After a long, hard drive north into the aftermath of a Christmas snowstorm, Jen and I settled in to a few days of warm gas fireplace and home cooking. We had a three-day engagement in St. Mary’s County at the beginning of the week, opening presents on The Day with her family, and then we drove north to New York for a three-day stay with my folks.
Jen’s bosses were kind enough to give her an iRock for Christmas. I have wanted an iPod forever, and she beat me to the technology! (Truthfully, I can’t think of anybody more deserving than her, so these are not sour grapes. Honestly!)
I may not be at my computer for much of the next few days, with the holidays upon us, so if I haven’t already said so, have a safe and wonderful time with your families, whether you celebrate Christmas or not.
So Jen and I order a gift for her dad about two weeks ago via the internet. We go through the usual online ordering stuff, and after entering our info we get a cryptic email that says thank you, and here is your password for the site, and nothing more to date. Now, logically, if I ran a business, I would have some brains and make sure that my product went out before December 18th or so, in time to make it to the recipient for Christmas. Because
- If it is indeed a gift, it will be opened around other people, and the other people might be interested in the product as well.
- Most people have time off over the holiday, in which they can look at the product (and the one in question demands some research.) When people get a gift, usually they are excited about it. Their chances of using it directly after Christmas are very good. Hint hint.
- It’s very good business practice to explain your shipping and delivery proceedures to your clients. Before or during the ordering process.
- There’s a good chance the recipient may not be home if the product is delivered at the end of December.
We called today and found that the company in question waits until the end of the month to send out all their orders in one bulk mailing. With no notification on the site, this means we should have ordered by Thanksgiving if we wanted to have it under the tree for the holiday. Nice job, you jerks. Now we have to figure out how we’re going to wrap a big box of nothing.
Working out some client issues, doing some edits, some illustration, and some Christmas stuff as well. Hoping everybody likes the cards. Enjoying the season.
This weekend was a little bit of good and a little bit of bad. We went to the company Christmas party this Saturday, which was a very good time, finishing it at Todd and Heather’s house, which was even better. Sunday we spent most of the day attempting to finish our Christmas cards. Jen did an amazing job with the artwork I gave her, and she produced a beautiful card that we’re both really proud to send out. What began as a three-day project though stretched out into a week-long project when it turned out that the copier I used for the prints had offset the artwork randomly. I also found the limitations on my printer’s resolution, so an upgrade in RAM is definitely in order. We did get the resolution and printing problems ironed out and finished them by hand last night, where it became evident that I cannot color in between the lines. Unfortunately, I wound up losing my wallet in a shoe store yesterday afternoon, which means that my Palm Pilot is now gone. Dammit.
History repeating. One of the illustration jobs I worked on a few months back has been printed and is out to the end-users. Recently two international companies have launched advertising campaigns with remarkably similar concepts, almost down to the individual elements. I know for a fact that the AD for the job I worked on had proposed the idea long before the other campaigns went public, so it’s not a matter of copyright infringement or simple copying. I do have a theory however that most of the ideas our industry creates get re-used in cycles, and sometimes those cycles do coincide with each other. I’ve seen editorial illustration go through this cycle, and usually the style of the illustrator is different enough to make the end product fresh. Commercials, design—any creative professional has to deal with this possibility. My question is this: How do we explain this to our clients?
Apparently some intelligent folks in Boston decided to beat up Moby on his way out of a nightclub this past week. Yes, that’s right, Moby the original gangsta. I heard this news and shook my head—Moby is about 5 foot nothing, weighs less than I do, and is a pacifist vegan. Who is so threatened by Moby that they have to knock him around? It makes me think of those two upstanding citizens who beat up the Royals’ first-base coach in Chicago this past year.
Here’s the next in a series of test runs for the story idea. I have a lot of things I’d like to figure out with the lighting and cutting before I start cranking these out, but it’s a good start.
I spent a good portion of last night printing Christmas envelopes from Quark; in the eight years that I’ve owned a Mac I still don’t know any better way to organize a mailing list better than exporting a contact manager’s database (then: Now Up-To-Date; now: Palm Desktop) and manually entering it into a linked series of text boxes in Quark. It brought back the days when I had several hundred illustration contacts and made a custom Quark template for Avery labels (instead of wasting the precious paper with merging Word files, something beyond my technical expertise) and hand-edited them based on the returned cards I got in the mail.
The Lantana update: Jen and I pulled all the lantana from the backyard a few weeks before the real frost hit and slammed them into some clay pots. I lugged all five of them into work and set them on the sill for sunlight, where they all proceeded to drop 90% of their leaves in protest. The two yellow plants are making a strong comeback, shooting healthy big new leaves towards the light. The purple plant is a little slower, but there are a bunch of small green shoots poking from the branches. The orange-yellow plant, the largest of the five, dropped all its leaves and sits like a stick in dirt. The white plant is a little better, but there is no green visible.
Here’s the sketch I was working on yesterday.
Nate gave me a copy of the movie Spriggan, which is some beautiful freaking anime. I haven’t made it to the end yet, but the story is pretty good so far…
I love my laptop. The entirety of Baltimore is encased in ice today, and our power here at work has blooped out twice already. My PowerBook just hums along quietly, waiting for its network connection to come back online.
So I’ve been looking around at other online comics/novels/stories and I found this one, called Broken Saints, which apparently has been around for a while. It’s a long story with multiple parts to each chapter, and it seems to be meaty with dialogue. My criticisms are that I got bored pretty quickly with the format. They do a great job of setting up the story and providing sound effects and ambient music, but the word bubbles remove the layer of believability. The Flash work is nice, and some of it is slick, but the pace of the story is glacial and dull. I read fast, as I’m sure most of their target audience does, so I get tired of waiting around for the next text bubble. When it does come, it has the effect of making everything deep or dramatic. I had enough of that in High School (and I wrote a bunch of that in High School.) The other drawback to this approach is that he action is paced too slowly when it does come. I’m willing to entertain thoughts on this, if anybody has them.
No, I don’t have anything to show you yet, because I’m still working out the subtleties of dark scenes with scratchboard. But I’ll have something up soon, I promise.
Holy S%$*, this guy has a really nice site. And his work is first-rate as well. I suck.
Fortune Magazine says someone my age (31) should ideally have $100,000 stashed away for my retirement by now. It also says to maintain a current lifestyle of $100,000/yr, I need to save seven million dollars by the age of sixty-five. My current lifestyle is nowhere near that figure, and neither is my retirement fund.
Interesting Developments Dept.: Looks like there will be a fourth Mad Max movie after all. As an early fan of the series back in the 80’s, it’ll be interesting to see where George Miller takes the story now.