It’s Monday March 16, 2020 and the world is in shutdown mode over the Coronavirus outbreak/pandemic. The stock market is losing ground again, people are hoarding supplies like the world is ending, schools are closed, businesses are having employees telecommute rather than come in to work and a slight sense of general pandemonium has settled over my part of the midwest.
Here is a way to hopefully help you forget all about what is going on in between washing your hands, coughing into your elbow, keeping your distance and doing all the other things the WHO wants you to do to stop the spread of COVID 19.
“Not To Scale” and “Iris” have collaborated to produce a beautiful series of eye-catching short animations for the Wacom Cintiq 16. The films imaginatively illustrate the typical journey and endeavors that an Artist takes through their career to realize their creative ambitions.
There are 6 in all and I have the behind the scenes/making-of video at the end. So, do yourself a favor and take a bit of time to escape the pandemic news and watch this series of short animations. You’ll be glad you did.
Unless you are a sound designer you probably don’t pay that close attention to how sound can shape and influence the way animation is perceived. I know for a fact that I often get caught up in the visuals focusing on technique, color, visual layout and more.
The two and a half minute animation below is not only a feast for your eyes, but also for your ears. Created by Marcus Armitage “That Yorkshire Sound” is a perfect example of how audio can help to shape a piece.
Throughout the animated short Armitage gives us a series of hand-drawn quick cuts that visually weave the piece together. The glue, however, is the audio track that has been carefully crafted to match and enhance the visual experience for the viewer. After watching this, I put on my headphones, turned up the volume, and closed my eyes. Just listening to the audio track is a fantastic experience.
Do yourself a favor and take the next two minutes and thirty-one seconds to enjoy this, or five minutes and two seconds if you want to simply listen to it as well.
I spend most of my day working on a computer in programs like Photoshop, Illustrator, After Effects, and Premier and on my iPad using apps like Art Rage, or Sketchbook. These tools allow me to create everything from illustrations to motion graphics and video. As great as all of these tools are, they can’t replace the tactile feeling of putting pen to paper and actually drawing.
As a designer, I am always looking for quality drafting tools and drawing implements. That pen or pencil with the right weight balance, and feel in the hand. While it seems like something that should be easy it’s not. The right tool makes all the difference and you can feel it as soon as you pick up a pen or pencil that has it.
Recently I discovered HMM, a Japanese company whose goal is to make “The Ordinary Classy”. The name stands for Human-Mechanic-Method and they specialize in the manufacture of finely crafted coffee ware and office accessories.
“We focus on polishing the details that make utensils unique and human. With selected materials and craftsmanship our products are classic and timeless. They are ready to embellish your daily life.” HMM
What I picked up from them is “Slide“. A winner of this year’s iF Design Award, Slide is a stylish and multi-functional ruler and pen in one. Finely crafted from milled aluminum, and coated in a matte black finish.
The sleek tool features a unique magnetic structure that allows the pen and ruler to be split up into two pieces, or be reassembled back into one with a feeling that is fluid, and smooth.
Slide has a triangular shape to the body with one side that is distinctively flat while the other two roll into a gently curved edge. It feels really comfortable in my hand. The pen writes and draws beautifully with smooth ink flow allowing for a lighter touch and more control. The pen can be used independently from the ruler or with it by simply pushing it forward to expose the tip. With the ruler attached to the pen, the back takes on the same gently curving arch with an almost indistinguishable seam between the pen and the ruler.
The ruler is all metric measurements. That makes sense since it is a Japanese product designed for the world market. That doesn’t bother me at all though. I’m not going to be using it for doing much measuring, I’ll be using it to help me draw straight lines when I need them.
The packaging is impressive as well. Well thought out and executed with sustainable materials. Slide comes in a matte black cardboard sleeve. Inside there is a stacked chipboard container that has been cut to hold the device in place. The container is wrapped in a black paper liner that contains simple instructions on how to refill the pen and use it.
Along with the packaging, there is a really well-designed catalog of HMM products. Minimal layout and simple type treatments really round out the emphasis on the quality HMM put into their product and package design.
In a world where everything seems to be going to hell in a hand basket, and science is predicting the end of life in the next great mass extinction, it’s nice to know that there is art in the world. The world might be coming to an end at some point in the future, but you still have a chance to educate yourself about art thanks to the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum loading 205 free art history books to the Internet Archive, all of which are available as PDF’s or ePub books. Yes now as you contemplate the end of the world and hone your apocalypse survival skills you can bone up on the finer things and learn about Max Ernst, The Italian Metamorphosis, French Art in the 1970’s, Joseph Cornell, Francis Bacon, Pop Art in the 60’s and so much more.
Yes now as you contemplate the end of the world and hone your apocalypse survival skills you can bone up on the finer things and learn about Max Ernst, The Italian Metamorphosis, French Art in the 1970’s, Joseph Cornell, Francis Bacon, Pop Art in the 60’s and so much more. Just be sure and pick up a solar powered charger for your phone or tablet so you can keep reading them after the power grid fails.
Art collector and businessman Jaime Colsa has come up with a way to bring art to the people every day. He is using trucks, as in semi’s as canvasses to showcase the latest trends in painting, drawing and urban art in Spain. For Colsa the trucks challenge each artist to deal with scale, budgets and other obstacles that they had probably not dealt with before. They are also challenged with the fact the canvas is moving, rendering each work a fleeting moment for it’s audience. It’s a great idea. Get the art out of the gallery space, expose thousands of people to it, and challenge artists to work in a new way. I wish someone would bring this same kind of program over from Europe to the USA.
Matt Smithson, and Man vs Magnet directed and produced “Undersong” for Motionpoems. The animated short is built around the adapted poem by Stacey Lynn Brown, and dedicated to Jake Adam York. The short is voiced by Yaa Asantewa, with additional sound design by Sound Lounge. Asantewa’s voice guides you through the story accompanied by a score from Joshua Smoak. The hand drawn animation is timed perfectly to the voice over and the visuals draw you into the story so well. I’ve watched this over and over noticing small details that I missed with each viewing. It’s a great way to lose yourself for a few minutes on a summer afternoon.
I’ve never been to Lithuania but now that I’ve seen the worlds longest infographic from design studio Zazu I kind of want to go. The infographic is illustrated with line art that tells you how to get there. some general facts and info on things like population, currency exchange traditional food, and some of their iconic sights to visit. I love the look of this image. There is a certain late 1960’s early 1970’s feel to it with an updated appeal. It has a nice blend between hand drawn, and obviously computer generated, and I’m OK with that. I’m kind of over the sketchy chalkboard art look that has been burning up the design world for the last few years.