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Art projects and principles
The Stumptown Comic Festival this year was 27-28 April 2013 at the Oregon Convention Center in Portland. I flew in from Germany late on the 27th, so I got to go to Stumptown on the 28th—my birthday. It was, as always, huge fun.
A highlight was Neil Brideau's 'zine sprint, which was sort of an inadvertent follow-on to Neal Skorpen's Instant Graphic Novel in which I participated previously. Only 6 folks showed up this year, which was a bit sad, but in two hours we put together a quirky little 8-page story 'zine. Check it out.
Project Gutenberg is one of the greatest projects ever. I was really sad to read the obituary of its founder when I went to grab a giant pile of Sherlock Holmes just now. I was moved to donate $50, which is about what I can afford, and far less than it is worth.
So I clicked the "donate by credit card" buttons, because I certainly won't have anything to do with PayPal. I was prompted for all the usual credit card processing information…plus my phone number and email. I didn't want to give this information, so I left it blank—only to be told that my donation would not be processed without a syntactically valid email address. Being the persistent sort, and really wanting to help Project Gutenberg, I went ahead and supplied
This is when I noticed that the transaction was being processed by PayPal.
Moral dilemma: Do I support PayPal, who I regard as crooks, or fail to support Project Gutenberg, who I regard as heroes? Tough one. My final conclusion was this: Having personally seen PayPal take money from a nonprofit I am involved with (X.Org), I want to strongly encourage other nonprofits not to be victimized by them. So, instead of $50, I am donating this blog post.
Perhaps I'll use our nearly-defunct Postal Service to send Project Gutenberg a check.
I've looking for fantasy to read on an upcoming trip, so I Googled "all-time best fantasy" just now. I carefully inspected eight different lists: specifically all the relevant lists in the first page of search results. Of those eight lists, six were trash. Here's a meta-review…
In 2009, at the Stumptown Comic Festival, I participated in something called the "Instant Graphic Novel" exercise. "Instant" is a bit of a misnomer here: it took about 2 hours. The 15 or 20 participants settled on a genre, story arc, and characters, with the help of the coordinator who provided genre descriptions and character models to choose from. Then each participant selected a page of the storyboard to work on. I had a great time, and thought the result was amusing. My wall of text—er, page—is here.
Neal Skorpen, a comic writer and illustrator I greatly enjoy, has set this up and run it at Stumptown for the last several years. This year, I made it there again, and once again had a good time. [Update: 2011/4/28, 2011/6/6] The result is up. My page is here. The links keep movin', but I keep fixin' 'em. Enjoy.
There are a few good tutorials on the web about how to get a (mediocre) halftone screen in Inkscape (1, 2). (The GIMP, by contrast, has a special halftoning plugin that does a nice job. I wish that Inkscape had one of those.)
One thing that none of these tutorials tell you is how to rotate the halftone screen. This turns out to be important, since unrotated screens of different colors do not overlay well.
In this tutorial, I summarize the basic technique for halftoning in Inkscape, and suggest a way to do rotation…
FOB Cow from Disney's Steamboat Willie. Thanks to cartoonreviewsite.com for the capture, and to my wife for tracking it down.
Raven Zachary started Portland On Fire at the beginning of January. It's a site that self-profiles a Portland tech-related person each day. I had my reservations, but it turned out it's quite cool. I'll submit my profile as soon as I can get a decent picture taken of myself.
One of the profilees, Craig Schwartz, posted a link to his new website toonlet, which promises to make it simple for anyone to put up a webcomic. It's a great idea, and he got some great art to work with. The editing is mostly pretty intuitive, and there's enough graphical elements available to make it possible to do some things.
In the end, though, the formatting proved too constraining and time-consuming, and I had to give up on reaching my dreams of having my own bad webcomic for now. You can check out my trial comic at the toonlet site.
So, a friend's project tried to blind me today with a hideous "random color" for a large area of text. The quotation marks are because it's hard to say what a "random color" even means. For most purposes, it means a color that is chosen solely as a label, and that therefore can be anywhere in the color palette. The usual constraint is that a set of labels need to be chosen, and so successive random colors should be easily distinguished…