Hello everyone! How’s it going? Yes, I’ve reached the point where I’m talking to the void of the Internet. Two months of confinement will do that to ya. My weeks are long strings of more or less the same routine of working, playing the Switch, running errands, going to the post office and fighting off very intense cravings. I want to eat chips so bad. Like, all the time.
One task that broke the monotony though, was getting ready for Thanksgiving sales on Etsy. Each year I plan better and further ahead, because I’ve been caught off-guard too many times in the past. So this year, I spent a lot of times making visuals for ads, taking pictures of prints (you know how much work it takes to make a sprawl of prints look like a candid shot?) and scheduling posts. Now that the sale is over, I realize how exhausting this all was, even though it was absolutely worth it in the end. That kind of obsessive planning and stats-checking is like the perfect drug for someone with high-functioning anxiety like me. One time I misspelled the URL of my shop in a Twitter post and almost had a heart attack. You ever see someone hit the DELETE button 5000 times in the span of 1,2 seconds? Next year, I’ll try to pace myself!
So in the spirit of the Holidays, I decided to include a free greeting card with every order. I think I’ll do that each year, because cards are just such nice little paper objects!
While I’m not super vocal about it, I’ve been working on a comic pitch with fellow cartoonist extraordinaire Axelle Lenoir. We’d rather keep the project under the radar for now, but I decided to share one piece of location design I drew. Enjoy!
Last month, I said in my recommendations that I started reading The 99% Invisible City: A Field Guide to the Hidden World of Everyday Design, a book based around many of the topics of the wonderful 99% Invisible podcast. I cannot recommend this book enough. 99% Invisible City is a field guide to the obvious and conspicuous elements of the urban built environment: the history of the utility pole, how curbs came to have a slope on their corners for wheelchairs and strollers, and how raccoons and squirrels came to be part of our weird, urban ecosystems. Amongst many, many other things.
It’s written in the form of broad chapters (Architecture, Urbanism, Landscape, etc) and separated into dense half-page or page-long exposés, so it’s like getting concentrated shots of super interesting facts about well… everything! I loved how it weighed in on how some design decisions inevitably affect marginalized citizens, without taking side. A good example was an entry about “hostile design”, that aims at making public seating uncomfortable, not to attract homeless people. I was downtown last week and immediately noticed that vicious form of design on some benches around Concordia Universtity that had that weird, useless “armrest” in the middle (plus the utility markers in pink! there is also an entry on their meaning!). I also loved the part about Moonlight Towers, huuuuuge arc-lamp light posts that cast insanely bright light in certain US cities. This is the kind of thing that I’d read about, put the book down and immediately loaded Wikipedia on my phone because I couldn’t believe what I was reading. I had to do this a few times, to look up pictures of famous buildings (like the Lincoln Tunnel ventilation buildings!) so it made for a very engaging read.
If anything, this book is a praise in favor of paying attention when walking about. That’s something I’ve done most of my life and this book felt like I wasn’t a total nutcase for taking pictures of crooked stairs, holes in subway stations or… hidden fallout shelter panels. And as an added bonus, the book itself is a beautiful object, ripe with illustrations. My only complaint is that it’s very, very US-centric, but it didn’t ruin the book too much for me. In terms of non-fiction, this is probably the most fun read I’ve had in years.
Anyway! November is over, so here’s what has kept me excited this month:
Reading: I’ve been thinking about this little text “Death to Bullshit“, especially in regards to the Facebook user experience. I’ve done so much promo and posting on my business account this month that I grew increasingly aware of how mind blowingly bad Facebook’s interface is. It really tested my patience. It is the pinnacle of bullshit.
Playing: Hades, on the Switch. I am Very Bad at it! (but I think that’s the whole point?!
Listening: I’ve been writing and storyboarding to some fuzzy stoner rock and shoegaze playlists. I’m not really paying attention, but Somali Yacht Club caught my ears!
Artist: Why not check out Patrick Vale, the illustrator responsible for the marvelous line-intensive drawings in the 99% Invisible book!