Before I became a high-powered children’s pastor (with my very own space for my laptop at the bar in a club because my former executive office is becoming a caravan park reception — it’s not complicated, but it’s not interesting either) I was an award-winning graphic designer of some small note in North Wales.
The thing about graphic designers is that we like to think we are exciting, but we’re not. Probably not even Stefan Sagmeister. We have to be dull to sit there for hours and make sure the kerning is right. We have to obsess over the last one per cent so that the design will Sparkle. Someone has to do that, and it’s not you. You’ll just use 12 point Arial with lining figures and dumb quotes.
The downside: our party chat may not be awesome. An example: last night I said a few short sentences to two friends that included the words ‘Helvetica’, ‘customised’, ‘extra bold’ and ‘Argentinian type designer’.
It’s not just me. Today, I read a post about some lovely wedding invitations. Along with the information about paper stock and fonts and printing method was this from the designer:
To make the invites a little more fun, and reflecting of the couple’s personality we added unique illustrated maps to guide the guests to the two destinations.
To make the invites — not boring, formal ‘invitations’ — more Fun the designer Added Maps, and — this is where it gets really wacky — the maps Showed The Locations Of The Wedding Events.
Guys, next time you need to fun up your party, give me a call. I’ll bring my whiteboard and draw you some maps.
In which I start to gr-APP-le with a question but immediately APP-ologise for everything
I’m so sorry. Also for the bad Terry Pratchett rip off in the paragraph after next.
@JustPlainMeg kindly asked me which apps I use, which is not quite as dangerous, in a death-by-boredom kind of way, as asking me about fonts (totally wondering why I’m not finding continuous and important reasons to use Warnock Pro, by the way). Meg, I’m going to assume you mean to draw with — the fact that I use myLite is of interest to no one.
That noise you just didn’t hear was another insomniac not tossing and turning as I helped them find slumberland.
Okay, my creative apps: Vellum is my very favourite, most used, going to a happy place bit of drawing software ever. Brushes is for doing Proper Paintings In Colour. Mill Colour is the best image processing/colour correction tool I’ve found. Photogene does my rotating and cropping. TypeDrawing is good for the occasional interesting background and for entertaining my seven year-old daughter on road trips. TiltShift Generator does what it says on the tin and makes me happy. Strip Designer is a stupidbleedingpainintheneck to use, but it makes comic strips if you persist long enough. PhotoForge is so badly designed it hurts, but it has a clone tool, so I use it once in a while.
A couple months back, my seven year-old daughter was playing Family Going On Holiday with her two best school friends. She was playing the part of the three year-old daughter who, when told they were going to Derbyshire, thought they said garbage bin and so came up with this song. Upon hearing the song after her return from school, I realised that what it needed was a funky beat, but since Chad Smith isn’t her dad and she’s stuck with me and my iPhone, this will have to do.
I’m sorry for the lack of drawings this week. For some reason, I forgot that I was doing this for fun and started worrying about whether or not you would like a drawing or if I was using the right app - like it was a Job or something. That was dumb. Back to normal now, I hope.
When people find out I’m a vegetarian, the conversation often goes like this:
Them: Don’t you miss meat?
Them: Not even bacon rolls/butties/sarnies/sandwiches?
Them: Oh. I couldn’t live without bacon!
I think in the mind of Them, the second question is: Not even lovely salty crispy chewy the-smell-sends-me-to-heaven bacon with bread? To answer Nope to That Question is a kind of insanity. I understand that.
But that’s not the question I hear. What I hear is: Not even the salted flesh of one of the more intelligent animals on earth that most likely lived and died in unspeakably cruel circumstances with bread? Answering Nope to That Question makes a heckuva lot of sense. It’s like answering Nope to:
Don’t you miss shaking babies?
Beating your wife?
Pulling the legs off spiders?
Biting the heads off bats?
Whacking turkeys with baseball bats?
Pumping the Gulf of Mexico full of oil?
I’m not insane. And I don’t think Them is insane. I think we are hearing different questions.
1) Please remember that these illustrations are inspired by Mr Arjun Basu’s stories, not necessarily illustrating them directly. 2) As far as Google is concerned, this is the first picture of a baconmaid in the history of the universe.
Also some other words so that the two words make sense: Starting now, illustrations inspired by the 140 character stories of Arjun Basu are a thing. Gentlepersons of the Internet, I announce to you Doing the Twisters (until I think of a better title).
1. After no one responded to my little contest, I did a thinking time. I thought, what I kind of said in my contest proposal was, ‘Hey, everyone, let’s do a fun thing together!’ And what you possibly said was, ‘I don’t actually know you, Jeff, so A Fun Thing Together isn’t actually that appealing to me. And since when have you been interested in Fun Things anyway? You never reblogged that picture of my cute cat/chest/sculpture of Darth Vader made entirely of charred bratwurst, nor did you ever do anything to acknowledge my birthday even though the rest of the Internet gave me meaningful good wishes.’ To which I replied, ‘Fair enough.’
2. Jack Holt likes pretty much everything I post here. That makes me feel good, so I did a drawing which I shall post momentarily.
“Here is a grateful public thank you to the people who requested drawings from me and helped fund Iona’s trip to Uganda. Thank you! She’s having a great trip painting latrines, playing with kiddos, eating strange food, having her world expanded.”—
At about 03.30 BST @sista_flapjack tweeted: Can anyone call my dad & let him know I’m moving to Wales to live with a dude I met online? I might be 36, but I’m the baby of the family.
At about 07.30 BST I tweeted the following reply: @sista_flapjack Cool! But I haven’t told my wife yet, and you’ll have to sleep on the floor in the living room.
This is Completely Hilarious because my Twitter bio states that I live in Conwy, North Wales. Meanwhile, her Actual beau’s bio says that he is located in teh intertubes (sic).
Also at about 07.30 I tweeted a further reply: @sista_flapjack Are you sure your boyfriend in ‘teh intertubes’ won’t mind you moving in with us?
The Complete Hilarity of my replies was confirmed by the starring of them by @sista_flapjack.
At some point in the late morning or early afternoon I posted this photograph of my sleeping wife on this very Tumblr blog. (As an aside, this photograph’s relative popularity confirms the love that many Internet users have for either cats, my wife, or moderately clever puns.)
Not too many hours passed before @sista_flapjack contributed to the Complete Hilariousness of the exchange by adding a note to my photo: HOLD THE PHONE, BUDDY! You never told me you had cats. Wife, yes but cats no. I think this is a deal breaker for me moving to Wales for you.
This is the end of my anecdote.
On a more serious note, @sista_flapjack, and in the interest of full disclosure, we also have three children, two rats, a gerbil, and two fancy goldfish. I honestly think you may be happier moving to ‘teh intertubes’, if their foreign office will give you a visa.
You know that lame-o who is also a hopeless romantic who is also convinced he is some kind of creative genius and he thinks he’s your friend but you and the rest of your friends know he isn’t? Imagine he’s showing you a song he wrote for this girl he adores but is way out of his league. It’s terrible. It’s beyond terrible. And the only thing you can do is smile and nod and hope he doesn’t notice you are cringing so hard it’s giving you cramp.
Hooray! My Happy Father’s Day toy was BeatMaker for my iPhone. Oh my fun-ness! This was created totally on my phone using mostly my nearly seven year-old daughter’s voice, with help from a mug, a pencil, a bottle of Kronenbourg and my mouth.
The potential for boring your guys to absolute death with this is immense!