My Mobile Sketch Rig: Pilot Couleur Mini Pencils and Moleskine

I’m a big fan of Pilot and Pentel mechanical pencils. At home I use the larger Pentels, but when I’m out, I carry around the small red Pilot Couleur above attached to my small Moleskine. Ideas often come when I’m away from the desk so I feel like I always have to have pencil and paper wherever I go.

The Pilots have a rubberized coating, hold 0.5mm leads, and hide an eraser under the push button. They stay snugly attached to the Moleskine strap and don’t flop around. I also found that you can buy cyan leads at 0.5mm, so I recently acquired a second Pilot. As you can see, they both fit perfectly to the side of the notebook. Now I can sketch in gray or blue, and if I want to share, I can use a paper trimmer, tear out pages and scan. Love love love. These pencils are from Japan, so you can get them at places like Kinokuniya.

I thought the pics might interest some. I spent a little time trying different ways to attach a pen/pencil to my Moleskine, and have found that what I’m doing works very. The Moleskine above is a Reporter, so the strap goes across the short side rather than the long. This lets you clip your pencil perpendicular to the strap on the long side as shown above. Much better positioning than with the regular Moleskines.

There are a lot of other creative hacks out there to attach your pencil to your Moleskine if you don’t like my method. Everyday Innovations, makers of the PicoPad sell a pen holder called the Book Sling that also seems well designed, although I haven’t tried one yet.

Hope this gives someone some inspiration for their ultra mobile sketching rig. Happy sketching!

Using the Storyboard Paper for Stop Motion Animation

Using the Konigi Storyboard Graph Paper to plan stop motion animation

My son got his hands on the storyboard paper and started sketching a stop motion animation sequence in the cells. He just started his second session in a stop motion class. This is one of the things I used our printed graph paper for, but because that was printed in black/gray on our laser printer, I had a hard time knocking out the grid lines mixed in with his drawings. Now, since this is on the cyan grid, I can scan 6 cells on each page, cut/crop each box visually, then knock out the blues. Can’t wait to try this out myself for something.

You can find the free printable storyboard graph papers in the tools section. Notepads are on sale here.

Adobe Launches CS4 Suite of Applications

Ars rounds up the new features in the forthcoming release of the Adobe CS4 suite to be released sometime next month. I think I'll have to upgrade for the multipage docs in Illustrator alone.

Photoshop CS4

* GPU-based drawing of documents onscreen
* 64-bit for Windows
* Expanded 3-D paint, lighting and rendering tools

Illustrator CS4

* Multipage documents with different sizes
* Indesign-style separations preview
* Many updated tools like gradient and blob brush

Indesign CS4

* Live Preflighting
* Easy Flash document creation
* Smart guides and spacing tools

Flash CS4

* Powerful Animation presets
* H.264 encoding
* Expanded 3-D transformation and object support with inverse kinematics and bones

NO!SPEC vs. crowdSPRING Debate at 37signals

37 signals gave the soapbox to crowdSPRING to justify the crowdsourcing and spec work platform and the debate ensued. I got through about half of the long rant, then half of the comments, and called it a day.

I've already chimed in about my opinion for crowdSPRING. I believe there is a place for this market, and if small businesses will support it with dollars, then it will continue to exist. As a lot of designers commented, market places like this don't threaten them. Someone going to crowdSPRING doesn't really expect depth of experience for what they pay. Like it or not, this marketplace appears to be thriving and a good number of designers of varying levels of experience are participating, much to the disappointment of AIGA. Nevertheless, the debate rages on.

Study of User Response to Fake Dialogs

Ars reports on a study by the psychology department at NC State that will appear in the Proceedings of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society. The study tested how college students respond to fake dialog boxes in browser popup windows and found that the students are so anxious to get the dialog out of the way, they click right through obvious warning signs.

Follow-up questions revealed that the students seemed to find any dialog box a distraction from their assigned task; nearly half said that all they cared about was getting rid of these dialogs. The results suggest that a familiarity with Windows dialogs have bred a degree of contempt and that users simply don’t care what the boxes say anymore.

The authors suggest that user training might help more people recognize the risks involved with fake popups and the diagnostic signs of genuine Windows dialogs, but the fact that the students didn’t appear to spend any more time evaluating the fake dialogs raises questions as to whether education is enough.

Announcing the Konigi Store

I’m pleased to announce the first of a series of products that I’m producing for creatives involved in design for the screen. The first 2 products are graph paper notepads formatted for user interface design and design of time-related sequences.

The Wireframe Graph Paper Notepad is made for visual designers, interaction designers, and information architects designing for the screen. The notepad has 50 sheets at 8 12 x 11 inches on white 70# paper, glued on the left side. The ink is a non-photo blue (cyan) so that the grid lines and any sketch lines made in non-photo blue pencil can be knocked out when scanned and processed in graphics software.

The Storyboard Notepad is made for creatives who think about interactions over time, whether doing user interface or interaction design or planning video, film, and animation sequences. The notepad has 50 sheets at 8 1/2×11 inches on white 70# paper, glued on the left side. The ink is a non-photo blue (cyan).

You can find out more about these products at Due to several large advanced orders supplies are limited.

I welcome your feedback!