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.

From Twitter:

You are currently browsing blog posts in the ‘Talking’ category.

Shh! The Blog is Sleeping

You’ve probably seen them — small, well-tended blogs with a bit of sweat and blood put into them, hosting bits of interesting content that the author was passionate enough about to share with the rest of the world. Maybe they even got into a bit of a rhythm for awhile and began to amass a small amount of loyal visitors engaged in a bit of light discussion sprinkled across various posts.

Over the years I’ve found a lot of enjoyment in collecting various items of interest, be it art, music or ideas, and sharing them here. Unfortunately I abruptly put a stop to that activity and that’s the kind of thing I just hate to see – a personal project abandoned and neglected without warning or explanation. Like an old house that was once a warm, loving home to a close family, now abandoned, falling apart from decades of neglect.

This is certainly not by choice or preference — nearly a year ago I managed to injure my neck/head/upper back which I’m told was a direct result of the many hours I spend at a computer. My doctor told me what it was, and while I’m not 100% certain of the exact words he used, I think he may have said it was Occipital Neuralgia. As a result I’ve had to keep my computing time to a minimum, which can be very disappointing and frustrating for someone who’s interests and hobbies all involve a computer. There isn’t much that’s more depressing for me than a complete lack of creative output.

So that is largely why the blog activity has ceased. I don’t like it, but at this point I don’t have much of a choice. My only real option is to keep trying to take care of my neck business until I get to a point where I can get back into spending more time at my computer. On my list of things to do: get a new computer chair that isn’t terrible (why did I not invest in a good chair years ago?), get more physical activity, and find creative outputs that don’t involve a glowing a rectangle.

I did actually visit my doctor again the other day and received what’s called an occipital nerve block. Basically I had some steroids injected deep into my neck, which was an interesting experience (and nowhere near as painful as I expected). It’s been a few days and I can tell a difference, so I’m hoping it keeps working out for me.

In the meantime I’m still pretty active on the Twitter. I really want to revisit the blog at some point and keep posting interesting stuff, but for now it will have to wait. I will let it continue to sleep for a bit.


Meathaus S.O.S. Release Party at Meltdown Comics, Sunday June 15th

This Sunday in Los Angeles, Meltdown Comics on Sunset Blvd is throwing a release party for the ridiculously good new Meathaus volume, S.O.S. Locals James Jean, Jared Purrington and (ex-local) Chris McD will be in person to help celebrate the book. Come down to Meltdown to slam some brews and buy the new Meathaus! Added bonus: The Ralph Bakshi art show opening the night before will be hanging in the gallery for you to ogle.

I just really hope I don’t forget.

Meltdown Comics


1 Comment

The Gnomon Workshop Live! Spring 2008

The Gnomon Workshop just announced their Spring 2008 Live! event, which will be an awesome weekend of insight into some of the most talented artists in film, video games, comics, and more. If you have any interest in concept art, 3D modeling, special effects, etc, and are in the general area of Hollywood, you will want to attend! Tickets are $125 for the two-day event. They’ll also have a recruiting room open for portfolio reviews and general Q&A. Past recruiters have included Nickelodeon, Blizzard, Naughty Dog, Top Cow, Insomniac Games, Activision and more. Plus free food! You can’t lose.

The Gnomon Workshop Live! Spring 2008

Saturday and Sunday, June 14th & 15th, 2008
10:00 AM – 7:00 PM

1015 N. Cahuenga Blvd., Hollywood, CA 90038
Sound Stage 15 (Next door to the Gnomon School of Visual Effects)

Leave a Comment

Yesterday I Met John K.

It was at the Vinyl Toy Network show in Pasadena. He drew me, along with what seemed like any other person who chose to wait in line.

I think he captured a bit of the giddyness I had at the time. I got to shake his hand, told him I liked his blog, and the drawing commenced!

Leave a Comment

Vinyl Toy Network, This Sunday in Pasadena

This Sunday, May 4th, is the Vinyl Toy Network event in Pasadena, CA, at the Pasadena Convention Center. You can check out the site for all the details. It looks like it should be a ton of fun, so I’ll defintely be attending! I will attempt to exercise self control and not blow all my money.

Leave a Comment

The Shape of Content: Ben Shahn on Creativity, Nonconformity and Style

I’m re-reading this book after having it for about 5 years. I originally picked it up based on the recommendation of someone who was responding to a sort of personal dilemma I was having regarding the creation of art- specifically the creative process itself.

At the time I was in school receiving a formal education in design, and found myself a bit frustrated with my personal work. To the best that I can remember, I was at a point where I simply gave myself more reasons not to create than to create. I started to concern myself more with the idea of a set of rules that I felt could clearly define what constituted good and bad art- rules that I felt could aid myself in the creation of quality work.

After a while I came to the realization that I was doing myself more harm than good in pursuing that line of thinking. Rather than allow myself the freedom to make mistakes in my own work and learn from them, I was more afraid of simply creating work that didn’t meet my standards, to the point that I simply produced no work at all. I was also concerning myself too much with conceptual thinking that I, at the time, thought was necessary to create quality pictures. Eventually I was able to get over it, and I was able to create simply for the sake of it. I was able to find a lot of enjoyment in the freedom I offered myself. I became comfortable with the idea that while none of the work I was going to be producing might turn out the way I’d prefer it to, they would all be lessons to myself that would help me develop as an artist.

The Shape of Content by Ben Shahn was a good book to read while in that situation. While the book mostly discusses art specific to painting, a lot of what the author has to say can be applied to just about any creative activity. Admittedly I’ve found some of it a little heady at times, and I’ve had to re-read a few passages to really understand what’s being discussed (part of which I blame on never having had a formal art history education). But in general, the ideas are clear, well-written and pertinent still 50 years later. Highly recommended to anyone interested in the creative process behind picture making.

Below, a few selected quotes from the book:

Any living situation in which an artist finds material pertinent to his own temper is a proper situation for art.

… whatever one paints must be constantly re-examined, torn apart, if that seems to be indicated, in the light of new attitudes or new discovery. If one has set for himself the position that painting shall not misconstrue his personal mode of thinking, then he must be rather unusually alert to just what he does think.

If the artist, or poet, or musician, or dramatist, or philosopher seems somewhat unorthodox in his manner and attitudes, it is because he knows—only a little earlier than the average man—that orthodoxy has destroyed a great deal of human good, whether of charity, or of good sense, or of art.

Nonconformity is the basic pre-condition of art, as it is the pre-condition of good thinking and therefor the growth and greatness in a people.

… art can be pushed to meaningless extremes. And it is a constant struggle to wrench out of the paint tube something that is still newer than new. Of course when such work becomes dated, its emptiness emerges, for nothing is so hard to look at as the stylish, out of style.

If a painting is to be at all interesting, it is the very absence of formula that will help make it so. If forms are reduced to have a certain common quality, a unity, that is so because they proceed from a personal vision, because they are affected and shaped by the aberrations or the excellence of a single mind. The personality is an axis which gives its radial direction to everything which issues from it.

Style today is the shape of one’s specific meanings. It is developed with an aesthetic view and a set of intentions. It is not the how of painting, but the why. To imitate or to teach style alone would be a little like teaching a tone of voice or personality.

The Shape of Content
Author: Ben Shahn
ISBN: 0674805704 

Leave a Comment

Please Update Your RSS Feed

Looks like I forgot to include my FeedBurner RSS URL when I redesigned the blog. I’ve made the change, so if you’re subscribed via RSS, please update your bookmarks. Hooray!

Leave a Comment

Eric Carl Moves to Los Angeles

So I’ve been a bit sparse on the blog lately due to lots of job hunting, and more recently, packing! I’m ending my stay at my current advertising agency for a fabulous new opportunity in LA at the Gnomon School of Visual Effects. I’ll be working as a web and occasional print designer while taking a few classes. I make the move a few days after Christmas.

One of my goals is to get back on the blogging train once I’m settled out there. I’ve been wanting to get some content with a bit more weight up on this thing, so hopefully I’ll be able to do that.

Also, the 15th of this month will be my 25th birthday. Hooray!

1 Comment

Music Machine?

So I figured I’d finally update my page of music. I added “new” stuff and put up a lot of old stuff. I’d say everything up there is really just rough ideas I’d love to work into final tracks some day. But for now, they will exist as they are. Maybe once I get some free time I can finally get back into that stuff.


Walt Stanchfield: Gesture Drawing for Animation

“Carry a sketch book—a cheap one so you won’t worry about wasting a page. Sketch in the underground, while watching television, in pubs, at horse shows. Sports events are especially fun to sketch— boxing matches, football games, etc. Draw constantly. Interest in life will grow. Ability to solve drawing problems will be sharpened. Creative juices will surge. Healing fluids will flow throughout your body. An eagerness for life and experience and growth will crowd out all feelings of ennui and disinterest.”

“Where are you going to get all this energy, you ask? Realize that the human body is like a dynamo, it is an energy producing machine. The more you use up its energy, the more it produces. A work-related pastime like sketching is a positive activity. Inactivity, especially in your chosen field, is a negative. Negativity is heavy, cumbersome, debilitating, unproductive and totally to be avoided. Take a positive step today. Buy a sketch book and a pen (more permanent than pencil), make a little rectangle on the page and fill it with a simple composition.”

From the PDF book Gesture Drawing for Animation. I totally recommend taking a look at it even if you want to draw but have no interest in animation. A lot of the same information still applies.

I think I should start posting sketches I’m not happy with just to keep the blog more active. I love dropping helpful links but ideally this should be a sketchblog. So perhaps I will allow myself to display my failures and try to discuss what does and doesn’t work about them.

“You have to be careful of your thoughts. Once you start one of the spiritual or mental laws working, all sorts of things begin happening behind the scenes to implement its fulfillment. So if you want to be able to draw well, start a sketch book and get a good law working for you.”

1 Comment