David Lynch Teaches Typing: A New Interactive Comedy Game

Typing programs demand some patience on the part of the student, and David Lynch Teaches Typing is no exception.

You’ve got 90 seconds to get acclimated to the cruddy floppy disc-era graphics and the cacophonous voice of your instructor, a dead ringer for FBI Deputy Director Gordon Cole, the hard-of-hearing character director David Lynch played on his seminal early 90s series, Twin Peaks.

Things perk up about a minute and a half in, when students are instructed to place their left ring fingers in an undulating bug to the left of their keyboards.

That second "in"? Not a typo (though you'll notice plenty of no doubt intentional boo-boos in the teacher's pre-programmed responses...)




The bug in question may well put you in mind of the mysterious baby in Lynch’s first feature length film, 1977’s Eraserhead.

On the other hand, it might not.

David Lynch Teaches Typing is actually a short interactive comedy game, and many of the millennial reviewers covering that beat have had to play catch-up in order to catch the many nods to the director’s work contained therein.

One of our favorites is the Apple-esque name of the program’s retro computer, and we'll wager that frequent Lynch collaborator, actor Kyle MacLachlan, would agree.

Another reference that has thus far eluded online gaming enthusiasts in their 20s is Mavis Beacon Teaches Typing. Take a peek below at what the virtual typing tutor’s graphics looked like around the time the original Twin Peaks aired to discover the creators of David Lynch Teaches Typing’s other inspiration.

David Lynch Teaches Typing is available for free download here. If you’re anxious that doing so might open you up to a technical bug of nightmarish proportions, stick with watching the play through at the top of the page.

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Ayun Halliday is an author, illustrator, theater maker and Chief Primatologist of the East Village Inky zine.  Join her March 20 in New York City for the second edition of Necromancers of the Public Domain, a low budget variety show born of a 1920 manual for Girl Scout Camp Directors. Follow her @AyunHalliday.

How to Get Over the Anxiety of Public Speaking?: Watch the Stanford Video, “Think Fast, Talk Smart,” Viewed Already 11 Million Times

How many of us fear public speaking more than death: four out of five, nine out of ten, 99 out of 100? We've all heard a variety of statistics, all of them suggesting the formidability — perceived or real — of the task of getting up and talking in front of other people. But perhaps you'll get an even clearer sense of that from the number 11,175,098: the total view count, as of this writing, racked up by "Think Fast, Talk Smart," an hour-long talk on public speaking techniques by communication coach and Stanford Graduate School of Business lecturer Matt Abrahams.

The pedants among us, myself included, will have already taken note of that linguistic infelicity in the very title of the talk, but Abrahams himself wastes little time pointing it out himself. He also points out its value: you've got to catch the attention of your audience, and a deliberately made mistake (or even a non-deliberately made one) catches it as well as anything.




He goes on to elaborate on various other techniques we can use not just to get other people listening well, but to get ourselves talking well, the first priority being to get ourselves to stop tripping over our innate desire to talk perfectly.

Abrahams leads his audience through several short "games," instructing them to do things like explaining their weekends to one another by spelling out loud and selling one another Slinkys, with the underlying goal of breaking the habits that have so often impeded our ability to simply get up and speak. He also provides physical techniques, like doing push-ups or taking a walk around the block before giving a talk in order to get your mind more "present," and intellectual ones, like always adhering to a structure, no matter how simple and no matter how ordinary the situation. ("I practice these structures on my kids," he notes.)

Taking the wider view, we shouldn't look at speaking as a challenge, according to Abrahams, but as a chance to explain and influence. "A Q&A session is an opportunity for you," he says, and practicing what he preaches, he opens one up at the end of the talk, underscoring that we can improve our public speaking skills by doing as he says, but even more so by doing as he does. Some of those more than eleven million views surely come from people who have watched more than once, studying Abrahams' own use of language, both verbal and body. He also demonstrates a good deal of humor, though brevity, as Shakespeare wrote, being the soul of wit, you might consider chasing his talk with the four-minute Big Think video on the same subject just above.

Abrahams regularly teaches courses on Public Speaking at Stanford Continuing Studies. If you live in the San Francisco Bay Area, give his classes a look. Also see his books, Speaking Up without Freaking Out: 50 Techniques for Confident and Compelling Presenting.

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Based in Seoul, Colin Marshall writes and broadcasts on cities and culture. His projects include the book The Stateless City: a Walk through 21st-Century Los Angeles and the video series The City in Cinema. Follow him on Twitter at @colinmarshall or on Facebook.

How to Write Like an Architect: Short Primers on Writing with the Neat, Clean Lines of a Designer

We have another national crisis on our hands.

Our children are not only ill-equipped to read maps and tell time with analog clocks, their handwriting is in serious decline.

Forget cursive, which went the way of the dodo earlier in the millennium. Youngsters who are dab hands on the keyboard may have little impulse—or opportunity—to practice their printing.

Does it matter?

It sure as shootin’ might be during a zombie invasion, given the attendant breakdown of digital communication and the electricity that powered it.




But even in less dire times, legible penmanship is a good skill to master.

As Virginia Berninger, professor emeritus and principal investigator of the University of Washington’s Interdisciplinary Learning Disabilities Center, told The New York Times, “Handwriting — forming letters — engages the mind, and that can help children pay attention to written language.”

Hand lettering is also a complex neurological process, a workout involving various cognitive, motor, and neuromuscular functions.

There’s also a school of thought that teachers who still accept handwritten assignments unconsciously award the highest grades to pupils with the neatest penmanship, which is easier on tired eyes. Something to keep in mind for those gearing up to take the handwritten essay portions of the SAT and ACT.

Let's remember that letters are really just shapes.

The Finns and French have long-established uniformity with regard to handwriting. In the absence of classroom instruction, Americans have the freedom to peruse various penmanship styles, identify their favorite, and work hard to attain it.

(This writer is proof that penmanship can become part of the DNA through practice, having set out to duplicate my mother’s delightful, eccentric-to-the-point-of-illegibile hand at around the age of 8. I added a few personal quirks along the way. The result is I'm frequently bamboozled into serving as scribe for whatever group I happen to find myself in, and my children can claim they couldn't read the important handwritten instructions hurriedly left for them on Post-Its.)

Historically, the most legible American penmanship belongs to architects.

Their precisely rendered all caps suggest meticulousness, accountability, steadiness of character...

And almost anyone can achieve it, regardless of whether those are qualities they personally possess.

All it takes is determination, time, and—as taught by Doug Patt in his How to Architect series, above—more tools than can be simultaneously operated with two hands:

an Ames lettering guide

a parallel rule or t-square

a small plastic triangle customized with bits of tape

a .5mm Pentel drafting pencil

If this sounds needlessly laborious, keep in mind that such specialty equipment may appeal to reluctant hand writers with an interest in engineering, robotics, or scientific experimentation.

(Be prepared for some frustration if this is the student’s first time at the rodeo with these instruments. As any veteran comic book artist can attest, few are born knowing how to use an Ames lettering guide.)

It should be noted that Patt’s alphabet deviates a bit from traditional standards in the field.

His preference for breathing some life into his letters by not closing their loops, squashing traditionally circular forms into ellipses, and using “dynamic angles” to render crosspieces on a slant would likely not have passed muster with architecture professors of an earlier age, my second grade teacher, or the font designers responsible for the computer-generated “hand lettering” gracing the bulk of recent architectural renderings.

He's likely the only expert suggesting you make your Ks and Rs reminiscent of actor Ralph Macchio in the 1984 film, The Karate Kid.

There’s little chance you'll find yourself grooving to Patt’s videos for anything other than their intended purpose. Whereas the late Bob Ross’ Joy of Painting series has legions of fans who tune in solely for the meditative benefits they derive from his mellow demeanor, Patt’s rapid fire instructional style is that of the busy master, deftly executing moves the fledgling student can only but fumble through.

But if the Karate Kid taught us anything, it’s that practice and grit lead to excellence. If the above demonstration whips by too quickly, Patt expands on the shaping of each letter in 30-second video tutorials available as part of a $19 online course.

Those looking for architectural lower case, or techniques for controlling the thickness of their lines can find them in the episode devoted to lettering with a .7mm Pentel mechanical drafting pencil.

Explore further secrets of the architects on Patt’s How to Architect channel or 2012 book, also called How to Architect.

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Helen Keller Had Impeccable Handwriting: See a Collection of Her Childhood Letters

Ayun Halliday is an author, illustrator, theater maker and Chief Primatologist of the East Village Inky zine.  Follow her @AyunHalliday.

Watch Every Episode of Bob Ross’ The Joy Of Painting Free Online: 403 Episodes Spanning 31 Seasons

Whether your New Year’s resolution involves taking up painting, managing stress, cultivating a more positive outlook, or building a business empire, the late television artist Bob Ross can help you stick it out.

Like Fred Rogers’ Mr Rogers' Neighborhood, Ross’ long-running PBS show, The Joy of Painting, did not disappear from view following its creator’s demise. For over twenty years, new fans have continued to seek out the half-hour long instructional videos, along with its mesmerizingly mellow, easily spoofed host.

Now all 403 episodes have been made available for free on Ross’ official Youtube channel. That covers all 31 seasons.




It’s said that 90% of the regular viewers tuning in to watch Ross crank out his signature “wet-on-wet” landscapes never took up a brush, despite his belief that, with a bit of encouragement, anyone can paint.

Perhaps they preferred sad clowns or big-eyed children to scenic landscapes of the sort that would not have looked out of place in a 1970's motel.... Or perhaps Ross, himself, was the big draw.

Like Mister Rogers, Ross spoke softly, using direct address to create an impression of intimacy between himself and the viewer. Twenty years in the military had soured him on barked-out, rigid instructions. Instead, Ross reassured less experienced painters that the 16th-century ”Alla Prima” technique he brought to the masses could never result in mistakes, only “happy accidents.” He was patient and kind and he didn't take his own abilities too seriously, though he seemed like he would certainly have taken pleasure in yours.

Ross' Land of Make Believe was a character-free natural world, in which many of the same elements appear over and over.  According to Five Thirty Eight culture editor Walt Hickey’s statistical analysis, trees reigned supreme. The real life landscapes he observed as first sergeant of the U.S. Air Force Clinic at Eielson Air Force Base in Alaska became his lifelong subject, and by extension, that of untold numbers of home viewers.

His devotees may be content just seeing "happy little trees” and "pretty little mountains” bloom on canvas, but in an interview with NPR, Ross’ business partner, Annette Kowalski, suggests that he would not have been.

The gentle, forest-and-cloud-loving host was also an ambitious and highly focused businessman, who used TV as the medium for his success. Every folksy comment was rehearsed before filming and he stuck with the permed hairdo he loathed, rather than scrapping what had become a highly visual brand identifier.

Where there’s a will, there’s a way.

Watch all 31 seasons of Bob Ross’ The Joy of Painting here, or right here on this page. Official Bob Ross painting kits are widely available online, or source your own using a cobbled together supply list.

Season Three

Season Four

Season Five

Season Six

We will continuing adding seasons to this list as they become available.

Season Seven

Season Eight

Season Nine

Season Ten

Season 11

Season 12

Season 13

Season 14

Season 15

Season 16

Season 17

Season 18

Season 19

Season 20

Season 21

Season 22

Season 23

Season 24

Season 25

Season 26

Season 27

Season 28

Season 29

Season 30

Season 31

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Ayun Halliday is an author, illustrator, theater maker and Chief Primatologist of the East Village Inky zine.  Her resolution is to spend less time online, but you can still follow her @AyunHalliday.

How to Draw in the Style of Japanese Manga: A Series of Free & Wildly Popular Video Tutorials from Artist Mark Crilley

In Japan, the word manga refers broadly to the art form we know in English as comics. But as used in the West, it refers to a comic art style with distinctive aesthetic and storytelling conventions of its own, originating from but now no longer limited to Japan. Just as the past century or so has seen the emergence of Western masters of such things thoroughly Japanese as sushi, judo, and even tea ceremony, the past few decades brought us the work of the Western mangaka, or manga artist. Mark Crilley stands as one of the best-known practitioners of that short tradition, thanks not only to his art but to his efforts to teach fans how to draw in the style of Japanese manga themselves as well.

Apart from comic-book series like Akiko, Miki Falls, and Brody's Ghost, the Detroit-born Crilley has also published a trilogy of Mastering Manga instructional books. In an interview with Wired, he frames his own manga-mastering process as a project similar to language-learning: "When I went to Taiwan to teach English after graduating from college, I threw myself into learning Chinese with a real 'tunnel vision' kind of dedication. As a result I became conversational in Mandarin within about a year. More recently I decided to teach myself how to draw in a manga-influenced style and thus focused exclusively on that for many months."

Crilley first took to Youtube to promote his then-new manga series, but he "soon found that people were watching my videos as drawing lessons. As more people watched I got hooked on passing on drawing tips to the next generation, and so I continued producing more and more instructional videos."




More youngsters seem to have an interest in drawing in the style of Japanese comics and animation than ever (at least if my friends' kids are generationally representative), and Crilley finds that they "appreciate having an art teacher who takes manga seriously, and doesn’t dismiss it as an inferior art form. I’m sure plenty of art teachers are all, 'Stop drawing those saucer-eyed characters! Draw this still life instead!'"

Not to say that Crilley doesn't appreciate realism: he's put out a whole book on the subject, and some of his instructional videos cover how to draw lifelike eyes (a tutorial that has drawn 27 million views and counting), leopards, mushrooms, and much else besides. But for the aspiring mangaka of any nationality, his Youtube channel offers a wealth of lessons on how to draw everything from faces to clothes to figures in motion to big eyes in the manga aesthetic. But as he surely knows — having cited in the Wired interview a wide range of influences from Star Wars to Mad magazine to Monty Python's Flying Circus — if you want to truly find your own style, you can't limit yourself to any one source of inspiration. Acquire the skills, of course, but then take them to new places.

You can see a playlist of 256 how-to-draw videos by Crilley here. Or a series of smaller drawing playlists here.

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Based in Seoul, Colin Marshall writes and broadcasts on cities and culture. His projects include the book The Stateless City: a Walk through 21st-Century Los Angeles and the video series The City in Cinema. Follow him on Twitter at @colinmarshall or on Facebook.

A Big List of Free Art Lessons on YouTube

It may seem like a dubious honor to belong to a select group that includes some of my favorite creative people: art school dropouts. But while a failed endeavor can be painful, many a dropout learns that the experience is valuable not only because failures can fuel future success, but also because the skills, techniques, and ways of thinking one picks up in the first, “boot camp,” year of art school are widely applicable to every creative endeavor.

My favorite art school class was simply called “Foundations.” As the name implies, it dealt exclusively with basic materials and techniques—for joining, painting, sculpting, building, etc. One learns to think of large, complicated, potentially overwhelming projects of as reducible in some sense to materials and techniques. What am I working with? What is the nature of this material and what are the best ways to shape it? What does it want to become?




These are practical, fundamental questions artists ask themselves, no matter how big or high concept their ideas. These days, the materials are likely to be more virtual than physical, or some creative mixture of the two. Still, similar considerations apply, as well as the basic skills of using color, perspective, shadow, and line effectively. In the free video tutorials here, you can learn many of those skills without attending, or dropping out, of art school. They may not provide a complete arts education, but they offer high quality lessons for artists needing to supplement or refresh their skill sets.

At the top, Ahmed Aldoori explains the color wheel and color palettes in Photoshop. In other videos on his YouTube channel, he gives tips on drawing hands (a particular challenge for every artist), artist anatomy, digital painting, and more. Another channel, Draw with Chris, offers free and premium content for both digital and traditional artists, such as the long video on shading technique above. He also has a popular two part series on life drawing (part 1 - part 2).

For artists and animators interested in “semi realistic, manga, and anime style characters, environments, and concept art,” the Lapuka channel features many free short videos on the basics, such as their short intro to "1,2, and 3 point perspective" above. Other videos teach “Multiplying and scaling in 1 point perspective,” “Cutting in 1 point perspective,” “Drawing with a mouse,” and rendering certain popular anime characters.

All of these tutorials come from a list compiled by Deviantart user DamaiMikaz, who has helpfully divided several dozen YouTube instructional series into categories like “Art Fundamentals,” “Tutorial & How to,” “Digital art software,” “Traditional Art,” and others. Whether you’re an aspiring artist, dabbling amateur, working professional, or an art school dropout picking the craft back up, you’ll find what you need here. Know of any other free video resources not listed in this archive? Let us and our readers know in the comments and we'll add the primo picks to the list.

Below find the list created by DamaiMikaz:

Art fundamentals

People that teach you the fundamentals of art. Anatomy, color, perspective, etc
Ahmed Aldoori
CG Cookie Concept

Tutorial & How to

How to's and tutorials on various subjects
Ahmed Aldoori
Art of Wei
Art Prof

Brushboost
CG Cookie Concept
DRAW with Chris
Draw with Jazza
Drawing Tutorials Online
FZDSCHOOL
Happy D. Artist
Imagine FX
Istebrak
Javi can draw!
Jesus Conde
Kienan Lafferty
LevelUp
My Drawing Tutorials
Proko
Sinix Design
Sycra
The Art of Aaron Blaise
The Drawfee Channel
Tyler Edlin
Will Terrell
Xia Taptara

Digital art software

Channels geared towards creating effects in digital art software
digitalfxcube
PHLEARN
Photoshop Training Channel

Traditional art

Channels doing traditional art
agnescecile
Baylee Jae
Happy D. Artist
James Gurney
Lachri Fine Art
Michael James Smith
Robin Clonts
Sara Tepes
Stanley Artgerm Lau
Super Ani
Zimou Tan

Manga / Anime

Channels geared towards drawing manga/anime style 
markcrilley
Nuei Neko
Sycra
Whyt Manga

Timelapse paintings

Just stare in awe
agnescecile
Alice X. Zhang
Apterus Graphics
Asuka111 Art
Atey Ghailan
axel torvenius
BrotherBaston
Brushboost
Chris Cold
Concept Art Sessions
Daniel Wachter
Draw With Rydi
FZDSCHOOL
Ilya Kuvshinov
Ilya Tyljakov
James Gurney
Jesus Conde
Jordan Grimmer
Kienan Lafferty
Kim-Seang Hong
Kiwa
LevelUp
Lina Sidorova
Nuei Neko
Peixel
saejinoh
Sara Tepes
Scott Robertson
SpoonfishLee
Stanley Artgerm Lau
Super Ani
Xia Taptara
zephyo
Zimou Tan

Critique's & Overpaints

People painting over other people's painting. Great to get insight
Ahmed Aldoori
Art Prof
BORODANTE
CG Cookie Concept
FZDSCHOOL
Istebrak

via Metafilter

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Josh Jones is a writer and musician based in Durham, NC. Follow him at @jdmagness

How To Understand a Picasso Painting: A Video Primer

night-fishing-picasso

Sometimes it’s hard for the untrained eye to figure out what exactly is going on in a Picasso.

Fortunately, the artist leaned toward informative, workmanlike titles.

Had he titled “Night Fishing at Antibes,” below, something a bit more opaque---“Untitled No. 2,” say---the uneducated eye might well perceive the narrative as something closer to “Drunken Night in a Conveyer Belt Sushi Joint.”

Even knowing the correct title, my gut still argues that the boomerang-headed lady with boobs like lips is singing karaoke...

But after watching the above video by Evan Puschak, aka The Nerdwriter, I'm willing to concede that she’s standing on a jetty, a likely amalgamation of two of Picasso's lovers.

(The less voluptuous creature standing next to her is his wife, and my gut is eager to know why it looks like she's topless, a point on which Pushak is frustratingly mum.)

His process for understanding a Picasso takes the gut response into account, but then fleshes things out with four additional steps. You can apply them to many other artists’ work too.

  1. First reaction
  2. Content
  3. Form
  4. Historical context
  5. Personal context

It’s certainly helpful to know that the painting was made in 1939.

You probably don’t need the Internet to guess what world events were likely a source of preoccupation for the artist, whose “Guernica” was completed just two years earlier.

Content-wise, Puschak truffles up some interesting geographical references that elude most online analysis of the work. For instance, those purple blocks in the upper left corner now house the Musée Picasso.

There may well be a sixth step. Earlier, when a fan of the Nerdwriter’s weekly video essay series asked Puschak how to understand art, he responded:

All good art is trying to tell you something about your life. Your life… specifically. So understanding art is a process of understanding yourself, and vice versa. In both cases, you only learn by engaging. Watching isn’t enough, neither is reading or listening or thinking for that matter. From my perspective, engagement means writing. An idea that’s been snaking around in my videos for a long time is that we learn by saying, not thinking. You know something when you can articulate it, and for that you need words and sentences and paragraphs. So introspect, write down what your mind is doing. And when you watch a movie or look at a painting, write down how you feel about it. You’ll be amazed how one informs the other, and before long you’ll see some beautiful sparks. 

Below are some of the resources Puschak credits with informing this Nerdwriter episode:

Rudolf Arnheim, “Picasso's Night Fishing at Antibes” The Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism -- Vol. 22, No. 2 (Winter, 1963), pp. 165-167

Douglas N. Morgan, “Picasso's People: A Lesson in Making Sense” The Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism Vol. 22, No. 2 (Winter, 1963), pp. 167-171

Nina Corazzo, “Picasso's 'Night Fishing at Antibes': A New Source” The Burlington Magazine Vol. 132, No. 1043 (Feb., 1990), pp. 99-101

Mark Rosenthal, “Picasso's Night Fishing at Antibes: A Meditation on Death” The Art Bulletin Vol. 65, No. 4 (Dec., 1983), pp. 649-658

Albert Boime, “Picasso's "Night Fishing at Antibes": One More Try” The Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism Vol. 29, No. 2 (Winter, 1970), pp. 223-226

Timothy Anglin Burgard, “Picasso's Night Fishing at Antibes: Autobiography, Apocalypse, and the Spanish Civil War” The Art Bulletin Vol. 68, No. 4 (Dec., 1986), pp. 657-672

Lawrence D. Steefel, Jr., “Body Imagery in Picasso's "Night Fishing at Antibes" Art Journal Vol. 25, No. 4 (Summer, 1966), pp. 356-363+376

You can view the Nerdwriter’s other videos on his website or subscribe to his YouTube channel where a new video is published every Wednesday.

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Ayun Halliday is an author, illustrator, theater maker and Chief Primatologist of the East Village Inky zine.  Her play Zamboni Godot is opening in New York City in March 2017. Follow her @AyunHalliday.

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