I rarely post or comment here, but I'm always lurking at the edges and enjoying the site everyone here has made happen.
This post is to thank the people who made 2012 at Drawger go over the top for me. Every word, every image posted here makes me insanely happy, but there were a few that really sent me soaring.
In no particular order...here they are:
The Uphill Climb
From Robert Hunt
In which Brian Stauffer and Robert Hunt decide it's a fine idea to climb Mount Everest and do some art along the way. Hello up there? Amazing! Amazing! Amazing!
The Embed in the Stan
From Victor Juhasz
Victor determines that it's an excellent plan to go to Afganistan and embed with troops to do art. Compelling to the point of no return. I have no words to describe how meaningful this is to me and others I have shared this remarkable story with.
from Marcos Chin
I dearly love how Marcos can devine an image, but his prose is perhaps even more sublime. I've read this post from him dozens of times and always walked away better for it. I'm glad he persued illustration, but if he ever decides to write, I'll follow him there any time.
What I did on my summer vacation...
from Bill Mayer
Bill has astounded me over and over in 2012, but his deft writing and images surrounding a simple family vacation with this one really stuck with me, Not many people commented on it at the time, but I enjoyed it a lot and continue to do so. Posted to his The Lab area, which I follow like a hungry dog looking for treats.
Mitt Romney for GQ
from Tim O'Brien
Tim posts some of my favorite articles here. They're always full of unexpected detail and reliable fun. I loved this one so much because he delivered up something somehow exactly right for the long days of a presidential campaign summer. I'm not a political person at all, but he captured all my personal misgivings about a popular candidate with one shot, one image. Also from Tim in 2012 was Illustrations from my students 2011-2012, which Robert Neubecker rightly commented was 'a very humble and honest summation of the teaching experience'. Enjoyed this look at his students work a lot as well.
The Obama Conquest
from Roberto Parada
One of the last Newsweek covers we'll see in print, hateful comments that Roberto allowed as part of the conversation, this post had a lot to offer, wrapped neatly and with care like a perfect gift. I for one am so happy I got to open and enjoy it. As with many posts here, the comment area was just as powerful as the article.
My first piece for The New Yorker
from Leo Espinosa
I always imagined a community that supports and encourages it's own. I love this post for the comment thread that follows it so much. It's exactly what I hoped for when I started this crazy joint.
There were many many more favorites for me, but I'll stop here. Have admittedly left out Kroniger's sublime series under A Box of Magazines, which I looked at again and again and enjoyed so much, along with many others who make this place amazing.
Have a lucky and prosperous 13. Many thanks to all who are here and inspire and to those who are watching and care about this crazy illustration racket.
One of the cool things about being me is that every year I get to have the Drawger Annual all to myself for a while. It's like my own private show. I get to sit here and watch all the good stuff arrive and for a short while, it's all mine!
Eventually, I have to share it with everyone else. It's a bit sad, but I have to let it go.
Actually, this privileged position is probably the only thing that's cool about me, come to think about it. But still I still think it makes me pretty darn cool.
This year I worked with the remarkable Katherine Streeter on the poster. She gave me all these amazing options and then left it up to me to decide which one to use! I think she's a bit cruel like that, to tell the truth. It really wasn't fair, I tell ya! How do art directors even work with this woman? It was like trying to pick a perfect apple from a tree of perfect apples!
I hope everyone enjoys the show this year as much as I have already! I really hate to let this one go, it was so nice to have it all to myself.
In January of 2006, I had this odd notion that a site where illustrators posted articles might be a fun place to hang out. At the very least it sounded like a place where I'd like to hang out.
Somehow or another, I got a few other people to think it might be fun as well. Dave Bamundo, Randall Enos, David Gothard, Don Kilpatrick, Mark Matcho, Hal Mayforth, Robert Saunders, Michael Sloan, James Steinberg, Nancy Stahl and Steve Wacksman were all willing to listen to this rather peculiar idea.
Around 2:30pm, February 9th 2006, Dave Bamundo bravely clicked a save button where no man had clicked a save button before and just like that, Drawger was born. About an hour later, Mark Matcho wandered in, clicked on a comment link and typed a few sentences. The first comment arrived.
On Drawger's forth birthday, there are 7,632 articles here and 82,295 comments. Image galleries here contain over 10,000 things to wonder at. Getting Drawger started, I have to admit, it was a rather selfish thing for me at the time. I just wanted it for me, me me. Remarkably, it's now for thousands daily, because of everyone here.
the original header (awww...it's so cute!)
A few memorable milestones (for me)
September 11th, 2006 - The homepage became a spontanious memorial. Without a doubt, one of the most moving experiences I've ever had. I realized then that Drawger was much more than fun, it was deeply meaningful. Sample of that day, from Edel
Monkey Song - October 2006. A completely blank post by David Flaherty got 151 comments. I try to derive meaning from this, but never arrive at any.
January 2007 I notice a very real spike in traffic and wonder what's going on. I track the traffic back to a rather obscure, politically right-leaning site. The reason people were showing up here? To convince themselves that the "artistic intelligenicia" were suffering from Bush Derangement Syndrome. It suddenly dawned on me that Drawger was having an impact. Until then, I thought we were all here just talking to each other. We got 50,000 unique visitors that month. 50,000 visitors is often a daily occurance here now.
September 2007 - Drawger is officially on radar as sites like BoingBoing (here linking to a Nancy Stahl show) and others start to take notice that something might actually be going on here.
June 2008 - Note to self: The most popular content at Drawger is Lou Brooks' Museum of Forgotten Art Supplies, with over 375,000 unique page views for the week.
July 2008 - Barry Blitt's New Yorker cover, titled "The Politics of Fear" just about crashes the server as thousands arrive hourly to send him hate mail (pro-Obama hate mail), even though his page here has nothing on it at the time. Fortunately for Barry who wasn't even able to eat solid food at that point, his email box was full and all that stupid crap bounced back to Drawger.
June 2009 - The New York Times refers to Drawger in print and then online, regarding Google's requests for free art in exchange for links. After getting an average of 10,000 hits per minute, Drawger goes down hard and we get a new server.
July 2009, Tim O'Brien posts Eyes, a portrait trubute to Neda Agha-Soltan. Visitors from around the world arrive by the thousands, we're linked to by sites I can't read. The portrait is displayed at her memorial service.
This is an amazing place to call home
A good neighborhood is made up of people who you learn to know and love, where you don't mind the guy next door throwing a trash can in the street at 2am, where your neighbor is willing to help you jump-start your car when it's 10 degrees outside, and where you don't have to lock your doors. To me, that's Drawger.
Did this finally after many stops and starts: Ohger, a site for students and recent grads in illustration.
What happened: I've been wondering for two years solid whether I could (or even should) do something for students of illustration, to help them find out who each other are, provide them with a site where they can learn about best practices from professionals and quite possibly get exposed to a few art directors along the way.
Pacing back and forth on the idea, that's what I've been doing. "Yes I should do it!", "No way you dope, it's a really really lousy idea!", "Yes indeed, I must make this happen if I can!", "Get a freakin' grip dude, it's the lamest idea since melba toast."
I finally stopped pacing and struck a semi-heroic pose in the mirror. Said, Yes, " I need to make this happen if I possibly can"
Why oh why: If illustration hasn't yet crossed the border into the Wild West, where the rules no longer apply and the law is nowhere to be found East or West of the Pecos, it looks to me like that unhappy horizon is rapidly approaching.
Free is becoming the new normal.
Sure thing, most working professionals delivered a free piece of art when they were fresh out of school, in exchange for dubious exposure. Perhaps they did a piece for chump change to get a client listing as well. Today, those opportunities are much more pervasive and abundent enough to start looking like free is gearing up as the new normal. What are the newcomers supposed to do, except to hopefully band together if they can and take a stand? I'm hoping Ohger will be a buttress in that defense.
I figure that if illustration (which is the only thing I actually like besides kids playing baseball) is going to hold some ground, I can at least help get these students talking in one place if I can. Hopefully the pros will stop in to offer encouragement as well.
OHGER.COM - for students of illustration and recent grads (one year out only). Hit me!
Like everything else I try to help with, it may well be dashed to bits on the rocks below. If that's the case, so be it. I'm giving the idea time and effort now and at the very least I don't have to pace around any more thinking about it.
In which the unlikely publisher of Drawger points out some personal favorites from the year 2008 in no particular order what-so-ever. Thanks to everyone who made 08 one heck of a great read here. I love this place!
To my personal picks without delay:
Drawger launched into 08 with a fabulous post from Richard Borge where he documented his Jessica Hoop Video. This post remains one of my all-time favorites. Borge is the man in my book.
Okay, so I'm a real sucker for any type of detailed documentation of process. My favorite series of the year was back in July and August when Chris Buzelli posted his documentation on the Trophen Museum work. Chris gave us a really great look behind the curtain. Here's July posts on Trophen and here's August. Thanks Chris!
Anybody who didn't appreciate the Mingering Mike the Soul Supa-star post by Laura Levine back in February is just a bummer. I loved it and so should everybody else! Zina Saunders caused HUGE traffic spikes at Drawger all year. Her Sarah Palin Bags a Big One may well have been the single most popular post at Drawger in all of 08. I liked it plenty myself, but my personal pick from Zina was her marvelous Marshall Erismon Profile. Simply yummy.
It's a given that Edel Rodriguez posts extreme coolness at a pace that makes the average bloggers head spin. His A Show in Spain documentation from January was one of my personal favs of 08 until he posted All About My Father in June which had me bawling like a baby. I also really appreciated his send-up to Tom Trapnell.Thanks Edel, I love you man!
No doubt about it, Steve Brodner has created a real show-stopper with his Person of the Day series. Traffic arrives here from far and wide to gobble up the brainy antics of this thoughtful master. His 4000 Persons of the Day was my personal favorite from 08 - as well as Steve's righteous and mighty Support Barry post which almost brought our dear server to it's knees. Thanks for keeping my brain buzzing this year Steve! I don't know what I'd do without you at this point.
Like I said, I'm a sucker for process posts. David Goldin'sThe Fruit of Our Labor post back in March was just coolness with a cork. I loved it and even got to taste it! Fernanda Cohen'sIllustrator Travel Kit. Nuff said. Too cool.
For the past three years, Tim O'Brien has documented his New York Marathon experience with the same degree of bravery and thoughtfullness as the amazing run itself. This year was no exception and it was his best run and his best post to date. Marathon is a great read and an amazing accomplishment. It also needs to be said that Tim's Cover of Rolling Stone post was easily one of the most viewed posts at Drawger this year, and for all the right reasons. Totally amazing. Anita Kunz had me at hello with My new intern (I loved this too much for my own good) and Burn Baby Burn remains one of the most mind-bending posts I've ever had the extreme discomfort to witness. Thanks Anita! Hanoch Piven does for Drawger what Captain Kangaroo used to do for me when I was two...keep me waiting for the next episode of wonder and delight. His Garbage Mountain post and his Keith post were both real keepers in my book. A world without Piven at this point is simply unthinkable. I salute you sir! Rob Dunlavey has brought us some of his thoughts and insites into the state of affairs in Zimbabwe over the past few years. I really enjoy his contributions on this subject. Here's a look back at some of my personal picks from 08 - Hey Buddy Can Your Spare 50 Billion Dollars, Mugabe. Harry Campbell (the undisputed king of spots) doesn't post a lot here, but when he does it's always some of my favorite stuff. His Op-Ed for Wednesday was my favorite from 08. I love to see the doodles that lead to the conclusion. Harry gives it up! Linzie Hunter'sLeft or Right Brain? hooked me bad and her Back by Popular Demand! was a tastey treat as well. Thank God for the Brits!
Way back in January, Adam McCauley started a great conversation with his What is it article. I really love this kind of post. Represents the best of what Drawger does. Thanks Adam!
Do you like to get really close-up details of work, see all the brush strokes and cracks? Me too! At Drawger, Marc Burckhardt is your man. He posts a piece and then lets you see it up close and personal. BLAB! Show Los Angeles. Mmmmmmm. Donald Kilpatrick was probably a journalist in a previous life. His posts are always a solid read. His touching tribute to Joseph Solman was a real stand out for me this year. I loved it and if you haven't read it, read it now.
I like childrens blocks, always have. I have a small collection of them. It should come as no surprise that I also liked the ABC post by Greg Mambly a LOT.
If Joseph Fiedler wasn't the worlds greatest living illustrator he'd probably be a documentary film maker. He has loaded Drawger with some amazing accounts of travels, events and studio tours. The one that really hooked me in 08 was his Marin Studio Visit: John Hersey in May. Cool details, expert timing, just what I needed. Bob Staake has a way of writing his posts where the reader feels like they are getting a personal tour of his ever-expanding brain. One of my favorite examples from 08 was his super-cool Roomy Enough For Two Cockroaches And Up To Eighteen Deer Ticks article. And, being a complete sucker for any post that documents process, you can't beat My Odd Way Of Working from January! Thanks for memories Bobster! Felix Sockwell occassionally stops in here to give us a lot to think about and I for one sure do appreciate it. His Tour De Force explanation of his iphone icons in his new iPhone nytimes GUI article was just solid amazing. I also love it when someone at Drawger sends out props to out-going art directors and Felix's send-up to Brian Rea was really cool. Stephen Kroninger uses Drawger to talk about other people and show us what inspires him, which is cool. Very occassionally he will give us a peek at his own process and that's when my ears really perk up. His Nation Cruise for The New York Times post from February was one of my favorites. Thanks for sharing Stephen! Robert Huntcleaned his brushes in April and built a model of a dragon so he could paint it in November. Both of these posts had me blinking in disbelief and awe. Unreal.
For one reason or another, Drawger inspires some collateral activities. One of the funniest this year was Nancy Stahl'sDrawger Scrabble Tournament which was documented here all the way to the winner. Another very cool contribution from Nancy in 08 is the Women's Work show which gets a TON of traffic and has over 200 brilliant works on display. Yeah Nance! Woo Hoo! Carl Weins uses Drawger to talk about his family life, his sons, his brother, his life at home, his travels. I love that stuff and it's a really cool use of Drawger. His Last skate post from March is a great example of letting people see Carl in his natural habitat.
If Drawger has any lasting historical value, internet archaeologists will almost certainly point to Randall Enos' widely acclaimed My Life on the Slanted Board series. This year, we only got one instalment, but it may well be the best one yet. MY LIFE ON THE SLANTED BOARD...Chapter 28, "Stripping For Playboy". Brilliant!
If Drawger had a face, it would be the face of David Flaherty. My favorite stuff from David is his documentary work, whether it's an opening, a pool party or just a simple trip across town. His Quest for the Wacksman's Passage is best of show in 08 in my book.
An 08 highlight for me was Peter Kuper reporting from Mexico. I felt like we were getting a direct feed from the dusty streets. I'm really glad he took to time to document and post Mexico Street Art especially. I love that kind of stuff. Keep em' coming Kuper!
I'm a real sucker for babies. Gina and Matt let us have it with New Employee. Loved it loved it loved it. A. Richard Allen tends to show just about everything that he can squeeze in. I love that. I especially love all the process sketches he shows. How To Live to be 100 was just one of my favorites from 08 - especially the annotated sketch on drag, which was hilarious!
In April, Leo Espinosa posted Friday Pencil Fiesta, in which he just started collecting and posting pencil drawings people would email to him. All of those drawings got relocated to here, and that single post resulted in the ongoing Pencil Fiesta gallery here at Drawger, which Leo bravely manages and edits. Yeah Leo! I love you like a rock! Brian Stauffer has really put together a string of hits this year at Drawger. I really appreciated the insight into his thinking process with The Tough Ones in February and in March his Spitzer OP-ED post really showed how quiet and confident art direction (in this case from Brian Rea) can lead to amazing results.
Lastly not leastly, Lou Brooks uses Drawger to mostly post up things that inspire him, tracing his roots to jazz and pulp. It's always great stuff. Every so often he lets us in on a good inside story as well. The You and Your Turntable article was a cool insight into how illustrators can often effect smart editorial decisions and that's the kind of stuff that really gets me going. In June, Lou posted that his Art Supply Museum Tops '100' Mark!, referring to his Museum of Forgotten Art Supplies show here, which continues to be one of the most visited areas of Drawger. Way cool. Lou is the man.
. . . . . . . .
That's it for now! I probably left some of my favorites out, but I can definately recommend all of the above as a sample plate of what Drawger does best. Look forward to 2009!
Very pleased to announce that Drawger has survived long enough to publish it's third annual and that it's the biggest yet, with 61 fabulous pieces for your viewing pleasure!
And when I say that Drawger has "survived" - this is not neccessarily a given, folks. This site has traveled through some precarious terrain since it arrived on browsers in February of 2006. We were basically set up as a small social club, with enough room to accommodate a few people milling around the bar chatting among themselves. That was the original idea and that idea didn't last very long. By February of 2007, Drawger was struggling to seat over 1,000 visitors daily and a quarter of a million page vews per month. By February of this year, those numbers had more than doubled and we were on our third server, scrambling to seat eager visitors who gobbled-up bandwidth on scales never imagined. On an average day lately, Drawger welcomes an average of 5,000 unique visitors, and serves up well over a million page views monthly. Who woulda thunk it?
It's a testimony to the great people here. Drawgers have consistently delivered a tasty mix of daily content - from the seriously thought-provoking to the downright nutty. It's been my honor and enormous privilege to make this happen for everyone involved.
This is a team of 8, 9 and 10 year olds playing this fall in Western North Carolina, corporate home of illoz.com.
Western North Carolina Fall Baseball is a BIG DEAL around these parts and I thought "what the hey...", if a $325 sponsorship will guarantee that a bunch of kids can get dirty and hit some balls, then we're in! Right?
Today was opening day for the Angels. I was so excited I could hardly contain myself. Seeing them take the field in those little illoz shirts....I can not EVEN begin to describe the excitment of it. I wish everyone could have seen it like I did.
Our illoz Angels went up against the highly favored Astros and came away with a narrow defeat, backed by solid defense and swift base running. When the game was over, team drinks were immediately poured down each other's necks and they went and played in the creek, the narrow defeat forgotten ... immediately.
Ah, to be a kid again...
When you look at kids like this...how can you POSSIBLY not want to help them play ball?
Glad that illoz had a few bucks left over (thanks so much to everyone involved) to make this happen for the Angels. They are one chill team of characters.
Great parents too! As the illoz Angels slipped in the 4th inning to hand over the game to the Astros, parents calmly chattted amoung themselves about how hard the team was trying and how the next game might be better. Parents make a huge difference in youth baseball and the Angel's parents made it all good in the end, the way it should be.
The Angel's dugout was really the place to be. These kids hung the fence every minute and chewed a lot of gum.
Thanks to Coach Yohon Whitaker and his assistant, Ronald Blackman. I happened to snap this pic of them while they were making out their lineup and not exactly sure if they were all that happy about me wandering around on their field at the time...Like I said I was a bit excited, perhaps a bit too excited.
These guys really do have the best interests of the kids in mind at all times and I'm SO PROUD to be able to help them field a team this fall, with the help of everyone involved with the illoz project.
A signed and numbered print by Marc Burckhardt, of Robert Johnson - all for me!
It's impossible to explain how fine this print is. The brilliant colors, the luxurious paper, the exceptional quality of the print itself are all simply breath-taking. This is one truly exquisite work. The man is a master, done deal, game over.
Luckily for everyone, Marc has the same quality of prints for sale at his illogator shop, which just opened for business this week.
Check it out! Marc has his own tape!
How cool is that?
I mean, how many people have their own tape? Gimmi a break!
I'm very pleased and proud to release illogator.com for the perusal and pleasure of the illustration collecting public.
The illogator is designed specifically for illustrators who are selling original works, whether they be original paintings, prints, objects of desire for the home, or unique apparel items. Online shops at illogator are available to illustrators by invitation only.
My personal hope is that illogator's primary contribution will be to give art collectors a place to purchase original works that they have seen on book covers, magazines and other print mediums. The art from the cover of Time Magazine, the art from the cover of a latest best seller, the art on the annual report from IBM - these are arguably more influential to our culture than any works that hang in our museums on any given day. I'm pleased to be able to trumpet that notion and to provide a website where those original works can be made available for purchase.
The world of illustration has changed dramatically over the past decade. More and more, illustrators offer their own lines of unique merchandise and illogator.com provides professionals with a place to sell and promote those lines as well.
The site launches today, with a small group of remarkable people who have helped me test out the site and make this idea come to life. I'm very grateful for all their efforts on behalf of this project and hope it serves them well for very many years to come.
Very pleased indeed to let loose the 2nd Drawger Annual. The first one in 2006 was so much fun, it was clear that Drawger should give it another go. 52 Drawgers made it happen for 2007.
You learn a few things putting together a show like this. One is that illustrators can't do anything without a deadline. When I sent word that the show was being planned, I gave Drawgers a somewhat generous deadline for entries of about a month and a half. With almost no exceptions, every single piece arrived on the last day. So rule number one when dealing with illustrators: Deadlines rule.
Another thing. By and large illustrators have weird names. I defy anyone to spell Burckhardt the same way twice or Vasconcelos, Witschonke or Ciardello. I have unresolved spelling issues, and putting this together required cut-and-paste skills like I've never employed them before. For some reason, I had Brian Stauffer's name spelled three different ways on the same page at one point. He was kind enough to help me through that. New admiration goes out for all those art directors setting illustrator names in 4 point type for the margins of magazines. I've never seen one spelled incorrectly.
Third and lastly, illustrators are an amazingly generous lot. If you ask them nicely and have even a measure of sincerity, they will bend over three ways to Sunday to make good things happen. The 2007 Drawger Annual is testimony to that.
The show was a real pleasure to have all to myself for a while. It was like sitting alone with an unreleased classic. I've looked at each individual entry dozens of times - some of the works were much larger, with much higher resolution than I can display at Drawger, so I had the benefit of zooming in, for what I must admit to as many hours spent marveling at the skills and dedication to the art form these great people have in bewildering abundance.
I hope everyone enjoys the show! If we can keep good ship Drawger afloat, we'll do it all again in 2008.
The Drawger server suffered a big-thumb catastrophe last night at around 11pm. Five days of data was deleted in less than five seconds. The data can not be recovered - meaning that a slice of Drawger history is lost forever to the digital beyond.
I am humbled, embarrassed, and terribly sorry. In the eight years I've dedicated to developing internet technologies, I've never experienced anything like this. It's a server tsunami.
Here's part of the disaster back-story: I've been scrambling lately to cope with unexpected popularity at Drawger. Over the last 30 days, we've been visited by over 65,000 people who have eagerly gobbled up over 366,000 pages of content. Since Drawger was originally built as a small social club, we simply didn't have enough capacity to accommodate all the guests. If Drawger was a bar, the fire marshall would have closed the joint down a long time ago. Not enough chairs, not enough bathrooms, not enough emergency exits for the gregarious crowd. So - last week we packed up and moved to what appeared to be a bigger, better ventilated box. What we didn't realize was that the sprinkler system didn't work and all the emergency exits emptied out into oncoming traffic. What looked like a good move turned into a disaster waiting to happen - and it did.
Hopefully, the members and guests will forgive me. I am taking steps to insure this can never happen again, at least not on such a massive and disastrous scale. Right now, we have temporary lodging in the server-equivalent of a bunch of FEMA trailers. By this weekend, we will be high, dry and living the good life - I promise.
Drawger went into beta in February of 2006 with 10 illustrators helping the project and trying to figure out whether something like this might be positive for the good people of the illustration community. The site officially went live on or about March 10th of 2006.
Since then, Drawger has had it's up and downs, no doubt about it. There have been normal growing pains, weathered with good humor and patience by all. When Drawger started looking at the numbers in June, 2006 - the site was attracting around 5,000 visitors a month. The reaction at the time was, "Who the heck are these people and what are they doing here?". At last count, Drawger is close to ten times that, nudging 50,000 visitors every month. I'm still not entirely sure what these people are doing here, but it's nice to know that Drawger is providing the inspiration and connection that was it's original intent.
Drawger has gone on to inspire the upstart, illoz site. Without the ideas and encouragement of the Drawger community, it would have never come to life. I'm so pleased with the results, I don't even have words for it.
I'd like to thank everyone who participates at Drawger. It's been a solid year of entertainment, inspiration and outright joy for me, every single day.
And also: Mad props to my partner in code, Josh Carpenter. Without his help, none of this would have been possible.
What started here from Leo Espinosa on September 30th of last year, landed with huge surprise in my mail box today. I am overwhelmed and so grateful for this gift, from my friends here.
Since none of the group saw this collectively, I thought I'd let you have a look at how the end pages of Klezmer turned out. It is a treasure.
Honestly - I don't have any words for this, which is pretty darn unusual for me.
This wonderful print from Leo has been brought low by my cheap scanner but it is going to the frame shop tomorrow! What a beauty...
Extra Goodies were enclosed.
Many, many thanks for this gift from all of you! Still speachless.
September at Drawger was remarkable - and I thought I'd send out my thanks to everyone and all who have made this site an important part of my life. When I started this site up a very short six months ago, I had no clue how much of an impact it would have on me. I'm not the kind of fellow who gets mushy about much - but I don't mind admitting, this place really does get yank my sentimental chain in unexpected ways.
September 11 at Drawger took me by complete surprise. The day revealed something vital here - that it does provide a real community for an amazing group of people. Edel sent me a memorial screen shot, which I have printed out and hangs in the studio - reproduced here to the right. I've put Edel's original on the server for downloading right here if anyone wants a reminder of that day and how remarkable this place has become. - sniff -
Drawger hooked up with Nate Williams and Illustration Mundo in September. This tip of the hat from the outside web world was cool and also telling. It showed that Drawger has real substance - content that makes a difference and that others want to track. At this point, the Mundo connection represents about 10% of the total traffic to the site. Totals are over 12,000 visitors in September and over 150,000 page views. Fairly amazing...
September also acted as the proving ground for a concept that I believed in, but wasn't so sure would actually pan out. I've had this notion for a long time that online communities can (and in fact, must) be self-regulating. When I started up Drawger, I got a lot of hand-wringing emails, people worried about what someone else might say, and how I planned on policing content that some might find inappropriate. From the begining, I believed that the good people would take care of that themselves, that the community at large would figure it out. So far, so good.
I could point to a few other watershed moments, including welcoming some great new people to the site, but I figure I'd better end it here with simple thanks to all. I appreciate.
Thanks to Nate Williams and Illustration Mundo for giving Drawger big props and a nod by flowing some of the content here straight into the excellent Mundo world. Even though not all Drawger articles will be fed to the marvelous Mundo machine, certain ones will. It's up to the people here which ones flow Mundo-side. One thing I'm certain of, Drawger will not disappoint.
It's absolutely phenomenal what's happened here at Drawger since the beta testing started six months ago. The remarkable people here have put this site on the map. Group hug! I love this place and everything it does for me (he admits with a certain sniffle and a handy Kleenex). I hope the arrivals from Illustration Mundo find it just as inspiring.
The beta-version of Drawgerpedia goes live today, ladies and gents. It may work out, it may not, I don't have a clue. This place constantly surprises me.
What is it? It's a member maintained encyclopedia of any type of information we'd like to create. People that are members at Drawger should log in and check out the options. Broad categories of interest can be started. I started one initial category called "Illustrating Greats". Then I added a sub-categrory under that titled "Comic Strtip Artists" and then I added an article inside there about a fellow named James Childress.
Anyone who is a member and logged in can edit that article about Childress. Any topic of interest can be added, and then added to or edited by any Drawger person.
The information in the Drawgerpedia will be available to any web site visitor. They will not be able to add or edit, however.
So - don't be timid about it. Jump and if you want and add a sub-category under Illustrating Greats. I intended this as a biography section. If you are super-bold, then add a new main category - whatever seems like a good idea. We'll see if this works and if we like it or not. Could be cool. Could be a giant flop. We'll see.
The Drawgerpedia is pretty much open to whatever happens.
The Drawger Speakeasy is now open for business. Members here will only see the link, up top, when they are logged in. The only way for ANYONE to view the content of the Speakeasy is to be a member AND logged in. In short, the general public has no access at all to view whatever is written there-in.
It can hold as many topics of conversation as we can think up, so if you're a Drawger and want to start a conversation, log in, hit the Speakeasy button up top, and fire at will.
A new upgrade will be arriving at Drawger in short order and I am calling out for help with naming it.
What it is: A message board that only members can see and only members can post to. The general public rabble that wanders through here will have no access to the inevitable complaining and client busting that will commence.
I am not beneath sponsored naming opportunities. For example, The Elwood Smith Board of Bullwax and Balogna might be worth considering.
At any rate, post em if you've got em.
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I have a few professional photographer aquaintences who've asked if I can set up a site like Drawger for their community. Drawger has been such an inspiration to me, on a daily basis, I figure it's my obligation to spread the goodness around.
I've registered Photager.com and will go into beta on that site within a month.
If you have similar friends, then pass the word and tell them to get in touch with me if they want to try it out. It will be the same deal - invitation only, working pros only.
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On a similar note, the idea I floated for Designager isn't getting much traction. I might be inspired to set up a site for freelance designers - but it ain't happened yet.
In case anyone wants to follow Tim's example.
You should use the Safari Browser when placing Odeo files on the site. If you see the text editor thing, it don't work so good.
powered by ODEO
Follow this path to Odeo for sign up and get your microphone ready.
The first semi-annual Drawger Design Awards do not include a buffet lunch, no key note speaker and have no legitimacy what-so-ever as they are based completely on what I think is nifty.
For best use of Drawgers clunky and remarkably confusing interface, the top award goes to David Flaherty for his super smooth header.
A close second, receiving nothing what-so-ever except big props and insane jealousy from me is Susan Crawford for her deft melding of background color and banner.
For best use of a frustrating and madly confusing color picker, loud applause and admiration to new-comer Marc Burckardt for the enviable eye candy.
The semi-annual Drawger Design Awards are based on nothing at all except what I personally think is groovy. Anyone who thinks they have been left out, passed over, or unjustly ignored can file complaints in the circular file.
Here's a Drawger upgrade idea - would appreciate feedback.
From the start, I've wanted to incorporate a central Drawger gallery for group shows. Here's where my attention deficit disorder has managed to take me so far on this concept.
Each member will have the ability to launch a gallery show at Drawger. They'll give it a name, a logo if they like, and a written description of what the show is about. They will also set whether the show is curated, or the show is open to any Drawger member. If the show is curated, they will be able to pick which pieces get in, and which hit the street. Open shows, obviously will take any entry.
Pieces that are submitted will appear in a new admin function. A member that starts a show will see the pieces before anyone else does. They can organize the show and launch it all at once, or let pieces trickle in as they arrive.
The Drawger who starts a show will be able to organize it any way they want, by setting priorities for each piece. They will also be able to end a show.
Any gallery show that is started will be viewable from the main site. They will be represented by links, based on the title of the show. Also, the shows started by each member will be viewable on the member page that started it as well.
That's the thing in the works. Any add ons, ideas, bonus feature concepts will be appreciated.
"Some folks have told me they're not keen on paying $20/year for a blog when Blogger and other places offer them for free. How about a full-service Drawger Blog for $20 (which I think is totally reasonable, considering hosting fees for a single site), and a limited-feature free option? Maybe even a student-artists section? Maybe not. cheers! Luc"
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Luc is right, there are plenty of places to blog from for free. Blogger is of course owned by Google, who make their money on AdWords. MySpace makes money by selling hideous ads.
I figure the people who are here and any that follow will figure out whether it's worth $20 a year. If it isn't worth it, then that's okay. I'm not selling hideous ads, ever.
It's also a private club. Any junk that shows up here will be shown the door. I don't want their crummy $20.
I do plan on making a seperate free section just for students. I have this whole "adopt a newbie" idea that I think would be a real kick. An online mentor program of sorts. It will happen.
Also on the board, a section for Flash animations for everyone, a central gallery spot with themed shows that everyone can contribute to from time to time, a central movie spot where everyone can contribute animations.... heck I've got a long upgrade list that doesn't include raising annual dues.
The money - if I ever make any - will simply go straight back into the site and make itself known with more capabilities to communicate for everyone here.
I pay for band-width and hosting and beyond that I have Josh Carpenter on staff who wrote the majority of the code we use here every day. I'd at least like him to be able to take his excellent girl friend out for a nice dinner once a year. Right now, I pay him enough so they can do that semi-annually...