Here’s a cool story with a tool I’ll be looking into: a book author is reproducing old halftone images in his book but keeps running into moiré patterns when he scans them. He uses a tool to view the image’s Fast Fourier Transform—the frequency pattern behind the moiré—and is able to paint it out with a simple interface, cleaning up the image with math and magic. File this under useful.

Date posted: September 4, 2021 | Filed under art/design, shortlinks | Leave a Comment »

I was in D.C. today and figured I’d try to line up a shot as close to my office as I could with an in-game screenshot from The Division 2. I can’t go anywhere beyond the wall you see down the street, which is a bummer. They did an amazing job of getting the details as close as they could. I can’t imagine how long it took to build this game.

Date posted: June 21, 2021 | Filed under art/design | Leave a Comment »

Aw, man. Norton Juster, the author of the Phantom Tollbooth, died Tuesday at age 91. The Phantom Tollbooth was a seminal book for me; this was the first young adult book I read that didn’t just tell a story. Instead, Juster made me stop and think about what I was reading and what it meant and go back and marvel at how he’d written it and how clever it was. And the fact that it featured Jules Pfeiffer illustrations was the icing on the cake. I’m going to go pull my hardback copy off the shelf and re-read it tonight. And then maybe leave it on Finn’s desk and chain her to the chair so that she reads it too. (previously)

Date posted: March 9, 2021 | Filed under art/design, books, shortlinks | Leave a Comment »

Every year growing up my aunt sent Christmas presents to be opened under our tree. She was good at sending us thoughtful gifts every year, wrapped neatly and with precise bows. When I was in the 9th grade she sent me a small box that contained a marvel of engineering: a Windsor & Newton portable watercolor set. My aunt was a watercolor artist, and when she heard I was interested in going to art school, she sent me as many supplies as possible. I wasn’t interested in being a watercolor artist but I did use watercolor as part of my process, and the fact that she was a working professional was inspirational to me (and probably helped convince my Dad that paying for art college was not a waste of time).  She passed this week after a short illness; she was in her 90s. She raised two boys and multiple grandchildren and remained a working artist up until she died; I have her watercolor of Finley as a baby on our mantle.

IMG_0924

This kit is pretty incredible; it’s a small box a little larger than a pack of cigarettes. It folds open into a well of sixteen colors and three mixing trays, holds a reservoir of water and a cup, and contains an incredibly versatile collapsible brush. I used it through the art program at high school, took it with me to college, and used it through years of illustration freelance work. It’s currently tucked into my drawing bag, waiting for post-pandemic figure drawing studio to commence. It was invaluable for years, I think of her whenever I open it, and I treasure it. Thanks, Aunt Lois.

Date posted: February 18, 2021 | Filed under art/design, family | Leave a Comment »

We’ve recorded Finley’s growth on one of the kitchen moldings since she was a little over a year old and could stand on her own two feet. We’ve been pretty consistent in measuring her height every couple of months since then, but now that she’s a surly tween wandering around the house wiping dirty hands on every available surface, some of the dates carefully pencilled on the wall have been smudging off.

Aware that this record might not be around much longer, I busted out a tape measure last night and put each of the legible marks into a spreadsheet. Then I converted the fractions to decimals and plotted it into a graph. Here’s what we recorded and when:

This basically just backs up what we’ve known all along: she generally has a growth spurt sometime between November and January. Sometimes there’s another one in the summer, but as this data shows it’s not as pronounced. And look at the jump in the middle of age 7 and right after!

Date posted: February 10, 2021 | Filed under art/design, finn | Leave a Comment »

I spent the last week crashing on a report layout for WRI, which took a lot of late nights and some weekend work. It’s called The State of Climate Action and it takes a deep look at five different economic sectors to see how the world is doing to limit global warming to 1.5˚C. It’s been a long time since I’ve laid out a longform print document and the process was further complicated because I’m laying it out with a new workflow so that it can be published digitally. That part hasn’t really started yet because the report was rushed and we haven’t had the time to fully build out the online report, but I’m hoping to get that done next week.

Date posted: November 19, 2020 | Filed under art/design, WRI | Leave a Comment »

Fast Company reports on a data viz designer who saw the a tweet showing the counties of the United States colored in by how they voted, and thought he could do a better job of displaying the truth. You’ve seen the GIF he created—it’s this one:

Date posted: November 6, 2020 | Filed under art/design, politics, shortlinks | Leave a Comment »

So there’s been a lot of unrest at MICA (My alma mater) over the last year; there have been multiple allegations of sexual and racial harassment aimed at full-time faculty by the students for years that have not been addressed (some of these teachers I remember, and I don’t doubt the allegations for a minute.) Yesterday a majority of the full-time faculty voted no confidence in the current school administration, including the President, Provost, and COO. In a letter to the Board of Trustees, the group complains of “…poor communication on part of leadership; a lack of financial transparency; excessive workload demands; and unilateral, non-inclusive decision-making practices that neglect the expertise of faculty.”

Notably missing is any mention of harassment or discrimination, which is troubling.

Date posted: September 15, 2020 | Filed under art/design | Leave a Comment »

“Hello Pia, I’ve read about your story in the papers. You sound like a badass,” he wrote. “I am an artist from the UK and I’ve made some work about the migrant crisis, obviously I can’t keep the money. Could you use it to buy a new boat or something? Please let me know. Well done. Banksy.”

The UK artist Banksy bought a 90-foot former French customs vessel and gave it to a group rescuing migrants coming to Europe. On Thursday they rescued 89 people.

Date posted: August 28, 2020 | Filed under art/design, politics | Leave a Comment »

Here’s an interview with Robert Williams, painter, hot rod aficionado, and magazine owner, about the history of his ’32 Ford, working for Big Daddy Roth, and the future of car culture.

In my final year at MICA, he was featured in an exhibit at the school with a who’s who of other hot rod, lowbrow, and other custom culture artists. I remember seeing this car on the floor of our gallery (I recognize this shot from that show). I spent hours at the gallery staring at his paintings; his expressive brushstrokes and wild colors leapt off the canvas. I’m glad to see he’s still kicking.

Date posted: August 16, 2020 | Filed under art/design | Leave a Comment »