from arcandio's mad ravings

I mean, that they're mysteries to me, not that I know enough to reveal them for you. Questions, not answers.

Before we get underway, my commission info packet / menu is here. You may want to refer to it throughout the post. And if you happen to actually want a commission, let me know!

So I spent a lot of this afternoon analyzing what little business strategy I have, and decided along the way that I wanted to try expanding where I promote my artwork, as a start.

That led me to some of the better subreddits, among them [/r/DnD](), /r/characterdrawing. But what I found with the latter was that it's strictly pro-bono, which doesn't help me much, and as with other communities, solicitation is pretty strictly limited on /r/DnD.

That's how I found /r/fantasyartists, which is specifically created for artists looking for work and clients looking for artists. Reading their rules, I found that according to them, I'm likely underselling the work and effort I put in on my commission work, not to mention that doing so prevents me from posting there at all. I understand, subreddits are hard to police, and a lot of communities have to have very strict rules in order to keep the place in order. I'm not faulting them specifically of course. (Though I've had mostly bad experiences with actually trying to promote my work and show people stuff on reddit, frequently due to over-aggressive rules and policies)

My problem is that the thing threw my whole carefully crafted pricing model into question.

Straight Talk

I'm gonna talk about actual numbers now, so if that makes you uncomfortable as corporate life has made many people, skip to the next heading.

According to /r/fantasyartists, the standard/minimum rate for fantasy art is a minimum of $100, and an hourly rate of $30.

My commissions range from $20 sketches to $80 portraits, and into the multi-hundreds for what I call “custom commissions,” which just means it doesn't fit into one of the very small boxes I use for those inexpensive commissions above. I've charged /r/fantasyartists prices for a lot of my commissions, but I've also sold a lot for cheaper.

Now, one problem that I've got is that I don't charge for $30/hour. I've seen my commissions take from 2.5 to 7 hours. Granted, the 7 hour piece was one of the more expensive custom commissions, but some of the ones I've sold for $60 have taken me 5-6 hours, so they should have cost more like $150-$180. So that's not great, but it's not easy to charge people hourly on Etsy, where most of my commissions are coming from. It seems to me that the market I'm selling to wants up-front pricing. Which brings me to my next point.

Separate Markets

I think I'm not selling to the people that /r/fantasyartists are selling to. Though if the talk on the discord is correct, they're not selling much at all through the subreddit. I'm selling these pieces exclusively so far to people who want to either commemorate gaming experiences, or to people who want to go “all in” on an upcoming gaming experience. They're civilians. Non-game-designers. These aren't commercial clients, they're personal. And I don't think that personal clients have the kind of cash to throw around for me to charge $30 an hour, unless I suddenly get hella-fast.

Now, I would love to get some business from commercial clients, and charge them an hourly rate, (which I just added to my commission menu) but:

  • I don't know how to find those clients
  • I'm not good enough to be anything but “middling” at the moment
  • I can't afford to change over pricing structure completely, because then I'd have to abandon Etsy and I'd end up with zero clients

So what's an artist to do? I've slowly started ratcheting up my prices because I've started to produce some better work, but I don't want to scare off the clients that I'm already getting.

To be blunt, I'm not interested in fooling around with /r/fantasyartists at this point, because after I did all this thinking I realized that the subreddit is actually fairly tiny and hardly anyone's getting business from it. It's not worth the effort to post there on top of everything else I'm trying to do to promote myself on social media.

I don't have answers for these questions right now. It's just frustrating.

file under #freelancing #art #illustration #promotion #marketing

I'm Joe Bush and I design games as Voidspiral Entertainment. Did you like the article? Hit me up on or twitter.


from I Am A Camera

A field report from the annual Chicago conference on disabilities and the arts, plus a look at my first experience signing with strangers

#asl #signlanguage #chicago #deaf #community #fieldreport #inclusive #dance #festival #mayors #office #people #disabilities #kineticism #art #therapy #MOMENTA #AnitaFillmoreKenney #TheProblemWithNormal #ColumbiaCollege

Chicago Inclusive Dance Festival

[Need to get caught up on the entire saga of me learning American Sign Language (ASL) and getting involved in the Chicago Deaf community this year? The complete set of links is at the bottom of the page.]

So for those who don't know, in the last five or six years I've started attending more and more dance recitals here in Chicago, as my hearing continues to get worse and it becomes more and more difficult to attend my previous Saturday night events like movies, plays and rock shows. I'm not a dancer myself, and know almost nothing about the activity's history or theory; but I first became fascinated with the connection between movement and creativity in the 1990s while dating a woman who worked as a “kinetic art therapist,” i.e. someone who helps others work through psychological problems via movement and dance, and since then I've discovered a real joy in attending creative movement pieces here in the city. And better yet, much like the “storefront theatre” community for actors in Chicago, the city also has a network of indie spaces for startup dance companies and independent choreographers, meaning that it's entirely possible to go out every weekend and see an amazing dance recital for only $10 or 20, versus the often $100 tickets for downtown shows at the Joffrey Ballet and the Harris Theatre.

Anita Fillmore Kenney and Kris Lenzo

A few weeks ago I attended the spring recital of Oak Park's MOMENTA, which is basically a professional company that was established by the prestigious Academy of Movement and Music; the academy itself teaches students from grade school up to the age of eighteen, but MOMENTA is specifically a professional showcase for their older students and the academy's faculty, many of whom have longstanding ties with the Martha Graham Company, Julliard, the Kennedy Center, and nearly all of Chicago's local universities. The recital in general was great, but what really floored me were two pieces that night that were specifically written for people in wheelchairs, something I had never even thought about when it came to dance until witnessing it for myself. The dancers involved were adept movement artists, and in one case (with dance veteran Kris Lenzo) buff as hell too, using his athletics-optimized wheelchair as essentially an extension of his torso, able to twist and lean and spin and fall as easily as someone with physical legs.

The choreography for that particular piece was by retiring MOMENTA Associate Executive Director Anita Fillmore Kenney; so on a lark, I dropped her a random email the day after the recital, telling her how moved I was by seeing these dance numbers that had been specifically written for people in wheelchairs. And this emotional stirring is of course just a logical extension of what I'm going through this year in general, as I burn through a ton of books about the history of the Deaf community, and come to realize with some horror just how much discrimination and abuse deaf people have gone through in the last couple of centuries, and have frequently been moved to tears by the stories of resilience and progress you find within this community despite all this. It's been a really eye-opening experience this year, and is starting to profoundly and permanently change the entire way I even think about concepts like “disability” and “accessibility” in the first place. I'll explain...

Like most people, I've been raised to look at the US population as basically existing in two general groups: there are the “normal” people, who constitute the vast majority of our country, and then the “not normal” minority (currently known by the politically correct term “disabled”) who have something wrong with their bodies, whether it's that they can't see, that they can't hear, that they're missing arms or legs, etc. Looking at the world this way doesn't necessarily mean that you're thinking any less of the minority in the “not normal” group; but certainly it trains you to think that our goal as an enlightened society should be to provide special, attention-calling options for letting this “not normal” minority exist within the world of the “normals” in a better and more complete way.

What I'm coming to realize this year is that it's much more accurate to instead look at the world in this way — that there's a theoretical model of a “perfect” human being that exists on paper, but that not a single one of us actually lives up to that model of perfection, meaning that every single human being on Earth deals daily with some kind of imperfection to their system (and most of the time several). Some of these imperfections are very easy to see when you glance at a stranger — like people who can't hear, people who can't see, people who are missing arms or legs — but the vast majority of bodily imperfections are invisible to the naked eye, and most often incredibly easy to hide from strangers. Some of us have high blood pressure. Some have low blood sugar. Some are dyslexic. Some are autistic. Some of us have uncontrollable anger. Some of us have a predisposition towards addiction. Some have brittle bones. Some people have epilepsy. Some are color-blind. Some people have attention deficit disorder. Some have one leg that's shorter than the other. Some people are farsighted. Some are nearsighted. Some have acid reflux syndrome. And on and on and on and on and on.

So our goal as a society, then, shouldn't be to provide outlandish alternatives, handed on a silver platter like a benevolent gift from the “normals,” for “allowing” a small minority of people to be “like the rest of us;” the goal should be a constant series of small, manageable changes so that all of us imperfect humans can live in an environment that provides as equal an opportunity as possible for us as individuals to succeed or fail based on our own actions. Think, for example, of how in recent years, fast-food restaurants have started offering more and more “heart-healthy” choices for those who have imperfections with their hearts and blood. It didn't take a lot of effort for these places to offer these kinds of choices (it mainly just consisted of tweaking a few menu items so that they no longer contain salt, sugar and carbs); it didn't take a lot of effort to convince these places to do it in the first place (just a gentle but insistent demand from their customers); no one's forcing you to buy the heart-healthy versions if you don't want (by all means, libertarians, keep shoveling those Big Macs into your pre-diabetic system if that's what you choose to do); yet the addition of this option has meant a world of difference for those who do want to keep careful track of their salt, sugar and carbs, who before recent years simply couldn't eat at any fast-food places at all, making simple things like highway road trips or a day of tourist sightseeing an exercise in frustration.

This is what most people in the Deaf community want as well, I'm coming to realize this year — they don't want you to make a big deal out of their situation, they don't want to feel like you're doing them some big favor that they need to show subservient gratitude towards, they don't want you to somehow feel like you're being “forced” into some big obligation in order to accommodate them, but they do want some simple changes that better allow them to compensate for their own particular version of physical imperfection. I'm becoming convinced that our society will be a lot better if more and more of us can begin to adopt this mindset — that the goal isn't to create a world where “they” can become more like “us,” but to create a world where all of us have an equal chance to succeed or fail based on our own actions, no matter how close or far away we are from “perfect.”

In any case, Kenney nicely wrote back to me and let me know about an event coming up that she thought I'd find interesting — the 2nd annual Chicago Inclusive Dance Festival, sponsored by the Mayor's Office for People With Disabilities, and held down at that organization's headquarters on the Cook County Health campus (more familiarly known as “Cook County Hospital” and the buildings that surround it). And she was right — I did find it interesting! It wasn't really a “festival” per se, but more a series of workshops, film screenings, and panel discussions, devoted specifically to the challenge of incorporating disabilities into the field of dance, but more generally dedicated to the subject of disabilities within the arts overall.

Like I said, I'm not a dancer myself, so I skipped the movement workshops at the beginning and end of the day, and instead sat in on the films and discussions that took place between them. Some of it was a little too academic for my tastes; but there was certainly a lot of food for thought that was thrown out during the day, most intriguingly on the subject of “interaccessibility” in the arts, not just the challenge of providing access to the blind or deaf but of the intriguing possibilities of combining access to the blind and deaf. (As one example, a recent Steppenwolf production was highlighted during one talk, in which a French poet was first translated into English and then further translated into ASL, with all three performing on a stage at the same time, and with projections of each version showing on overhead screens behind them.)

As longtime readers know, I myself have been mostly involved with the literary community over the years, and all of this is starting to really make my gears turn as far as how I might be able to help provide more access for the Deaf at Chicago's various live literary and theatrical productions. After all, Chicago has one of the largest live literary-performance communities in the world, is the city that birthed Steppenwolf and a hundred other indie theatre companies, and is also the city where the poetry slam was invented; if there's one place that could benefit the most from incorporating ASL interpretation and live captioning into such events, that would be here, which has me thinking a lot these days about the subject and what I could possibly do about it.

And then of course there was one other big reason I wanted to attend the Inclusive Dance Festival, which is that this would be my first opportunity since starting ASL classes to be around a professional sign-language interpreter, as well as native Deaf people relying on this interpreter for their comprehension. Regular readers will remember me talking about this subject in my last blog entry, about how I've recently started the process of trying to throw myself into as many real-time opportunities as possible to witness and maybe participate in ASL conversations, now that I've been doing sign-language classes by myself at home for a month, and am just comfortable enough now with my skills to know that I can at least sign things like, “I'm a beginner,” “I understand very little,” “I'm here mostly to just watch,” “Oh Lord I'm so horrible at sign language” (not a joke, I actually know how to sign this), etc. I don't necessarily feel the obligation to be particularly good at signing to at least attempt to communicate with others, but certainly I feel the obligation to at least be able to express that I'm not particularly good at it, and to thank others for being patient with my slowness and rookie mistakes.

Watching a fluent ASL interpreter sign in real time was both an enlightening and frustrating thing; frustrating because, as you might expect, I couldn't follow the vast majority of what she was saying, but surprisingly enlightening because I could actually catch about one out of every ten words. I have to admit, that kind of amazed me, given that I've only been studying for a month now, and don't really have any experience yet at trying to follow a native speaker at full speed, and it gave me a lot of confidence in the idea that I'm actually starting to absorb some of this stuff. Then during a break, I decided to introduce myself to her, so that I could say that I had officially had my second-ever ASL conversation, after the one on Tuesday with my teacher at Columbia College.

“Excuse me,” I started to sign. “I wanted to say hello.”

“Hello!” she replied. “I saw you watching me earlier.”

“I'm learning sign right now...”

“Oh wow! That's great!”

”...But I'm just a beginner. I only understood a few words you said.”

She laughed. “Yeah, well,” she made clear through gestures instead of sign. “Where are you studying?”

“Um, three places,” I indicated through counting on my non-dominant hand, a new technique in ASL grammar I recently learned. “Two of them online. The third, a school in the city. C-O-L-U-M-B-I-A.”

“Oh!” She got excited. “That's where I go to school!”

“Oh! Is Deaf Studies your...major?” I signed with trepidation. (This is a sign I recently learned, but wasn't sure if “major” as in “not minor” also translated as “major” as in “main concentration in college.”)


“Are you hearing?” I asked, which I immediately realized was a stupid question, in that she had been interpreting the hearing speakers of the conference for the last two hours.

“Yes. You? Do you want to talk out loud?”

“Yes. I'm hard of hearing. I have a hearing aid.” (A sentence I'm already saying so often that it's starting to effortlessly roll off the fingers already.)

At this point we switched into pidgin-mode, signing and talking at the same time. “My dad's hard of hearing too,” she said. (This makes her what's known in the Deaf community as a “CODA,” or “child of a deaf adult,” a very common classification among hearing people who are good enough at ASL to become professional interpreters.)

“I don't know very much sign yet, but I'm trying to go to as many events like this as I can, and just throw myself into it.”

“Oh, you should come to our ASL club. It's run through Columbia. Just a bunch of us in the department who get together socially once every couple of weeks, to have fun and practice our signing. Here, I'll give you the contact information.”

Well, what do you know — officially one more step inwards towards my gentle introduction into Chicago's Deaf community! This is exactly the kind of group I'm hoping to get involved with right now, one that's made up of ASL teachers and students who will be tolerant of a slow, mistake-riddled beginner like me. Eventually my goal is to more and more immersed in just the general community of Deaf people in Chicago, but as I mentioned last time, I'm wary of doing this too soon — just like anybody who's a native speaker of a language, I don't want to be a pest to such people while I remain a beginner who can barely speak it, and I also don't want to come across as the “rude hearie tourist” who's trying to barge his way in and stomp around within a community that by necessity over the years has been quite insular and protective of its own. With any luck, the next blog entry I'll have for you will be a report from the club, and at the very least I'll get an update posted in a few weeks about how my evening workshops are going. Talk with you again then!

The Complete ASL Saga of Jason Pettus 4/4: Book review: The Mask of Benevolence, by Harlan Lane 4/4: Book review: Train Go Sorry, by Leah Hager Cohen 4/3: He speaks! He speaks! ...Er, he signs! He signs! 4/1: Book review: Seeing Voices, by Oliver Sacks 3/31: Book review: The Other Side of Silence, by Arden Neisser 3/28: Those sexy deaf teens sure are courageous! 3/27: Book review: Shouting Won't Help, by Katherine Bouton 3/25: Book review: Deaf in America: Voices From a Culture, by Carol Padden and Tom Humphries 3/22: Book review: A Deaf Adult Speaks Out, by Leo Jacobs 3/22: Book review: Don't Just Sign...Communicate!, by Michelle Jay


from arcandio's mad ravings

I've read a fair few briefs in my time so far, and I'd like to give some advice.

This is mainly targeted at those who want to commission me personally, but I think that others would also appreciate this sort of thing. Most of these points are aimed at making it easy for the artist to quickly and efficiently find the info they need in the brief while working. This might be more important to those who stream, like myself, than those who can take all the time they want.

  • Bullet points are good. Long, rambling paragraphs take time to re-read while I'm working.
  • Clear, specific descriptions are best.
    • Purple prose doesn't help much, especially if it's vague. There's no need to be artful in your description, what I need is specificity, accuracy, and consistency.
  • Reference images are king. If you've got past commissions, send them along. If you don't, your artist will deeply appreciate it if you send them some found photos that you can use to describe things. Find a picture of a face that's close to how you want your character's to look. This especially helps with clothes and equipment.
    • Even if the reference image isn't perfect, you can always tell me what you don't like about it, which is almost as helpful as a perfect reference photo.
    • It's perfectly fine to send other fantasy art or pieces by other artists. It can be especially helpful for things that you won't find normal pictures of.
  • Try to keep things organized. Don't jump from hair to garments back to hair to face to socks. Start with the pose, then face and personality, then clothing and details. This is because I sketch a pose and face first, then “equip” the drawing as I refine it.
  • If you're using bullet points, put details in sub-bullets.
  • Consider that some elements are more important than others. Make note of the important things, and make note if something is just nice-to-have gravy kind of stuff.
  • Personality. Tell me what your character is like. What kind of stuff are do they do? What are they known for? Even if you're commissioning a T-posed character sheet, this will help with at least the expression, if not the whole piece.
  • Verbs. What could they be doing in the piece? Think of it like a snapshot. The better snapshop would be while they're in the middle of an action, rather than just standing around.
  • Complex stuff is hard to draw.
    • Be aware that you can't see the lower levels of multi-layered clothing.
    • Keep in mind what you paid for. If you bought a single character commission, you'll get push-back if you describe someone else participating in the scene.
    • Really small stuff might not show up well, especially if you want an image that shows the whole character, or it's positioned somewhere it'll be hidden or behind the body.
    • Often artists will leave some things out to help clarify the design. This is especially the case of RPG characters, who tend to be described as carrying much more stuff than would make sense or look good. Again, try to focus on the stuff that's important.
  • Body type is a big help, especially if the artist shows a lot of different body types in their work. Keep in mind though that some artists are more comfortable with the body types they do most frequently. Reference here helps a lot too.
  • Ask questions if you're unclear on something. I'd much rather chat about something than have you stress out over something you aren't sure about.
  • Changes are always easier earlier in the process. Changes aren't necessarily bad, but keep in mind that it can be frustrating to go back over a bunch of tiny things over and over again, and that may take time away from other things.
  • If in doubt about something, just ask.

If you've made it this far, thank you sincerely. Following basically any of these steps makes my job so much easier.

You can commission me here.

file under #art #illustration #commission #process

I'm Joe Bush and I design games as Voidspiral Entertainment. Did you like the article? Hit me up on or twitter.


from arcandio's mad ravings

I had a fantastic talk with NordicForge and Caconym on my Twitch art stream this morning that prompted some more detailed thinking.

Being called talented is one of the more frequent ways I receive complements, when I get them. I have complex feelings about this. Firstly, I appreciate the compliment. Absolutely. With all the #CreativeAnxiety I experience, every time someone says that they like my work, it fills me with pride and happiness and energy. But here's the thing. I'd much rather be called “skilled” or “good” than “talented.”

I don't think I'm talented. If there are consequences for being skilled but not talented, I'll probably experience them at some point, if I haven't already.


Since this topic is mostly about the meaning of talent, let's get that out of the way.

Talent is defined as:

A marked natural ability or skill.


But Sycra puts up some good speculation in the first third of this video (warning: long video. You may forget about this post, and that's ok.)

The comments are also very interesting as well, check those out too:

What bugs me about talent

  • I feel a bit insulted when someone says that I'm “talented.”
    • In some cases, this is because they're phrasing it like “Oh, well, you're just talented.” Which obviously burns me up because it ignores all the hard work I put in, not just growing up, but in school, at work, and on a daily freaking basis.
    • In other cases, since this person who's calling me talented is implying that they'll never be able to draw like me, that I in turn will never be able to draw like the artists that I idolize. The focus on talent becomes an excuse for not pushing yourself to get better.
  • Sure, you might mean that I'm just good at drawing, but few if any of the words you might replace “talent” with have the same connotation of natural, innate ability. Use skill instead. Or good.
  • Talent is rarely applied to masters. You don't really say that Rembrandt was “talented.” You might say he was “great” or “expert” or “adept” or whatever, but to call him (or another master) “talented” is just sort of... banal. Like saying that he was “proficient.” Or “Apt.” Which is weird, because the word itself means “outstanding aptitude,” but it still seems to remove the devotion and obsession masters show to their craft.
  • Someone who's talented but untrained only knows a specific subset or genre of skill, likely the thing they're most interested or exposed to.
  • I've often felt like my own talent was holding me back. People tell me that I'm good at something, so it tricks me into complacency. Good enough is the enemy of greatness.
  • Completely naive and untrained talent seems to contradict the four stages of competence. Which is more likely, that someone's practiced a lot or studied a lot without remembering or knowing it, or that they were born with intrinsic knowledge and skills that were latent and dormant until awakened? Since it's hard to know the life-long habits of anyone we meet, it's easy to think that they've just always been that good, or that they never did anything to “earn” their skill, when the opposite is probably true.
  • A lot of people get called talented when they're young, and I think that this is usually one of two things: they're better than their peers, which will necessarily always happen in a given population, and/or they've been practicing more than others. A lot of good young artists get good because they naively copy things they like, over and over again. Are they more talented? No, they're more practiced.

My real-life talent mechanic

Leave it to a game designer to try to analyze a real-life phenomenon by ascribing it game-like rules.

I propose this way of thinking about it.

  1. Talent and practice are two inseparable halves of “skill.” You can't have one without the other.
    • From now on when I say “talent” I mean “natural talent” as compared with practice and training.
    • The meaning of practice is easily understood here.
    • In talent I lump things like “having a good eye,” but also having eyes at all and hands or feet you can draw with. In that way, we can liken talent in art to talent for sports: there's a physical component that enables the activity. Some people might have better or worse physical components: an painter with terrible eyesight or an NCAA player who's 5'2” and weighs 90 lbs soaking wet.
    • Art is mostly a mental game, however. Manual dexterity is far less important than how you think and approach the artmaking process.
    • In the absence of either talent or practice, you're not going to well at the thing in question. In this case, art. Or for the sake of argument, more specifically, drawing. If you have absolutely no talent (which according to this definition would mean no way to manipulate a drawing tool, not just that you can only draw stick-figures) then yeah, it's going to be hard to draw a “good” picture. Conversely, if you have absolutely no practice, then, likewise, you'll have a hard time drawing a good picture.
    • Both talent & practice are present at some level in most people. Ergo we can say that most people have some level of skill in drawing.
    • If it can be trained, it's not talent, it's practice. This axiom massively reduces the role that talent plays.
  2. Talent and practice are not additive. They are multiplicative.
    • You can have all the talent in the world, but not be able to employ it if you have no practice. Conversely, if you have absolutely no talent for something, you can't even practice because you're lacking some physical component to the activity.
    • The more talent you have, the more you get out of your practice. But since just about everyone has some bit of talent, what really matters is the amount of practice you put in. It may be harder for you to become as good as someone else, but you can do it. The difference is in time. Talent is just a modifier for how quickly you improve.
  3. Practice includes study.
    • No matter how many years, no matter how many thousands of drawings, you won't improve if you don't seek out new techniques, skills, and knowledge to expand your abilities. This applies equally to those who are “talented” and those who “work hard.”
    • Copying is okay. Copying is good. What's bad is plagiarism. Copy from multiple sources, remix, and re-envision and you'll be in the green. Directed copying is called “studying,” and if you're not doing it, you'll fall behind. To be clear though, you have to study deeply, and you have to study broadly. You can't focus to the exclusion of all other things on, for example, drawing anime faces, because then when you go to draw an anime body, you've got no experience there. Likewise, if you only study Dragon Ball style faces, you won't know how to draw Vampire Hunter D style faces.
    • Knowing how to study right is also a force multiplier like talent. If you can buckle down, focus, and really get in there and learn a new technique, you'll improve far quicker than someone who's talented but doesn't practice. But learning is a skill in its own right.

I believe it's a numbers game, like everything else in life. If you put the time in, you'll improve. If you don't, you won't. Now, wishing it was easier? That's the real problem.

In closing, here's a quote.

Talent is a pursued interest. In other words, anything that you're willing to practice, you can do.

— Bob Freaking Ross

The question is whether you're willing to practice.

file under #art #talent #practice #creativeanxiety #process

I'm Joe Bush and I design games as Voidspiral Entertainment. Did you like the article? Hit me up on or twitter.


from aris

Le graphiste américain Scott Reinhard réalise un travail de cartographie artistique original en combinant des élévations 3D actuelles avec des cartes topographiques historiques pour créer des représentations tridimensionnels d’une région, d’une ville ou d’un État. Pour réaliser ses cartes numériques, il extrait des données altimétriques de l’United States Geological Survey, qu’il incorpore à des informations de localisation, pour fusionner ensuite l’ensemble avec le tracé original de cartes anciennes.

Scott Reinhard est un graphiste basé à Brooklyn. Il travaille au studio de design multidisciplinaire 2×4 de New York. Auparavant il a été designer au Museum of Contemporary Art de Chicago et chez VSA Partners. Il a aussi enseigné au Pratt Institute de New York et il est titulaire d’une maîtrise en design graphique de l‘Université de Caroline du Nord.

Ses créations cartographiques, même s’il vend des tirages haute résolution sur son propre site web, sont avant tout un hobby, une sorte de pas de côté fruit d’une une démarche personnelle :

« Je viens de l’Indiana, qui s’est toujours senti si plat et si ennuyeux. Quand j’ai commencé à faire le rendu 3D des données altimétriques pour cet État, l’histoire de cette terre a émergé. Les glaciers qui ont reculé dans la moitié nord, après la dernière période glaciaire, ont poli, taillé et façonné le terrain d’une façon tout à fait spectaculaire (…). De par cette capacité à collecter et à traiter la grande quantité d’informations librement disponibles, et d‘en faire de belles images, j‘avais comme une sensation de puissance. » — Scott Reinhard, sur le site Colossal

Le travail de Scott Reinhard sur ses composition hybrides, la transformation de données altimétriques en visuels, permettent au graphiste de raconter à chaque fois une histoire particulière, celle de lieux qu’il a « visités personnellement » ou dont il dit être « curieux de les connaître ». Si, pour reprendre l’expression d’Alfred Korzybski, nous sommes d’accord que « la carte n’est pas le territoire », la carte est aussi dans le même temps une narration sur le territoire.

L’hybridation entre l’esthétique moderne des élévations 3D et la touche vintage apportée par la surimpression des cartes anciennes (la typographie et la signalétique employé, le tracé lui-même) contribuant à faire de la narration cartographique de Reinhard quelque chose qui est aussi esthétiquement surprenant et attrayant dans sa puissance d’évocation. Ce qui fait dire à Jason Kottke, observateur attentif des innovations graphiques et visuelles : « J’aimerais voir une version animée de ces montagnes s’élever de la platitude de la carte ».

Une esthétique qui fait aussi sens.

« En visualisant à grande échelle l’histoire qui a façonné la composition d’un territoire, Reinhard est capable de saisir les tendances environnementales d’une manière plus située. Ces forces affectent la façon dont nous traversons nos environnements quotidiens, mais elles sont difficiles à appréhender sans prendre le temps de faire un “zoom arrière” ou de regarder d’en haut. » — Kate Sierzputowski, sur le site « Colossal »

Scott Reinhard a été initié, d’après Kate Sierzputowski, aux méthodes et procédés qu’il utilise pour produire ses cartes hybrides par le travail du cartographe et historien Daniel Huffman qui lui aussi partage ses expérimentations et son savoire-faires, par exemple sur son site Something About Maps et sur celui du projet Linework. Daniel Huffman propose ainsi ce qu’il nomme ses « petites choses réalisées sans autre motivations que l‘amour’ » : par exemple ses cartes réalisées avec une machine à écrire (à base de caractères ASCII) ou ses agencements d’îles des Grands lacs.

Références :

Images : San Francisco, élévation 3D, bathymétrie et carte topographique de 1947. Tags : #cartographie #territoire #art Merci à Mad Meg pour cette trouvaille partagée sur Seenthis.

En savoir plus...

Join the writers and thinkers on

Start writing or create a public blog