July 10, 2009

Vanessa Davis, computer whiz and more!

Posted in art, Drawing, illustration, Work at 12:57 pm by India

Vanessa Davis, computer whiz

The charming and talented Vanessa Davis has a new comic about past jobs, good and bad, over at Tablet, which is Nextbook’s reconceived, redesigned, and mostly restaffed* online magazine: Vocation, All I Ever wanted!

Vanessa’s also, after a long period of dormancy, reorganized and relaunched her own website, Spaniel Rage. With a blog and everything! Yay!

* Yes, yes, I’m going to clean out my office today, finally, I promise.

(Cross-posted at Clusterflock.)

———

Update, 7/16: There’s a great interview with Vanessa over at Largehearted Boy: Antiheroines: Vanessa Davis

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June 9, 2009

Nextbook’s swank new pad

Posted in art direction, Design, web development, Work at 6:50 pm by India

Tablet Magazine home page, June 9, 2009

My erstwhile coworkers have been toiling their little hearts out for months, rethinking and rebuilding Nextbook’s online magazine, the former Nextbook.org. The shiny new publication, which launched today, is called Tablet, and it was designed by Prem Krishnamurthy and Rob Giampietro. Tablet‘s Liel Leibovitz has posted a little slideshow in which the designers talk about what they did: Our New Look.

The new site has a WordPress backend (the old one ran on some weird Perl CMS), which the firm Hard Candy Shell set up and filled with all the previous magazine’s content.

Go visit, and tell them what you think of the new digs. If you don’t know what the old site looked like, you can find some screenshots in my Flickr collection.

(I made no contribution to the redesign myself, having [mostly] resigned from my post in January so that I could concentrate on school. The fabulous Abigail Miller, assistant art director, held the fort on her own all spring, while Alana Newhouse, editor in chief, dealt with the designers and developers directly. Nextbook’s new art director, as of about three weeks ago, is the mighty Len Small.)

January 9, 2009

We love Vanessa Davis so much

Posted in art, art direction, Drawing, humor, illustration, Work at 3:50 pm by India

at my workplace that we asked her to do a monthly column. The first installment was posted today:

Vanessa Davis, 'Stranger in a Strange Land'

Vanessa also did a holiday comic for us that I was too frazzled to blog when it went up: Crispy Christmas.

October 14, 2008

Flattery Will Get You Nowhere

Posted in advice, books, Design, Rants, Typesetting, typography, Work at 9:47 am by India

pond scum

They say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, so I should feel jazzed that a person I used to work with, who at that time did not know InDesign from Address Book, is still using my files as templates for new books today in his busy freelance design business. Being a spiteful, negative, unforgiving person, however, I instead find it just kind of disgusting. Because even though this person is apparently now making a nontrivial chunk of his income by designing and typesetting books (and perhaps double-billing for it, too), he clearly still doesn’t know typography from a hole in the ground.
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October 7, 2008

Flash vs. substance

Posted in art direction, Design, illustration, Lazyweb, technology, Tools, web development, Work at 11:47 am by India

Sole Searching

A few weeks ago, Rachel Sugar, one of my coworkers, had an idea—based on a book called Jews and Shoes—to present some illustrated factoids about footwear in Jewish tradition. Staff favorite Vanessa Davis was nominated for the art portion of the project, and I asked if she’d be interested in working on what was then still a very vague idea. She was game, fortunately, because she rocks.
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October 1, 2008

Build a copyeditor from scratch!

Posted in advice, books, Editing, Lazyweb, Work at 1:13 am by India

stack of manuscript pages

My stats page tells me that that nice Brian Winters has namechecked me again over at Metafilter. This time, it’s to Baethan, who wants to work in publishing. Her question was,

What sort of courses, experiences, certifications, degrees, etc. should I pursue to tailor me for a career in editorial publishing?

When I return to college in the spring, I’ll be a sophomore. I want to use the next three years to make me into a dream applicant for a job in editorial publishing- proofreading or copy editing. Random House’s example of an entry-level job, “Editorial Assistant“, sounds like what I plan to apply for.

I’d like to work in fiction, preferably fantasy, but I’m not too picky. I also have an interest in art history and some knowledge of music. I really like learning and I know from a high school chemistry class that working my way through technical papers is a lot of fun, so I probably wouldn’t mind a nonfiction editorial job. I don’t think I’d like to work for a magazine. I want to stay the heck away from newspaper jobs. Oh, freelancing is also something I’d rather not do for a living (though I suppose it would be good while I’m in college). I love cubicles.

What sort of resume would make me attractive to a publishing company? I’ll be attending one of Connecticut’s state schools (not UConn, probably) so any ideas on majors and classes would be welcome. (SCSU has Journalism and English as majors, so I’m thinking a combination of the two would suit.) I’ve also been looking for relevant distance learning courses, but haven’t had any luck. Money is not abundant, so I don’t want to end up going to grad school.

Finally, what can I learn at home that will be valuable in an editing job? I know my vocabulary could use improving. My knowledge of grammar is lacking- I never learned grammar, I just got a feel for what’s correct and incorrect through reading. Any good websites or books for this?

In short, I’m looking for all your knowledge regarding copy editing. I believe I’ve read all the pertinent MeFi questions, but please point me to any you feel I should pay particular attention to. (Er, to which I should pay particular attention?) Thanks!

There’s some good advice at MeFi already, including the most obvious—study the Chicago Manual and Strunk & White, get an internship, volunteer—but I’m wondering if y’all have additional suggestions.
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September 5, 2008

Maira Kalman’s Tel Aviv

Posted in art, art direction, illustration, Work at 12:58 pm by India

detail of an illustration by Maira Kalman - bookstore in Tel Aviv

This here, my friends, is art direction at its finest: I ask an artist I’m all fawny over if she wants to draw something for us, she very kindly says yes, and then I don’t lift another finger (well, except to digitize five gouache paintings, which was a nontrivial task given their size, my mediocre scanner, and the fact that the text was written on separate tracing paper overlays). If only I could get paid for doing this.

Oh, wait . . .

Go see “My Tel Aviv” by Maira Kalman. As one of our senior editors just opined, it “KICKS ASS!”

August 8, 2008

Job application tips

Posted in advice, business, Rants, Work at 9:33 pm by India

help wanted

I’m in the process of hiring an assistant, someone who can toil away at the work thing while I’m at school making crafts, and I’ve finally dug down to the bottom of the pile of résumés that began pouring in thirty minutes after I posted the job. (And if you haven’t heard from me yet, it doesn’t mean you won’t—I’m still sorting and procrastinating, as will soon become more obvious.) And do you want to know what’s the most striking thing about most of these hopefuls? They are completely wasting their time. And mine, of course, but mostly their own. Because they’re not only not going to get a job with me, they’re not going to get a job with anyone unless that person is as slovenly and illiterate as these applicants.

Howlers spotted among the hundred-odd submissions include

  • Misspelling or camel-capitalizing my company’s name
    • Notebook
    • Next book
    • Nextbbook
    • NextBook
  • Misspelling the name of a past or present employer
    • FexEx
    • Merril Lynch
    • Pareksy Ctr. [This is at my own college, so I know it’s Paresky]
    • BabyAlpalca.org
    • Rollingstone Magazine
  • Misspelling a degree or job title
    • bachelors | masters
    • B.F.A | G.P.A | F.I.T | C.U.N.Y
    • assitant [I feel that this should be a word, but if it were, it would denote someone who is an undesirable employee]
    • photo- retoucher
    • Communication’s Coordinator
  • Misspelling or improperly camel-capping the name of a piece of software the applicant supposedly knows inside out
    • PhotoShop
    • Quark Express
    • the In Design program
    • Word Press
    • In-Design CS3
    • Abode Photoshop / Abode Illustrator / Abode InDesign [this is presumably marketed as a hamlet]
    • Indesign
    • word, excel [but the same person managed to type PowerPoint]
  • Misspelling or improperly camel-capping the name of the site where the applicant found the listing
    • Media Bistro
    • media bistro
    • MediaBistro.com

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June 29, 2008

Prepress Gremlins: The Duotone Edition

Posted in printing, production, Tools, Work at 1:17 am by India

Archipelago Books catalogs

Twice a year I lay out a cute little catalog for a publisher friend, and I’ve been doing it for four or five years, so the files have gone through several software upgrades. They were originally supplied to me as Quark XPress 4.1 docs, and I probably kept it that way for one or two issues before converting it to InDesign CS. Then the files upgraded to CS2, and then the fonts upgraded to OpenType. For the latest issue, I started the job in CS2 at home (hello, my name is India, and I am a late adopter) and then made the final round of corrections at my office, using CS3. Everything preflighted okay, and I sent the printer both PDFs and application files.

Two weeks later, I got an excited message from our rep at Kromar. They’d had some problems with the files, which they’d taken care of, but their prepress guy wanted to tell me about it. Ooh, curious! So I called back immediately, and the nice man in Winnipeg tried to explain to me what had happened.
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May 22, 2008

The Week in Pictures

Posted in art direction, illustration, Work at 3:18 pm by India

thumbnails of four illustrations

I’ve been on vacation since last Thursday, so I forgot to take screenshots of the glory until yesterday, but for nearly every day in the past week, Nextbook.org has been running stories garnished by illustrations I commissioned. Two are by artists you’ve seen here before—Samantha Hahn and Vanessa Davis—and two are by new! people!—Jonathon Rosen and Leela Corman.

You can see the pretty pictures at the following links (I’d do an image map on the banner above, but WordPress.com won’t let me):

Yay, illustrators!

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