Martini Hour 016, In Which Deke Reveals His Fear of the Digital Trash Can

Hello, my delightful dekeLounge dwellers. So glad to have you back once again. This week, it's a traditional Martini Hour with me and my good friend Deke sipping, well, martinis, and engaging in some classic Martini Hour shenanigans like the Secret Handshake and He Said/She Said. Here's what we've got for you this week, starting with our classic logo:

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How I Translated a Comic Strip into a Career in Computer Graphics

Last Monday, I mentioned how recently I stumbled upon my cache of 400+ comic strips that I wrote and illustrated during the tail end of my college career. The comic strip, in case you forgot, was called Cereal. It never actually appeared in color, but thanks to Photoshop, I can turn the official logo into a collection of colorful, sugar-coated letters floating in artificial milk. Just the thing for a high-calorie breakfast.

I also mentioned how Cereal is the reason I was first confused for a computer graphics expert. To learn why--you know, like, as if you care--forge ahead.

Below is a summary of the turning point in my career in one frame. For the sake of modernization, I've added color in Photoshop. But otherwise, the image appears as I created it 25 years ago, six years before Photoshop hit the market, a few months before Adobe announced its existence. It's a blend of hand-drawn line art--which I drew with a real pen on real paper--and computer art--which I printed from a personal computer, cut with an X-Acto knife, and pasted with rubber cement (not Edit > Paste).

Now for the long story: Read more » 

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Drawing Beyond Colleen-O-Vision

For those of you inspired by Deke's recent revival of his classic Cereal comic strip, it's never too late for you to find your own inner cartoonist. I discovered this the other day during an excellent three-hour webinar on Visual Note-taking put on by the folks at VizThinkU. During the first segment of the seminar, Austin-based artist and author, Austin (from Austin) Kleon explained, "If you can write your own name, you can cartoon." OK, maybe not cartooning as well as Austin or Deke can, but certainly well enough for effective visual communication. Here's my favorite of Austin's exercises:

1) Start with nine boxes (you can draw a box can't you?) three rows of three boxes each. Add dots for eyes and half a triangle for noses.

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Martini Hour 015, in Which Colleen Attempts to Represent Deke's Adoring Masses All By Herself

This week, Deke and I solve crimes and unveil mysteries around Photoshop sharpening previews and InDesign's missing features. And as you can see, we look quite good doing so---thanks to this week's visualization, courtesy of Matti Alhoniemi's submisison from our Martini Hour Mashup contest. By the way, we really love Matti's work on this image, both for its beautiful craftsmanship and because it makes us look hot and smart without our even trying or having to rent costumes. That, my friends, is Photoshoppery put to its intended use.

Here's what we specifically uncover this week: Read more » 

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I Found Cereal!

As many of you know, I've been writing graphics and design books for more than 20 years.  Back in those early days, I routinely worked for clients, creating graphics and designs on a daily basis.

But even before that, I wrote and illustrated a daily comic strip for a popular Boulder free newspaper, the Colorado Daily (still in publication). The name of the comic strip was Cereal. In all, I wrote more than 400 of the comics--all the black-and-white weekday variety--from my Junior year of college in 1983 until after I graduated in 1985. I was paid precisely $2.50 for each one, or $12.50 a week. For you youngsters, that was not good money back in those days; that just plain sucked. But I did it anyway, strictly out of love for the art.

In the process of moving offices a decade or so ago, I had sealed all 400+ original drawings in cloth, wrapped them in plastic, and placed the sealed result in a shoe box. (Not the recommended method for preserving fine art, but it worked surprisingly well!) Then I placed the shoe box in a larger box to be moved. But as these things go, somehow a few of the boxes got lost in the shuffle and I haven't seen my beloved Cereals since. Until now, that is. A couple of weeks ago, I located a cache of missing boxes and--wouldn't you know it?--at the bottom of one of them, under a stack of late 1990's multimedia CD-ROMs, was that very shoebox and its contents, in absolutely mint condition!

Which is why, with your permission, I'd like to share a few of these 25-year-old comic strips with you. In which you'll learn, among other things, the origin of Shenbop. Read more » 

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