because i'm the art director, that's why

i've been home for two hours …and i only now feel slightly human. the usual ten or minutes i need to decompress once i get home turned into about a hundred and twenty minutes, tonight.

this week, Saltmine U. has done its best to live up to its name. many people badly need to learn how to come up with A Plan when new things happen. however, instead of A Plan, we're currently doing a lot of Running Around In A Panic, which, while it might feel like planning has happened because of all the frenetic energy involved, really is not at all the same thing. i refuse to run around in a panic unless my life is in immanent danger -- and even then, it's much more likely that i'll be plotting as i run toward the danger, hoping to punch it in the mouth unawares.

speaking of punches in the mouth, it's very tempting to answer any and all questions and arguments about design with the grand pronouncement, "because i'm the art director, and i fucking well say so," which in a perfect world would just end the discussion right there, even the more heated ones. recently, i've been tempted to say it about such things as: grid layouts, perfect-bound signatures, saddle-stitching and gutters, and white space. but instead, i take a deep breath and explain that no, a centerfold does not have a gutter for what seems like the billionth time in three minutes. and take a lot of walks.

so, a brief word on the concept of grid layouts -- they're really nifty. you can use them to make a total goat rodeo of bits and pieces of copy and photos look organized, and like you actually designed it, instead of like you haphazardly took the text file your client supplied and tried to arrange it decoratively around a sprinkling of clip art and stock photos, then wondered why you had all this extra space left over, so you thought you'd try to put big gaps in between your blocks of text and images to even it out a bit. and then scratched your head and wondered why it looked like crap.

gee, how about because you're not actually a designer?

i've decided that grid layouts are going to be part of my new test from separating designers from production artists. anyone who just flings boxes around in indesign will immediately fail the interview.

also, just to clear things up: print jobs with more than two pages run on a sheet-fed press or a web-fed press do, in fact, have signatures, no matter how they're bound. really. in this instance, pressmen and physics agree. shock.

however, the drive home wasn't going to let itself be topped by the work week, oh no. the other driver of faithful Slushbucket the van, had helpfully managed to douse most of himself in gasoline when he filled it up. did i say "douse"? i meant "soak." i could smell the benzene from outside the van, and when i got in, it was eye-watering. despite complaints, i rolled my window down and kept it there for the two-hour drive, in the interests of not getting sued for endangering the riders' health. i stuck my head out of the window, doglike, whenever possible, figuring breathing exhaust fumes was less dangerous to my lungs. i have a raging headache that has still not abated, though it's been hours since i was out of the miasma.

many digital speed paintings are supposed to be done by tomorrow. the plan was to do the last of them tonight, but after sitting on the couch, wishing some kind soul would just come hack my head off, that's not happened. i did, however, remember to print out the digital painting from last week that the model wanted a copy of, so i am very slightly ahead of the game.

my hair has decided to pitch an insurrection. when pulled back, the ends of the previously stealthy dreadlocks now sproing vertically from my head. this might be better if they were not colored. the teal dread in particular has been energetic. it's almost like it knows it was supposed to get cut this weekend by wendy from hair police, and is celebrating its stay of execution. however, the haircut will have to wait until april, when she's back in LA. until then, i suspect more unruliness is on the way.

in the works:

  • a redesign of, because i need another project with which to threaten old deadlines
  • a character drawing i need to finish
  • a wedding present painting i need to start
  • a cloth banner i need to paint
  • a comic book cover i need to do
  • home decorating advice for two people
  • art for two blogs
  • homework
  • portfolio assignments
  • self-promotional work
  • and of course, work from the day job

just looking at the list makes me cringe; mainly because all but three of those things are not paying work. they're things i promised as favors, presents, or barter. the list of obligations is getting shorter, if glacially.

and the last random thought before bed -- all that benzene can't have done good things for my brain.

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