my book

My Textbook

Here is a 10 page chapter from my 200 page book. The instructions therein explain how I built the menu you are using to navigate this website. I built that book over 15 years of teaching web design, with many revisions. My goal was to write it so well that complete beginners could read it and build a beautiful website, from scratch...without me. I usually have several students each quarter who do just that. They come to class, see the book, and go to town. For the rest of the class the book is what we follow during the lectures.



This is my first lesson for the Illustrator class. I used to use the "Adobe Classroom in a book" series. They are written flawlessly. Every step works, and the explanations are clear. But if it's pretty, it's pre-made, they just have you edit it. If it is made from scratch, it's ugly. My robot lesson is super easy, and it looks awesome at the end. Making the human form is the gold standard in computer illustration.

wood cut

Wood Cut

I found this illustration in an Illustrator 9 WOW book. His explanation was one page. I expanded it to 9. Graphic artists have been using the woodcut effect since the 15th century using a sharp knife to cut grooves in blocks of wood. These wooden blocks, called cuts, were inked with black ink and used on a letterpress to make early illustrated books. Artists of today are still making wood cuts, but they work in sheets of linoleum, carefully cut with sharp knifes and razor blades. With Illustrator, we can simulate the sharp cuts in the wood by drawing carefully shaped stretched out triangles.


Safeway Straws

My wife bought some straws at Safeway for a birthday party. When I saw the illustration on the side of the box I knew I had to teach it to my students. This one is so, so pretty. I always pass around the box before we start the illustration. When they hold it in their hands they realize the power of the software.

green gears

Green Gears

It was hard finding good books for my Advanced Illustrator class. I prowled around looking for pretty vector files. When I found a good one I'd buy it, then reverse engineer it. During the re-drawing process I'd take screen shots and write a lesson plan. Click the image above to see the PDF.



Before Steve Jobs frowned on Flash there was a huge community of Character Animators working in Flash. There was at least one network cartoon series created entirely in Flash. My boss saw the momentum and asked me to teach Character Animation. I found a book, but it wasn't well explained. This PDF is one of a series of five. The actual flash cartoon is here, turn down your speakers.