Upcoming Travel

Attention Australia!: I’ll be joining cartooning legends Robert Crumb, Jim Woodring, Peter Kuper and others this summer (well, okay, technically winter) for GRAPHIC: A Weekend of Graphic Storytelling, Animation and Music at the Sydney Opera House.

Off to Norway Monday for EuroVis 2011. I’ve recently updated the travel sidebar at right. Click on the Belfast link to see a great homepage (someone on Twitter was congratulating Erik S. and I for our superior ability to hold a pose).

Sorry that I seem to have a lot of corporate or closed talks this year (as opposed to cheap or free public lectures; NYU, for example is a closed talk for the Liberal Studies freshmen only). Just the roll of the dice.

If you work at a university or other organization that you think might want to sponsor an old-fashioned public lecture, let me know and I can send along prices and details.

Not expecting to do much blogging while in Norway, so have a great weekend and a great week!

I’ve Seen a PDF of This

It looks good!

What Things Do Part Two

Jordan Crane’s site What Things Do continues to post some real gems. Among them, Kevin Huizenga’s The Body of Work, originally commissioned for the Cartoon Polymaths show at Parsons.

Huizenga is a cartoonist’s cartoonist. If you haven’t had the pleasure, do yourself a favor and hunt down some more of his strange and wonderful comics.

Meanwhile, I really like Crane’s own long serialized comic Keeping Two (link goes to the new installment but it’s all in one big scroll). Crane’s been gradually assembling some amazing long works, mostly aimed at print editions. Can’t wait until they’re all together on my bookshelf.

[via Spurge]

Monuments and Metadata

This has nothing to do with comics, but these haunting photos of abandoned Yugoslavian monuments have to be seen to be believed. Link via Paul Kedrosky and Tim O’Reilly.

Meanwhile, word comes from Dennis Vogel of his initiative to create a standardized set of Comics Metadata Specifications. Take a look at what Dennis has so far and see what you think.

[Update (via Carol Tilly): Apparently this effort has a predecessor.]

How I Spent My Summer Vacations

Here’s some more very old art from the vaults, probably from elementary school. Click on the either of the small images here to see a bunch of my crazy kid drawings.

When I was about 8 years old, my friend Karl Zimmerman showed me how he made cool spaceship designs using an old chemistry template (looked a bit like this) and similar tools. I starting doing the same, gradually settling on the mighty eraser shield as my tool of choice.

Later on, I started making 3D drawings on graph paper (probably also Karl’s idea) that could be viewed by crossing your eyes until the two middle images merge. Here are some examples of some simple 3D doodles. It’s the same basic process used in these recent experiments.

Pretty much all my friends’ parents were scientists of one sort or another, so it was a kind of nerd utopia. The West Boston suburbs of the ’60s and ’70s were a lot like Silicon Valley is now.

I often wonder what the kids of Silicon Valley who’ve grown up in the ’90s and ’00s have been dreaming up lately. Are any of you out there? What was your childhood like?

Friday Odds and Ends

Here’s a new comic from the relentlessly strange and consistently intriguing cartoonist Brett Harder. I’ve mentioned Harder on Twitter a few times, but not here on the blog, so time to rectify that.

Returned from New York last night, following yesterday’s Doodle 4 Google award ceremony. The kids wore t-shirts with their doodles on them and were all super-adorable (and a bit nervous!).

Big congratulations to grand prize winner Matteo Lopez, his three winnners circle companions, as well as all 40 finalists. You were awesome.

The festivities were MC’d by the legendary Marissa Mayer along with doodle masters Ryan Germick, Sophia Foster-Dimino, Mike Dutton (who did the great final art for the Eisner doodle), and Jennifer Hom. I also had fun talking to fellow judges Jeff (Diary of a Wimpy Kid) Kinney, figure skater Evan Lysacek, and the Whitney Museum’s Kathryn Potts.

And yes, the food at Google’s new New York offices is just as good as Mountain View’s.

Regarding Tuesday’s post, You can read more about (and of) The Influencing Machine on Slate today. Check it out.

Finally, regarding Monday’s post, yes there is a comics writer named Stuart Moore, but no, this is a different guy.

Have a great weekend!

Y’know, I Almost NEVER Do Sketches…

…unless it’s for a good cause!

Larry and I met in LA last week and I did a whole bunch of sketch cards for the CBLDF’s upcoming Liberty Trading Cards project. Keep an eye out for more announcements; a lot of great artists are participating.

Off to New York today and tomorrow for the Doodle 4 Google award announcements (I was a judge).

Back to blogging Friday!

[photo by Ivy]

The Influencing Machine

I’ve been dying for an excuse to plug The Influencing Machine by Brooke Gladstone and Josh Neufeld, since I read an advance copy several weeks ago, and this PW article oughtta fit the bill (though I’m a little embarrassed to be once again linking to an article that turns around and plugs me back at one point =•_•=).

The Influencing Machine is one of the best non-fiction comics I’ve read. I’m a long-time listener/reader of both Gladstone and Neufeld, and their work dovetails beautifully here as they tackle the important and timely issues of media evolution and influence.

Gladstone’s work for NPR’s On the Media has always been top-notch. Her probing, far-reaching editorials for that show set the tone for The Influencing Machine. This is an ambitious book, and it delivers. I’m delighted that she chose comics (and Neufeld!) to help hammer these vital issues into our minds.

I strongly recommend both the book and, if you haven’t heard it before, the show.

Atwomic: A Twitter Comic?

Stewart K. Moore sends word of a new experiment, via Twitter, to create 100 parallel interpretations of the same story.

He has plenty of info in his blog entry today. The action starts at the comic’s brand new Twitter feed.

In related news: Are hash-bangs really necessary, The Internet? I’ve stripped one out of the above Twitter url, and it still… kinda works, but I just don’t understand why any new innovation (cool javascript tricks) should be allowed to reduce the functionality of a really useful old one (easily shared urls).

[Mom: You can ignore that last paragraph.]

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]