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At Peace with Kindness

Posted on January 24th, 2022

Dave!I was deeply saddened to learn that Zen Master Thích Nhất Hạnh has died. He was a welcome voice and teacher for me since I became interested in Buddhism way back in 1998 (his book The Heart of Buddha's Teaching was one of the first I read). A consistent advocate for peace, the last book I read of his, The Art of Living: Peace and Freedom in the Here and Now was in 2017... and his last book from 2021 (Zen and the Art of Saving the Planet) is on my list...

Zen and the Art of Saving the Planet book cover.

In a world that's besieged by darkness, his teachings were a light that guided me. And will likely continue to do so for the rest of my days.

In the darkest time of my life Master Thích Nhất Hạnh was there. His words about his own mother's death got me through mine...

The day my mother died I wrote in my journal, "A serious misfortune of my life has arrived." I suffered for more than one year after the passing away of my mother. But one night, in the highlands of Vietnam, I was sleeping in the hut in my hermitage. I dreamed of my mother. I saw myself sitting with her, and we were having a wonderful talk. She looked young and beautiful, her hair flowing down. It was so pleasant to sit there and talk to her as if she had never died. When I woke up it was about two in the morning, and I felt very strongly that I had never lost my mother. The impression that my mother was still with me was very clear. I understood then that the idea of having lost my mother was just an idea. It was obvious in that moment that my mother is always alive in me.
   
I opened the door and went outside. The entire hillside was bathed in moonlight. It was a hill covered with tea plants, and my hut was set behind the temple halfway up. Walking slowly in the moonlight through the rows of tea plants, I noticed my mother was still with me. She was the moonlight caressing me as she had done so often, very tender, very sweet... wonderful! Each time my feet touched the earth I knew my mother was there with me. I knew this body was not mine but a living continuation of my mother and my father and my grandparents and great-grandparents. Of all my ancestors. Those feet that I saw as "my" feet were actually "our" feet. Together my mother and I were leaving footprints in the damp soil.
   
From that moment on, the idea that I had lost my mother no longer existed. All I had to do was look at the palm of my hand, feel the breeze on my face or the earth under my feet to remember that my mother is always with me, available at any time.

I cannot fathom how many lives this gentle man's teaching have touched. Because it's not just those who listened to his words, read his books, and learned from his teachings... it's all the people that those people touched.

Kindness can be more contagious than Omicron.

You will be sorely missed Master Thích Nhất Hạnh, but your love and light will never die so long as somebody somewhere offers a kindness to another. Because it's not irrational to think that a kindness you initiated was patient zero for a kindness today.

And tomorrow.

I don't see why we have to say "I will die," because I can already see myself in you, in other people, and in future generations.—Thích Nhất Hạnh

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Bullet Sunday 742

Posted on December 12th, 2021

Dave!Snow has finally come to Redneckistan! But will it last? Doesn't matter... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...

   
• MACGRUBER! This coming Thursday. Four more days. I love, love, loved the MacGruber movie. I've watched it an embarrassing number of times and have been wanting a sequel forever. But a TV series will do just fine...

It looks like it's going to be even better than the movie. Can't wait!

   
• Beautiful! Flawless...

Dumbass bigots self-own so often that I just accept it as their default.

   
• Enter the Matrix! I'm intrigued...

Though I remember being excited for the two shitty sequels we got last time, so I'm cautiously optimistic.

   
• Crossed-Stitched! This made my entire morning (here's a link if TikTok is being a dick)...

@landscapesareboring

This. Took. So. Long. 😢 ##pleasehitlike ##myfingershurt ##TubiTaughtMe ##crossstitch ##xstitch ##summer ##foryourpride ##shecamedowninabubbledoug

♬ original sound - Collecting Weekly Clips

Priceless.

   
• BACON! In general, not buying Kellogg's products has been easy for me... except Morning Star Farms fake bacon. I eat this stuff by the truckload. I put it on sandwiches. I eat it for breakfast. I crumble it and put it on everything... E-V-E-R-Y-T-H-I-N-G... because it's such a great product. There are few alternatives in my area, and the ones I've tried have been awful. I seriously hope that Kellogg reconsiders their abhorrent behavior so I can start buying it again... but... oh well. I refuse to buy any of their products now, and may never buy them again. Hopefully stores will replace Morning Star Farms "Bacon" with Lightlife "Smart Bacon" or something I like.

It's so weird. I've been buying shitloads of Morning Star Farms since I first became a vegetarian in 1986. In many stores where I live, they were the only option. And many of their products remain a favorite... Grillers Original Burgers... Sausage Patties... OH LORD, THOSE GLORIOUS CORN DOGS... and, of course, the bacon. At most, it's been an inconvenience for me. I dipped and fried my own Lightlife corn dogs and they were every bit as delicious as the Morning Star Farms (better even!), but a hassle to make. I will have to see if I can made 100 of them and hope they freeze well? I dunno. Fingers crossed..

   
• Happy Holidays! The irony is not lost on me that it may very well end up that my favorite Hallmark Christmas movie of 2021 is actually a Hanukkah movie...

Maybe it's because they only get one Hanukkah movie each year that they get to put all their good ideas in a single movie... unlike Christmas where all the ideas are split between 40 movies... but this is another winner after an equally good flick last year.

   
• Interview! I met Anne Rice twice at book signings. When people ask me what she was like, I had the same response both times... "She was nice. But disconcerting because it felt like she could see right through me." And it's true. Nice as can be... made some sweet chit-chat with me... and made me feel like she had supernatural eyesight that was more than a little intimidating.

Which is why I was very sad to hear of her passing. I liked some of her books. Was less enchanted by others. But ultimately enjoyed the entertainment she generously offered me. But I'm more upset because I feel that a total stranger who knew me better than I knew myself has gone. And, yeah, I know that doesn't make much sense. But it does to me.

   
And I guess that's all I got to say about that.

   

IMMUNITY!

Posted on November 2nd, 2021

Dave!You guys... YOU GUYS! Kurzgesagt is one of my favorite YouTube channels, and the first book from the channel's creator, IMMUNE, just landed. It is incredible. I swear, I'm only an hour into it and it's one of the most fascinating things I've EVER read. The book seems more like science fiction than science fact because it's just so bizarre and improbable...

If you'd like a taste, they've got the first two chapters as audio on a YouTube video...

But beware... you'll definitely want to buy a copy of the book if you listen to this! It's fascinating and gorgeous. Highest possible recommendation.

UPDATE: I'm loving this book so much that I went ahead and bought the AudioBook as well. The idea of having Steve Taylor read it to me was too much to resist. Now I can listen to the audiobook while looking at the illustrations in the book-book. The best of both worlds.

UPDATE-UPDATE: There's a cool new Kurzgesagt video that's supporting the book...

   

Facebook is Down

Posted on October 4th, 2021

Dave!ZOMFG! FACEBOOK IS DOWN! FACEBOOK IS DOWN! Everywhere you look in the news today, it's the same story and the same headline... Facebook is indeed down. What a tragedy (insert eyeroll).

Which struck me funny because I recently re-read Watership Down... a beautiful story about rabbits which is surprisingly deep and smart for something meant to be a children's tale. If you haven't read it yet, I can't recommend it highly enough.

The cover of Watership Down, a novel, showing a bunny in front of a fence that borders a green, grassy field.

So every time I see "FACEBOOK IS DOWN!" I'm thinking "WATERSHIP DOWN!" which is a far more important thing to focus on.

And so I shall.

So I shall.

   

Live My Words

Posted on January 18th, 2021

Dave!Happy Martin Luther King Jr. Day, everybody!

I am fortunate enough to get the day off, but I still ended up working so I could get caught up while not having new work dropped on me. That's almost like a holiday right there!

As is my custom, I started my day by listening to his I Have A Dream speech in its entirety. I also pulled out my copy of The Autobiography of Martin Luther King, Jr. which I haven't re-read in a while. Last year I re-read Where Do We Go from Here and the year before that Strength to Love, so it's time to be inspired.

A Doodle by Drea of Martin Luther King Jr. holding a sign that says DON'T JUST SHARE MY QUOTES, LIVE MY WORDS!
Illustration from Doodles by Drea

   
And now... I should probably clean my house or wash clothes or make dinner or do something productive. Though I've already performed a firmware update on my NAS and backed up my files, so maybe that counts as productivity?

Still need to make dinner and clean my kitchen though.

That's more than enough productivity.

   

TWICE the THRICE is NICE: Part Three

Posted on January 13th, 2021

Dave!This is part three of a three-part dive into the redesign of Thrice Fiction magazine on the occasion of releasing the first issue of Volume 2. If you missed it, you can read Part One right here and Part Two right here.

With all 27 FREE issues of Volume 1 of Thrice Fiction, I had the luxury of color. It was designed from the very beginning with color in mind. The focus of each issue, the stories, were (out of necessity) black and white for readability. I carried this theme to the contributor photos, which were also black and white. Everything else (i.e. the art) would be in color.

The problem with color is that it's expensive. Very expensive. But you can justify it when you have a small number of pages because the cost doesn't have a chance to accumulate that much. Since the format for Volume 2 was over a hundred pages, it wasn't an option. All interior pages would be black and white so we wouldn't have to charge $50 a copy.

All our artists were in a pandemic for 2020, so I decided to just do all the interior art myself after a few false starts in rounding up contributors. This actually turned out for the best, because I had no idea how our publisher (Lulu) would reproduce greyscale art. Since it's just me, I made a list of different styles to experiment with... line art... photo art... vector art... and so on.

And here's how that went.

"Lincoln at 200" • Style: pen-and-ink

Ann Bogle is a remarkable writer and it's always been a thrill to see her work in our pages. Needless to say that when RW informed me that she would be the "featured contributor" for our debut issue, I was thrilled. I read through all her stories a couple times looking for an idea... but I kept coming back to the second paragraph of her very first story, Credenza, where it was Abe Lincoln's 200th birthday. It's just too dang good an image to ignore. So I didn't...

A drawing of Abe Lincoln's skeletal remains sitting in a chair holding a piece of birthday cake with a streamer in his mouth and a happy birthday sign in the background.

Originally there was no "happy birthday" banner in the background, as the idea was to put a party hat on top of Lincoln's famous stovepipe hat. It proved too clutzy, so I made the change. Also? Abraham Lincoln was originally drawn as a decomposing corpse, because that's the only way I could still have his beard on there. But that was pretty gruesome, so I went with a skeleton head, left the beard, and took all the rotting flesh off his hands. No, it doesn't make sense, but I actually think it's more humorous this way. This was knocked out on my iPad in ProCreate over a couple nights while watching Hallmark movies.
   

"Timmy in Paradise" • Style: block-cut

If you read yesterday's entry, you know that I was originally planning on the cover being a little boy looking up to the heavens as missiles stand ready to launch (for our relaunch, get it?). I thought this might be a little dark, but I liked the idea of the image so much that I decided to draw it up and slap it in the interior as a break-point...

A little boy looking up to the heavens as missiles stand ready to lauch.

I thought this actually turned out better than what was in my head. I also think it probably works better as a block-cut than a color painting. The palms are extracted from a photo I took on the Big Island of Hawaii. The boy, Saturn, and the missiles are stock photos I cut out. It was all assembled in Photoshop, had extraction filters and edge filters run on it, then I imported it to ProCreate on my iPad so I could add texture and linework.
   

"Empires of Toast" • Style: vector

Amantine Brodur's work was a tough challenge to typeset because half of what makes it work is the formatting. Translating the formatting of The Anaphora House from a MS Word document to book pages took a long, long time of goofing around until I was satisfied that I had done the best job I could. Then a couple days later I would look at it again and decide to change half of it. =sigh= There was an abundance of riches to be had when it came time to figuring out what I wanted to do for the art. But once I got to the section titled Empires of Toast I just knew that was going to be where my piece came from...

A toaster is popping out toast on a chessboard while a white pawn is also ejected, having been singed black.

This is just pure symbolism, "empires" being represented by a chess set. I knew I wanted a toaster ejecting "toast" on the board, but I took it a bit further than that. The "theme" of our "Subject Paper" this issue was discussing "cultural appropriation." I drew a white pawn also ejecting from the toaster, the idea being that it wants to appear black, but couldn't take the heat that comes from being black. Deep, I know.
   

"A Slow Rescue" • Style: photo collage

Eckhard Gerdes packs a lot in the slightly more than four pages of The Babble-Ons. I went from worrying that there wouldn't be enough visual ideas to draw from... to being completely overwhelmed by how much there was to choose from. I abandoned the idea of pulling literal passages and instead combined a rowboat and snails because I thought it would make for a fun image...

A snail is floating on a life preserver while another snail is arriving in a rowboat to save him.

Don't ask me how that snail is rowing his boat. This is a half-dozen stock photos which have been reworked and combined into a single image in Adobe Photoshop... then outlined in Adobe Illustrator. I wanted to have an example for future artist contributors so they could see how photos reproduce at Lulu and how contrast has to be heightened to get something other than a mushy grey blob. It took a lot more effort than I was anticipating, and I'm pretty sure I put in just under three hours for an image that would have taken me 20 minutes if it were in color.
   

"Savior" • Style: block-cut collage

Art was never going to be the focus of Volume 2. It was always going to be the written word. But I still wanted some art in there to add breaks between sections and pieces. This was an idea I had years ago that I never did anything with, but kinda liked the thought of dusting it off and retooling it to be a collage overlaid by block-print. Something about the concept of aliens invading and not caring which god you worship reeeeeally stuck with me...

A statue of a monk holding baby Jesus (who is standing on his open hands) while an alilen invasion destroys a city in the background.

I cannot for the life of me remember where I took the photo of the monk with baby Jesus. I want to say Italy maybe? Columbia? I think it was in a courtyard somewhere. Could even be New Orleans. Since I pulled the photo out of my archives quite a long while ago, I can't remember. Everything else is composed of eight stock photos that I chopped up and combined. Before I started converting, painting, filtering, and drawing on top of it, this is what it looked like...

A statue of a monk holding baby Jesus (who is standing on his open hands) while an alilen invasion destroys a city in the background.

Had I done this in color, I would have painted over everything to make it "more my own" since all the pieces around the statue were created by somebody else. But it worked really well as a block-cut, so I spent considerable time massaging the pieces in Photoshop so it would work well. Minutes before publishing this issue, I went in and changed baby Jesus's eyes and the cross on the monk's robe to pure white and did a heavier outline around Jesus so they stood out better.
   

"Cheap Imitation" • Style: drawing on photo collage

Originally I had created this art for the subject essay Who Do You Think You Are? by Franny Forsman which discusses cultural appropriation. This is a subject which hits at me personally from a number of different directions, and almost everybody has an opinion... from weak ("I don't care and don't see anything wrong with it because it doesn't affect me") to very strong ("This is pillaging my people and my culture and using it in inappropriate ways which I find deeply insulting"). Despite being 100% white boy with a "cultural heritage" that consists of a hodgepodge of other cultures (AKA "no culture to speak of"), I am in the latter category. And it stems from the simple idea of just being fucking decent and kind to people. If somebody tells you that their culture is not a costume and they are offended when people treat it that way... just pick a different Halloween costume. If somebody tells you that your football team has a shitty name and mascot because it is taken from a painful slur celebrating genocide against their people... just pick a different name. This is not rocket science, and you have to be kinda awful to not want to change when it's pointed out to you. And that's what I was trying to say with this piece depicting a butterfly seeing a poster advertising a movie about a butterfly... starring a cockroach...

A butterfly lands on a movie called BUTTERFLY which shows a cockroack with imitation wings playing the butterfly.

This is a composite of a bunch of stock photos that I cut into Photoshop (though I think the butterfly image is mine, taken from a butterfly sanctuary in Australia). The butterfly wings on the cockroach were drawn on in Procreate because I wanted them to look like they were badly colored with a crayon. The credits for my fake movie Butterfly are actually taken from the movie poster for White Boy Rick, which seemed appropriate. Ultimately I worried that any art put in front of such a serious subject would be distracting and inappropriate and decided to go with no art at all. But I kinda liked what Cheap Imitation was saying, so I stuck it at the back of the book.
   

And there you have it... all the art I came up with for the first issue of Volume 2! You can see it all in print by buying a copy with its glorious 128 pages for just $12 at the Lulu Book Shop. A bargain at half the price with some cool stuff to be had!

   

TWICE the THRICE is NICE: Part Two

Posted on January 12th, 2021

Dave!This is part two of a three-part dive into the redesign of Thrice Fiction magazine on the occasion of releasing the first issue of Volume 2. If you missed it, you can read Part One right here.

After the type had been selected and the logo had been designed, I moved to the cover. Our old magazine was graced with a variety of amazing artists contributing their talents but, just like with Volume One, I decided to do the first one myself.

I had many, many ideas.

For the longest time I had it in my head that since this was a relaunch, I was going to have a young boy on a tropical island looking up to the heavens... while a bunch of missiles were ready to launch nearby. I liked that it was implying even paradise can be meanacing. I ultimately abandoned this idea for being too dark but, never fear, I repurposed the idea for a piece on the interior.

The next day I woke up and couldn't remember the name of my favorite restaurant in Prague (maybe I was dreaming about it?), so I went to my blog and searched for it (the name is Lehká Hlava, and it has my highest recommendation). Two images above where I was talking about the restaurant is one of my most favorite photos I've taken of all time...

Photos of my trip to Prague on my blog.

Now... you may be asking yourself... is that angel drowning a cupid baby angel in a bathtub? Or maybe a chicken? I honestly don't know, but it sure looks that way to me!

HDR Angel at Vyšehrad

Despite the horror element, I always thought she was gorgeous. And the fact that I was blessed with those stormy skies just makes the photo that much more beautiful to me.

And that's when I had a thought... if Thrice Fiction is undergoing a rebirth, of sorts, we're essentially drowning Volume 1 in a bathtub (even though you can still read all 27 issues for FREE on our site). Maybe this is the image I'm going for?

Except this is going to be sold in book stores, and I thought the angsty, brooding, dark imagery has been done to death. Such a cover would fade into the rest of the books. Soooo... what if the angel was drowning the cupid in broad daylight... under bright blue skies? How disturbing would that be? Very. And so... I went through my photo archives to find the original image and see if it was something I could work with.

Bad news. It was cropped too tight and there wasn't enough in the original image to create a cover out of. Oh well. Back to the drawing board. Except... I had visited that cemetery on the day prior when it wasn't rainy and dark. Maybe with better weather I stuck around longer to take more photos? Turns out I did!

Angel at Vyšehrad Statue and Monument

Angel at Vyšehrad Statue and Monument

The second photo had the same angle I liked from the original photo, but it wasn't the cover I wanted. Too dark. Cropped too tight. It would never work.

Except... maybe it would if I put some work into it? Let's take a look, shall we?

The layout of Thrice Fiction Vol. 2 No. 1 in Photoshop. An angel drowning a cupid in a bathtub as seen from below. There's not enough image, so it's floating in the layout.

Well, lightening it up a bit showed that there's enough pixel information in the shadows to work with... but how will I fill in the missing information at the bottom? Hmmm... remember that first photo that was kinda boring and flat? How about I cut out of that one and see if I can make use of it...

A panel from the base of a monument cut out of a photo.

Oh yeah. That's perfect. I can easily warp it into a base for my murdering angel...

The murderig angel is no longer floating, as I've warped the flat panel into angels so I can create a base for it.

Cool. But there's still a long ways to go before this is the cover I've got in my head. First of all I have to paint in the missing bits and paint out the panels with stock photos so the names of our contributing authors can be easily read. It also needs to be much, much brighter. And maybe I could place a building back behind it to add a little visual interest? I've got tons of photos of Prague, so I could probably find one that works. And, say, what if instead of a bright blue sky I tried a brilliant orange sky in an attempt to tie everything together into a cohesive image?

Orange sky added. Building added. Panels painted.

Blergh. That building is adding nothing but confusion. It needs to go. And while I like the idea of an orange sky, that's a color that doesn't reproduce well in CMYK printing, so I really think it needs to be blue like I originally envisioned...

Sky is now blue.

Now we're getting somewhere.

From here on out it's a lot of painting. There's a "watercolor" filter I use to speed up the process, but you can't just push a button and have all the work done for you. Well, actually you can do that, it's just that the results aren't that great. I go in and repaint features... do the watercolor filter... see what works and what needs to be worked on... undo the watercolor filter... then repeat. FOR HOURS! The face of the angel is practically untouched, and I went very light on the watercolor, because I wanted it to be easily "understood" by the reader. The further I got away from her face, the more radical the repainting becomes. I adjust contrast... add stock photo paint splotches for interest... simplify details to be more impressionistic for the watercolor filter... it's just refine... refine... refine...

Close up of the angel showing the painting work that's been done.

Eventually I get to a point where I've gone too far. So I step back to a previous version and I'm done. Thrice Fiction is reborn...

Thrice Fiction Vol 2., Issue No. 1.

You'll note that the black strip on the left side (a carryover from the original magazine design) was abandoned. There's precious little horizontal space on the smaller book size, and I wanted to devote as much cover area as possible so our artists can fill it up. I also zoomed in on the angel quite a lot because I thought it was more impactful and prettier to look at this way.

Not exactly what I had in my head, but pretty close... murdered cupid and all. You can buy a copy with its glorious 128 pages for just $12 at the Lulu Book Shop.

Tomorrow I'll take a look at the interior of the book and go through all that drama for you. Sounds like fun, no?

   

TWICE the THRICE is NICE: Part One

Posted on January 11th, 2021

Dave!After nine years, Thrice Fiction magazine (the amazing venue for short-form fiction that I created with RW Spryszak), came to an end with our December 2019 issue (You can still read all 27 issues absolutely FREE on our website).

But we're not dead yet.

RW and I just wanted to be freed from the thrice-yearly schedule that was becoming more and more difficult to keep. We don't get paid, we just do this for the love of it all, so the magazine always has to take a back-seat to Real Life. This kind of scenario is not conducive to a deadline.

And so we've relaunched with Volume 2, which no longer has a schedule. It's also no longer free, but it's as cheap as we can possibly make it (neither of us is getting rich here, we just need something to help cover our costs, which are more than you might think).

Here's our fist issue of the new Thrice Fiction...

Thrice Fiction Vol 2., Issue No. 1.

You can buy a copy with its glorious 128 pages for just $12 at the Lulu Book Shop.

For the next two or three entries here at Blogography, I thought I'd go over the design process that went into it.

Starting with the new logo.

My goal with the original Thrice Fiction was to have the design fade away. Elements were intentionally stark, plain, and forgettable. The logo I came up with wasn't so much a "logo" as some of the plainest type I had available stacked up and centered...

Thrice Fiction Vol 1. Logo

I actually had people comment about how "Thrice is pretty in execution, but plain in presentation." And I was like "Well, yeah, that's what it was designed to be!" We had some amazing artists contribute to our covers, and making sure a fancy logo didn't detract from their generously-donated work was all part of the plan.

But since Volume 2 was going to be sold in book stores and such, a different approach needed to be had. Slapping some plain type on it was not going to work, so I made a list of objectives...

  • Uniquely our own. Custom.
  • Established aesthetic. Looks like we've existed for 100 years.
  • Victorian to Edwardian era sensibility.
  • Memorable and focused for branding across all media types.
  • Quality. Looks like the contents are worth paying for.
  • Cheap. Minimal dollar investment for the overhaul.

The last one, cheap was probably the biggest part of the puzzle. And so when I designed the interior I picked from typefaces which I already owned licenses for. The main typeface then became the base for the logo upon which I could build. The only "design" thing I did here was to rough in an extension for the leg of the "R" so I'd know to leave space for it...

Thrice Fiction Logo Start on my Adobe Illustrator Drawing Board

Now comes the part where my ADHD kicks in. I am obsessive about spacing consistency and working to make sure that elements are lined up as much as possible. It just makes for a cleaner logo that way. A lot of work goes into a project like this before I even get to a starting place...

Thrice Fiction Logo Start on my Adobe Illustrator Drawing Board

Thrice Fiction Logo Start on my Adobe Illustrator Drawing Board

It's not uncommon for me to use dozens... or even hundreds of guides as I am figuring out the placement of all the pieces...

Thrice Fiction Logo Start on my Adobe Illustrator Drawing Board

The "T" at the beginning of "Thrice" is problematic, because its width is defined at the very top by the crossbar. This leaves the "F" in "Fiction" looking off-center. I wanted to address this in case the logo ends up in a place where it would be helpful to look more balanced, so I roughed in a swash there so it would add visual width...

Thrice Fiction Logo Start on my Adobe Illustrator Drawing Board

Note that at this point I planned on putting the "3" endmark (which signifies the end of each story of the interior) within the "C" because I thought it would look cool. It did look very cool. But it also added clutter and distraction, so it was dropped. Also note that I was planning on hiding a backwards "3" in the swash to be clever. This would also be dropped for clutter.

And here you can see me once again going crazy with the guides so I can line everything up in a mathematically-pleasing manner...

Thrice Fiction Logo Start on my Adobe Illustrator Drawing Board

From there it's just endless futzing around.

Making the leg of the R be swoopy and pretty. Adding curls on the R, C, and E to tie them to the curls on the swash across the T and H. Cleaning up the letterforms by narrowing or widening the space they occupy to better line things up. That kind of thing...

Thrice Fiction Logo Start on my Adobe Illustrator Drawing Board

This is what I went to print with because I ran out of futzing time. There are still some minor tweaks I need to take care of until I'm happy with our new logo (starting with the swash going too narrow too quickly and looking jerky as it crosses the "T", which really, really bugs me). The work is never truly done until the deadline arrives, and even then it doesn't stop.

That's "design" in a nutshell.

Overall I'm quite happy with the logo because I think it fits my objectives well and looks nice on the shelf. So way to go, me!

If this kind of stuff interests you, tune in tomorrow when I discuss the cover art... then again on Wednesday when I discuss the interior art. Big fun awaits.

   

Travel Journaling Vacation

Posted on January 7th, 2020

Dave!I really need a vacation.

Not a work trip. Not a staycation. Not a trip for a party or wedding or any other occasion. A real, honest-to-goodness vacation where I can go somewhere new, do interesting stuff, and just relax. Since the days have been cold, dreary, wet, and largely dark (given the early sunsets), I'd prefer going somewhere that's the opposite of all that.

Also adding to my desire to get the fuck out of dodge? These amazing, amazing travel journals by José Naranja. He sells reproductions that are impeccably crafted which I would love to own, but the two volumes cost $320 and $360 each...

A photo of José Naranja journals with thick black covers and beautiful packaging.

A photo of José Naranja journal interior with gorgeous hand-lettering and wonderful hand-drawn color illustrations.

A photo of José Naranja journal interior with gorgeous hand-lettering and wonderful hand-drawn color illustrations.

He also sells posters of some of his most popular interior page spreads, but they ain't cheap either. A single print costs $45...

A photo of José Naranja journal interior with gorgeous hand-lettering and wonderful hand-drawn color illustrations.

A photo of José Naranja journal interior with gorgeous hand-lettering and wonderful hand-drawn color illustrations.

A photo of José Naranja journal interior with gorgeous hand-lettering and wonderful hand-drawn color illustrations.

Gorgeous. Every page is a work of art.

It makes me want to drag out my hand-drawn travel maps. When I first started traveling, I drew them for each of the places I went. My favorite was a map of Japan with all the sights I saw plus all the Hard Rock Cafes I visited marked on it. It's pretty good size... probably 12 x 20... on Bristol board rendered in colored pencil, inks, and watercolor. Took me a month of most nights and some weekends to complete. No idea where it is, but it's likely rolled up with old posters somewhere.

Assuming that I could come up with the money or time to go on a vacation, I'm note sure where I would go. I still want to get to India and Peru one of these days, so maybe one of those.

But since I don't have the money or time, I guess I'll just go to work tomorrow.

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Bullet Sunday 639

Posted on November 24th, 2019

Dave!I see you've tuned in to the same Bat-Channel at the same Bat-Time, because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...

   
• Printing Errors. I've designed nearly a dozen books and I've made my share of mistakes along the way. But one thing I've never done is run text into the gutter. And yet Marvel's "The Art of the Movie" books excel at it. Including Marvel's Avengers: Endgame, The Art of the Movie which was released last week...

It shocks me every damn time. How are you supposed to read this shit? Even if you tip up the opposite side at a 90° angle, it's tough...

I guess you're supposed to break the binding and pound it flat? This is infuriating. These are not cheap books.

   
• Thanksgiving Art. Artist Hannah Rothstein created Thanksgiving dinner plates as imagined by various artists in 2014 (and a second helping in 2015). The results are pretty great...

To see all of her photos, be sure to check out her website.

   
• Nippon Bunka. When I saw that the latest season of Queer Eye was in Japan, I was curious to see how it was going to work... but didn't tune in right away. And when I finally decided to take a look, I was surprised at how some of the language came rushing back to me. Then mortified because there were a lot of cringeworthy moments. They obviously didn’t take the time to learn anything about Japanese culture, and I finally had to stop watching half-way through the third episode. I just couldn’t take it any more. The show was highly disrespectful of how Japanese culture works, and how people there have a mindset to fit into society for the benefit of the greater harmony. It is essentially Americans invading these people’s homes, trouncing over everything they believe, and telling them how much better there lives would be if they were more American. Then likely not realizing that politeness would preclude the Fab-Five being told if the Japanese person in question was uncomfortable or didn't want to go along with what was being dumped on them. It was just too awful. Then I read this article and see it went even deeper than I realized. Quite a step backwards from the shows that came before.

   
• Not Cats. There is absolutely NO condition under which I want to see this movie. If I am in a coma... and you visit me... and this is playing on the television... CHANGE THE CHANNEL! Good Lord what a heinous CGI abomination. I mean, yeah, I wasn't interested in the Broadway musical either... but at least THAT I understood. This CGI weirdness is absurd, and I would have rather they had this amazing cast just dress up like they did at the theater performances. THAT I would have probably watched. When it came to HBO or Netflix or whatever. But this?!?

No thanks.

   
• Whoa. Well these natural works of art by Andy Goldsworthy are amazing...

Stones converging in a circle from black to gray to white.

Brilliant yellow leaves fading from the base of a tree.

Leaves spiraling in a circle from brown to red to orange to yello.

I found out about them over here.

   
• Awww. Melts.

The entire channel is gold, and you can visit it here.

   
Until next time, Bat-Fans.

   

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