Salgood Sam ● Com

Illustrator, Cartoonist & Writer
Posts Tagged ‘ideas’

Creative book binding

Very soon i’ll be announcing
a kickstarter campaign for an upcoming project!

3 clever books

One of the fun aspects of it for me will be designing the hand made limited editions of the books, working with a couple of local artisan binders, Soundless Soliloquy and No Bar Code Press.

So far the broad strokes of the packaging are roughed out. Dimensions page count and cover materials. But I still have a lot of the details to handle.

I also have to come up with the packaging of Dream Life backers of my indiegogo campaign will get to very soon. That one is a trade paperback but I want to make it something visually fun and special. Pretty much have it done in my head but there are always things that come up in execution.

All this came to mind when some friends posted the following set of playful book designs on FB.

More about packaging than binding mind you, they are each a kind of absurdist literal take on the stories they wrap. The oldest is a very rare asbestos bound first edition of Stephen King’s Firestarter. Published by Phantasia Press in 1980 it originally sold for $300 each. 25 of 26 copies exist, with one ironically being lost in a fire. Recently one went on the market for $18,000! It’s quite handsome, and probably safe but still i’d probably keep it bagged just to be sure.

Equally playful and clever is this upcoming edition of 1984 from penguin, with a cover design by David Pearson. The title and author’s name are redacted with black foil!

You can still make them out, so the cover is practical as well. Making it function in a commercial context and I suspect will lead browsers even take closer notice in the effort to make out what it says. Not just being an illustration of the subject the story it contains, as a curiosity I think it’s the kind of functional design that scares the money often, but like a whisper entices you to lean in closer for a better look. Congratulations to David for being able to get that one through. It’s the kind of design that you would probably not want on a new book trying to make a mark. But for a classic like 1984, having this version is worth the bragging points probably of getting a new copy.

And the perfect book end to the asbestos bound King book, is this copy of Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451, with striking paper along its spine and its own match! Kind of asking for it but all the same, witty. From what I can tell this one is just a concept design done by Elizabeth Perez for The Austin Creative Department. But I bet it would sell as a limited run collector’s edition if they took it to market.

All three are fun incarnations of the same kind of design principles. The sort I had planned to apply to the next book. Dracula: son of the dragon.

Thanks to Zack Smith, Vinnie Bartilucci & Hans Curtis for posting these on FB and making me aware of them.

Me on comics

I was interviewed by my old friend Sam Agro for his blog MOVING PICTURES last week, the post went live yesterday.

SALGOOD VIBRATIONS

SA: Do you think the future of comics lies in digital media?
SS: I don’t think it’s the whole future, but I do think it’s a big part of it. The internet proper is a great entry point for new talent to stretch their legs, get feed back, and learn if they care to. And for more experienced creators it’s a good place to prove something publishers are normally wary of taking a risk on, like unconventional and maybe demanding approaches to pacing and plot. And building an initial interest in a project.

Also, I’ve solely promoted my work online as a comic artist and illustrator, since 1998 or so. And I’d say about 80% of my income has come from inquiries via that.

Then with the new incoming ‘App’ market we have something that may well offer a viable alternative to periodicals, and the problems of overhead and distribution the direct market is struggling with. It’s got a built in monetary stream so that solves that issue, and the new tablets, e-readers and net-books offer an increasingly comfortable reading form factor. Too early to say anything definitive about it but it’s looking pretty viable. Any problems with it I see are more questions of execution and problem solving, than innate obstacles. —>

And as editor at carte blanche I have a shop talk blog post today, catching non-comics readers up with the evolution of the medium over the last 10 years, and adressing the nomenclature of comics, sequential art, graphic novels and graphic fiction.

SHOP TALK: WHAT IS GRAPHIC FICTION?

What I still think of as comics has been going through a time of great change and growth.

When I decided to dedicate most of my time to making them in high school, it was in part because I was being kicked out, and comics were something you didn’t need a degree in. In truth, there were no degrees to be had in comics. If you wanted to learn more about the medium, you studied art, writing, and film, and extrapolated from these different media. If you achieved a professional level of skill there was little worry about competition; I landed my first paying jobs at Marvel after just one serious attempt to get work in the early 1990s.

While I was developing my own skills out on the edges of the scene in the late 1980s, the then lone journal of comics, inventively titled The Comics Journal, called for our bastard medium to be taken seriously by critics, and urged creators to take what they did seriously in order to bring the standards of their work up to where they might merit that attention. —>

Tablets, Apple, control, and the future of casual pixels.

On Facebook i just had a interaction typical of many online about, and over the IPad. Funny that i’d have an opinion about an IPad given i don’t even use a mac. But I do.

So pardon this wordy ramble.

I’m optimistic. Not converted per say, but i recognize the Ipad’s significance. There’s no denying it presents a viable way out for big segments of the print media. Not to be what they were maybe, but to be something? As a comic artist looking to improve the way i can get my work out there, i see a lot of potential in these things. And from the list of things not allowed

…well unless i want to make porn i don’t see that affecting me too badly. I don’t really care to make porn no.

I can see how it chafes if you do, but we’re not talking about the entire digital market here. More like one outlet store chain? And I doubt the device is perfect at all. For a breakdown of the IPads flaws far more informed than i could offer, i like the thoroughness of Cory’s at boingboing – and he links to some others worth looking at as well.

Many users are going to love it just the same – but if you’re root, a creator or maker, you’re going to want more. I do.

Those with the spare $ for a IPad as a casual device will get one anyway – heck the thing can last 10+ hours on a charge and do VIOP, kicks my old N800 all to hell and that was pretty nice. If i have the spare change in the future i’m there. But it’s not going to work for everyone all the time. And i don’t think that’s their idea. That might be what YOU wanted, but not Steve. Xeni Jardin’s first blush reaction to it shows how something like this was always a great idea with a waiting and ready market. It’s clear this thing is a Win for them, and i think for me too as a comic artist and illustrator. And I think it’s going to be a perfect brick for wedging the door open on digital media devices with the same kind of practical form factor.

A market leader, a trend setter, but the long run owner of the game?

Someone finally getting the hardware this right though, is going to make the future brighter for this kind of machine. And that’s going to make any free market or speech concerns mute as more and more of these devices come into play. Eventually someone has always matched a mac with an open platform if not in market shares. It’s only a mater of time.

If you really want to push the issue of market or speech, then do it in the community and the court, and even use the device to make a statement. But don’t expect a device and it’s support infrastructure to be the root of liberalizing culture. People do that, not machines. If i draw an X rated comic in print today, i have to deal with the same things app makers are, in brick and mortar retailers all the time. And customs! I don’t hear extreme examples in the stories about Apple’s shop and if that’s all i had to contend with, i think it’s quite possible to manage a new booming market for magazines and comics there. Not saying don’t critique Steve, he does read Penthouse it seems. But lets keep it in perspective?

I don’t want shops to stop being able to have a say about what they sell on their own shelves for the sake of free speech, be they made of mater or pixels. That’s just trading intolerances.

Not even a question of capitalism to me. The change that means anything, is that of the cultural standards that inform the consumers who influence retailers.

The best way there is not in their face, but through the back door, via content they will listen to.

So i think the IStore is overblown as a censorship threat – They just reflect the middle moral ground of the american market – There lays the problem, not at apple.

And really I don’t expect to see vibrators and blow up dolls at Toys’R'us either. Or less extreme - a larger mens section in a women’s clothing store. Not going to happen is it? It’s not practical.

Apple may be chasing the largest market there is, but it’s not the whole market is it? And so? Just leaves what, 90% of what dominates the internet open to being exploited still? This is bad how? For who? And that i can go somewhere digitally and not have to wade through stuff like this? I like brick in mortar shops like that i have to say. Bit less crass is not always so bad you know. Not my favorite part of the internet exactly. Not the worst, but hey.

Hardware wise, i think the Ipad is a case of low hanging fruit, and they were able to pick it first with the usual apple flair. The touch screen tech and limitations in thinking regarding interface were holding tablets back the last 10 years – geeks loved keyboards, Gates only just flipped on the question – but since before Star Trek sleek slate computers have always been a dream desire. And because of that this has been one of the more thoroughly explored format ideas. We’ve had our model T and a few more since. The larger hybrid tablet laptops and IPhone have both explored the possibilities here more than tentatively. So while the reality of it may be a little mind blowing, it’s not quite something all together new.

The control Apple exerts over it is pretty fragile too. More of an evelitonay influence than a regime. The Iphone OS being the system means not just a built in sweet of apps from the smaller cousins ready to go out of the gates.

It also means the Ipad is all but already hacked 6 ways to Sunday. There are going to be keen geeks who will train their little tablets to dance and say mama just for the bragging rights.

More than a few companies are cracking the technical problems of battery life, leaner OS’s, and touch based interfaces with different approaches. Others with less interest in tightly controlling content, or even having a ‘store’ will be the rest of the market in the long run – Apple itself is bound to come up with a souped up pad running OS X, the HP Slate specs and price point almost guaranties it. Why leave that part of their less casual market completely unexplored?

The IPad looks to me like a fantastic dynamic proof of concept you can own today – sounds like a sales pitch don’t it?

But i have to roll my eye’s when the drama gets overplayed. Some rather intense arguing going on about it from what I’ve seen. From the Coming of the Tablet to dark talk of Fascism and Monopoly, like they have already cornered and own the market or something? The market is still just being invented here – I think they are still just one player with fairly modest goals in terms of what they want this device and it’s a 1.0 for them.

It’s a cheep stripped down version of what’s to come, that has a pretty secure income stream built in – and that IS something people have been wanting. It looks like it does what it said it would do really really well. Most people will be able to afford to take one for granted.

But i’d put money on Cory being right. That the real fun is going to be the open format versions of what follows. Where we will really see what tablets can do. Simply because that is where the experimentation is naturally going to be.

That the IPad is such a ‘perfect’ performing little bastard will make the game all the more fun. Like the left needed Bush, geeks need IBM and Apple’s to retaliate and one-up against. Working so well, the first thing hardcore users will see are all the things it might do, once cracked. :)

Apple will likely continue to be good at offering luxury goods to people who don’t really care much about or want to know how it operates unless that = simply. I’m not being condescending, many believe in and pursue push button convenience and the freedom to conform. I don’t think it’s that they are incapable of more. No. Being lazy is a state of mind, not of nature. I’ve been lazy and so have you. Question is just how lazy and when. And then Apple has you covered in the modernist clean inoffensive style of the minimal. The slickest of cutting edge recycled electronic goods. For now, for that game – they are the Kings of it – all hail apple.

Whatever, I converted to a home built PC in the 90′s and never looked back yet. :P
But as a content provider, when it comes to a broadly commercially viable comics market, taking root ‘online’ POST collector era that will support a salary? In a post pirate bay world? it’s a good platform to start with i’m going to bet.

The wing nut’s wing nuts are on the wing. But they can’t outrun Rachel Maddow!

So I just want to say, when we depicted the end times in Therefore Repent, i didn’t mean to say i belive in it! Nooooo, not even a little. We were taking the piss. But these crazy guys!! Fuck!!! Holy crap, you can’t write it this bad. Check out the patch. Man.

But they could not outrun Rachel Maddow. Nice. If there were a god that would mean he watches her.

Good old Michigan. Don’t you guys play in our rain dear games. Not unless you got some antlers.

Doodleing ‘babar has a big head’

Messing around.
It’s important to remeber play time while i keep looking for work, as an old doodle reminded me the other day when we crossed paths by the river.

Cleanead up a bit this would be a cool T-shirt i think.
I wounder what the best site for that kind of deal is these days?
K wrapps up soon, i’m doing roughs on 10 now. Don’t know what the numbers are on it but it’s been seen all over the pace in QC. I sould take a cammera around and shoot some of the displays the publisher had for it. Pretty good coveage it looks like.
BD10-pencils
K10-cover-roughCK10-cover-rough

6 is on the stands now, one of the best covers so far i think.

K6-cover-final

a film about the roerich garden project in montreal

Found this on you tube about a project by a local artist i know. Emily Rose Michaud & company built it in the winter. Miss Janet made this excellent 6 min doc about the day Emily and a team of volunteers set it up together over the course of one very cold day. The Garden lived on, you can keep up with their progress here. It’s pretty damn cool.

Desk side chat: On layout and page flow

Ok, so another more polished how to video on the craft of comics.


This one came from a question i got on Panel and Pixel from Kevin Mellon & Jason Copland. I’m thinking this is fun stuff, so I’m probably going to start making vodcasts part of the regular CH 0 feed.

The Italian Machine

Wow!

I just

found

this link

very cool!

channel4.com is hosting streaming video of an early David Cronenberg short film titled The Italian Machine [ED:Sadly the film is no longer on the site :P].

You can watch it there, I Grabbed a copy for myself from the site while it was up. If you like to see it there’s a rare DVD collection of early Cronenberg shorts that includes it, i’ll have to get my hand on a copy of that some day. I found a bit of background on the production from this site, The Italian Machine was actually meant to be a 60 minute long TV film for CBC before the head of CBC Drama removed Cronenberg from the editing of the final cut to create her own 30 minute long version, or so the story goes.

It’s central character is based loosely on real ‘legendary acid and pot dealer’, general trouble maker, writer and photographer, Lionel Douglas [played in the film by Gary McKeehan], who was killed in a freak motorcycle accident in 1979. It features an array characters all to familiar to me, and displays Cronenberg’s classic off beat approach to his subjects.

“When motorbike fanatic Lionel learns that a rare and prized Ducati has been bought by a rich art collector purely for the purpose of display, he enlists the help of his friends to liberate the motorbike.”

Now while I am a Cronenberg fan, my reasons for being hyped about tracking this down are a tad more personal. The real Lionel was my father. This version is an exaggerated caricature, but I recognise the source material.

I’m told that the premise may have been influenced by a true story about a bike being displayed as art and Lionel’s reaction to the idea “how can they not want to make it go!!”. The other guys in the film with him are loosely based on people who shared a garage with my father in behind his house. I remember bikes in parts, being worked on all the time, made to go a bit faster and bit smother, tuning till they hummed like instruments. Always lots of talk and laughter. And the smells of metal, oil, cleaners and gas. That garage, and him talking with other people around the kitchen table about all sorts of crap, astrology to philosophy, these are probably the most common icons in my memory of my father.

He and Cronenberg were close friends I’m told, they went to university together and rode bikes out at mosport speedway a bit one summer. My grandmother says there was a time when the two were inseparable. This film was meant as a little tribute to him. Lionel was a larger than life kind a guy; he left his mark on a lot of people. Every once in a while someone comes along whom knew him, and when they find out that I’m his son their behaviour towards me tends to change, suddenly I get these wired reverent looks. When Ron Mann made his short documentary about Rochdale College called Dream Tower (1994) he contacted us about looking through my fathers photos for stills to use [a number of which ended up in the film]. In researching the film he told us, every one he talked to told him look up Lionel Douglas, he’s the guy you should talk to, until he found someone who told him Lionel had died. So then he tracked us down to get permission to use his photos.

He had watched some film of my dad giving speeches at the collage found with the reels of old film he dug up on Rochdale, and he showed up in some early CityTV footage apparently. And even with that, not having met him in person, Ron talked to me about him with the same kind of mythic aw as everyone else did. I’ve never seem much of that footage Ron told us about, except a short bit that appeared in the film [He explains for the camera how they conducted security checks at the door of the building after Yorkville imploded].

For a long time this was all very strange and odd for me. Sadly I hardly remember the living Lionel now. I was 8 when he died, it knocked me for a loop as you would expect. When I came out of that emotional coma 10 years later I barely remembered him any more. I have his photos, a trunk full I’m planning to make a book from some day. And there is a small chap book sampling his poetry, text and photos his friends put together after he died.

My two copies are both raged and dogged. One, that I’ve had since I was a kid, is marked with tabs so that I can flip right to my favorite poems. Over the years I’ve tried to tease more of him out of my head by digging up more of him out there, so I’m always happy to find another bit of him floating around.

Bellow is a selection of some of my favorite bits of his book. I think you might be able to still get it here.

In the middle of the book is a piece between the poetry and the photos simply titled ‘Prose’. It was a bit of a philosophical guide through some parts of my life, my teens for sure. I made an audio file of my laptop reading it, you can grab that here.

Rochdale & Lionel & The Dealers

Sort of continuing with the sentiment of my recent post about The Italian Machine, a short Cronenberg made for TV film that features a fictionalised version of my father in one of the central roles – here is some more of Lionel online.

From the mid 60′s to the mid 70′s Lionel was a central player in the experiment in anarchist education called Rochdale [links to media on the CBC archive about the school]. It was many things to many people, and in the 90′s as I mentioned in the last post, Ron Mann made a short documentary called Dream Tower about the place. A very large portion of that film appears inter-cut with an interview with a Rochdale survivor here on POT TV’s web site .

A very young Lionel has a brief appearance in the Doc [time index reads about 9:27:00 on pot tv's video]. This was filmed back then for a log documentary about the project that was never finished, but in the end provided a greater deal of raw footage for Ron’s film. Lionel was at the time of the interview, helping to coordinate the newly instituted building security along with several of his biker friends, in an effort to stem the tide of Yorkville junkies that invaded the place after the cops cleared out Yorkville [paving the way for a major gentrification of that neighborhood - its now a luxury condo and shopping district for the very very rich]

When Dream Tower was made, I had not seen any footage of Lionel or heard his voice for 10 or so years. Ron gave me a dub of the film when it was done, I recall rewinding and watching this very short bit of footage of my father several times over that night.

And I have a tape of Lionel anonymously interviewed on the CBC maybe before he had me I think, or just after, anonymously as a Drug Dealer, it’s pretty strange and interesting! I have them on my site here, two sides. The tape is very distorted.

Play
Play

I used them in this little bit of video art i made low-fi back in 98 or so i think.

 

Lionel was a complicated guy as far as i can tell. The whole dealer thing was just one side of the guy. He wore many masks. I’ll talk more about them next time.

Cheers.