P.O. Box 2363, Bellingham, WA 98227-2363 - (360) 223-2486 - Jonathan W. Sodt


Bellingham Dog

These are the works of Grass Dog Studio of Bellingham, Washington.

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The Laziness Inherent in the Style
(29 Oct 2007)

One common failing among new designers and laypeople interested in talking about the field is the tendency to confuse style with design.

Style can be quantified as a collection of commonly used attributes: Form, line, color, texture, space, contrast, etc. and iconography (i.e. the symbols, fonts and images commonly used).

Some styles are more amorphous or fluid than others, but if you break things down to the above listed elements you can define a style.

Design, on the other hand, is independent of style. It's the craftiness with which the creator of a piece of art employs the elements above (whether they adhere to a style or not) in communicating an idea.

In my previous post, I complained that a particular style chosen by paperdoll.net is all too common in my home town and engenders a kind of laziness that I think is bad. A couple of my friends took me to task regarding this, asking for examples of what I think is good. Well, I think that the website I linked to is actually a good example of that particular style of work, so I link to it again:


But I think that their ad in the local daily newspaper is not so effective. It looks lazy to me.

Mind you, it still works. Partly because the style is current a fad at the moment, there are people it will speak to and it will draw them to the grand opening to quench their thirst for the mystery of what they do and the promise of cupcakes and champagne.

But, to me, the ad is too busy, too muddy, and does not adequately communicate what the business does! And because of this, and how difficult it is to read the ad in print, the company will not garner as many customers from it as they possibly could for the space that they paid for.

I submit to you that this is an example of the best of bad ad design:

Obviously, the best way for me to present a counter example, typifying what I think is good design, would be for me to redesign that ad (or something similar) for that company. If I have time, I might actually do that. Instead, however, I currently refer you to their website. It's actually kind of fun to visit, and they have some great stuff for sale (T-Rex necklace anyone?).

But, the most important message I have to give is, I'm tired of that style. We in Bellingham are quickly nearing the point where too many people use it. It is not an original branding tool any more. And, I predict that in a year we'll have something different.

Posted by Fenmere

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(29 Oct 2007)

See the type of design as typified by this website?


I don't know about you, but I'm done with it. It permeates my home town, producing some interesting pieces of work, but promoting a kind of laziness that doesn't benefit anybody any more.

Time for something new.

Wait a year and we'll probably have it.

Posted by Fenmere

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This week's progress
(21 Oct 2007)

Harmless Free Radicals is about to go daily. I don't know how long it will take to go up to full speed, and I don't know how long it will last, but I'm gonna give it a solid shot.

Some things that may help in this regard include massive improvements to my workspace, more hours at work (believe it or not), and the fact that I'm between large graphic novel projects.

The sequel to the Dragon & the Radical is in the works. I'm still composing it in my head, and I figure I won't actually draw it until next Summer. But if all goes well, I may have teaser done sometime in the spring.

Crash Crandell is also seriously in the works, but will probably only get done one page a week, and may not be published until I have enough pages done to update it daily online.

And I haven't forgotten the special edition of DandR. I've got to start coloring the pages by the end of November to make my deadline.

But, I've got my camera set up for taking high volumes of scans in short order. I've got sufficient lighting at my drawing desk. My desktop's gamma setting is adjusted properly, and it now has enough ram to deal with the files I'm handling and a new hard drive to store them on.

Expect the volume of comics to come down this RSS feed to increase for a while. Hopefully a long while!

Posted by Fenmere

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BellCon2007 was awesome
(17 Oct 2007)

I sold many books at BellCon, and I have pictures I may be showing here soon.

I have more books, though, that need to be sold. Some are in my backpack, and if you can hunt me down you won't have to pay shipping.

The rest are available here, and I highly recommend that you purchase them!

In other news, I'm getting addicted to having this daily comic updating all on it's own. I kind of feel the need to create another one to take its spot when it's done. I have some options on that, but not a whole lot of time to implement them. Which is why I'm considering doing it to Harmless Free Radicals. I seem to be able to draw and upload that comic in less than an hour if I put my mind to it. I just need to come up with enough jokes!

Then, once I've got that one going full bore, I'll have the time to turn around and work on more graphic novels, such as the sequel to the Dragon & the Radical.

Seems like a plan.

Posted by Fenmere

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(11 Oct 2007)

I'm going to BellCon2007! I'll have a booth there, and I'll be selling my books!

It's Bellingham's first comic con, and it's this Saturday, from 10 to 4 at the Majestic. $5 at the door. I expect to talk to many fans.

Oh, and I wrote an article about it, published in this week's Whatcom Independent!

One of the coolest things about doing that article was that I got to interview one of my heroes, Michel Gagne (my rss thingy doesn't like the accented "e"). Unfortunately, the full interview didn't make it into the article. Which is why I'm posting it over here.

Posted by Fenmere

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