1. Don't put down anyone's work, especially your own.

1. Don’t put down anyone’s work, especially your own.

2. Don't lick the brushes.

2. Don’t lick the brushes.

3. No adult slave labour.

3. No adult slave labour.

4. You can quit, but you can't whine.

4. You can quit, but you can’t whine.

Normalizing, not stereotyping

  I teach figure drawing. Let me answer your first three questions: Yes, they’re naked. Yes, they get paid. Yes, it’s weird… for the first five minutes, the first time, for us and for the model. Then it’s such difficult work that it stops being weird and turns into work. I teach students anatomy, too,…

Roadblocks and shortcuts

  Learning the conventions of professional practice is not an arbitrary roadblock preventing you from doing cool stuff. Manuscript format, submission deadlines, head shots, resumes, agents, learning sides or monologues or an arbitrary 12 bars of choreography… For most gigs worth getting, folks have settled on how they do business. The first test of your…

Ambushed by Rembrandt

Vermeer (1632-1675) was a Dutch painter who made small smoothly-painted pictures of middle-class domesticity. You’ve probably heard of The Girl with the Pearl Earring. That was painted by Vermeer. Rembrandt (1606-1669) was another Dutch painter with a very different style and subject matter from Vermeer. His most famous painting might be The Night Watch but…

Anticipate, or savour?

In late November I started seeing Christmas decorations. I don’t mean in the stores–where they spring up immediately after Hallowe’en–but in people’s houses. Growing up, my family’s rule was that the tree couldn’t go up until my dad’s birthday in mid-December, and I’m surprised by how quaint that sounds today. Now that artificial trees are…

The ideal is enthusiastic diversity

Okay, now this is data visualization. Vi Hart @vihartvihart, goddess of things mathematical and quirky online, has teamed up with Nicky Case @ncasenmare to create what they call a playable post, The Parable of the Polygons, which dynamically models the cumulative impact of small biases to show what it will take to get to enthusiastic…

Camping in a four-bedroom house

When I sold my house last year, I was also in the midst of changing jobs. I couldn’t make a long-term decision about where to live, so I rented the home of someone who’s away for two years. A lot of the owner’s stuff is still in the house and a lot of my stuff…

Snooze

Dreams are undirected mash-ups of our thoughts and experiences, mash-ups that sometimes produce ideas worth exploring. But dreams are also fleeting, almost always forgotten after waking. Thomas Edison used to take naps sitting in a comfortable chair, with metal pie plates sitting on the floor on either side, while holding marbles in his hands. When…

Best line of the day wasn’t mine

I taught a life drawing class the other day. It was late in the term and there was a test coming up soon, so I’d been giving the students little pop quizzes to help them prepare. That day, we had a model in and I had to ask him to wait while everyone did this…

I remember what I thought on December 6, 1989

I don’t remember where I was when I heard about the massacre at the École Polytechnique de Montréal. I remember what I felt: horror and grief and anger. What follows sounds foolish, even to me. I’ve kept it to myself for twenty-five years. But I also remember what I thought when I heard about the…