Haven’t done one of these things in a while!
You probably read it five years ago, but I only got around to reading Daniel Pink‘s A Whole New Mind this weekend. Funny enough, I had read his cool manga-style career guide, The Adventures of Johnny Bunko, and liked that a lot. (His new book is Drive.)
He’s a good follow/fellow on Twitter: @danielpink
Read my post at the Remotely Connected blog, or below:
“I like to sleep so I can tune in and see what’s happening in that big show. People say we sleep a third of our lives away, why I’d rather dream than sit around bleakly with bores in “real” life. My dreams…are fantastically real movies of what’s actually going on anyway. Other dream-record keepers include all the poets I know.”
– Jack Kerouac
Like all artists since the beginning of time, I’ve looked to dreams for inspiration.
I started writing down my dreams as a teenager, after I got my hands on Jack Kerouac’s Book of Dreams–dreams he collected by scribbling in his notebook the minute he woke from sleep.
Later on in college, I studied just enough psychology to learn that the creative process mirrors the dreaming process. As the film director David Mamet says in his book On Directing Film, “The dream and the film are the juxtaposition of images in order to answer a question.” Not only can the dream provide us with material, but the process of dreaming itself can provide us with inspiration towards a process of working.
Any artist will tell you that when the work is going really well, it’s as if you’re taking dictation. The characters speak because they want to speak. The act of art-making is an attempt to fall into a kind of dream state. We do this by abandoning the linear and the logical for the non-linear and the free-associative. This is when creativity happens.
After watching this NOVA episode, I pulled out my pen and crayons and attempted to digest what I had seen through drawing–juxtaposing images in space. It was not unlike dreaming, watching the images come out of my hand…
If you read this before the end of tonight, you can watch 45365—the best movie I saw at SXSW 2009 —for free online at Hulu.
A couple of brothers from Sidney, Ohio (really nice guys, too) made a documentary about their small hometown. I grew up not far from Sidney, and I can tell you it’s the most honest and moving portrait of home that I’ve seen.
These are a couple sketches I made during the movie and the Q&A a few months back.
Notes on Visual Acoustics (see them bigger)
The architectural photographer Julius Shulman died last week. Meg and I had the good fortune to see a documentary about his life, Visual Acoustics, a few months back at the Blanton in Austin. I took notes in the dark, and then threw this little map together.
Meg (the architecture scholar) and I had quite a good conversation about Shulman’s work, and what happens when you represent a building with a photograph–when you take a 3-D experience like a building and reduce it to a 2-D piece of film. (There was a funny bit in the film when someone mentioned that to sell Modernism it has to be seen in 1-point perspective.)
My favorite part of the whole film was when Shulman said, “The camera is the least important part of photography.”
It’s not the tools, it’s the thinking.
Over 100 people signed up for Tuesday’s Vizthink “Visual Note-taking 101” webinar put on by me, Sunni Brown, Mike Rohde, and moderated by Dave Gray (with great support from Ryan Coleman and Chris Pascucci…thanks, guys!)
It was a rad way to spend 3 hours: I taught the first section called “But I Can’t Draw!” that tried to get people thinking about drawing as building or collage using a simple alphabet (line, point, circle, square, triangle). We learned to draw stick figures and faces…oh, it was good fun. AND I found out that I really, really love teaching: what could be better than sharing your passion with eager students?
Here are a couple of screengrabs from my session:
UPDATE: Here’s a short version of my “How To Draw Faces” activity:
I drew live in Sketchbook Pro during Mike and Sunni’s presentation, and here are the results:
Mike Rohde’s Sketchnoting presentation
(see it bigger)
Map of Sunni Brown’s, “The Art of Listening” presentation
see it bigger
Here are two thrilling shots of me in action:
And here’s my webinar setup:
Mike has a good recap that pretty much covers everything that went down, including notes from my section and notes from the awesome participants, and Sunni has posted her tips on listening for graphic recording and visual note-taking.
And be sure to check out VizThink!
Here are a couple more sneak-preview slides for my part of the VizthinkU Visual Note-Taking 101 seminar. I took my map of Carl Jung’s Memories, Dreams, Reflections and broke it down into pictures, modifiers (speech balloons, captions, etc.) and words.
I got the idea from some sumi-e doodles and quotes I collected a couple years ago, thinking about my formal (and informal) education:
…lately I find myself frequently torn between whether I’m really an artist or a writer. I was trained and educated as the former, encouraged into the world of paint-stained pants and a white-walled studio where wild, messy experiments precipitate the incubation of other visual ideas— though I’m just as happy to sit at a desk in clean trousers with a sharp pencil and work on a single story for four or five days in a quiet and deliberate manner. In short, I’m coming to believe that a cartoonist, unlike the general cliché, is almost—bear with me now—a sort of new species of creator, one who can lean just as easily toward a poetic, painterly, or writerly inclination, but one who thinks and expresses him- or herself primarily in pictures.—Chris Ware, Introduction to The Best American Comics 2007
“When you have the talent to be able to write and to draw it seems a shame to choose one. I think it’s better to do both.”
A comics-art curriculum is interdisciplinary. As comics-art students learn to become literate and visually literate, they need to develop a vast array of skills. They need classes in drawing, writing, computer art, literature, storyboard, and character design. They need research skills, so they can make their stories convincing and make their characters behave and look real enough to come alive on the page or screen.—James Sturm, “Comics In The Classroom”