Friday, July 14, 2006

comics 12: how to make comics

Bryan Lee O'Malley giving you professional advice on how to draw and make your own comics, right here:

"1. Planning and note-taking varies from project to project. When you're starting out, the most important thing is to start drawing the comic and do as many pages as you possibly can. You will need to do a few hundred really bad pages before you can start getting to the good stuff (unless you're a genius). Don't get hung up on planning and story-bibles and stuff until you know for a fact that you can go ahead and draw a comic in the first place. You could spend years doing character designs and writing backstory, but it doesn't amount to anything if you never actually tell the story.

2. I draw my pages 7x11, because that way they fit in the scanner without me having to scan in pieces and stick them together in photoshop. It makes everything faster and easier. I buy 11x14 paper and cut it in half. A lot of people draw bigger. At this size, I'm reducing to about 70% to print, which is okay for me.

3. I ink with a brush and ink. I think if you're going to be serious about comics you should get some ink and some brushes or pen nibs and seriously learn how to draw with them. It takes some practice and dedication, both of which are important if you want to draw comics. (I can't draw with a nib because I've never taken the time to learn.) The kind of brush I use is a Winsor & Newton "Series 7", size 2. The ink I use is Koh-i-noor brand. I also use various markers for small details (not Microns though, I can't stand them).

4. You have to scan black and white artwork at at least 600 dpi (some say 1200 dpi). Scan it in greyscale, then adjust the levels (ctrl-L in photoshop) so the blacks are black and whites are white (some scanners do this automatically, but I wouldn't trust them). Keep the art at 600 dpi always. Save the file as a PSD if you're using layers. The final file should be converted to bitmap and saved as a tif (and make sure you save the final files separately from the working files). If you're using greyscales, they can only print at 300 dpi generally - so, basically, don't use greyscales unless you want your lineart to be fuzzy. (There's more to it than that, but I'm being brief.)"

Via Warren Ellis.

Here's some of his thumbnails (go read the LiveJournal entry for yourself):

Thursday, July 13, 2006

search inside the music

Sun is working on a project that may phunk up the way we search for and organize music (and other sounds?) forever more:

"The goal of the 'Search Inside the Music' project is to explore new methods of categorizing, indexing and organizing large collections of music to allow more effective ways of searching through these collections. This project will extend music search to search 'inside the music', that is, to search not just titles, keywords and artists, but to search music by music content and context. We want to help people find and organize their music based on all of of the properties of the music including such properties such as acoustic similarity, mood, lyrics, musical theme, melody, tempo, rhythm, and instrumentation.

We are currently focusing on two areas: using acoustic similarity to help people find music that 'sounds similar' to music that they already like, and using social data to recommend and organize music based upon the listening habits of people with similar musical tastes."

Now if only someone would do that for images and video...
Found via Information Aesthetics.

librarians are gonna smell funny

Ought we think toward builing building libraries of fragrance (or odor, depending on your politics)? Have "quiet stinking rooms" with nose-phones for the private study of smells? We may. Looks like the scientists at TIT have developed a way to record and transfer smells digitally.
Via Warren Ellis, here's a quote from the CNEWS story:

"People stopping to smell the roses can now take that sweet floral fragrance home with them or even send it to a faraway grandmother thanks to a new gadget in Japan that records and replicates the world’s odours.

The new device, developed by scientists at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, analyzes smells through 15 sensors, records the odour’s recipe in digital format and then reproduces the scent by mixing 96 chemicals and vapourizing the result. Creator Takamichi Nakamoto says the technology will have applications in food and fragrance industries where companies want to replicate odours.

But it could also be a boon for the digital world, allowing smells can be recorded in one place - by sensors in a mobile phone, for instance - and transmitted to appreciative noses halfway around the world…"

Which reminds me, spimes are gonna smell you back.

note to self: library history

What classification system did John Dee use in his library (which, at the time, was the largest in England and maybe the largest in Western Europe). What were his lending policies? Did he keep a catalog?

What libraries did Razi use? Do any museums have any of his manuscripts? What is the citation history of Razi's ideas through alchemical and medical texts?

What do classification schemes tell us about culture? If we were to compare the classification system in a Tibetan monastic library to the Library of Congress classification system, what ontological prejudices might be revealed in the schism between the way these different cultures break their information down into categories?


Watching: Seven Samurai for the first time. Now I see what all the fuss is about.
Shushing: Clovis, New Mexico, U.S.A.
Linking: Gnostic PARANOIA

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

teaching 7

Give them what they need, whether the students want it or not, whether your you ride high as uber-nerd or not, whether their professors like it or not, and whether you like it or not.

I've found that when I concentrate on teaching them what I've planned, step by step, I get caught up in the rush of explaining how to use databases, how to use catalogs, how to use books, so that it doesn't feel so much like I'm doing the teaching, but like the stuff they that needs to get taught is using me as an agent. As freaky as that might sound. And this is good. Removing myself from the equation so the content of my lesson can fill the space that "I" took up. Be a conduit.

That may be the way forward. And be open to questions. That's all.


Surfing: The Science Fiction and Fantasy Research Database