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Cartooning treasure chest

I usually pay attention to a website that I end up landing on through a set of random links. For me, it's like the whole "law of attraction" or whatever, for me it's like the universe is shoving something in front of your face and saying, "uhum." Then it rolls it's eyes over to point at the site and then winks. Or hell, maybe I'm just rationalizing it in order for it to be something other than just a coincidence. Anyway...

A site I've discovered seems to be a real gold mine. As I've mentioned before, I've been pretty obsessed with doing my homework before launching some of my publishing projects, especially those which involve me having to draw, such as my comic books. While I'm still sort of torn between the idea that I'm "paying my dues" by gaining skills I currently don't have, or merely disguising my studies and practicing as a way to avoid from actually having to ship out any finished product. Again, it may be more rationalization, but I'm just not happy with my drawing skills. I've greatly improved my ability to draw faces, but have recently detected, that another troublesome area, hands, are still weak. So I'm drawing daily, copying examples, and I know that I'm getting much better.

So through a couple of unrelated links at Boing Boing, except that they were both about cartooning and caricature, I found the wonderful site for the Animation Archive of the International Animated Film Society: ASIFA-Hollywood. Really, I'm simply overwhelmed with the depth of instructional material available on this site. They have archives of legendary animators like the Grim Natwick's Scrapbook as well as an odd collection of Mexican Lobby Cards. With a mountain of other other instructional material, any aspiring cartoonist would do well to research this site closely and time permitting, study as many of the tutorials as possible.

Sure a lot of the material is old, but as an avid book reader and collector, I've found that some material is simply timeless. Most modern books are merely just rehashing material presented 50 years ago by the masters. This includes not only cartooning, but topics such as self-help, leadership, and motivation. For my money anything written after Norman Vincent Peale and Dale Carnegie is just a rewrite of their timeless advice, but I digress. The bulk of the tutorials listed on the Animation Archive can be found on this page, which is a massive collection of links for "The Top Ten Reasons To Contribute To A-HAA." Enjoy, and may your cartoons become reality soon!

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Accepting a challenge, with optimism

While I had been really gearing up to make this a visual journaling year, I've been tempted to try something else. Smashing Magazine challenged everyone by posting "Design Something Every Day!"

As stated in the post: "I challenge you today to design something daily. Take fifteen to twenty minutes that you would normally use to surf the Web today and devote it to designing something." The post offers some valuable suggestion, to keep you hooked an producing. So far I'm two for two. Wow, right!

My biggest challenge I think will be keeping the design to under 20 minutes. I tend to obsess on the details of my drawings and that can end up sucking an hour from life, easy. So I've got to keep the drawing fluid and rapid. Regardless, I'm stoked and ready for this challenge, I think it's going to be greate exercise practing my cartooning. I'll be launching a new blog to capture my daily images, so stay tuned for that.

I'm not sure what bug crawled up my ass New years Eve, but I suddenly want to engage in more activities. I know I still have pending projects, but somehow, I think I'll be able to make progress on multiple fronts.  I also want to get back involved in open source, which is a nice surprise. It's taken me 3 and half years to recover from my fall from grace, but I've got some ideas to do something a little different that might be appreciated.

Once again, I thank KathySierra of Creating Passionate Users and Head First fame for the inspiration.