Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Wacom Bamboo Test



I got myself a Wacom Bamboo Fun tablet for Christmas. I did a quick sketch of cleaning up.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Scratch


I came across this cool program for kids. Scratch is designed to help young people (ages 8 and up) develop 21st century learning skills. As they create and share Scratch projects, young people learn important mathematical and computational ideas, while also learning to think creatively, reason systematically, and work collaboratively. Click Scratch to check it out. It reminds me of creating things in Flash, but a lot easier.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Hard Time for Libraries


I've been visiting the public library and heard that libraries are facing tough times. Though libraries are being used more than ever with the economic down turn. I used to spend hours at the library when I was a child. That's part of where I gained a love of books. The report made me so sad to hear that in Philadelphia they will close 11 branches.

Writing With Pictures by Uri Shulevitz



I recently checked out a book by Uri Shulevitz, pictured above, from the library called "Writing with Pictures". It's an older book about how to write and illustrate children's books. Mainly it's about illustrating them. I enjoyed the variety of the illustration examples and the depth that the book covered. Uri Shulevitz is well know for his books "Snow" and "The Fool of the World and the Flying Ship". I think it's a great starter book for illustrators. Some of the material is dated such as the "color preseparation" portion of the book. Reading it made me appreciate the advancements in printing. I can't imagine having to color separate your own artwork. Still a book worth checking out.

Reference:
Shulevits, Uri. (1985). Writing With Pictures: How to Write and Illustrate Children's Books. Watson-Guptill Publications. NY, New York.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Death & Taxes

Certainty? In this world nothing is certain but death and taxes.
Benjamin Franklin

Well, Ben Franklin sure said it right. With the approaching 2009 I'm beginning to wonder about this aspect of being a freelancer. This is something that many institutions of higher learning really don't pay as much attention to when it comes to fine art or commercial art students. I really wish there had been a bare bones class on the business side of illustration. True business stuff that no one likes to do. Here's some stuff that I've been reading about regards to quarterly filing from the IRS.gov and allfreelance.com. Now one can always go to an accountant but when you are starting out accounting fees seem quite heavy on top of the self employment taxes you have to pay. Ugh gives me a headache. I'm going to think on it some more.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Free Agent Nation


Started reading an interesting book called "Free Agent Nation" by Daniel Pink. Free agents are part of the group of working America that work for themselves. It also includes those that work as temps. It gives insight about the benefits and drawbacks of working this way. The business of freelance illustration as been around for a while. He mentions artists have been working this way for years. It's interesting to read about other professionals that are going that route.

What is the etymology of freelance? Freelance is from the medieval mercenary warriors who offered their service to the feudal lords and noblemen. "The term became commonplace thanks to Scottish poet and novelist Sir Walter Scott, whose 1819 work Ivanhoe included these semifamous lines:
"I offered Richard the service of my Free Lances...Thanks to bustling times, a man of action will always find employment." (pg 33, Pink) I thought that was pretty cool to read about. I started imaging myself on a steed (my office chair) waving around my Faber Castell Pastel Pencils in the air in an imaginary duel.

Reference:
Pink, Daniel. (2001). "Free Agent Nation: how America's new independent workers are transforming they way we live." Warner Books. New York, NY.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Redesigned Site



I decided to make things easier on myself recently by opting to use iWeb (part of iLife) to redesign my site. I figured I'd try it out since it came with my new laptop. It had everything I needed. I think before my site was too busy. Some folks like to code or use other software like Dreamweaver. I've tried before and I just spend too much time on web design. Not too fond of web designing.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Dog-Eared Artist Book Exhibit


I've been so busy lately I haven't had time to post any news. I was in an Artist's Book Exhibit at Purdue University. I wasn't able to attend the exhibit, but did get a postcard announcing the show last month.

Front of The Class


I enjoy watching movies and books about teachers making a difference. "Front of the Class" was on the other night and it was a wonderful TV movie about one young man's struggle to become a teacher with Tourette Syndrome. Here's an article about Brad Cohen's story on stljewishlights.com.

Busy End of the Year


I've been busy as ever with course work, freelance illustration & design work. I feel very fortunate. It's been a good year so far. I'm looking forward to 2009.