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Art Design graphic design

Graphic Design In the Wild – Day 4: Bird Scooters

Throughout the history of graphic design, logos emblazoned with wings are a mainstay.

You have the Detroit Red Wings, Redwing Shoes, The Athlete’s Foot, Birdman’s forehead insignia

But the electric scooter company Bird, locked up the “winged” logo game for at least the next 6 months. It’s simple (only 7 lines). It’s distinct (recognizable 30 feet away). And still looks dope sweaty and beaten down.

And going back for seconds, Bird gives you three logos for one. Look close. Can you see the pair of wheels? The pair of raptor eyes? The pair of wings?

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ideas interviews Podcasts Poems Thinkers writer's inspiration

Pete Doctor’s advice to his younger self? DRAW!

Pete Doctor is Pixar’s chief creative officer. Recently he sat down for an interview with economist Steven Levitt. On his People I (Mostly) Admire podcast, Steve asked Pete one of my favorite, but ridiculous interview questions. What live advice would you give the 20 year old Pete Doctor, knowing what you know now?

Pete’s response:

I’d probably tell myself draw more. Just get outside and draw, cause your draftsmanship skills are always handy. But more importantly I think, drawing for me, really connects me to stuff. It forces me to see things. I can walk past a house everyday, but then if I stop and draw it I suddenly notice details and things about it that I’d never payed attention to before. So I feel like drawing is a way to slow me down and really connect me to the world that I’m inhabiting that I’m not always fully paying attention to.

An excellent interview for all you drawers out there. Listen in full here.

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Art comics Commonplace Book Design Drawings Thinkers

Cartoonists and Copywork

Ivan Brunetti offers up the cartoonist’s version of copywork in his masterclass book – Cartooning: Philosophy and Practice

Homework Assignment 8 reads:

To the absolute best of your ability, create an exact replica of your favorite page. Do not trace. Any deviation from the original should be unintentional on you part; ineptitude and sloppiness are charmless when deliberate.

Cartooning: Philosophy and Practice, pg 60. Brunetti, Ivan

Brunetti then urges his students to pay close attention to each element of their comics page:

Pay close attention to what you are copying. Think about the artist’s decisions regarding page layout, panel compositions, design, characterization, dialogue, gesture, captions, balloons, word placement, sound effects, line, shape, texture, etc. Hopefully you will gain some appreciation of their working and thinking process… and the difficulty of creating a comics page.

Cartooning: Philosophy and Practice, pg 60. Brunetti, Ivan

Brunetti practiced this version of copywork in his own career.

He took on the Nancy strip for a time. The pressure from the syndicate to copy Ernie Bushmiller‘s style precisely, further developed his cartooning technique.

I can tell exactly the time period in my work when I was doing these-the syndicate were such nitpickers about me copying Bushmiller’s style exactly that my approach to cartooning got much more precise as a result. I went from doing strips just to amuse myself, without a grand plan, to focusing on formal aspects of cartooning much more: where to place a word balloon, the composition of every panel, and the flow of panels.

In the Studio: Visits with Contemporary Cartoonists, pg 279. Hignite, Tom

Brunetti enjoyed the project while in the learning phase, but admitted it was an unpleasant way to work:

When you’re copying someone else’s style exactly, you can theorize about it, and actually break it down into a set of rules. So they way I was working by imitating him had almost nothing to do with the way he was working…I also realized that working this way was totally unpleasant, because there are very strict parameters you have to follow, rather than discovering the rules that work. The project was fun while I was discovering all of the rules; I would notice that he would never put certain kind of marks next to one another because they’d look wrong. I became very aware of every penstroke, where he used a ruler, where it was freehand. He had an intuitive sense of what looked good, so for me it was trying to codify this into a set of rules, which made me realize the importance of the consistency of your cartooning vocabulary.

In the Studio: Visits with Contemporary Cartoonists, pg 279. Hignite, Tom

Could Brunetti’s copywork exercise translate into other disciplines as well?

If you’re an aspiring graphic designer you could recreate your favorite logos, stroke by stroke, in illustrator?

Or if you’re a programmer, instead of cutting and pasting, you typed out lines of code, line by line, character by character?

With thought and imagination, copywork exercises can be applied to every discipline.

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Drawings Thinkers

Tips to be a better problem solver with 3Blue1Brown

I wish it weren’t true.

But as a kid, I hated math.

I was that stereotypical third grader who scoffed at his times tables and said, “When will we ever use this when we grow up?”

My theory on why many kids have a poor attitude towards mathematics is that we’re subconsciously taught to avoid problems. Whereas Mathematics is all about embracing problems.

Math wants you to make friends with problems. Spend time with problems, not run from them.

Problems are there to be solved!

True enough, the Altitude-on-Hypotenuse Theorum has yet to be an agenda item on any of my zoom calls. But the skill of problem solving still punches the clock everyday.

And the strategies for solving a math problem, can also be applied to any real world problem.

Grant Sanderson’s 7 tips for solving hard problems are below.

My real-world application take is in italics.

Hopefully at the end, you’ll hate math less.

  1. Use the defining features of the setup
    • What are the rules of the game your playing? What are the inherent limitations?
  2. Give things (meaningful) names
    • Naming things helps your mind organize ideas and outline solutions.
  3. Leverage Symmetry
    • Identify what is similar. Are there any patterns? Have we seen this before in a previous problem?
  4. Try describing one object two different ways
    • This reminds me of a practice the economist Tyler Cowen has. To improve his understanding of an argument, he’ll write out the point of view of the argument he opposes. Try the opposite of whatever strategy your using.
  5. Draw a picture
    • Drawing, like writing is a form of thinking. As maker Adam Savage has stated: Drawing is your brain transferring your idea, your knowledge, your intentions, from the electrical storm cloud at its center, through the synapses and nerve endings, through the pencil in your hand, through your fingers, until it is captured in the permanence of the page, in physical space. It is, I have come to appreciate, a fundamental act of creation.Doodle. Stickfigure. Sketch. Create a visual form of the problem.
  6. Ask a simpler version of the problem
    • What’s the smallest part of the problem we can solve first?
  7. Read a lot, and think about problems a lot.
    • A great excuse to buy more books.

To learn more about 3Blue1Brown, and Grant Sanderson‘s work, or if you want to hate math less, check out David Perell‘s interview with Grant:

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4Panel Friday amreading Art comics

Four Panel Friday (On Saturday): George Herriman’s Krazy Kat


A Krazy Kat Strip from January 22, 1926

Krazy Kat & the Art of George Herriman: A Celebration contains a number of Herriman’s original art pieces.

The Krazy Kat strip above, is “cut and stacked”. A layout method used to fit strips into different newspapers.

Krazy Kat & the Art of George Herriman: A Celebration is the best kind of book. It’s the kind of book you lose an afternoon to. You open a few pages to “have a look”, and an hour later you wonder where the time went.

From: Krazy Kat & the Art of George Herriman: A Celebration

By: Craig Yoe

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4Panel Friday amreading Art comics

Four Panel Friday: Wonder Woman pays Superman a Visit


Happy New Year!

In the last 10 years, comics have become more literary. They’ve explored deeper aspects of the human condition, similar to the great novels.

It’s been a wonderful progression for the form, but its made super hero comics easy to dismiss as frivolous.

Sure, super hero books can be shallow fist fight melees. But they can also be meaningful.

Alex Ross and Mark Waid demonstrate this well as Wonder Woman calls out a graybeard Superman for being a scared, shiftless, ….you get the idea.

From: Kingdom Come

By: Alex Ross, Mark Waid

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4Panel Friday amreading Art comics

Four Panel Friday: Seth. Winter’s Cartoonist.


Merry Christmas!

In my mind each season has a specific cartoonist assigned to it.

John Porcellino is fall. None better than John at depicting a walk on a chilly fall day.

Bill Watterson is summer. Watterson is an all season cartoonist, but his panels of Calvin and Hobbes’ summer break hi-jinks are unforgettable.

We’ll go Charles Schultz for spring. Charlie Brown is a baseball player, no question.

Winter? Which cartoonist leads us into winter best?

SETH.

The drawings in Seth’s classic winter tome – It’s a Good Life, If You Don’t Weaken. depict a frigid, contemplative, Canadian winter in a variety of settings:

A packed, pre-Christmas main street.

A government building taking in a snow storm.

A lonely house sitting in silence.

And a windy walk home.

World building at its finest.

See you next week.

From: It’s a Good Life, If You Don’t Weaken: A Picture Novella

By: Seth

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4Panel Friday amreading Art comics

Four Panel Friday: SpongeBob Comics – The Paul Karasik and R. Sikoryak team up!



Our SpongeBob theme continues…

The joy of the SpongeBob Comics Treasure Chest is in the variety of writers and artists telling SpongeBob stories in their own style.

Like other “best of” collections it opens up the possibilities of discovering artists and writers you weren’t familiar with.

That said, Paul Karasik and R.Sikoryak’s cartooning skills are SIK!

Both have published notable works – Paul Karasik of How to Read Nancy, and R. Sikorayak’s Terms and Conditions.

But as we know, the pinnacle of any cartoonist’s career is drawing SpongeBob stories.

Note: I’m not sure which of Paul or R.Sikorayak wrote or drew the story, but R.Sikorayak’s homages of old super hero comics appear in every panel.

From: SpongeBob Comics: Treasure Chest , I Shall Destroy All the Civilized Planktons!

By: Paul Karasik and R.Sikoryak

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4Panel Friday amreading Art comics

Four Panel Friday: SpongeBob Comics, James Kochalka edition



Tolstoy.

Melville.

Dumas.

Kolchalka.

Yes, the classics should be read, must be read. But in-between reading the classics, SpongeBob Squarepants comics have their place.

Especially SpongeBob Comics written and drawn by James Kochalka.

Sidenote. SpongeBob the show first dropped in 1999!

From: SpongeBob Comics: Treasure Chest

By: James Kochalka

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Art comics Commonplace Book Drawings writer's inspiration

Seth’s storytelling advice to Noah Van Sciver. And you too, if you’d like…

Write about losers and loners. Don’t get dragged down that road of trying to resist your natural inclinations.

Seth

Noah Van Sciver has a YouTube channel.

Yeah!

The prolific cartoonist generously shares his works in progress, conversations with colleagues, and on occasion, words of encouragement.

A few days ago he read a letter of storytelling advice from fellow cartoonist, Seth.

Warning!

The letter contradicts most storytelling advice you’ve heard.

Keep drawing y’all.