Friday, October 31, 2008

4 Lessons

Last month I was asked to sit on a panel of in-house designers for AIGA. Much was discussed and I think we all learned a few things along the way. To continue that discussion, I recently read a great article by Michael Bierut "The Four Lessons of Lou Dorfsman". For those of you who don't know who Lou Dorfsman is/was, read the article. Lou Dorfsman died recently. We all sure could learn a lot from his example.

His lessons are:
  1. Mind the client's business.
  2. Learn to identify opportunities.
  3. Assume responsibility.
  4. Define the company's character.
These four lessons seem so simple but I think we all get lost in the business of getting the "work" done. To put it more simply. Do your best and work hard. Keep your eyes open and remember who is paying you.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Illustration Friday – Repair

just a quickie this week… so much for the vacation r&r… they're working me hard again… and again, i took a few liberties… the spirit of the season and all… maybe it's because i have been thinking about all that candy… and that got me to thinking about all the money i have recently been giving my dentist… and the combination of all of those things got me thinking that the repair of my teeth was sort of a frankenstien mess… and there you have it… re-pair!

This is part illustration and part collage of found images. The pear is mine… the rest… ?

And for those of you who always adhere to the literal take… see the stitches?

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Did You Ever Wonder What It's Like Being A Freelance Designer?

I can't remember where I found this list, but designers hear these kinds of comments all the time. One of the rich, volunteers I dealt with some time ago on a charity event dismissed what I had been working on with a very terse "I'll just do it myself. I've got a graphic design program on my computer." Woman… please!

Listen us people… when working with PROFESSIONALS, keep in mind that most of us were trained to do what we do. Work with us. Ask us questions. And tell us why something doesn't work for you. And "I don't like it" doesn't tell us much. Why do you like pink for your bank? And any of you new-to-the-profession designers… don't get suckered in with the list. If you want to help a charity, a family member/friend or a start-up, do it because you want to. Not for any of the reasons below.

charity job everyone gets paid except you
gives exposure so does selling matches in the snow
you'll get your value back on the next jobs but not with us, we won't hire you again
it's only for the web where it will stand for years and be downloaded by millions of people
educational purposes we are gonna teach you a lesson
it's great! but can you make some changes? the director's niece made a doodle and he wants it to look just like it
we are not a commercial publication we sell 40,000 a week and still don't want to pay the talents
just do something quick but if it doesn't look awesome you'll get bashed
do something simple any idiot can do it, that's why we choose you
i can't pay much but i don't want it to look cheap
we will be in touch we found a homeless guy willing to do it for a bottle of wine.
can you start ASAP? I had it on my desk for weeks, but now it's your problem
because it's for an inside publication only, will it be cheaper? just forgot to mention the company is a multinational with more than 100000 employees.
don't spend much time on it work all night and charge me half an hour.
this could mean more jobs in our company if you like underpaid toilet cleaning.
i'd like to send you a copy as a token of our gratitude to use as a paperweight for all those unpaid bills.
due to crisis, we won't be able to continue using your work it was that or downgrading my company car.
can you live off that? shouldn't you be starving and homeless?
the check is in the mail virtually...

And now, I'm leaving for a much needed vacation.

Friday, October 17, 2008

REDNECK ART made with BBQ RIBS - Speed Painting

I'll miss IF this week. I'm taking a much needed vacation with my lovely wife for our anniversary. I may get around to it later next week but I didn't want to leave everyone without a taste of art.

Happy Friday!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Lessons Designers Can Learn From The Movies

Guy Kawasaki has an interesting post over at American Express' Open Forum blog. In it he details some of the lessons that Scott Kirsner learned in his book Inventing the Movies: Hollywood’s Epic Battle Between Innovation and the Status Quo, from Thomas Edison to Steve Jobs. I think Guy could take his observations one step further. We could take a whole lot of pressure off of ourselves.

We should understand that we need not always strive for perfection – where Guy says technology has to be "just good enough", I'd say, "just do your best".

"Innovators never underestimate the importance of allies" stands solidly as it is for designers as well.

"Innovators spot market opportunities first, and chase them relentlessly." Educate yourself and open your eyes. And whatever you do, be original. Fads fade.

"Innovators find collaborators who share their vision, and they’re prepared for things to take longer than expected." Be patient and true to yourself. Success doesn't come overnight but it usually will come quicker than expected if you are prepared.

"Innovators acknowledge that not everyone loves a revolution." Remember that you don't always have to re-invent the wheel. Subtle improvements here and there will usually suffice. People don't like change. If you do want to start a revolution, remember that there will be blood before it's all over.

All in all, the greatest lessons Guy and Scott offer could be boiled down to "Stay true to yourself. Keep your eyes open. Work hard. And be patient…"

Monday, October 13, 2008

Illustration Friday - String

New sketchbook. New illustration. And you might be wondering what this has to do with this week's topic. Well, let me take you back…

Many. MANY years ago… when I was young… er… younger… I had a lot of time to explore the outdoors. Snakes, lizards, turtles, frogs, toads, bugs… all manner of things that hopped, crawled, slithered and scurried… these were the citizens of my domain. My father encouraged it for the most part and so did my mother as long as I didn't make her look at any of it of take it inside.

One of my fondest memories was taking a piece of string and tying it to a cicada and letting it fly. It was like the most expensive and fantastic toy ever. And I had a few of those gas-powered model airplanes that was a much more expensive, but none were ever as fun. And as much fun as the "Flight of the Cicada" was, I only did it once… then I untied the string and let it go.

Cicadas are a part of summer. Sometimes, you hear their songs long into the night. And while I am now grown with a family of my own, I still hear them, even though the leaves are beginning to turn and the days are growing shorter… even here in the Sunshine State.

Friday, October 10, 2008


I had an old post relating politicians to serial killers. Sen. Obama's name fit the post perfectly. So now it's time to offer him up some props.

And no, he doesn't think our military just bombs innocent civilians! Thank God some people have brains. And for everyone hurting from the current financial breakdown, the clip below is worth watching. Does anyone remember the Savings & Loan breakdown of the 1980s? The Keating 5?

Don't forget to vote!

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

A Review

I haven't finished reading this yet, nor do I want to.

It's that good.

The short story is harder and harder to find in a format that you can get cozy with. This issue is doubly good as it it the 60th anniversary double issue. There are stories by M. Rickert, Stephen King, Albert E. Cowdrey, Geoff Ryman and many more. As with all anthologies, some are good, some aren't. Some will make you miss a meeting. Others may make you want to throw the book away. But all of them made me think and see things in new ways. That is how short stories have always made me feel. And that is why I like them so much.

As I skimmed through the magazine, I stopped here and there reading a story or review. The Visionaries by Robert Reed lulls the reader by starting out as just another story about an author. And not a very good writer at that. But then it becomes something so much more. Stephen King touches us with a call from the afterlife. I have always liked King's work and some of my favorite stories he has written are his short stories and novellas. This should not disappoint. Going Back in Time by Laurel Winter is an odd little tale about quantum physics. And so far, my favorite tale is Albert E. Cowdrey's tale of post-Katrina "Noo Awlyunz". It starts out great and then gets a bit caught up in scifi kitsch, but it is still a great read.

Even the regular articles and reviews are worth the read. And while I don't agree with Lucius Shepard's take of this summer's "Iron Man" movie he did offer some insight into things that I overlooked. Don't overlook the real science features. The information on asteroids is really interesting.

Overall, I would have liked to read a little more fantasy but it's still very enjoyable. And one day, I may actually find that last story… but I would have to actually have time on my hands.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Sugary - Illustration Friday

What can I say? We eat too much… the food giants peddle their wares creating bigger and bigger portions. The food contains more and more sugar… not to mention chemicals… uggghhhh!!!!!