A notebook that fits in your breast pocket is a thing of beauty.
Comprised of no more than a durable cover with a neat image and and some quality graph paper, a small notebook helps me create an unparalleled connection to the world around me. It lets be in the moment.
I was recently approached by WRCT Pittsburgh to produce a small run of notebooks for their journalists to use during their 2013 coverage of the SXSW Festival in Austin. It was a pleasure to make them a custom screen printed design for the occasion.
If you are interested in ordering some custom notebooks, let me know. I’d love to work with you in designing a small runs of notebooks for you and your crew.
As you might know, I’m an advocate for print. You might also know that when I’m trying to come up with new stories, the way in which I typically dive into the endeavor is to choose a form that I’d like to work in. Form always dictates a new story. If I’m unsure of whether or not the story works, I simply ask myself if it feels right in the vessel that’s transmitting the story. More often than not, this is the reason why my stories don’t cross over too well on the digital landscape. Nevertheless, it’s a fluid creative process that avoids insurmountable creative blocks.
In light of this process, I often times find myself thinking about the constant talk of the digital world supplanting the analogue. I feel that those kinds of conversations sensationalize the issues, imagining that we are humans that transmit stories perfectly as pure information.
We don’t and we can’t.
The specifics of the reading experience are integral to how we understand and contextualize a text. That’s why I think a lot about a text’s materiality.
Aaron Kashtan recently uploaded a talk that he gave at Georgia Tech regarding the reasons why he teaches Materiality. If you’re interested in notions of bridging the analogue/ digital divide, I’d recommend reading the talk while looking at his presentation. If you’re into that, you should definitely delve deeper into his blog.
I use these sorts of texts in order to model the sort of thinking I want the students to engage in when they do their own writing, because my real goal is to get the students to understand writing as a material, embodied process. Again, our instinctive belief is that writing is all about the expression of ideas, the expression of semiotic content, and that the container in which those ideas are embodied is irrelevant. I want them to realize that that’s not the case, that writing is always an embodied and situated process and that it always results in the creation of some sort of material artifact.
For the past week I’ve been hunkered down working on a children’s book pitch to hopefully make to some publishers. Here’s a peek at the cover that I’ve been working on. I had to choose between two stories that came to me one night. I arrived at these primarily based on the principle of catchy titles. I reckoned the stories would flow from there.
The two stories were Mr. Frog’s Backyard Rollercoaster and the Great Zeppelin Race. You can see which one I went with.
For those interested in the process of the creation of picture books, the following Quinton Blake video will be particularly useful. The amount of process work that accumulates during the initial phases and that ends up not being used is helpful to see. It’s important to not be too precious and let the ideas make marks on the page.
I came across this video thanks to Alec Longstreth’s watercolor process posts. If anything, the useful take away there would be that to when doing multiple drafts of illustrations, if you wish to have rich and lively final black inks, light boxing using media that doesn’t reveal too much is important. Doing so allows novel image making across the process. Gestures are fresh, folds in cloth are organic and expressions are lively.
In watercolor news, I’ve been watercoloring my dailies this past week. I’ve been arriving at some streamlined processes and am really happy with the results. The process has been such a pleasure. It’s really nice to have work that can be done around other people who aren’t cartooning or aren’t in front of computers. It keeps my spirits up.
For now, though, I’ve had to work in isolation on the Ramona book, given that it’s done digitally. To keep me chugging along through the illustrations, I’ve been listening to the ever funky and brash Pinker Tones. I heard about them a while back when talking to Bill Boiche, but I could never remember the name of the group. This past weekend, I was doing my rounds across youtube, watching amateur skate videos and some kids from Miami had put Sonido Total as the completely inappropriate soundtrack to their video during a slow-mo sequence.
Now I’m on the Pinker Tones trail. May you be blessed should you join on it to travel into the funky forest.
I would like to share with you the recent documentary that was put out by the BBC on the incredible life of Tove Jansson.
I hope to write more at length about the impact that her work has had on me, but for now, I hope you can enjoy the following documentary. I was overjoyed to find it online.
This comic was produced for the Time Parcel Service anthology in the Winter of 2012. I tried reverse engineering the landscape depictions from Kevin Huizenga’s Case 0003128-24, found in the collection put out by Drawn and Quarterly, Curses. I was exploring the idea of how it was that Basho arrived at the following haiku.
along the mountain road
somehow it tugs at my heart-
a wild violet