Frauenfelder quotes some interesting folks. For example, there's this gem from Charles Martin Simon's "Principles of Beekeeping Backwards":
Our apicultural forefathers, those great men who defined the principles of modern beekeeping, Langstroth, Dadants, Root . . . why were they so extravagantly successful? The answer is simple: because they didn’t know what they were doing. They made it up, as it were, as they went along. That is the creative principle, and that is the way it works. Once the standards have been set and carved in stone, the pictures and diagrams and procedures etched into the books, we have then models to live up to, and we can’t do it. Everything that comes after primary is secondary, or less. It will never be the same. For us to succeed, we have to become primary. We have to view beekeeping with entirely new eyes, just as our great pioneers did.I haven't been at comics long enough to know if that's true, but I'd sure like it to be true. Clearly, it's not enough to be clueless -- otherwise, we'd all be accidental Picassos. But to be unsure of what you're doing while wanting desperately to figure out the answers on your own -- that might be some kind of sweet spot.
Later, Dr. Peter Gray critiques the way modern schools work:
"...our education system is set up to train kids to be scholars, in the narrowest sense of the word, meaning someone who spends his time reading and writing." This is a poor way for kids to learn, Gray explained, because people survive by doing things. School, however, is about "always preparing for some future time when you will know enough to actually do something instead of doing things now. And that's such a tedious approach for anybody to take in life - always preparing."Could it be that school just prepares us to prepare for things? No wonder the local Utrecht is doing such brisk business in Moleskines and watercolor kits, but so little is actually getting made! He goes on:
The right way to approach learning, Gray said, is by encouraging play, "where you just go out and do things, and learning is secondary to doing. In school, you learn before you do. In play, you learn as you do and you're not afraid of mistakes -- you make mistakes and that's how you learn. Whereas in school a mistake is something bad. In some ways you become afraid of taking initiative and trying things out for fear you'll make a mistake."It was near the end of Frauenfelder's book that it occurred to me that making your own comic also counts as a DIY project. I guess I had associated the movement with sawdust and calloused hands, maybe because there seems to be so much caveman back-to-the-land stuff mixed in with the maker subculture. There's one bit where he even says his DIY activities take away from some of his other hobbies, which include painting and drawing. Somehow those two don't qualify as "true" DIY, I guess? Too sissy? I wonder where Make magazine stands on the subject of Cintiqs?
Anyway, the book's a great read for anybody who's trying to overcome that inner schoolmaster who keeps telling them they're not good enough to get going on a project. I could have used that encouragement a year ago. Heck, I can still use it now.
A few people have asked me what's going on with the Nonplayer publishing situation. I'm really, really close to signing something, and as soon as I do I'll make an announcement. We're in chickens-about-to-hatch territory now. I'm looking forward to being able to breathe again.
Issue #2 is bopping right along.