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Archive for May, 2011


UC and UX

Great little article at UX Magazine applying some ideas from Understanding Comics to icon design and related issues.

I’ve given some talks on similar issues during web design workshops; focusing on the challenges of what I’ve been calling “cognitive load time”: how fast do users grok what’s on their screen, regardless of how fast it all renders/downloads? Looks like the idea is just as relevant in other UX circles.

One of the important benefits of fast-loading, iconic imagery is that we not only understand each piece of an interface more quickly and intuitively, we can also absorb the whole screen’s many relationships or patterns more easily. Knowing the Parts = Appreciating the Whole.

Chapter Two… Glad I wrote that one.

[via Tom Crawford and Nathan Bashaw]


Slow News Day

Did I mention I saw Thor? Someone said it was cool that the love interest got a cute sidekick this time. I agree.

And no, I am not referring to Stellan Skarsgård.


Planting the Flag in Gainesville

Check out this fundraiser for The Sequential Artists Workshop; a great new school to be built in Gainesville, Florida, under the direction of Tom Hart. Definitely a worthy cause.

I wish I could have had Tom as a teacher when I was starting out. With your support, others will finally get the chance to be taught by Tom and other great teachers in the coming years.

Note: The campaign at Indiegogo is similar to Kickstarter, but with the important difference that all your contributions are tax-deductible.


Aww, Just Read This…

There’s some real wisdom in this comic, apparently by a young Norwegian artist that I (and I suspect you) have never heard of.

[Update: It apparently was first posted on her deviantART page and yes, she's from Norway.]

Thanks to Bill Amend, by way of Raina Telgemeier, for pointing to this gem today.


Another Excuse to Link to Emily Carroll

As long as I kinda chided her last year for having such a scattered presence online, with no obvious site to point people to, I’m happy to pass along the good news that Emily Carroll has a proper website now.

Keep an eye on this artist. She’s already on a lot of her fellow cartoonists’ short lists, and I get the feeling that she’s got a lot up her sleeve still.


Friday Odds and Ends

Above: My snapshot, taken yesterday, of Jaume Plensa's haunting sculpture "Echo," now on view in nearby Madison Square Park.

Usually I take the week off from blogging while traveling but I kinda already did that while working on the lettering posts and videos, so…

As I’ve said on numerous occasions, Shaenon Garrity is Always Right. And you are hereby ordered to read her new column at TCJ (and not just because I’m name-checked in it, I promise).

Jorge Cham tries his hand at some RSAnimate-style lecture visualizations. Nice stuff. I’d love to see this become a new genre in education.

Meanwhile, it looks like a Minnesota political hack is pissing on Neil Gaiman this week. Neil is a friend, so I’m not remotely impartial on this, but I hope our community in that state will insure that this moron looks back on this particular bit of gutless pandering as a political mistake in the not-too-distant future. Full details on the event in question are provided by the more rational posters at the link (which I got via Roger Ebert, of all people).

Political bottom-feeders aside, I had a great time today at SVA’s Open IxD Festival. Thanks to the organizers, teachers, and presenters for putting on a great series of presentations.

Oh, and apropos of nothing, I say Parker Posey was born to play Lois Lane, and it’s really sad that no one ever made it happen. Who’s with me?

Have a great weekend!


Dial-A-Face, Continued

Well, speaking of How-To videos (see Monday’s post), here’s a great video on creating facial expressions, à la Making Comics and The Grimace Project, in Anime Studio, using “Rudiger’s MorphDials script,” whatever that is. Pretty interesting stuff.

Had fun in Atlanta Tuesday, having fun in New York today, hope you’re having fun wherever you are!


Frank Stockton’s “Hamburgers for One”

You can read the whole thing here. Great little story. Stockton offers some context on his blog here.

I’m encouraged to see artists embracing the short story form a bit more. Anthologies used to be the only venue (and indeed, this one was originally for Popgun Vol. 4), but they also work well on the Web, where a GN’s worth of time may be hard to find, but many viewers are ready to carve out 5-10 minutes.

Stories like “HfO” (or this or this) also make a great entry point for new comics readers, wondering what might be worth reading out there, but nowhere near ready for a more substantial investment of time and effort.

[link via Heidi—though I'm a bit late getting around to it!]


Analog Dreams

Toronto Comic Arts Festival: Pencil it In.

Here’s a great counterpoint to yesterday’s digital drawing video: a celebration of the traditional comics crafts in the hands of masters.

Sorry to be missing TCAF this weekend, but you can still make it. It’s a great, great show.


My First Video Tutorial!

As promised, I’ve just released a real video tutorial covering last week’s lettering tips in two parts: Part One | Part Two. (Be sure to select “720p HD” for the clearest view.)

I know it’s just a silly How-To, but I’m actually kind of excited to finally be able to explain this system that I’ve enjoyed using for so many years. I really think this is a faster, more enjoyable, and more flexible system than most methods I’ve seen and would love for others to give it a try.

The appearance layer trick has been incredibly useful for me, but it was always hard to explain. Now I can simply give people a link, and show them why I like it so much.

Thanks to “Craniumation” in last week’s comments section who suggested the program Screenflow to capture my desktop demo.

I’m off to Atlanta today for a private Turner event on Tuesday, then off to NYC via JFK for SVA on THU. Blogging might be spotty, but have a great week!