned a ton about the printing process and about adobe illustrator. Illustrator is a really powerful and rich program and is definitely one my favorites of the suite now.

Four TV shows I watch
I only have three two shows because I really don't watch much TV
House: This probably my favorite right now. I love the allusion to Sherlock Holmes. Holmes=House, Watson=Wilson, Crimes=Diseases, the list of parallels goes on but I'll spare you.
The Office:Sadly applicable to those working in corporate culture.



Four places I’ve been
There are no international locations on this list. Now that I've graduated college, this will hopefully be rectified.
Seattle: Really laid back and beautiful there. If it didn't mean leaving the entire family behind it would definitely be a place I'd want to live.
Chicago: Born there, unfortunately haven't been back since I was 14. Absolutely gorgeous city to walk around.
New York City: It always feels like there are too many good choices of things to do when I visit. Now that I commute in everyday some of the wonder has been lost for me. Still one of my favorite places to be.
Wildwood New Jersey: Spent a summer there living near the boardwalk and working at a Kmart. An overwhelming experience of neon lights and deep fried oreos.

Four artists I listen to
These artists are really amazing. This kind of quality in music makes me wonder how top 40 pop radio still exists.
Spoon
The Go! Team
MGMT
Arcade Fire