Apr 25, 2005

With Monday comes news: tomorrow, 04/26, marks the debut of a new issue and a new site from The Royal Magazine. Nearly everything they do is hot shit, and this re-launch should be no different.

I also wanted to direct you to this (via...something. I can't remember.):

The Powell Peralta Museum. There's so much cool stuff in there I don't even know where to start. The whole site, in fact, is a wealth of information and inspiration. For example, this gem from their "ad archive" for my personal favorite, Mike McGill:


(click on image for larger version/description)

I finally finished up the script for my next graphic novel last night. It took longer than I would have liked, but in my defense there were a few periods where it was dormant while other business got handled. The next project, the aforementioned screenplay (TBM), will be the primary focus over the summer months. I'll also be working with Lynn on getting my website set up (peep the boring holder page, which itself needs an update), along with contemplating a website for the graphic novel, as it is an ongoing series. On that same tip, there will be limited edition prints available at San Diego (designed primarily by Tony Larson) this year to promote the eventual release of the book. They will be amazing. If you want to get dibs on one early, go ahead and email me now (link in the upper right corner). Graphics/price TBA.

Apr 22, 2005

What is the meaning of production?

This is the problem one faces when trying to make a go of things. This article happens to be about writing (and thus its specific appeal to me), but the same thing goes for most any creative professional when work is not a matter of employment (with the possible exception of photographers). What is the "right" amount of production? This dovetails nicely with Jamie Rich's recent thoughts, in which he graciously referenced one of my own previous posts.

I only start to feel bad about my work when I am producing at a level that I know falls short of what I have inside me. Tonight, for example, I went to see the Orioles lose a heartbreaker to the Red Sox. I knew, however, that the last two pages of my graphic novel script were calling, so I came home and put the words where they needed to be. I could have just as easily gone out for a few more beers, but it wasn't the time.

I am as skeptical of extremely prolific producers as I am of people who spend months and months on one "great" work. As much as it is true that you can be lazy and not work enough, you can certainly work too much. All of which is a long-winded way of saying that it's an interesting article.

Apr 13, 2005

A quick sidebar update, to further reflect greatness. Check out The Holy Consumption (Hornschemeier, Nilsen, et al) and Farel Dalrymple. I cannot stress enough the importance of supporting these guys.

Somewhat relatedly, Tony Larson has a series of interviews going on at Skate Mental, and I invite you to read the latest one.

Skateboarding intersects with my life in strange ways. I first picked it up in - no shit - third grade. The only problem was that I wasn't very good at it. I gave it the college try until probably seventh or eigth grade, when the actual skating part of it faded out of my life. But I've always maintained an appreciation for and attraction to the sport and the culture that surrounds it. No doubt it has something to do with the DIY philosophies that are such a key part of that world, along with the commingling with music and art. Growing up listening to indie music and playing in bands, skating was never far away. Now I find in it a ton of inspiration when it comes to things like marketing, design, and doing things the right (or, more accurately, one's own) way. I harbor a secret hope that I'll pick up a board again someday and end up being decent at it. Failing that, I just hope I'll be able to work with or in that world in some form or another. Much respect.

Apr 6, 2005

This is a small thing, perhaps, but nonetheless important:

use the serial comma!

All of us write, whether we like to consider ourselves "writers" or not. We write letters, we write memos at work, we write emails to our friends and colleagues. And when we do we are faced with a host of decisions that can, even if they seem insignificant, dramatically affect what we are trying to say. I've noticed that the serial comma has dropped out of favor in common usage, even to the extent that AP stories no longer use it. This is incomprehensible to me, as the serial comma is critical to maintaining continuity and meaning in a sentence. For example:

"I'll make us a dinner of grilled vegetables, tofu and red beans and rice."

versus:

"I'll make us a dinner of grilled vegetables, tofu, and red beans and rice."

In extreme examples such as this (when the third item in your list is compounded) it is absolutely critical to use the serial comma, as not using it results in a clumsy sentence that requires multiple readings. The point remains the same, however, even if the list is simple. Putting a comma before "and" clarifies the sentence and makes things measurably easier on the reader. Since writing is communication, your goal is to never have the wording obscure the meaning (unless it's intentional, and that's another conversation). So, use it. It matters.

While I'm at it, my recent fascination (obsession?) with typography has led me to understanding something else: you should only use one space after a period. The two space habit is a relic of the typewriter era, when fixed-width type demanded an extra space so that sentences didn't run together. Computers have eliminated that problem. Nowadays, adding an extra space (when typing in Microsoft Word or any other program) actually makes things worse: it creates awkward gaps, resulting in paragraphs that look choppy and inconsistent. It might be a hard habit to break, but you should put in the time to do it.

Apr 4, 2005

I haven't done this in ages, so here you go:

Hadriano, your Typeface of the Week.

Designed in 1918 by Frederick Goudy, Hadriano was originally an all-caps display face. It has some pretty impressive serifs, which force you to be particularly mindful of kerning, especially at display sizes. The way the uppercase "N", for example, sits with a lowercase "e" will cause a real problem (which you can see in the example linked above) if you don't dramatically reduce the space between the two letters. When you do adjust it, however, you end up with a very nice interplay.

And today is Opening Day (I don't count last night's game between the Yankees and Red Sox, as I am getting tired of that whole thing). This year feels different than it has in the past, and it's not good different. For every previous year that I can remember, Opening Day has been practically a national holiday. Even casual fans would look forward to it, maybe even take the day off, because it represented something inherently good and enjoyable. This year I've noticed a dramatic lack of buzz surrounding the game. Indeed, there seems to be more talk floating around about the NFL draft than about the start of the baseball season. All I can think (especially as we get news of the first positive test) is that baseball's steroid-induced image problem is finally coming home to roost. People, it seems, just don't want to root for, or spend their money on, something they can so easily and justifiably percieve as corrupt. Who can blame them? It's sad, really. That's more or less all you can say about it.