Week 6 – In which I snap to guides

Week 6 – In which I snap to guides

This week was a short one. I’m still working away on that Illustrator course, slowly, but also with a bit more determination than before, as I don’t have much of my Skillshare subscription left. I’m also trying to make use of my final months of Masterclass, of which I fit bits and pieces into my mornings whenever I can.

“You know, you never snap to guides. Never snap to guides. Never snap to guides.”

Great words from graphic design giant David Carson in his Masterclass, where he compares grids and guides to training wheels, making decisions a designer should make. I watched this, and even I, someone usually very willing to take on board whatever some stranger on the internet tells me, let alone someone with that reputation and clout, immediately had to chuckle. Not using guides probably works great in poster design and advertising, maybe sometimes in magazines, but as soon as you have over 200 words of text, grids help create some kind of order. When a design’s job is not just to grab attention, but also to keep the eye going for long times, that order is vital. That, and I’m one of those people who has better ideas when there are restrictions in place; I’ve often realised that the more complex I’ve made a grid, the more ideas I have. The best books I’ve ever worked on looked like a damn spiderweb when you opened the layout file.

Checking the course, I see that there’s an assignment in it. Let’s see if I get to it this week, and let’s see if I manage to go without guides :D

What else did I do this week?

  • finished a new book cover (restrictions: an empty wallet and my limited patience); now all I have to do is to write up the process
  • used my new Illustrator skills to build myself a very simple calendar overview for the rest of the month (restrictions here: my home printer, an ancient laser jet low on toner)
going places

I’ve been reading

  • Ordinary Monsters by J.M. Miro. I’m taking my time with this one. Still not close to done.
  • Wir töten Stella / Das fünfte Jahr by Marlen Haushofer. This is a collection? Set? of two novellas by one of Austria’s greatest writers, who gave us the masterpiece The Wall and several other stunning books. It was my book club’s pick for December, and we all were enormously impressed with it. There’s something about Haushofer’s writing that pulls you close, really close, so you can feel the story’s breath on your face. Wir töten Stella (“Killing Stella” or, directly translated, “We kill Stella”) is a story that only gets darker and darker the more you examine it, full of repressed rage and regret. “Das fünfte Jahr” (“The Fifth Year”) has a very different tone, but manages to capture quiet sadness in a way that seeps through every sentence. Both gorgeous stories.
  • Schreckliche Treue by Marlen Haushofer. This is a collection of stories and snippets that I picked up at the library while reading Wir töten Stella. I’m only partly through and so far it’s a diverting read, lots of three-page anecdote-like pieces.

Other things I’m into

  • juliaplaysgroove on Youtube. Julia is a 22-year old bass player from Poland and regularly graces the internet with ah-ma-zing bass covers. Her music taste and mine are quite different, so I don’t always click on every new video, but for some reason this week I started listening through her entire channel and now I can’t stop. I’ve had a bass for over two years now and am still terrible at it, but I do love the sound. This cover of Thundercat’s “Them Changes” just absolutely slaps, even though there’s no slapping involved.
  • My new paper planner from Edition Julie Jolat. It’s beautifully designed, printed on recycled paper with a sexy structured cover material and somehow manages to look both gorgeous and like something to be used daily. You know how so many beautiful notebooks almost seems too pretty to be used? None of that here. Can’t wait for January.