1000 Heads: the book

1000 heads, my illustration book

Inspiring books for the creative type


31.12.05

Guy Peellaert

In the late sixties, Guy Peellaert created two incredible pop-art comic stories (Les Adventures de Jodelle and Pravda la survireuse). Today I celebrate having at least both mythical volumes! I have discovered that Peellaert has a website full of article clippings, samples of his work and two long quicktime videos about him. A recommended visit!

16.12.05

Imagine:

Now this is a very appealing theme for Illustration. This week’s topic on Illustration Friday is Imagine. I’ve prepared a simple yet amusing animation especially for this.

If there’s something that I love to draw anytime and anywhere is a human head with some unsuspected inner workings, some strange flowering, substance or halo. My sketchbooks and many scrape papers and envelope backsides are full of these heads. I even created several complete series of head illustrations for my dingbats, the Capsbats and the Entestats (both available at Typephases Design). Those dingbats include more than three hundred (!) variations of heads. After all, as George said in The Yellow Submarine, “It’s all in your mind, you know”.

Microsoft Expression (aka “Acrylic Graphic Designer”)

Creature House Expression is now a product from Microsoft; since they bought the product it seemed they were going to let it rot, but recently some interesting changes have shown up on the Microsoft Website. Basically, Acrylic is the same program as Expression v.3, with some new cool features. You can download a preview (seemingly non-expiring) version of this cool drawing application.

You need Windows xp and service pack 2 installed to run Acrylic. I expected some unnecesary bloat in this new version, but I have tried the program on a system with the required configuration and it actually loads quickly and runs smoothly, with the usual sophisticated brushes and many features which make this program a peculiar bridge between the traditional techniques and tools and the computer-made imagery.

I’ll try to post some drawings made with Acrylic and its unsurpassed creative tools here.

FightAIDS@Home, SETI@home and other volunteering from home

You can volunteer your CPU to power global non-profit research in initiatives such as SETI at home or Fight AIDS at home.

There are other projects of this kind. Grid.org is a single destination site for large-scale, non-profit research projects of global significance. With the participation of over 3 million devices worldwide, some projects like Cancer Research, Anthrax Research, Smallpox Research and the new Human Proteome Folding Project (running in conjunction with IBM's new World Community Grid) have achieved record levels of processing speed and success.

FightAIDS@Home, SETI@home and other volunteering from home

You can volunteer your CPU to power global non-profit research in initiatives such as SETI at home or Fight AIDS at home.

There are other projects of this kind. Grid.org is a single destination site for large-scale, non-profit research projects of global significance. With the participation of over 3 million devices worldwide, some projects like Cancer Research, Anthrax Research, Smallpox Research and the new Human Proteome Folding Project (running in conjunction with IBM's new World Community Grid) have achieved record levels of processing speed and success.

14.12.05

Sketching with ink or watercolour

Drawing directly with the brush or a reed pen is a lively way of putting your immediate ideas and observations to paper. Although it is more difficult to control the shaping of your subject, the extra sensuality and freshness of applying colour directly to paper well makes up for it.

Here is a detail from a previous post showing some of the variations in tone, even if I used a single colour here. The characters were drawn directly from imagination, as is almost always the case with this series of works on paper:



I use both ink and watercolours for this kind of drawing, and either a bamboo reed pen or a brush. Adding different amounts of clear water creates attractive variations in tone, even if what you are doing is rather a silhouette-like, highly contrasted sketch.
You can dilute the watercolour wash on the paper surface itself —just apply some brushtrokes with water only while the paint is still wet and you get an instant graduated wash. With the reed pen the process is more or less the same; I tend to dip the pen on clean water, then touch more or less slightly the ink in the inkpot or the watercolour pot I have prepared, to get a diluted tone.

{Categorised in , .}

11.12.05

Surprise!

For this week’s theme of “Surprise” at Illustration Friday.
Surprise!

7.12.05

Original artwork for sale


There is a new page in the Typephases website offering original artwork for sale. The producion sheets for the Whimbats series of pictorial typefaces are now being offered exclusively in the site.

The drawings are either ink on paper or watercolor wash on paper.
The front page of the website has been redesigned too, with a funny little man watching (by the way: he is a vintage Madelman toy.)



Categorised under ,

2.12.05

Blue moments

Illustration Friday theme “blue” (you can click the image to see a bigger sample.)

Like most of my contributions to this project, this one is actually a vector illustration made with simple shapes (see the underlying structure below) a little processed with Virtual Photographer (a freeware Photoshop-compatible plugin.)

The vector shapes for this illustration:

Blue moments

Illustration Friday theme “blue” (you can click the image to see a bigger sample.)

Like most of my contributions to this project, this one is actually a vector illustration made with simple shapes (see the underlying structure below) a little processed with Virtual Photographer (a freeware Photoshop-compatible plugin.)

The vector shapes for this illustration:

28.11.05

Technorated

I have just added my blogs to the Technorati listings to make it easier to find specific topics, categorise the contents and improve the networking for my projects. Several tweaks related to this will follow soon.

Technorated

I have just added my blogs to the Technorati listings to make it easier to find specific topics, categorise the contents and improve the networking for my projects. Several tweaks related to this will follow soon.

25.11.05

BibliOdyssey

Featuring “Books, Illustrations, Science, History, Visual Materia Obscura & Eclectic Bookart”, BibliOdyssey is a fascinating journey through unsuspected pictures and enigmatic capsules from the past.

Categorised under

Toulouse-Lautrec homage exhibition


A group of top designers and illustrators contributed to an homage to Toulouse-Lautrec, creating a variety of posters with every imaginable portrait approach. In the website you will find pics of the exhibition in several cities. See “the designers” section for a sample. It is possible to order the portfolio, the book Toulouse Lautrec, the posters, and there’s also an excellent collective poster available.

21.11.05

Online art books

Do you know there is a huge library of online art books, free to download at the Onlinebooks website from the University of Pennsylvania? A terrific resource. Of course you’re not limited to the art topic: there is a whole digitised library to explore.

True Art Information

True Art Information offers detailed articles about the creative process, materials, exhibitions, and museums. Check out the artist's material information section to know about art hazards, art materials, and online art material stores. The site offers a wealth of information and useful links as well.

17.11.05

Flipbooks!

A wonderful site dedicated to the art of Flipbooks, one of the ancestors of animation. The site is in french only (or so it seems.) You can enjoy some of these rare artifacts (true collector items) watching small Flash animations. There’s even a Moebius example, with his usual crazy stuff, called “John Watercolor et sa fameuse redingote qui tue!
One more of the many must-see links regularly appearing in Drawn.

13.11.05

Milton Glaser and Nicholas Negroponte: “Since Then: Two Points of View”

Milton GlaserListen to this conversation (plus backstage interview) between two of the world’s most significant voices from design and technology. The conversation actually began at the first AIGA national conference in Boston 20 years ago when AIGA represented graphic artists and technology promised to change the world.
Together, these giants discuss their work and relationships to community, history and humanity. Then, at the AIGA Design Conference in 2005, they reflect on what has changed and what has remained the same.
(Mind you it’s two huge mp3 files, but it’s worth listening!)

Milton Glaser and Nicholas Negroponte: “Since Then: Two Points of View”

Milton GlaserListen to this conversation (plus backstage interview) between two of the world’s most significant voices from design and technology. The conversation actually began at the first AIGA national conference in Boston 20 years ago when AIGA represented graphic artists and technology promised to change the world.
Together, these giants discuss their work and relationships to community, history and humanity. Then, at the AIGA Design Conference in 2005, they reflect on what has changed and what has remained the same.
(Mind you it’s two huge mp3 files, but it’s worth listening!)

11.11.05

µTorrent client

I was rather intrigued by the proliferation of Bittorrent downloads in many websites. For example, the latest version of OpenOffice.org is available in this p2p format, very efficient and fast for popular files.

Taking a look at the available Bittorrent-compatible clients, I’ve found that some popular choices are Azureus, BitTornado and BitComet. Shareaza is also Bittorrent-compatible now. But there’s a diminutive client called µTorrent that I want to comment here. It’s remarkable: very small file download (about 350k!), no installation necessary, robust and easy to use, with freeware licence and computer resources-friendly.

Categorised under tools, technology

µTorrent client

I was rather intrigued by the proliferation of Bittorrent downloads in many websites. For example, the latest version of OpenOffice.org is available in this p2p format, very efficient and fast for popular files.

Taking a look at the available Bittorrent-compatible clients, I’ve found that some popular choices are Azureus, BitTornado and BitComet. Shareaza is also Bittorrent-compatible now. But there’s a diminutive client called µTorrent that I want to comment here. It’s remarkable: very small file download (about 350k!), no installation necessary, robust and easy to use, with freeware licence and computer resources-friendly.

Categorised under tools, technology

4.11.05

Photofonts

Fontlab Photofont is an exciting new technology that allows you to create and use full-color bitmap type with transparency.

Photofont Start is a free plugin that allows the use of photofonts in Adobe Photoshop and compatible applications for Mac OS and Windows. There is a free version for Windows and commercial version for Mac, plus a detailed user manual and sample photofonts at the Fontlab website.

Should you wish to create your own Photofonts, you would need Bitfonter.

Photofonts

Fontlab Photofont is an exciting new technology that allows you to create and use full-color bitmap type with transparency.

Photofont Start is a free plugin that allows the use of photofonts in Adobe Photoshop and compatible applications for Mac OS and Windows. There is a free version for Windows and commercial version for Mac, plus a detailed user manual and sample photofonts at the Fontlab website.

Should you wish to create your own Photofonts, you would need Bitfonter.

Night time is the right time



Illustration friday theme: “Night”. The werewolf spot illustration used here belongs to my Absurdies II dingbat (available at Typephases). You may click the picture to see it bigger.

3.11.05

The Portable Freeware Collection

The Portable Freeware Collection is a site dedicated to the collection and cataloging of freeware that can be extracted to any directory and run independently without prior installation. You can carry these applications around on a memory stick / USB flash drive, or copy / migrate from PC to PC via simple copying of files —hence the term portable freeware.



Some freeware already come in the form of a ZIP file, ready to be extracted and run from any directory. Others require an extraction procedure, which could be as simple as installing them, extracting the necessary files, and uninstalling them again.



This website has a comprehensive list of portable applications neatly classified in categories, plus a handy RSS feed which will let you know of new additions to their list.

The Portable Freeware Collection

The Portable Freeware Collection is a site dedicated to the collection and cataloging of freeware that can be extracted to any directory and run independently without prior installation. You can carry these applications around on a memory stick / USB flash drive, or copy / migrate from PC to PC via simple copying of files —hence the term portable freeware.



Some freeware already come in the form of a ZIP file, ready to be extracted and run from any directory. Others require an extraction procedure, which could be as simple as installing them, extracting the necessary files, and uninstalling them again.



This website has a comprehensive list of portable applications neatly classified in categories, plus a handy RSS feed which will let you know of new additions to their list.

24.10.05

Steve Mack’s Spot Illustration

What really fascinates me about Steve Mack’s Spot Illustration is his natural-looking technique, surprisingly a complete digital (Adobe Illustrator based, 100%) process. He really doesn’t want to explain how he creates these great-looking illustrations:

...Truth is I am keeping kind of tight lipped about this. I devised a little program modification in Adobe Illustrator that lets me texture on the go, dynamically. That means I don’t have cross software versions of the same illustrations.

But you might find some clues in his website, together with fine examples of his artwork.

Steve Mack’s Spot Illustration

What really fascinates me about Steve Mack’s Spot Illustration is his natural-looking technique, surprisingly a complete digital (Adobe Illustrator based, 100%) process. He really doesn’t want to explain how he creates these great-looking illustrations:

...Truth is I am keeping kind of tight lipped about this. I devised a little program modification in Adobe Illustrator that lets me texture on the go, dynamically. That means I don’t have cross software versions of the same illustrations.

But you might find some clues in his website, together with fine examples of his artwork.

22.10.05

Remoteness

I have contributed several illustrations to Illustration Friday, but it’s been several months since I last posted one of my works. Now here’s a little something on the theme of Remote (if you click the image you will see a bigger version.)

17.10.05

Watercolor secrets

The latest book by the noted watercolor artist Charles Reid, Watercolor secrets, arrived on the mail today. A beautiful volume that gathers a good number of delightful sketches from Reid’s own sketchbooks. Most pictures are either from travels around Europe, Central America and the Caribbean, or from the watercolor courses and workshops he’s been teaching through the years.

The loose style characteristic of Reid is of course well represented in these free, spontaneous settings. A really enjoyable book full of good advice about the technique.

One curiosity in this book is one of the pupils of Charles Reid: the famous actor Gene Wilder. You will find a portrait in the book (while in turn, he was painting a model, too) and there is a foreword by Wilder himself.

Want to know more? Get this book or another of Reid’s. And there is a previous post in this blog about Charles Reid.

10.10.05

Mozilla extensions

The range of available Firefox, Thunderbird and Mozilla Suite extensions is getting more and more impressive. Make sure you visit the Mozilla Update website regularly to see what’s new, or subscribe its RSS feed.

There are a few extensions that every user should have (more about these essentials soon), and then a myriad of more special addons for almost any imaginable need.

There’s even a recent Grocery List Generator, complete with categories of foodstuffs, which makes it a breeze to prepare your daily buy lists. With it you can store your recipe-ingredients and other groceries you need regularly. It creates a well-organized grocery list to help make your grocery shopping as easy as possible. Directly print your list, or export it to disk/pda.

Mozilla extensions

The range of available Firefox, Thunderbird and Mozilla Suite extensions is getting more and more impressive. Make sure you visit the Mozilla Update website regularly to see what’s new, or subscribe its RSS feed.

There are a few extensions that every user should have (more about these essentials soon), and then a myriad of more special addons for almost any imaginable need.

There’s even a recent Grocery List Generator, complete with categories of foodstuffs, which makes it a breeze to prepare your daily buy lists. With it you can store your recipe-ingredients and other groceries you need regularly. It creates a well-organized grocery list to help make your grocery shopping as easy as possible. Directly print your list, or export it to disk/pda.

7.10.05

Planet typography: a new version

I am pleased to see there’s a new version of an old favourite, Planet Typography, with a redesign, a new logotype (which design is explained in detail), a better organisation of the contents and new sections. A recommended visit and a site you should definitely bookmark.

Planet typography: a new version

I am pleased to see there’s a new version of an old favourite, Planet Typography, with a redesign, a new logotype (which design is explained in detail), a better organisation of the contents and new sections. A recommended visit and a site you should definitely bookmark.

4.10.05

4ojos


Antonia Santolaya and Enrique Flores have put together an impressive online exhibition featuring their fascinating sketchbooks. They have travelled around the world with their pencils and watercolours and now they share them in a nice website you shouldn’t miss out.

30.9.05

Deep Paint

My goal with this blog was to talk about “real” paint instead of computer applications, but sometimes I can’t help myself from sharing some good news related to outstanding programs. And there is a promise to publish some articles about natural-media painting programs.

Now you have the opportunity to grab a free copy of one of the best painting programs: Deep Paint. Formerly a commercial program, now is available for free.
Deep Paint is a real-time materials-based paint rendering system, similar to Corel Painter. You can use it either in standalone mode or as a Photoshop-compatible plugin. This is an absolutely freeware version and there is no need to register (the developer is Right Hemisphere Software.)
If you’re new to the world of natural media painting in computers, just to get the idea here’s an excerpt taken from the program help:


(...)Deep Paint offers a quick way to create new and exciting images. By using artistic rendering techniques, existing photographic or other images can be transformed to create content with a new look. Photos can be quickly changed into rich paintings or delicate watercolors. Results can vary from nearly photorealistic to extremely abstract.

You can create an artistic impression of an image and specify the type of paint and brush to use.

Almost any image, of any quality, can be used as the base for producing interesting and unique results.Using a combination of effects, you can bring some of the original image back into the final result.


See it for yourself: you just have to help yourself to a copy.

While we talk about this, if you want to try a vector drawing program which is natural media-oriented, take a look at what the people at Microsoft are doing with the former Creature House Expression, now called Acrylic.

Inkscape: new amazing features

screenshot of inkscapeThe new version of Inkscape, 0.42 (available as always as a free download: this is an Open-source project)is full of amazing features. Let’s see:

One of the most important new features in 0.42 is the support for flowed text - text that can flow within a rectangle or any other shape. You can edit the text or the shape, and the text is reflown automatically. Also in this version, you can select any portion of a text object and assign any style to it.

Inkscape 0.42 provides support for running extensions - external programs or scripts (Python, Perl, and Ruby are supported) that can do anything to your SVG document. Aaron Spike has written a lot of cool effects in Python, including path interpolation, randomization, recursive generation, visualization of handles and points, etc. If you have an idea of some cool visual effect but don't want to learn to program Inkscape itself, go to Aaron's page to get an idea of how to create an extension.

With the Tile Clones dialog, you can trace anything by anything, in any way imaginable. If the original tile is a group, you can unset paint on some objects on the group while others (e.g. highlights or shadows) will retain their original colors, unaffected by trace coloring.

The new Trace tab in the Tile Clones dialog can change a number of parameters of clone tiles based on the parameters under the tile, i.e. in the drawing that the tiling overlays. The simplest way to use it is to trace color-to-color, i.e. set the color of each tile the same as the averaged color under it. You can also trace R, G, B, or H, S, L channels separately.

The new Unclump button in the Tile Clones dialog removes the local "clumps" in a tiling, making it look more even and man-made (without losing the randomness). The contrast and detailedness of the dot pattern improve as you apply unclumping repeatedly - even though unclumping is unaware of the background image that was traced by the tiling, it seems to bring out more image details that were "hidden" in the random scattering. You can also apply unclumping to regular tilings, converting them from "newspaper print" to "old engraving".

The new Color tab in the Tile Clones dialog can create an exciting variety of color landscapes, with any amount of randomization, gradual change, or per row/per column alternating. Note the new HSL color sliders (replacing the old HSV). For this to work, the original tile must have fill or stroke unset via the Fill&Stroke dialog.

(descriptions reproduced from the Inkscape official site. Visit it to stay up to date with the project and download the latest version.)

Inkscape: new amazing features

screenshot of inkscapeThe new version of Inkscape, 0.42 (available as always as a free download: this is an Open-source project)is full of amazing features. Let’s see:

One of the most important new features in 0.42 is the support for flowed text - text that can flow within a rectangle or any other shape. You can edit the text or the shape, and the text is reflown automatically. Also in this version, you can select any portion of a text object and assign any style to it.

Inkscape 0.42 provides support for running extensions - external programs or scripts (Python, Perl, and Ruby are supported) that can do anything to your SVG document. Aaron Spike has written a lot of cool effects in Python, including path interpolation, randomization, recursive generation, visualization of handles and points, etc. If you have an idea of some cool visual effect but don't want to learn to program Inkscape itself, go to Aaron's page to get an idea of how to create an extension.

With the Tile Clones dialog, you can trace anything by anything, in any way imaginable. If the original tile is a group, you can unset paint on some objects on the group while others (e.g. highlights or shadows) will retain their original colors, unaffected by trace coloring.

The new Trace tab in the Tile Clones dialog can change a number of parameters of clone tiles based on the parameters under the tile, i.e. in the drawing that the tiling overlays. The simplest way to use it is to trace color-to-color, i.e. set the color of each tile the same as the averaged color under it. You can also trace R, G, B, or H, S, L channels separately.

The new Unclump button in the Tile Clones dialog removes the local "clumps" in a tiling, making it look more even and man-made (without losing the randomness). The contrast and detailedness of the dot pattern improve as you apply unclumping repeatedly - even though unclumping is unaware of the background image that was traced by the tiling, it seems to bring out more image details that were "hidden" in the random scattering. You can also apply unclumping to regular tilings, converting them from "newspaper print" to "old engraving".

The new Color tab in the Tile Clones dialog can create an exciting variety of color landscapes, with any amount of randomization, gradual change, or per row/per column alternating. Note the new HSL color sliders (replacing the old HSV). For this to work, the original tile must have fill or stroke unset via the Fill&Stroke dialog.

(descriptions reproduced from the Inkscape official site. Visit it to stay up to date with the project and download the latest version.)

29.9.05

Concerning the spiritual in Art

The famous book by Vassily Kandisky, is available as a free ebook from Project Gutenberg.

Inkspot and Inksmith tutorials

The people at Daniel Smith Art Supplies has put together a number of articles which explain colour mixes and techniques for watercolour and other media. Some of these articles offer detailed explanations and step-by-step instructions.

Watermedia

Exploring again the possibilities of diluted acrylics, resembling watercolours, an article in the Golden Paints site explains the advantages of using acrylics in a watercolor-like fashion. The Golden Paints site offers other interesting articles about acrylic paint technique —they manufacture an impressive range of paint and amazing gels and other acrylic-based mediums, additives, gessoes, varnishes and grounds.

28.9.05

The Art of John Alcorn

John Alcorn illustrationSome very very nice illustrations by the late John Alcorn, collected in a website. The online exhibition features over 300 samples, spanning 45 years of breathtaking creativity, starting in the fifties with his contributions to the Push Pin Graphic, and including many cover books, posters, editorial illustration and more.

The Art of John Alcorn

John Alcorn illustrationSome very very nice illustrations by the late John Alcorn, collected in a website. The online exhibition features over 300 samples, spanning 45 years of breathtaking creativity, starting in the fifties with his contributions to the Push Pin Graphic, and including many cover books, posters, editorial illustration and more.

What will those plugins do?

If you use Adobe Photoshop, or any other bitmap-edition software which is able to use Photoshop-compatible plugins, you may already be a plugin addict. You know there are so many available plugins, including many free ones, that having them organised can be a serious issue. Not to mention remembering what you can actually do with each filter. A website like Grafnet is very helpful for this: they have a comprehensive list of plugins, and you can see the results of each one in a sample image.

What will those plugins do?

If you use Adobe Photoshop, or any other bitmap-edition software which is able to use Photoshop-compatible plugins, you may already be a plugin addict. You know there are so many available plugins, including many free ones, that having them organised can be a serious issue. Not to mention remembering what you can actually do with each filter. A website like Grafnet is very helpful for this: they have a comprehensive list of plugins, and you can see the results of each one in a sample image.

27.9.05

Best Freebie Apps List...

A recent thread in the Talkgraphics forum discusses the best freebie applications you can find on the net. Some you will know already, other may be new: in any case it’s well worth saving the page and check out the links.

Best Freebie Apps List...

A recent thread in the Talkgraphics forum discusses the best freebie applications you can find on the net. Some you will know already, other may be new: in any case it’s well worth saving the page and check out the links.

25.9.05

Conceptual Diagram Symbol Libraries

Conceptual Diagram Symbol Libraries, at the Integration and application network offrers the IAN symbol libraries, containing over 1500 custom made vector symbols (in 32 categories) designed specifically for enhancing science communication skills. The libraries are designed primarily for use with Adobe Illustrator (requires version 10 or better), however they also offer eps and svg versions for non-Illustrator users. The symbols allow diagrammatic representations of complex processes to be developed easily with minimal graphical skills. The libraries are provided completely cost and royalty free.
Very useful, especially for environment and earth science related illustrations and concepts. The site contains detailed explanations of the contents of the library, suggestion uses and tutorials.

Conceptual Diagram Symbol Libraries

Conceptual Diagram Symbol Libraries, at the Integration and application network offrers the IAN symbol libraries, containing over 1500 custom made vector symbols (in 32 categories) designed specifically for enhancing science communication skills. The libraries are designed primarily for use with Adobe Illustrator (requires version 10 or better), however they also offer eps and svg versions for non-Illustrator users. The symbols allow diagrammatic representations of complex processes to be developed easily with minimal graphical skills. The libraries are provided completely cost and royalty free.
Very useful, especially for environment and earth science related illustrations and concepts. The site contains detailed explanations of the contents of the library, suggestion uses and tutorials.

Felix Vallotton

example of Vallotton's workI read in Milton Glaser’s retrospective book, Art is Work, that one of his biggest influences, especially in his ink drawings, has always been the french illustrator Felix Vallotton (1865 - 1925). It’s possible to see some of his works online, like in Olga’s Gallery, the Felix Vallotton Foundation or a dot.com site. Certainly, the influence in some of Glaser’s ink drawings is evident.

Felix Vallotton

example of Vallotton's workI read in Milton Glaser’s retrospective book, Art is Work, that one of his biggest influences, especially in his ink drawings, has always been the french illustrator Felix Vallotton (1865 - 1925). It’s possible to see some of his works online, like in Olga’s Gallery, the Felix Vallotton Foundation or a dot.com site. Certainly, the influence in some of Glaser’s ink drawings is evident.

21.9.05

Layout Master, free

Westciv offers their web design tool, Layout Master, free of charge. They explain it this way:

“When we released Style Master 4 we finally made the decision to put Layout Master to rest as a commercial product, but continue to host it as freeware at our site(...)
If you want to create and edit pure absolutely positioned layouts, Layout Master is a great free option and you are most welcome to give it a go(...) Download Layout Master using the link below, and then when you run it use the registration code and it will not expire after 30 days.”

So, here you have a good, basic tool for laying out your web pages based on standards-compliant code, and it’s free. Here’s the download address and the registration code you need to unlock it: 146793400-VA-332005-2020-13210.

Layout Master, free

Westciv offers their web design tool, Layout Master, free of charge. They explain it this way:

“When we released Style Master 4 we finally made the decision to put Layout Master to rest as a commercial product, but continue to host it as freeware at our site(...)
If you want to create and edit pure absolutely positioned layouts, Layout Master is a great free option and you are most welcome to give it a go(...) Download Layout Master using the link below, and then when you run it use the registration code and it will not expire after 30 days.”

So, here you have a good, basic tool for laying out your web pages based on standards-compliant code, and it’s free. Here’s the download address and the registration code you need to unlock it: 146793400-VA-332005-2020-13210.

All graphic design

All graphic needs in one spot: Allgraphicdesign.com is a comprehensive list of graphic design-related resources. The links are hand-picked and it has been around since 1998. The forum is also a valuable place to get advice and ideas about a number of design topics, programs and practices.

All graphic design

All graphic needs in one spot: Allgraphicdesign.com is a comprehensive list of graphic design-related resources. The links are hand-picked and it has been around since 1998. The forum is also a valuable place to get advice and ideas about a number of design topics, programs and practices.

19.9.05

Newsdesigner

If you’re involved in periodicals design, or at least you have some interest in printed news-style publications, you should definitely visit (and bookmark) Newsdesigner. The authors review the design from many newspapers, comment the redesigns and the typesetting and typographical details; all of this in an entertaining blog.

Newsdesigner

If you’re involved in periodicals design, or at least you have some interest in printed news-style publications, you should definitely visit (and bookmark) Newsdesigner. The authors review the design from many newspapers, comment the redesigns and the typesetting and typographical details; all of this in an entertaining blog.

15.9.05

Digital design manual by Typephases Design

The Manual of Digital Design is a well-known project originally published in catalan and spanish, and now translated to english. Dozens of articles dealing with graphic design, illustration, bitmaps and vector artwork, web design and typography. Don’t miss it!

Digital design manual by Typephases Design

The Manual of Digital Design is a well-known project originally published in catalan and spanish, and now translated to english. Dozens of articles dealing with graphic design, illustration, bitmaps and vector artwork, web design and typography. Don’t miss it!

Linotype FontExplorer X

Linotype releases a “simple, smart and free” FontExplorer, which, in their own words:

(...)sets a new standard for font management software: font management has never been so simple, and font sorting, font shopping and font discovery are now more fun than ever. FontExplorer X gives computer users all the font functions they could need, and lets them decide how deeply they wish to dive into various font themes.

Linotype FontExplorer X

Linotype releases a “simple, smart and free” FontExplorer, which, in their own words:

(...)sets a new standard for font management software: font management has never been so simple, and font sorting, font shopping and font discovery are now more fun than ever. FontExplorer X gives computer users all the font functions they could need, and lets them decide how deeply they wish to dive into various font themes.

13.9.05

Lupas Rename 2000

I’m busy reinstalling software on my refurbished computer, and I was searching a batch file renamer (actually I had two on my previous system, but I didn’t back them up and I forgot their names to download them again!). This kind of utility is really necessary for me and I guess for many other computer users as well. I’ve checked in the Pricelessware directory and just found Lupas Rename 2000: a freeware program developed to rename a big number of files, with an unending list of features, and yet lightweight and well focused in its task.

Lupas Rename 2000

I’m busy reinstalling software on my refurbished computer, and I was searching a batch file renamer (actually I had two on my previous system, but I didn’t back them up and I forgot their names to download them again!). This kind of utility is really necessary for me and I guess for many other computer users as well. I’ve checked in the Pricelessware directory and just found Lupas Rename 2000: a freeware program developed to rename a big number of files, with an unending list of features, and yet lightweight and well focused in its task.

12.9.05

The Screen Grab! Extension

I have been using an incredibly useful extension for Firefox, Screengrab , which saves entire webpages as images in PNG format. Just install it, make sure Java is configured (Java absolutely necessary), and right-click on a page. You can save the entire page as an image (it scrolls around the page taking shots and stitches it together), just the visible portion, or the browser window. Awesome, ultra-simple and incredibly effective.



If you are going to prepare a bunch of screenshots from complete web pages, like I’ve been doing myself lately, this extension will definitely save you lots of time.

The Screen Grab! Extension

I have been using an incredibly useful extension for Firefox, Screengrab , which saves entire webpages as images in PNG format. Just install it, make sure Java is configured (Java absolutely necessary), and right-click on a page. You can save the entire page as an image (it scrolls around the page taking shots and stitches it together), just the visible portion, or the browser window. Awesome, ultra-simple and incredibly effective.



If you are going to prepare a bunch of screenshots from complete web pages, like I’ve been doing myself lately, this extension will definitely save you lots of time.

11.9.05

The new studio

These last weeks I’ve touched very little the computer, but I’ve been able to draw a lot in my sketchbooks, planning new paintings and other projects (a sample in the first photo, below.) But I’ve devoted even more time to cleaning up and conditioning my new painting studio. These are really very exciting news for me, because this is a dream come true, having a proper studio for my art. The second photo shows a part of the well-lit loft where I’ll be painting.

spread from this summer sketchbooks
one section of my new painting studio


The place itself is ideal: very luminous, warm in winter and cool in summer, there’s lots of space to paint comfortably, even large canvases, and ample storage space. I will have different corners for the different activities: painting, drawing, reading, etc.

9.9.05

Nvu

At the nvu web editor homepage, they greet the launch of the 1.0 version of the program with these words:


Finally! A complete Web Authoring System for Linux Desktop users as well as Microsoft Windows and Macintosh users to rival programs like FrontPage and Dreamweaver.
A good and free tool to complement your text editor, or a good alternative to commercial software for newbies who don’t want to mess around with html or xhtml.

Here’s a detailed feature article with nice screenshots so you can see for yourself what’s on offer.

Nvu

At the nvu web editor homepage, they greet the launch of the 1.0 version of the program with these words:


Finally! A complete Web Authoring System for Linux Desktop users as well as Microsoft Windows and Macintosh users to rival programs like FrontPage and Dreamweaver.
A good and free tool to complement your text editor, or a good alternative to commercial software for newbies who don’t want to mess around with html or xhtml.

Here’s a detailed feature article with nice screenshots so you can see for yourself what’s on offer.

3.9.05

The definitive collection of idea generation methods

Idea generation methods is a website that lists and explains every idea generation method the author (Martin Leith) has encountered during the past 15 years. It is the result of extensive research; its many sources include books, management journals, websites, academics, consultants and colleagues.

An excellent, comprehensive resource for creative professionals!

The definitive collection of idea generation methods

Idea generation methods is a website that lists and explains every idea generation method the author (Martin Leith) has encountered during the past 15 years. It is the result of extensive research; its many sources include books, management journals, websites, academics, consultants and colleagues.

An excellent, comprehensive resource for creative professionals!

29.8.05

A List Apart, relaunched

A List Apart has been redesigned and given a thorough change in its publishing system, its look and feel. It promises new inspiring articles (after several months of paralysis) while it all has been reformed. Jeffrey Zeldman explains in an article the process of redesign and what’s new on ALA 4.0.

A List Apart, relaunched

A List Apart has been redesigned and given a thorough change in its publishing system, its look and feel. It promises new inspiring articles (after several months of paralysis) while it all has been reformed. Jeffrey Zeldman explains in an article the process of redesign and what’s new on ALA 4.0.

Imaginary artists portraits

Some time ago I created a number of illustrations for an article about typefaces and lettering based on famous artists’ handwriting. These were imaginary portraits (only in the case of Cézanne I used a photo as reference) and they were made as an ink sketch, then scanned, vector-traced and coloured as vector illustrations. Here are some examples: Picasso, Matisse, Leonardo Da Vinci,Cézanne and Monet.


25.8.05

The best 10 resources for CSS online

A selection of the ten best resources for CSS in the net. But, caution! As they say, “we must offer a word of warning before going to any of these websites. These sites can become very addicting if you enjoy web design in the slightest way. Some of these sites link to literally hundreds of other sites which will catch your interest.”

We agree on the best part of the selection: it contains some of our own favourites.
At SiteProNews.

The best 10 resources for CSS online

A selection of the ten best resources for CSS in the net. But, caution! As they say, “we must offer a word of warning before going to any of these websites. These sites can become very addicting if you enjoy web design in the slightest way. Some of these sites link to literally hundreds of other sites which will catch your interest.”

We agree on the best part of the selection: it contains some of our own favourites.
At SiteProNews.

13.8.05

David Hockney’s watercolours

David Hockney had avoided watercolours for the most part of his career so far. But recently he has rediscovered the pleasures of watercolour and in his latest solo exhibitions he has shown many landscapes and portraits in this technique. He’s not using watercolour in the usual way, though. They are large works on paper, usually two or more sheets assembled to form the whole picture; the juxtaposition of several parts as a whole reminds you of his earlier experiments with photo-collages.

There is something special in these new works, both tematically and stylistically. After his long investigations in photography and optics, and his neo-picassian and neo-matissian periods, Hockney is back to basics —to what has always interested him: capturing light and environments, and the personality of people he knows well.

The palette in his new double portraits is more vibrant and intense, while his landscapes (Northern England, Yorkshire; Norway, Iceland) use a very special subdued palette. The brushwork is masterful: loose but very descriptive. Obviously these are watercolours where the artist has enjoyed himself and they are the expression of a very acute observation and interiorizing of the landscape features.



It is remarkable that Hockney feels this special fascination with northern light in spring and summer. The same landscapes which have always attracted other painters such as Bernd Koberling. David Hockney has always said he felt a double, opposite fascination with both mediterranean-californian sunshine and the “gothic gloom” of Central and Northern Europe.

Some links where you can see some of these new works and comments about them: Annely Juda Gallery, Studio-International, National Portrait Gallery, Lalouver Gallery (or simply perform a search at Google with David Hockney watercolors/watercolours.)

3.8.05

Experimenting with digital watercolours



I have been talking about pseudo-watercolours in acrylic, like the ones in Bernd Koberling’s work. Now I am experimenting with digital watercolour effects in Painter. Some of the brushes and effects in the program are really attractive. I will add some examples and my work notes in a forthcoming post.

26.7.05

Bernd Koberling

Today I’ve had the opportunity to visit a solo exhibition by the german artist Bernd Koberling. I have always loved his paintings, ever since I first saw his figure paintings from the early eighties and some earlier works.

The current show at Jule Kewenig gallery in Palma is very special because it displays his current technique of watercolour-like panels, which was commented in the previous post (about large scale watercolours.) There is also a selection of true watercolours on paper. The exhibition can be visited until late august.

5.7.05

The little white house variations

Quite a few years ago, I created a long series of watercolours with a common theme. It was simply a little white house surrounded by woods, seen from different points of view, in each time of the year and in different weather and light conditions. Scorching heat, hard rain, misty mornings, quiet snowy evenings and peaceful autumn afternoons are all represented in this minimal scene.

One of the watercolours. Visit my Flickr page to see more.

This is the typical excuse to create a series of educational drawings or paintings. It worked, because I had the opportunity to test my skills and learn new methods of mixing colour, applying washes, wet techniques and many more.

I have posted a selection from this series in my Flickr page, because I still think some of them are good examples of watercolour in use. One could say they have some historical interest for me.

These photos don’t have a very good quality, actually, because I took them, if I remember well, with a rather primitive digital camera.

29.6.05

Summer laziness

The next weeks we will be taking it easy. No digital work, no bits and commands.

We will devote our time to the real stuff: real paper, creamy paint and sharpened pencils, and whatnot.

After the summer parenthesis, clearly refreshed I hope, there will be new articles and stuff in Typephases Design and Acuarela.

Summer laziness

The next weeks we will be taking it easy. No digital work, no bits and commands.

We will devote our time to the real stuff: real paper, creamy paint and sharpened pencils, and whatnot.

After the summer parenthesis, clearly refreshed I hope, there will be new articles and stuff in Typephases Design and Acuarela.

Posting images in Blogger

Did you notice the picture icon in Blogger had changed? Now you see this one in your posting template:



Here’s why. Now you can post pictures within the Blogger environment. This simplifies things a lot, making it unnecessary to link to external image files or other workarounds. Excellent news.

Now I only ask one more addition to Blogger to make it P-E-R-F-E-C-T (in my opinion, of course): please add a categories option and this will be the easiest to use, most powerful bloggins system for mere mortals.

Posting images in Blogger

Did you notice the picture icon in Blogger had changed? Now you see this one in your posting template:



Here’s why. Now you can post pictures within the Blogger environment. This simplifies things a lot, making it unnecessary to link to external image files or other workarounds. Excellent news.

Now I only ask one more addition to Blogger to make it P-E-R-F-E-C-T (in my opinion, of course): please add a categories option and this will be the easiest to use, most powerful bloggins system for mere mortals.

28.6.05

Lazy days ahead

I know Acuarela has just debuted... who would insist on having a holiday now? But the summer weeks will be lazy, quiet, switched off from computers... and at the same time active: active with real stuff: paper, watercolors, inks, pencils... the arsenal is ready and I plan to create quite a few drawings and prepare sketches and ideas for new bigger paintings (acrylic and mixed media on canvas) I will be painting later this year.

There will be few posts in the summertime; a few comments, some new findings. Later, on september, I plan to add lots of new stuff.

24.6.05

Illustration friday: heroes

See more of my illustration here at my Flickr project page

A contribution to this week’s theme at Illustration Friday, this image comes from my dingbat Absurdies 3.

Illustration friday: heroes

See more of my illustration here at my Flickr project page

A contribution to this week’s theme at Illustration Friday, this image comes from my dingbat Absurdies 3.

22.6.05

Sharing some colorful sketches

eyeglasses sketch
I have started posting some really colorful sketches to my Flickr space. I will share some of my original watercolors, drawings and other original creations. If you click any of these miniatures you will be carried to a page where different sizes are available, together with dozens of other of my (very diverse) originals.

I usually start very disciplined when I want to draw something new, with one single technique, say with pencil, color markers or watercolor, but very soon the mischief begins and I start mixing everything that’s within reach.
a view - landscape with vivid colors - fauve style
As it is often the case with many artists I know, I frequently prefer the sketches to more finished works, because they retain more freshness, energy and spontaneity. And there is something more special with sketching things when you travel. If you carry a sketchbook with you, you realize there’s something almost magic about drawing or painting scenes, places things and people. You remember best the place, its feel, even its smell and other sensations, with your sketch than with photos. It must have something to do with the interiorisation of the scene: you make it something that’s yours while you observe and draw the picture.
alleyway and stairs

21.6.05

Milton Glaser, redesigned

Milton Glaser’s website has been recently redesigned. I think it’s almost unnecessary to talk about who is Milton Glaser. Anyway: the section called “Milton” will let you know more about the man and his work— this part is a big improvement over the old site, with essays, interviews and a biography (you choose: short, medium or unendurable length). His essays are always interesting; he shares his wisdom and insight in Dark & Light, Ambiguity & truth, 10 things I've learned and Legends Award speech.
You will also find the short film directed by Hillman Curtis, previously featured in the Adobe website.

There are a number of his works on display, including some of his illustrations, and a minisite devoted to his posters. Glaser has always tried new techniques —and somehow has managed to make them all his own. He is one of the few illustrators that really have several signature styles.

His watercolors, in particular, have always been delightful to me, for his mastery of wet techniques, something really difficult to control. He has a number of illustrations that take advantage either of absorbent papers (japanese style), or wet paper to create subtle shadows, color transitions and other amazing details that I devour whenever I browse one of his books or watch one of his posters.

A few years ago I had the opportunity to study his originals in detail, in a magnificent retrospective that visited Barcelona and Palma, and the watercolours were really enjoyable. If you aren’t able to see some original works, you can always get a copy of his classic, Graphic Design (Overlook Press), or the more recent Art is Work.

The real secret of watercolor

example of Jean Michel Folon WatercolorI hope the title of this post isn’t misleading. Let me explain. I remember one phrase in an interview with Jean Michel Folon I read a long time ago. He said more or less that “it took me eighteen years to learn the secret of watercolor. You must use lots of water and little color.” This may seem a very simple statement, even a boutade, but there is a deep truth and a really clever explanation of what watercolor is all about and why it keeps fascinating us.

One thing that Folon’s watercolors make me think about is the themes of the artist. One of the main differences between design-commercial art and other forms of art is the question about the theme. An artist often needs some kind of excuse to begin painting or drawing. And sometimes it seems like everything has been said already—it makes you wonder if a particular subject is really worth painting it. Watercolors, in particular, are regarded by some as a bit passé technique, something more appropriate for landscape sketches or illustration, but a bit apart from modernity and post-modernity. However, artists like Paul Klee demonstrated there are no barriers other than your mind’s in the choice of theme and technique. You can explore the endless resources of the dreams, your imagination and wit to create new images: abstract, figurative or somewhere in between. And any technique may serve this purpose perfectly.

In the case of Paul Klee, just open any book about his work and simply enjoy the flow of dreams and imagination, transferred into paper with watercolor. He was always searching something, always constructing his own visual vocabulary in a never ending exploration of his inner self. Jean Michel Folon has been creating a world of his own, as well, for several decades now. He has used watercolors to great effect, always with subtlety and delicious colors. Folon has created many memorable posters and illustrations. Well, let’s see some of Folon’s works.

Whenever I run out of “excuses” to paint yet another watercolor, I try to think about creators like Folon or Klee—just to remember there are so many reasons, so many themes.

20.6.05

Bill Sienkiewicz

I think Bill Sienkiewicz is one of the most interesting comic artists and illustrators today. Most of his work can be easily found in bookshops or online stores, and it is a worthy addition to any collection, not only of comics, but also for people interested in general illustration and creativity.

Sienkiewicz is a very special artist in many respects. While most comic artists or illustrators use one or a very limited number of painting and drawing techniques, he happily mixes every conceivable media in a single page —even in a single frame: pencil, inks, charcoal, crayons, acrylic, photocopies and collage, watercolours, gouache, textures... Watercolour is often avoided by many comics artists, but in Sienkiewicz’s case, it plays a crucial role in his art.
Sienkiewicz is an excellent watercolourist, using colour in a daring and unrestrained way.

I especially recommend the following volumes:

  • Daredevil: Love & War (story by Frank Miller).
  • Elektra: Assassin (story by Frank Miller). See an online exhibition.
  • Stray Toasters, a very personal work where he both wrote the story and did the illustration.
  • Moby Dick, a comic adaptation from the Melville classic.
  • Santa: My life and times (illustrated almost completely in watercolours.)
  • Hendrix: Voodoo Child (illustrated biography)
At first his style was heavily influenced by Neal Adams, but slowly he developed his unique mélange of influences, which include of course Adams, but also psychedelic imagery, Egon Schiele, Gustav Klimt,Alphonse Muncha and other early XX century artists, and a myriad of other influences (especially Bob Peak (thanks, Brian, for the remark), which he has blended to create his own and very personal visual language.

Apart from the Elektra exhibition, you can also visit Bill’s site. But the best you can do is go and buy the full list I’ve written before.

Variations from A day in the cliffs



One of my favourite methods of painting consists of taking a single motif and exploring different colour treatments, textures and other transformations. This is an example. Some more will follow at my Flickr page.

17.6.05

Daily Pic 37: orangen Kopf


A quick trial of natural media painting on the computer, in the expressionist style. Something I definitely will be doing more (with Painter, the program bundled with my Wacom tablet—although I’ve made this straight with the mouse.)

Marina’s Terraces by Nils Burwitz

In my opinion (and many other people’s), one of the best watercolour series ever produced is Marina’s Terraces by Nils Burwitz.

This ongoing series of hundreds of big watercolours (51 x 73 cm.) is based on the shapes of a particular landscape of terraces near Valldemossa, Mallorca, the village where Burwitz has lived ever since he came to Mallorca in the mid seventies, after a long time living in South Africa.

Each drawing integrates pencil writings, typically on the right and bottom sides, and always surprising colour treatments in the main area of the rest of the image. Intended as letters to his wife Marina, each drawing in this series seamlessly combines those texts in german, english, afrikaans, catalan or spanish (he is a polyglot) with the image. He comments about his private life and events, and other happenings in the world that surrounds him —ranging from local to universal issues.

He started the series in 1977, and he is still creating new “letters”, with no signs of tiring, always being amazingly creative, fresh and fascinating. These watercolours have never been for sale, and probably never will, but the artists has had them exhibited in several galleries and museums, and there is a limited edition of a selection of the drawings, edited in offset prints.

Technically, most of these terraces are pure watercolours, which take advantage of transparency, wet fusions and paper whiteness. Others have a mixed media treatment, with wax crayons, inks, décollage... The paper is actually a drawing board with watercolour paper surface, and he draws the pencil lines of the landscape with a template he made with a board of the same size, where he cut out the shapes of the defining forms of the terraces.

Nils Burwitz (b. 1941) is an extraordinarily gifted artist who has created in oil painting, sculpture, engravings and other print techniques, installations, many drawing media and even stained glass projects for churches and other buildings.

Burwitz has a small webpage, but there is only a fraction of his wondrous talent showing up there. If you ever have the opportunity to visit an exhibition by Nils Burwitz, don’t miss it, especially his painted work and of course his Marina’s Terraces.

ImageBase (San Francisco fine art museums)

The Imagebase of the Fine art museums of San Francisco stores a huge collection (over 82,000 images), which include many watercolors. The images are zoomable, so you can study even the wash details of the pictures.

Apart from searching for watercolors, this archive is certainly worth bookmarking; there you will find many outsdanding artists. For example, Richard Diebenkorn, an artist whose color and drawing capabilities I have always admired, is very well represented, with more than 404 works.

16.6.05

Handprint (or everything you ever wanted to know...)

Handprint is one of the key links in the internet about the watercolour subject. Detailed, intrincate, almost obsessive, the coverage of the site doesn’t leave any loose ends about watercolours. Everything you can possibly think of is treated in depth: pigments, brands, papers, techniques, colour vision, palettes... it seems an ongoing project, continuously growing in complexity and scope.

The author, Bruce MacEvoy, recognizes, in his own words, that “The amount of information here is overwhelming. Where should I begin?” in his FAQ, a good starting point before exploring this vast resource.

Watercolours in Singapore

The Singapore Watercolour Society has a nicely designed page, with paint splashes and all, and features the remarkable works of some talented and very professional watercolourists, like Chan Chang How (see the painting below).

Some of the watercolours exhibited here show a mix of western and eastern sensibilities towards landscape and painting technique.

Visit the online exhibitions to see some of the nice works of the members of this association.

example by Chan Chang How

Principles of Design article

A new article by Joshua David McClurg-Genevese in Digital Web Magazine discusses The Principles of Design. Recommended reading! It includes a handy selection of additional resources and references, too.

Principles of Design article

A new article by Joshua David McClurg-Genevese in Digital Web Magazine discusses The Principles of Design. Recommended reading! It includes a handy selection of additional resources and references, too.

15.6.05

Acuarela

Acuarela (i.e. watercolour, or watercolor if you prefer it) is a new blog with insights, discoveries, tips and websurfing about watercolor and other manual illustration, drawing and painting techniques.



This image belongs to one of the commented works in one of the posts in Acuarela, about Nils Burwitz.

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