Monday, November 29, 2010

Firefly x 2

This was just an experiment on Arches natural White 140lb hot press in watercolor and pencil. I threw a little digital in at the end.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Don't Worry, Be

Here are five things that research has shown can improve happiness:

1. Be grateful – Some study participants were asked to write letters of gratitude to people who had helped them in some way. The study found that these people reported a lasting increase in happiness – over weeks and even months – after implementing the habit. What's even more surprising: Sending the letter is not necessary. Even when people wrote letters but never delivered them to the addressee, they still reported feeling better afterwards.

2. Be optimistic – Another practice that seems to help is optimistic thinking. Study participants were asked to visualize an ideal future – for example, living with a loving and supportive partner, or finding a job that was fulfilling – and describe the image in a journal entry. After doing this for a few weeks, these people too reported increased feelings of well-being.

3. Count your blessings – People who practice writing down three good things that have happened to them every week show significant boosts in happiness, studies have found. It seems the act of focusing on the positive helps people remember reasons to be glad.

4. Use your strengths – Another study asked people to identify their greatest strengths, and then to try to use these strengths in new ways. For example, someone who says they have a good sense of humor could try telling jokes to lighten up business meetings or cheer up sad friends. This habit, too, seems to heighten happiness.

5. Commit acts of kindness – It turns out helping others also helps ourselves. People who donate time or money to charity, or who altruistically assist people in need, report improvements in their own happiness.

Monday, November 15, 2010

There Is A Distinct Audience For The Printed Product

For several years, people in the United States have been complaining about how newspapers are old news. Sales and advertising revenue have been slipping (although newspaper profit margins were 25% as recently as 2006). People are tired of reading old-fashioned ink on paper! they say. The Internet is the way of the future!

A peek at the rest of the world suggests differently. Are the corporations who have bought up the newspaper market just looking for a scapegoat, because they don't know how to run a newspaper business? Other countries seem to have a healthy print newspaper readership, and are finding a better balance between print and online subscriptions.

Print is still king: Only 3 percent of newspaper reading happens online

Rates of decline in US newspaper circulation slowed from last year in the same period last year, according to figures released on Monday by the Audit Bureau of Circulations. The Audit Bureau showed that average weekday circulation at 635 newspapers declined 5 percent compared with the same six months last year. The decline last year was more than twice that, 10.6 percent, as newspapers struggled through the recession and more readers abandoned print copies for the Internet.

Sunday circulation at 553 newspapers fell at a slightly slower pace, 4.5 percent, the figures showed. Last year, it declined 7.5 percent.

The Wall Street Journal reported an average weekday circulation of slightly fewer than 2.1 million, up 2 percent from a year ago. The number of printed copies The Journal distributes each weekday averaged 1.6 million, a figure that has remained about steady in the three years since Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation bought the paper.The Dallas Morning News posted an increase of 0.3 percent to 264,000.

Randy Bennett, senior vice president for business development at the Newspaper Association of America, said the declines in part reflected a decision by newspaper publishers to eliminate low-cost — and less profitable — subscriptions. “There’s an acknowledgment that in this multichannel world, newspapers recognize there is a distinct audience for the printed product, and they’re going to spend much of their energies to reach that audience.”

But what is Canada doing that the USA isn't?

Newspaper readership remains strong in Canada.  Print readership is up, print and online readership up even more! The recent survey released by NADbank shows newspapers across Canada holding a very strong readership position.

In the one-million-population-plus Canadian markets, print and online newspaper readership has grown by more than 500,000 readers since 2005. Those top markets show total weekly newspaper penetration levels of between 75% to 80% of the adult population. That's an impressive reach.

In Toronto, Canada's largest market (population 4.5 million), print newspapers reach roughly 70% of adults over 18, online readership represents roughly 25%. Combined, they reach 76% of the adult population, an impressive reach indeed.

Toronto remains one of the toughest competitive markets anywhere, with seven English-language daily publications reaching roughly 3.5 million adults every week. Over the past year, weekly print readership rose 2% in Toronto, online grew 4.5% and combined the print/online combination grew by 3%.

Who says people are not reading newspapers anymore?

The Toronto Star, Canada's most-read newspaper, fared well in this most-recent release, with print weekly readership growing by 4.6% and the print/online combination weekly reach up 5.3% to just over 2.3 million readers per week. That's a nice showing for a large North American metropolitan newspaper.

The emerging story in Canada is the strength of Metro, a free weekly newspaper that is published in seven Canadian markets. Metro Toronto, first published during the summer of 2000, now has more than 500,000 daily readers, making it Toronto's second most-read newspaper after the Toronto Star. Of the seven newspapers published in Toronto, four are paid and three are free. The free publications now represent roughly 30% of total readership in the Toronto marketplace. While some readers are definitely opting for online content offerings, the desire for print in Toronto remains strong.

Across Canada, newspapers remain strong. Also, it appears that while online readership for news continues to grow, it is not replacing the print habit for most newspaper readers.

The challenge for traditional media operations will be in attracting younger users. While the overall readership levels released in this study are indeed impressive, it is an aging demographic. Even the free-distribution newspapers tend to have a slightly older audience. The same can be said for traditional online news sites.

The demise of newspapers is greatly exaggerated.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Amazon Ups Sales Percentage for Newspapers

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Inc. said Monday it will start paying publishers more when they sell magazines and newspapers on its Kindle electronic reader. will pay publishers 70 percent of the retail price, after subtracting delivery costs, for each magazine or newspaper sold at its Kindle Store.

That's a reversal of the terms that News Corp. CEO Rupert Murdoch said Amazon was paying last year for subscriptions to publications like The Wall Street Journal. Murdoch said last December that pays News Corp. a little more than a third of the $14.99 monthly subscription fee for the Journal, which he described as "not a great deal."

The move by Amazon, which takes effect Dec. 1, comes at a time when newspapers and magazines are increasingly looking at digital platforms like the Kindle and Apple Inc.'s iPad to replace revenue lost to decreasing print ad revenue.

Amazon said newspapers and magazines will qualify for the new rate only if customers can read the title on all Kindle devices and applications, and in all countries where the publisher has rights.

Amazon said a newspaper that delivers about 9 megabytes of content a month would pay about $1.35 in delivery costs, meaning a $9.99-per-month subscription would net a publisher $6.05 a month per subscription.

Peter Larsen, director of Kindle Periodicals, said in a statement that the increased revenue share is "a great new tool for making Kindle better and easier than ever for publishers."

A News Corp. spokesman did not immediately have a comment.

Original Fritzi Ritz

An original Fritzi Ritz by Ernie Bushmiller, from 1933, was up on ebay. Fritzi Ritz later became Nancy. I thought what made it interesting was the use of the yardstick in the photo.

Click to enlarge

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Picture Books Remain Important

A recent New York Times article suggested that children's picture books have become less popular. The article cited the recent economic downturn as a possible reason, but also suggested that parents are pushing their children to get into chapter books earlier.

It sparked a large number of positive and negative responses but also a renewed interest in the importance of picture books for children.

What exactly is a picture book? A picture book is a book with pictures that are as important as the words. In fact, often the text does not make sense without the pictures.

The reader gains information from the pictures, the words, and putting the words and pictures together. In a well-written picture book, the reader looks at the pictures and reads the text in a back and forth motion that becomes the rhythm of the book. Usually the reader can sense when he or she needs to look at the next picture.

An illustrated book, on the other hand, has text interrupted once in awhile by illustrations, but can be understood without them. A picture book is a storybook that has a simple story line and is usually about 32 pages long. It may have about 200 words, but also may have no words at all.

People of all ages enjoy picture books, not only because of the intriguing pictures, but also the rich language in the text and the meaningful themes.

By reading pictures books, children will begin to want to learn to read and hopefully learn to love reading. When parents read picture books with young children, they show children the process of reading by demonstrating how to hold a book, turn the pages, pause to look at pictures, follow the words across the page, and guess what is going to happen next. This provides the needed experience with books before children can read on their own.

Other skills are developed when reading picture books. Motor skills are developed by holding the book, turning the pages, and pointing to the pictures. Visual skills are developed by looking at the pictures, thinking about what they mean, and looking for details in the pictures that were mentioned in the text. By naming things in the pictures, vocabulary is also developed.

Experts agree that children receive many additional benefits from reading picture books, with parents and alone.

They develop socially by exploring relationships and observing why people do what they do. They develop intellectually by gaining information, thinking creatively, using their imagination, and asking questions.

They develop emotionally as they learn to accept themselves and how to handle difficulties. They develop culturally when they learn about how other people live and how other people and families are similar or different. They develop artistically by learning to appreciate color, shapes, and design.

If parents are purchasing fewer picture books because they are pushing their younger children to read chapter books sooner, they are missing out on these important benefits, besides the pure joy and entertainment from reading them. If parents are purchasing fewer picture books due to finances, this could easily be remedied by borrowing books from the library.

At the Bismarck Public Library, Traci Juhala, head of Children's Services, has not seen declining interest in picture books.

In 2010, about 3,500 picture books and 2,000 chapter books were checked out each month. In 2009, about 3,000 picture books and 1,700 chapter books were checked out each month.

Not only has the use of picture books been on the rise through the Bismarck library, the use of all children's books has been rising. Picture books are about 20 percent of all of the children's materials at the library.

“When we renovated the Children's Library, we intentionally moved picture books to front and center because parents and children love to come in the library to browse through the books, the new ones and the old favorites. We wanted to make them more accessible," Juhala said.

Original story

Hi and Lois Original

An original Hi and Lois by the awesome Dik Browne from 1956.
Click to enlarge

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

It's Beginning to Look a Little Like Christmas

Just a quick promo drawing. Inked with a pocket brush pen and colored in PS.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Patrick Chappatte: The Power of Cartoons

At TEDGlobal 2010, in a series of witty punchlines, Patrick Chappatte makes a poignant case for the power of the humble cartoon. His projects in Lebanon, West Africa and Gaza show how, in the right hands, the pencil can illuminate serious issues and bring the most unlikely people together.

About Patrick Chappatte
Chappatte is a Lebanese-Swiss cartoonist who draws for Le Temps, Neue Z├╝rcher Zeitung (Sunday edition) and the International Herald Tribune. Using clean, simple pencil strokes, editorial cartoonist Patrick Chappatte wields globally literate and to-the-point humor on world events -- the tragic, the farcical and the absurd.

Tintin - The Calculus Affair

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Inking Samples

Some more inking samples over pencils of Dave Ross and Cary Nord. Inked with Pentel Pocket Brush Pen and various liners. Yes, I'm looking for work.
Click to enlarge
It's much more fun inking the old-timey stuff.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Tintin Movie First Look

Spielberg and Jackson have revealed the look of Tintin, Snowy and Captain Haddock to Empire magazine. The movie adaptation of Herge's The Secret of the Unicorn is due out October 2011.
Note: The image on this link is not from the movie. It's a scene from The Crab With the Golden Claws story. Boy, talk about being secretive.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Illustration Tip #1

When drawing fish, never add bubbles coming out of the fish's mouth. Fish have gills.