Yap, yap, yap

Operator by Jeremy Brooks, at Flickr

John Oliver Coffey dropped me an e-mail the other morning about a new discussion forum for typesetters, aptly called . . . Typesetter Forum. It’s

a new (and free) forum for questions, answers and opinions related to the publishing industry with particular emphasis on typesetting.

Its not exactly a free-for-all (will be lightly moderated) and is oriented towards collaboration . . . and solving common typesetting challenges whether in applications or techniques. We will also post jobs, contracts, news and resources for everyone interested in the industry.

So, of course, because I was supposed to be getting ready for work, I decided to check the site out instead. Continue reading “Yap, yap, yap”

How do you learn Photoshop?

blackboard art

I’ve heard it said that most Photoshop users actually use only about 2 percent of the program’s features, and I can support this theory with my own experience: I know how to do what I know how to do.

I’ve learned most of what I know how to do from watching other people, either on the job or at InDesign User Group meetings and similar showcase-type events. Oh, and once, I read maybe the first half of Real World Scanning and Halftones. When I need to know how to do something else, I look it up in Help, Google what I’m trying to do, or look online for a tutorial. And then, unless that new trick is something I start doing every day, I usually forget it again pretty quickly. I don’t usually learn how to do a task by seeing it done once, but just knowing that something can be done makes it much easier to figure it out later. I would never have tangled with the vanishing point tool, for instance, if I hadn’t seen it demoed at the NYC InDUG.

This approach has worked just fine for me, in an assortment of jobs, since 1996, when I first got my paws on a copy of the program. And apparently my 2 percent is good enough. Continue reading “How do you learn Photoshop?”

How do you find out about design-related stuff?


Book designer B., soon moving to New York, wrote today to inquire,

  1. How do you find design jobs?
  2. How do you find out about groups to join for discussing design, books, etc., and for going with to conferences/seminars/talks?
  3. What are your favorite sites for knowing when design-related things are happening?

I get asked this first question every few months, and perhaps you do, too. My answer is always something along the lines of—

I also sometimes recommend that people contact the Lynne Palmer agency, which is a headhunter specifically for book publishing. I’ve never gotten a job through them, except through the power of Magical Thinking—whenever I contact them, I get offered a job by someone else—but I do know that they get cool listings that you will not find online.

For the second and third questions, I have no idea. I skim so many design blogs’ RSS feeds that if something worthwhile is going on, I assume I’ll get wind of it. But maybe I’ve been missing out on all the fun. Are you all going to events and not inviting me?

Please discuss. Tips on entering design communities in other locales also very welcome.

Photo: Advice by NineFingers / dustinotariumatron; some rights reserved.

Extracurricular Activities

Dress Code

Yesterday when I asked, “What does an ‘art director’ do?” Erin replied, “I dunno, exactly, but I do know they have a club!” To which I replied, in turn, “Those directors, and their clubs!”

Then, after work, I went out to have some beers with my club.

Which brings on this public service announcement: People, if you don’t live near a professional club, or if you don’t feel like the professional clubs in your area are the sort you’d like to join, start your own damn club. It doesn’t have to be clearly defined. It doesn’t have to be defined at all. It doesn’t have to even meet—maybe your blog friends constitute a club, as I like to think that mine do. But do try to have some kind of professional group you can call your own, however informal. It tastes good, and it’s good for you! Continue reading “Extracurricular Activities”