I am Eric Carl, currently employed at the Gnomon School of Visual Effects in Los Angeles as a web designer and instructor.

On this blog I will reveal all that I know and love about art, design and the creative process.

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The Secret Of Success? It’s All In Your Mind(set)!

I read a book last week entitled “Mindset: The New Psychology of Success” by Carol S. Dweck, which was a pretty eye-opening experience. Not because anything in there was really mind-blowingly new, but rather that it summed up a great deal of my own experience and belief. Dweck is a professor of psychology at Stanford, and an expert in the field of human motivation and intelligence. Her book pretty handily demolishes a lot of popular (and deeply-held) myths about success, successful people, failure, human learning, and progression.

Dweck breaks everything down by mindset: The “fixed” mindset, and the “growth” mindset.

Totally agreeing with what Jay Barnson has to say in his most recent post. Like the pages of sloppy failures and experiments in the sketchbook of an extremely talented artist, I think those people who really succeed do so after many previous struggles. It just takes the right attitude.

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Carrying a Sketchbook, Parts 1 and 2 by Mark Kennedy

I’ve been pretty out of it with a sinus infection since Wednesday, which has not been a fun experience. What’s the point of not going to work if you can’t take advantage of your time off?

Regardless, if you too have some time to kill (or even if you don’t!) and you’re one of those creative types, particularly of the doodling variety, you might be interested in Mark Kennedy’s recent posts (parts one and two) concerning the carrying of a sketchbook. They’re both good reads that many of you should find you can relate to. I almost always have one on me, but utilizing it as a space to allow yourself to make mistakes as opposed to filling it from front to back with perfectly final artwork is both challenging and freeing.

Temple of the Seven Golden Camels

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Bright Skies and Meaty Mits

So spring is here, and I love it. I forgot how much of a difference some warmer weather can have on my mood. Maximum greatness! It rejuvenates me, to the point of redesigning my blog. So here’s a new look— cleaner and tidier. There’s still some little wrinkles to work out (block quotes!), but it works!


Update! Block quotes are fixed, thanks Jedrek!

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Difficult Questions About Videogames

In reference to the question, “What is gameplay?”

“There is no such thing as innovative gameplay, but there is such a thing as gameplay innovatively implemented. What gameplay does is to provide a competent stage for the aesthetic part of the game to shine through, nothing more. In this regard, it holds much the same functional relationship as plot to story.” – Tadhg Kelly

“A successful gameplay system should be transparent to the player, utterly intuitive in every way.” – Jon Harttrup

“Bad gameplay is meaningless choice, good gameplay is meaningful choice.” – Ryan Kelln

“The biggest fulfilments in playing games comes from bursts of creative thought, challenges that require new strategies, and successfuly taking ludicrously slim possiblities.” – David Hayward

From Difficult Questions About Videogames. I managed to snag a free copy of this book almost a year ago, and am digging back into it after discovering it in a pile of moving boxes (is it still easily available? I can’t seem to find any recent information on it). Highly recommended reading for creative nerds. For some reason Amazon.com has a used copy for the paltry sum of $93.08.

Also, writing this post up has introduced me to Tadhg Kelly’s blog, which is so far pretty interesting and worth checking out.


Portfolioage to the Max Amount


I can’t believe how long it’s been since I had a proper portfolio online. I think the last time would have been 1999, right before I ran off to college. Somehow while there, I just got obsessed with creating things I didn’t think were showable. I began over thinking a lot of stuff, where I simply gave myself too many reasons not to create something. Then once I entered the so-called “real world”, I found myself with a thirst that needed quenching- a thirst to create simply for the joy of it, which I’m very lucky to be able to do now. Strange that I wasn’t more able to harness that while in school.

Now I’m just glad to finally have a place to put all my work. I’d also really like to flesh out the Goodies section to include some more creative elements for people to play with. Maybe sometime soon I can go out texture shooting before we lose all the overcast days!

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Tomer Hanuka Now Sells Pretty Pictures

Tomer Hanuka

Tomer Hanuka, one of my favorite illustrators and larger influences, is now selling prints at his website.

The image above is from a recent set of illustrations he did for Stanford Medicine Magazine regarding climate change. Hit up his blog to check out the rest of the set.


Feed Trouble

I was having some problems getting my RSS feed to work with Firefox Live Bookmarks, which have now been fixed. So, if you use Firefox Live Bookmarks as your reader of choice and this feed hasn’t been working for you, you’ll want to resubscribe. Ta da!

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The John K. Blog Appreciation Post


I love this blog. In fact, it may be my favorite on the entire internet ever.

John Kricfalusi has been keeping this thing updated with such a massive amount of educational information, at such an extremely satisfying rate, that it just makes me inspired to the maximum amount.

The information in this thing is the knowledge of animation gods. But what’s even better is how universal this information is to cartooning and drawing of any style. I’ve been drawing since I could hold a pencil, but I have very rarely pushed myself to venture into the realm of fully 3D illustration. My ability as an artist has suffered significantly, as I’ve stripped myself down to only drawing silly, two dimensional, designy noodlings.

It’s been a major focus of mine to practically start from square one over the past few months and really solidify my three dimensional drawing. John’s blog was a catalyst for that in a time when I’ve been frustrated with my ability to render even the simplest and most familiar of 3D forms. Though I’m still in the early stages of this, it becomes more and more obvious how working on this will immensely expand my ability as a whole.

While I certainly wish I had had this resource when I was younger (at 24 I’m on the tail end of John’s generalized arc of creative ability), it’s never too late to go back and strengthen the basics. The rest of the stuff I’ve been doing for years previous can only benefit from it.

So go and check out John’s blog. Take the time to read through his articles. Dude is giving away this information for free and I’d hate to see it all go to waste, unappreciated.

The Hollywood Animation Archive Project Blog is also of an extremely similar vein, and comes highly recommended as well.

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Word of Mouth and Viral Marketing

I’ll try and keep posts like this to a minimum but this just bugs me too much not to say something about it.

So Person A gets a new album. They love it! They tell their friend, Person B. Maybe Person A also sees a ridiculous video of someone walking on their hands while launching bottle rockets from their toes on YouTube. They love it! They tell their friend, Person B.

Lot’s of stuffy and out-of-touch marketing types (working at an ad agency means I meet a few of them) describe this as viral marketing. That makes me so mad! That’s not marketing, that’s plain old information sharing. People have been doing it for millennia. “Check out this watering hole! It’s the bee’s knees!”

The only time it should be referred to as viral marketing is when that silly YouTube video was made to sell a product. Generally with the hopes that said video would be so absolutely interesting to people that they just wouldn’t be able to help but share it with others. Fortunately, this type of stuff is usually easy to recognize because it’s obvious the creators are just trying too hard.

It irks me to see such a naturally occurring and innocent act of human nature commodified and made claim to by marketers. Please don’t cheapen the things we love by turning them into a vehicle for your product. Chances are we’ll think even less of it once we realize what you’re doing.

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Paul Pope Blog Is Hot

Paul Pope

“There is absolutely nothing you cannot express through the medium of comics. As long as there are artists-of-comics who wish to create, and ideas they wish to express, this one true and unchanging rule remains indestructable.”

So Paul Pope, who I only recently discovered via Batman: Year 100, has had a blog up for a few days. I’m a big fan of his work, and his blog so far is killer. Check it out and get inspired. The image above is my new desktop.

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