A scrapbook of stuff I'm reading / looking at / listening to / thinking about...

Posts tagged "office hours"

Apr 06, 2014

I answered some questions Portland asked in today’s newsletter.

Feb 22, 2014

If I remember correctly, my editor and I were on the phone talking about format ideas and trim sizes for Steal Like An Artist, and the problem was that my slides for the original talk were landscape format but books are usually portrait format. So I think Bruce suggested meeting in the middle and making it square.

So I went hunting for square books, and it turned out that James Kochalka’s The Cute Manifesto, one of my favorite little square books, is in the exact trim size we were talking about using, 6x6. So I drew up a cover, printed it out, and wrapped it around my copy to make a dummy book:

dummy book

I took that up to Workman and left it with them, and the story goes that they mocked up a bunch of other covers and laid them all out, but the late Peter Workman pointed to my dummy book and said, “That one.” (I regret so much that we never got to meet.)

It’s very, very rare that an author gets to do the covers for his books, but much to the credit of the Workman design team, they’ve let me in on every part of the process. I think part of what made that cover work is that it’s too stupidly simple—I’m not sure any real book cover designer would dare suggest something so simple.

Anyways, when it came time for Show Your Work!, I really conceived of both books as a kind of “Robin Hood” box set — you steal, and then you share — so it made sense to make them the same trim size. (We’ll see about the box set…)

Jan 27, 2014

Okay, that’s enough.

Office hours are closed. You can read all the questions here. I’m going to go play Broken Age. Be well everyone, and seriously? All the good, thoughtful advice I have to give is in my books.

It's hard to get my students to practice hand lettering for their comics. Any advice on how to persuade them?

aspiring writer and I just stress about so much to the point i don't even want to write about it and i love writing i just feel so drained from home life and everything else i let it distract me from what I want to do any advice?

Try meditation for the stress, and write in the morning before anybody else in your family is up and has time to bloodsuck you.

You wrote in Steal Like an Artist that we should find artists we like, find their influences, and explore their work. How do you do this with Authors?

Whenever I find an author I like, I read every interview of theirs I can find. The subjects of influences, favorite writers, etc., usually comes up in an interview.

And of course, some authors are great at sharing their favorite books. Check out my friend Frank Chimero’s library page. (I have my own, here.

Oh, and if they’re not dead, go to one of their book readings and ask that question during the Q&A. People ask all kinds of garbage questions at Q&A, but “What are you reading right now?” is a question every decent writer should enjoy answering.

I learned of Beauty is Embarrassing from you (which was excellent) and wonder what other Documentaries you highly recommend related to art/artists.

First off, Beauty Is Embarrassing is awesome, so I’m glad you liked it.

Some of my favorite documentaries in the past couple of years were about artists who also happen to be senior citizens:

Bill Cunningham New York

Woody Allen: A Documentary

Joan Rivers: Piece of Work

I loved this Ed Emberley doc, but you have to be a Lynda.com member to watch it. Sadface.

Also, Sarah Polley’s Stories We Tell was the best movie I saw last year.


It’s available for purchase from my friends Wire and Twine.

(I’m also wearing it in chapter eight of Steal Like An Artist.)

What is some of your best advice when it comes to focusing and time management?

Get up really fucking early, sit your ass down, and do the thing you want to get done more than anything. Then go about the rest of your day.

Favorite childhood toy? I was a LEGO kid, the kind that threw away instructions.

I’m probably supposed to say Play-Doh or something “creative,” but I literally prayed to God that I would get this cheap plastic proton pack for Christmas. Prayed to God. Not Santa. God. Yikes.

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