How Susan Kare applied embroidery skills to create the iconic Macintosh icons

In the early 1980s, Susan Kare joined Apple Computer to design fonts and user interface graphics. A legend of pixel art, Kare created the look of the original Macintosh, from the Chicago typeface to the Trash Can to the Happy Mac icon. She's currently creative director at Pinterest. David Kindy profiles Kare in Smithsonian:

Pioneering designer Susan Kare was taught by her mother how to do counted-thread embroidery, which gave her the basic knowledge she needed to create the first icons for the Apple Macintosh 35 years ago.

“It just so happened that I had small black and white grids to work with,” she says. “The process reminded me of working needlepoint, knitting patterns or mosaics. I was lucky to have had a mother who enjoyed crafts..."

Designing the icons proved to be more of a challenge (than the typefaces). Reproducing artwork on those primitive CRT surfaces, which used a bit-mapped matrix system with points of light, or pixels, to display data, was a designer’s nightmare.

However, the friend who recommended Kare for the job—-Andy Hertzfeld, then lead software architect for Macintosh-—had an idea. Since the matrix was essentially a grid, he suggested Kare get the smallest graph paper she could find. She then blocked out a 32-by-32 square and began coloring in squares to create the graphics...

After leaving Apple in 1986, Kare became creative director for Apple cofounder Steve Jobs at the short-lived NeXT, Inc., an influential computer startup that was eventually acquired by Apple. She founded her own eponymous design firm in 1989, which created graphic designs for hundreds of clients, including Autodesk, Facebook, Fossil, General Magic, IBM, Microsoft and PayPal.

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Fixing a car-door dent with fantasy cartography

Did you get dinged in a parking lot? Or did you back into a phone-poll? A little bondo, a little black pinstriping, and voila, you've turned your car's unsightly, damaged door panel into a map of fantastic, Tolkien-adjacent realms. Read the rest

Revealing the cover of "Poesy the Monster Slayer," my first-ever picture book!

Firstsecond (publishers of In Real Life, the bestselling middle-grades graphic novel Jen Wang and I made) have just revealed the cover for Poesy the Monster Slayer, my first-ever picture book, illustrated by Matt Rockefeller and scheduled for publication in July 2020. Read the rest

Fan-made "rideable" Haunted Mansion poster

Cartoonist Vince "Untold Tales of Bigfoot" Dorse (previously) continues to make astoundingly cool Haunted Mansion fan media: his latest is a "ride through" illustration of the Mansion and its many set-pieces, which imagines a coherent geometry for the ride. Read the rest

Tim Biskup: new interview and book from the great pop surrealist

We've posted on Boing Boing about Tim Biskup's pop surrealist artwork for decades and he's still busier than ever. Most recently, he's opened a new gallery and studio space in Los Angeles called Face Guts, created album art for Lee "Scratch" Perry, and is finally publishing his first monograph, titled Tree of Life. In the new issue of Juxtapoz, Patricia Arquette talks with Tim about his life and work. From Juxtapoz:

You were a punk rocker, right? Do you think that gave you better tools for survival?

Yes. Being able to say, "Fuck it, I don't care," is a very healthy thing. I've often said that the most valuable art supply that you have is right here.

That's your middle finger.

Yes. There's so much of punk rock that is based on loose energy. It's not necessarily about doing everything right. It's about capturing the energy of that moment. There's so much punk rock music that is perfect and there's so much of it that just sounds like trash. I think punk rock taught me how easy it is to make shitty music and how easy it is to make great music. The element that makes the difference is a willingness to work hard on the things that you need to work on and to ignore the things that don't matter. That lesson has followed me through everything in my life. There are a lot of times where I'm like, "Oh, shoot. I'm not doing this part right," but it doesn't matter.

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"Superflat" artist Takashi Murakami writes about himself

Over at CNN, fantastically creative and influential Japanese artist Takashi Murakami is CNN Style's latest "guest editor." Along with commissioning a series of articles "exploring the theme of identity," he wrote his own insightful and inspiring essay about his life as an artist. From CNN:

As a child, looking at paintings was absolutely boring. One standout memory was when, around the age of 8, I had to wait in line for three hours with my family, just to see the Spanish artist Francisco Goya's painting at a museum in Tokyo. The work depicted Titan Cronus (or Saturn) eating his own children. The image was haunting and kept me up for many nights after. I think this profound experience, or trauma, formed the basis for my act of painting to this day. It taught me that if my work doesn't move people and induce a "wow!" then it's all for nothing.

Once I started grade school however, reading manga and watching TV anime became more important to me. No longer forced by my parents to go look at paintings, I became obsessed with "Ultraman," robot anime and sport-themed manga about boxing and baseball. I believe these experiences have a lot to do with how I now make films and animations, alongside paintings and sculptures....

In seventh grade, I fell into a hole in the ground and broke my skull and some bones in my right hand. I couldn't go to school for a month and subsequently failed to catch up academically.

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Goreytelling: Animations to go with Edward Gorey's narration of his life

In the 1990s, student filmmaker Christopher Seufert talked his way into Edward Gorey's life and convinced him to record a series of memoirs and tales from his life; the project blossomed into a documentary, only to be derailed when Gorey died. Read the rest

Design competition to create graphics to illustrate cybersecurity stories

Illustrating abstract articles is a pain in the ass, and in the age of social media, a post without an illustration is likely to disappear without attaining any kind of readership, which leaves those of us who cover the field endlessly remixing HAL9000 eyes using walls of code, Matrix text-waterfalls, or variations on hacker-in-a-hoodie. Read the rest

An illustrated guide to San Francisco's most unusual statues

Peter Glanting's illustrated guide to San Francisco's most unusual statues is an annotated delight, even if, despite its length, JWZ wrote, "They skipped a few of my favorites." Read the rest

Rob Israel's "They Live" meets "Distracted Boyfriend"

What could be more zeigeisty and revealing of our present moment than John Carpenter's 1988 sci-fi/horror flick They Live? How about Rob Israel's They Live, We Look Back illustration, a mashup with Distracted Boyfriend meme, which you can pre-order today as a 12x12 print? (via JWZ) Read the rest

The new Creative Commons search engine is out of beta, with more than 300 million images!

I am totally, utterly reliant on Creative Commons images for Boing Boing, and mostly I use Google Image's mediocre search tool for this purpose, but no more! Creative Commons's new search engine is out of beta, and contains more than 300,000,000 images, along with tools to make attribution easier! (via Kottke) Read the rest

Fantastic minimalist embroidery portraits of musicians, writers, and artists

My dear pal Barbara Rushkoff embroiders fantastic minimal portraits of musicians and other artists, writers, and thinkers whose work has inspired her over the years. I love the seeming simplicity of her illustrations that still beautifully convey the essence of her subjects! Also, the name of Barbara's Instagram account has me in, er, stitches: yr_resting_stitchface

Above: Robert Smith of The Cure. Below: Billie Eilish, Kate Pierson and Cindy Wilson of the B-52's, Nilufer Yanya; Mark Hollis of Talk Talk; Joy Division's Ian Curtis; St. Vincent; Debbie Harry; and David Bowie.

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"Mona Lisa Descending A Staircase," a wonderful claymation from 1992

Joan C Gratz's animated short "Mona Lisa Descending A Staircase" is a lovely and trippy 2D claymation of iconic artworks transforming one into another. After spending a decade on the piece, Gratz won the 1992 Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film. Gratz called her animation technique "clay painting." From Educational Media Reviews Online:

“Clay-painting” is a unique process that blends film and painting, and an innovation that garnered Joan Gratz’s Mona Lisa Descending A Staircase a 1992 Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film. In this true landmark of animation, numerous famous and iconic paintings from 20th century art are “reproduced as exactly as possible but the transitions between these paintings [are] used to communicate the relationship of artistic movements” as Gratz has stated. “In the clay painting technique, which I began developing in 1966, I work by painting directly before the camera, making changes to a single painting, shooting a frame, repainting and shooting, etc. In the end there is one painting with the process recorded on film, the product is the process.”

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How to easily draw a fantastic optical illusion of a 3D city

As a high school student, I would have enjoyed learning to use ruled paper to draw anamorphic illusions instead of (not) taking notes. (via The Kid Should See This)

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Andrew Jackson becomes Rambo and other great moments in money art

Illustrator Boden Him makes fantastic money art, transforming US presidents into pop culture icons. See more here: Illegal Tender.

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Zachary Knoles imagines video games as pulp novel covers

Artist Zachary Knoles created a wonderful series of illustrations that pay tribute to video games by imagining them as pulp novel covers, with the game writers' names in the by-line slots (a very nice touch indeed!). (via Gameraboy) Read the rest

童絵解万国噺: a wonderfully bizarre 19th century Japanese fanfic history of America

Japanese historian Nick Kapur unearthed "Osanaetoki Bankokubanashi" (童絵解万国噺), a wonderfully bizarre illustrated Japanese history of the USA from 1861, filled with fanciful depictions of allegedly great moments in US history, like "George Washington defending his wife 'Carol' from a British official named 'Asura' (same characters as the Buddhist deity)." Read the rest

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