Clients From Hell and Nielsen

Looking at Clients from Hell, there are quite a few of Nielsen’s guidelines that are taken into consideration: the logo’s in the upper left, it gets straight to the content, and each post immediately throws you into each story in the first sentence with a little background information. While there virtually no images with the incident posts, they aren’t needed; and when images are necessary, they are ample and appropriate.

The site is also easy to navigate…for the most part. All the links are where you’d expect them to be, but, when looking at the blog-roll that most blogs have on their main page, it’s difficult to tell where one post ends and another one begins when scanning. A little more space or contrast between them would do the trick.

While I think Nielsen is full of crap half of the time, Clients From Hell, for the most part, does follow the tips of his that are actually useful.

The Online/Freelance Illustrator/Designer

Nowadays, if you can get online, you can be an “illustrator,” “cartoonist,” or “designer.” If you disagree with that statement, check out deviantArt for five minutes and get back to me. Sure, most wouldn’t be considered these things by traditional definitions, but a cartoonist is, technically, “one who makes cartoons.” The same applies to the illustrator and designer; the writer and content creator: the product may be crap, but it is a product nonetheless.

Even though I’ve been making comics for years, I took a look around to see what I could find about being an “online” or freelance illustrator/designer, or digital artist in general. Here are the top 5 blogs (in no particular order) that I found:

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Transitions, Transitions

The transition from old media to new media can be likened unto the days of Gutenberg. One day this guy, who we’ll call Johannes, decided that it would be really trippy if books could be made faster than a handful a year. So he went off and made a printing press, and all of a sudden books were flying out the wazoo (comparatively speaking, anyway). If you could access the technology and knew what you were doing, you could print whatever you wanted for everyone who could read to see. Oh yeah, and this nifty little invention led to a lot of people learning how to read.

Skip ahead a few hundred years: society has settled into a producer-consumer relationship: a select few made stuff, and the rest of society consumed it because there wasn’t anything else. Their opinions on the content didn’t really matter, either, because they neither had the power nor the ability to create alternatives. So they were stuck with what the media aristocracy gave them. Kind of like the people of Gutenberg’s day. And then came the internet, and, once again, if access was present, things could be made by anyone. And I mean anyone. Ability was, and is, irrelevant; if you can get it there, it’ll be there for everyone to see (peruse deviantArt or Tumblr for five minutes if you still believe ability has anything to do with content creation).

While this would suffice as a definition for new media, there’s also the small detail of audience interaction. With old media (the stuff from the old-timey the producer-consumer relationship), there is a monologue you’re forced to sit through: their spiel. You get no say or input. It’s like Hamlet, and you’re Polonius behind the curtain. Speak against them or try to interact, and next thing you know, “I am slain!”

However, with new media, you can interact however you want, whether that be commenting, sharing, creating fan art without legal “retribution,” or even joining in the creative process. Some people refer to this as the “death of the author,” and, in many instances, it is. However, in others, it is the birth of the “collective creator.”

TOME: More than a Show

Chris “Kirbopher” Niosi, one of the many flash animators who rose to stardom in the 2007-08 Newgrounds age, is an independent animator responsible for the infamous “Brawl Taunts” and “Parody Rangers” series. Today, alongside several big names in independent animation, voice acting, and music, he creates TOME, the Terrain of Magical Expertise, an animated series in which people from all around the globe flock to a virtual landscape built around both combat and social networking.

In the show, we follow five players of the game, Alpha, Kirbopher, Flamegirl, Nylocke, and Gamecrazed, as they both build the bonds of friendship and try to stop a group of hackers from destroying the game they have come to love. Through a glitch in the system, Alpha stumbles upon an item (or entity, rather) known as the “Forbidden Power,” which is exactly what the hackers are trying to find. Through the course of the show, we learn that this “thing,” as Flamegirl put it, has the ability to hurt players in real life. The story takes off from there, recounting the devastation left in the wake of the Forbidden Power.

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World of Firsts Ep.1: Car Crashes


Welcome to World of Firsts, a podcast where we analyze and talk about the first time we did something and how it’s affected us. This time, we’ll be taking a look at our first car crashes. While only three stories are shared in the podcast, I’m sure many of you have stories to share, too. If you want to share your experience, then please Tweet about it using #firstwreck. We’d love to hear what you went through.

Who knows, maybe your experience can teach somebody else something that may either save their life or help them to react in a situation that could save someone else’s life.

“Ghet’Kabael” Game Proposal


In the land of Ghet’Kabael, spaghetti is as precious as water is to Earth. So precious, in fact, that it’s the source of all life in the land. Some races need more to survive; others need less.

Ghet’Kabael is similar in nature to that of the land of Azeroth (World of Warcraft) in that it’s a fantasy world full of magic, combat, alliances, factions, and many a terrible foe. The peoples of the land lack a unifying force, so war is unending. Giant tapeworms ravage the land, their destruction rampant. They don’t listen to reason; all will be consumed until nothing remains but the tapeworm race.

That is, of course, unless a hero or two step in and put an end to their conquest. But the devout servants of the worms will arise to silence the heroes of the people and help to put an end to the land of Ghet’Kabael once and for all. Two sides will clash, and the fate of all of the land rests on the shoulders of your choice: preservation or a new world order.

But, if you aren’t careful, you won’t even get the chance to decide because all you know is that you’ve woken up in a dark forest, the leaves on the trees a wondrous blue. Overhead, three moons loom; one yellow, one beige, and the third, notably smaller than the others, blood red. Your head snaps to the right as you hear the rustle of the underbrush. Something is there; watching. Waiting. A brisk wind pricks the nape of your neck…

The Wonderful World of Webcomics

People often make fun of cartoonists or people who enjoy cartoons for being childish, yet they all love superhero movies. This may come as a surprise to some, but all of those superheroes started out as cartoons (Egad!). I’m not going to talk about those today, but I constantly feel bamboozled when cartoon enthusiasts are shamed for liking relatable, deep characters while the shamers cheer for shallow superhumans in colorful spandex.

Anyway, cartoons are booming today thanks to this newfangled interweb-thing we have in the form of webcomics. A webcomic is nothing more than a comic published somewhere online. It’s easy, it’s free, and, since there’s no content-approval or editing required before publication, anything can become a webcomic. And since there’re so many, you’re sure to find something, somewhere that speaks to you. Continue reading

Paradigm Shift

“Good golly gosh, that was such a great movie/literary work of indeterminate title! I would love to tell people about how enjoyable it was, but alas, I can’t: there isn’t a new medium.”  Person Guy

Fret not, Person Guy, there is hope! In my travels, I have heard of such a medium, something that breaks the century-old tradition of “take my work and end it there.” No longer do we have to only consume content made by those who have big names or budgets. No longer do we have to be like Hedgehog the Sonic:

Old Media

Original image © Tyson Hesse.

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