Posts Tagged art

‘They might not be giants’ Poster

A while ago I wrote a poem called ‘They might not be giants‘, about the famous phrase, ‘If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.’ A while later, that poem was published in Offshoots 12, the 2013 anthology of the Geneva Writers’ Group.

Ever since writing it, I’ve been thinking about how great it would be to see a picture of the tower of dwarves described. I’ve also been thinking about which plural of ‘dwarf’ is best, and a couple of grammatical and typographical decisions I made regarding the poem, but mostly I’ve been thinking about the picture. Well, I finally commissioned Len Peralta to draw that picture for me! It is gorgeous.

It is also the real reason I set up a Zazzle store; you can buy it as an 11×17 poster featuring the poem. I’ll have some printed locally as well, so if anyone near Vienna wants one they can buy one directly from me. Maybe you’d like one for yourself, or an aspiring scientist, or an inspiring teacher, or a Len Peralta fan, or an Angela Brett fan (do they exist? Edit: there is one) or even a They Might Be Giants fan who wants their poster collection to cover all possibilities. I think it’s suitable for anyone who has walls. If you know anyone who doesn’t have walls who would like some, see if you can help them find a home.

I’ve always been fascinated by Len’s videos of himself drawing, so I paid a little extra to get this mesmerising speedpaint video, which doubles as a great way to get an idea of what the poster looks like close-up. Note that the final poster has the title of the poem on it, and a few other small changes to the text.

I still can’t watch it without squeeing. It took him 2 hours, 36 minutes, which is about how long it would take me to draw a stick figure version indistinguishable from a Christmas tree.

This is actually not the first time I’ve commissioned Len to draw something for me; he also drew the picture of Jonathan Coulton transforming into an internet superstar at the beginning of a video I made to celebrate Jonathan’s Thing A Week by summarising each song in the form of a ‘roses are red’ poem. He drew most of the rest of the art in the video, too, but that was done already as part of his Visual Thing A Week project, which is the reason I know he exists.

That’s all from me. Go have fun, and tune in tomorrow for the next exciting installment of Forms and Formulae.

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Creative Output Posters and Postcards

Almost five years ago, I took a photo of the audio input and output ports of my then-new MacBook Pro, and edited it to have various things I’ve written and drawn streaming out of the output port, as a pun on the idea of ‘creative output’. I then renamed the blog to go with it, since the old title no longer encompassed everything I was doing. I said I might make posters of it some day, but all I did was use it on my contact cards. However, I recently decided to set up a Zazzle store so I can sell another thing I have in the works, so I’ve just made that picture available as a poster and postcards. The postcards are eligible for a 20% discount for a Father’s Day promotion Zazzle has going on, which I think ends some time today. [Edit: It turns out they pretty much always have some kind of discount that applies to certain things.]

Before putting it up for sale, I updated it. I added the Wordles from everything I’ve written since then, as well as various images from the Cantor Ternary Set Cantor Ternary Set, the arrow poems, and the Post-It decorations in my temporary apartment. I’ve added things to almost the entire output stream, but you might need help from Myopic Person to make some of them out amongst the general mess of output. Apart from that, I made a few cosmetic improvements using new features in a much more recent version of Acorn (which I’ve just noticed still isn’t the latest), which no longer crashes when dealing with a file that size. I also made use of the graphics tablet and fonts I’ve acquired in the mean time. I added the words ‘Creative Output’ and the URL of the blog, since the whole picture was based on that pun and may not have any artistic merit without it.

This is what the poster looks like:

Poster preview

The postcards show a bit more of the Mac at the top, due to the different aspect ratio.

For the poster I chose the ‘standard’ size with the closest aspect ratio to the original picture, since a standard size will make it cheaper for anyone who wants to order a framed version. The poster is 19″x13″, and at that size it should be about 210ppi; I can’t do much better than that since it was based on a 12 megapixel photo. This is higher than Zazzle recommends for a good-quality print, and it should be fine for a poster, but if you’re a real print aficionado who prefers higher ppi, you can choose the ‘extra small’ option in the Size menu.

I don’t need extra money at the moment, since I still have a day job (though I will be looking for a new one next year; does anybody need a programmer who knows some things about accelerating particles and also occasionally writes, studies linguistics, and doodles on photos?) and since the payments from Zazzle will go into my PayPal account anyway, I will lend them on Kiva until such time as I need them.

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The King of Spades never rushes

This week I was supposed to write something inspired by a King of Spades card. I have written something for the King of Spades which, on any normal week, would be sufficient to post. But I’m doing something extra special for this one, so rather than posting what I’ve already done and spoiling the surprise, I’m going to wait until next Sunday to publish the King of Spades in its full glory. For now you just get this poorly-edited teaser picture featuring my top-secret collaborator, turned upside down so there’s no chance anyone will recognise her. For some of you, this post will make it pretty obvious what I’m up to; don’t tell the others, but I like you the best.

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If I Made Adverts for Hair Gel

They’d look something like this, only with a real model, a real hairdresser, a real photographer, a real graphic designer, perhaps a makeup artist, and some mention of a brand.

I wouldn’t be at all surprised if somebody else had already done this. I didn’t search, because I wanted to do it anyway. I had planned to wear a red bra over the top of the Superman T-shirt, but I forgot about it until a few hours after I posted this. Oh well; I remember Supergirl puts a bra on over the top of her clothes at one point in the movie, so it wouldn’t be so original for me to do it. Also, it probably would have looked terrible.

Completely unrelated, but important: don’t forget to watch the last ever space shuttle launch on NASA TV if you aren’t able to hold your breath for 20 minutes and fly alongside it, or can’t get to Florida in time.

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Comic: How to get help with the command line

The other day, I made a comment on a Spiked Math comic. I thought about modifying said comic to make one which would match my comment, but before I even had a chance to, Mike from Spiked Math had made one. Excellent, less ‘work’ for me! Here it is:

Well, I still felt like making my own comic based on the comment, so I extended this storyline to its logical conclusion:

So there you go. Don’t mess with the man.

I’d feel horribly unfunny explaining the jokes, which might not be very funny in the first place, so I’m just going to leave a few links here for those of you who are not familiar with all the subjects:

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Creative Output

I’ve mentioned a few times that ‘Writing Cards and Letters’ is no longer a relevant name for this blog now that the Writing Cards and Letters project is over. Not only am I not writing about cards and letters any more, I’m also publishing other creative things I’ve done which are not necessarily writing. Perhaps the least imaginative name for what this blog will become is ‘Creative Output’, and since I had a nice idea for an image to go with that phrase, it’s the least imaginative name that I went for.

Now, I’m no graphic artist, but sometimes I can take decent photos of beautiful things, and scribble on them in ways that I like. That’s what I did today, and here is my art to represent Creative Output.


The original is 4000×2878 pixels, and has quite a bit of detail, with bits of my writing, programming and maths mixed in. I’m not sure why I made it that big when the website will only get this small version, and the software I used often ran out of memory and crashed while trying to save it. Perhaps I’m destined to print it on a poster or something.

I’d like to change the theme of this blog so that I can better integrate this image into the header, but alas, this is the only theme on which has variable width and a customisable header.


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