15 February 2017
Art and Design, creativity, design, textiles, visual thinking
fabric, fabric store, quilting, Sewing, textiles
Weird thing happened to me today at the fabric store. I’d gone in for a piece of interfacing for a project. But on my way there I got a coupon for my total order, and fat quarters (18″x21″) were already 50% off. So I was likely to get a good deal on FQuarters… I went looking.
While I was browsing the fat quarters in the far quarters of the store, a woman turned to me. “How’s your color theory? Are you good at putting patterns together?” She had a fat quarter like a yellow argyle pattern, next to a few panels of an orange floral pattern. It was very…. busy.
In the course of the subsequent conversation about color, I pulled out my phone and made this 9×9 grid of one possible sub-square of her possible quilt. I showed her pictures of my quilts. This was going to be her first effort ever at a quilt. I’m not that far ahead of her. What business have I got advising her?
Nonetheless, I advised her. I said, “your patterns are nice. I like them both. But what I would do is mix in some of these other solid colors. If you think of each square of your quilt as a 3×3 grid, then make a few panels patterned, like this orange floral, and a few panels solid colors, like this pastel orange and pastel yellow. Use a contrasting pale blue, something soothing, to put against all these vibrant colors.”
“And,” I said, “make a baby quilt. They’re 36 by 54.”
“But I’m making a lap quilt for myself, for when I watch tv or something.”
“A baby quilt is about the right size for a lap quilt. But if you don’t like this quilt when it’s done, you can give it away as a baby shower present, and no one can refuse it because its handmade.”
“I like the way you think,” she said, and waltzed off to pay for her day quarters. She wound up taking most everything I advised her to take…
… including the fat quarters that I’d intended to buy. Oh well.
12 December 2016
Art and Design, makers grimoire, Makery, visual thinking
3-fold brochure, business, business planning, graphic design, marketing
I’m in the process of designing a three-fold brochure: three columns on a page, back-to-back. The easiest thing, of course, is to use an existing template: pre-chosen fonts, pre-chosen colors, pre-set areas of text, pre-selected spaces for images. The choice then becomes simply a matter of creating text and choosing images. Most of the difficult work — of choosing color, font, typographical unity, flourishes, and so on has already been done. You write the text that fits your brochure (and you can’t write any more than fits in the template, so you know when you’re done). You pick pictures or images or graphics that fill the pages appropriately, and work with the concepts that you’re trying to get across to your audience (and if there are spots for twelve pictures, you’re not going to be throwing in fourteen apostles and an extra Last Supper). The template sets the boundaries, and no more shall come of this.
But then what?
How do you introduce your own levels and layers of uniqueness? How do you make the brochure your own? Is it made your own, just because it has your pictures, your text in it? Do you have to tweak it further for it to be yours? Should you make adjustments to the font or color scheme? Should you do as the web-publishing industry suggests, publish and revise (more likely, publish and forget?).
I don’t know that there are good answers to these questions, but I’m wrestling with them now. Mostly, this brochure is an existing template, unmodified by color or font or layout; it’s just my text and images plugged in where they appear to fit.
But it’s funny. I can see so many of my projects on display on these pages, all of which have taught me important skills, like how to build an Adirondack chair, or how to sew a little medieval-style belt pouch, or my work on the CNC milling machine, or the yarn-winder, or some of my bookbinding work.
Are you a reader of this blog? A teacher? A librarian? Interested in what I’m doing? Willing to help me proofread, edit, and revise my new brochure? Leave me a comment with your email address — I’ll send you a copy. You can tell me what you think.
25 March 2016
Art and Design, creativity, design, makers grimoire, Makery, Personal, tai chi, textiles, visual thinking
creativity, design, inkle band, inkle weaving, loom, tablet weaving, textiles, weaving
I made a loom for school, and enjoyed working with it.
So I made another one for use at home. It was considerably more difficult in some ways, but I got it finished today. More
7 March 2016
Art and Design, creativity, dabbling, design, visual thinking
art and design, comic, dabbling, dabbling comic, dabbling-8, design, design thinking, storytelling, visual storytelling, visual thinking
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I was planning on not posting a Dabbling strip at all today, and then the opportunity to draw this one opened up after dinner; and a theme emerged from a chance gift of an Ames Lettering Guide. Incidentally, Jim was originally a different kind of character, so it should be understood that the character here and the gift-giver are not intended to be the same person. All characters in this strip, in other words, are fictional.
Poor Roger, though. He’s trying to make a comic that changes the world and helps people understand magic, and all that anyone wants to do is help him be a better comic book artist: it’s like they don’t really know what he’s writing, or something.
29 February 2016
dabbling, visual thinking
comic, comics, creativity, dabbling, dabbling comic, drawing, storytelling, visual storytelling, visual thinking
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Number 7 in the series of ten planned. This one got done on Sunday night in a very rapid way, because this week has been especially busy. And I’m aware that the last three of the planned series come during the end-of-trimester when I have a great deal to do for school. Roger isn’t the only one who has a busy week (or three) coming up.
The first panel of the second row has Carygus saying, “I promise you, I’m the most angelically and demonically untrustworthy spirit you know.”
In the second panel of the second row, under his body, he says, “You’re totally stuck with me at this point.”
Learning how to position and write text in a comic has been one of the harder things to get right, and I’m still not very good at it.
22 February 2016
Art and Design, dabbling, magic, Magic & Spirituality, Makery, Teaching, visual thinking
carygus, comic, comics, creativity, dabbling, dabbling comic, design, magic, magical work, muse, visual storytelling, visual thinking, visualization
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Something did not turn out well in the first scan of this. It turned out all pixellated. I had to use the scanner elsewhere in order to get things to work properly. I don’t think it’s occurred to me that the quality of scanner matters in the production of a piece like this, but of course it does. I’ve inclosed the first scan (looks like the problem is a lower-resolution scan than on the 300 dpi scanner I have access to at work.)
I feel like Roger is really the most realistic I’ve ever drawn him in panel 5 (row 2, panel 1). He’s got this weird hairdo in panel 1, and he looks emaciated and monstrous in panel 3, and human in panel 5, and blobby in panel 6. Carygus varies quite a bit during his four appearances. He’s solidifying as a character, to some degree, a bit of a punk or a smart-aleck, but interesting nonetheless.
I can see why artists have railed against hands for centuries, though. They’re a pain in the neck at any scale.
I’ve given a copy of the first six issues of Dabbling to someone at school, who is going to do a unit on cartooning and drawing in their class. So this is actually now being used in the way that I intended — as a teaching tool. I’m pleased. Once all ten issues are done, I plan to create a bare-bones PDF which you can download, and use for non-commercial purposes (i.e., in schools) as an example of what’s possible.