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🦊 Quick Links — October 2023
I usually don’t delve into politics in this newsletter, but this isn’t about politics—there is an ongoing humanitarian crisis in Gaza that demands attention and action. I feel enraged, overwhelmed, heartbroken, and sick to my stomach.
The attack on Gaza must stop.
As my friend Drew Austin wrote, “This is a complex situation but one aspect of it is simple: mass civilian death—on either side—is intolerable. A multitude of innocent Gazans will die today, tomorrow, and next week in response to Hamas’s vile act of terrorism.” Human rights groups have repeatedly called for a ceasefire, noting “Gaza is in the depths of a humanitarian crisis, a direct result of Israel's bombing and ‘complete siege’ of the enclave.” (NPR)
Many of us feel powerless, but we can take action: We can contact our elected representatives to voice support for an immediate ceasefire. We can donate to support those affected. We can use our platforms to keep this ongoing tragedy in the global conversation, and refuse to look away.
Help stop the violence and support those in need:
Demand a Ceasefire. If you’re based in the U.S., you can use these links:
As Naomi Klein wrote last week, “Side with the child over the gun every single time, no matter whose gun and no matter whose child.”
How to Balance Full-time Work with Creative Projects — As someone who splits my time 50/50 between a startup tech job and creative projects, there was a lot in this piece that resonated with me. I love most of Creative Independent’s interviews, and this one didn’t disappoint. My favorite bits were the reminders to have patience with our progress, and learning to say “no” as a means of freedom.
Fox and the Whale — A gorgeous, heartbreakingly beautiful animated short film about a fox chasing a call unknown. The animation style is stunning, it was written, directed and animated by Robin Joseph. What a mammoth feat to create this as a solo independent film, along with the help of his partner Kim Leow who did the character rigging and animation, and John Poon who did the music. I actually realized after watching that the lack of music and incredible sound effects play as much a part in elevating the story than the visuals do. If you’re inclined to learn more Joseph has released an Art of Fox and the Whale package on Gumroad. I got it and it is fantastic.
Confessions of a Viral AI Writer — The whole AI art topic is highly controversial. I’m still not sure how I feel about it. I have three or four drafts on the topic that I have avoided publishing because I can never say everything I want to say on it. I enjoyed this piece because it gives a deep perspective on the use of AI to elevate writing, and how this author decided to step away from doing it when they realized the consequences.
Understanding Color — One area I’ve been trying to elevate with my drawings is better use of composition and color design. This video is an excellent breakdown on how to think about colors, the color wheel, and applying them within compositions to get the result you want. (Side note: If you use Procreate, check out the Color Harmony tool in it to help generate color palettes.)
How to See Beauty — I loved this piece by Ralph Ammer, who always produces insightful and engaging posts explaining topics with the help of short animations. What resonated most with me from this piece was: (1) Stop adding lines once they no longer add anything interesting to the piece, and (2) A long drawing session can be so engrossing and meditative, you can feel totally exhausted as if you’ve just done a workout. So true!
Procreate Dreams — On the note of animation, Procreate recently announced a new animation app! While I’ve enjoyed toying with the animation tools within Procreate, I have always wanted them to build a separate app focused on animation, and I couldn’t be more excited for this. It launches November 22nd.
Reading Well — Great piece by Simon Sarris on building good reading habits. The advice I’ll highlight is one I give to most of my friends: Read more fiction!
In case you missed it…
I recently published a new illustrated fable, The Other Side. It’s the story of a fish who suffers a great loss, and must find a way forward.
I was delighted to see the reactions from readers, two of which I'll share here (I suggest you read the story first, as these contain spoilers!):
From a reader in Nigeria:
“I enjoyed the fable. I'm a Nigerian still in Nigeria and our economy has been in shambles for a while now so I feel like the fish in your story.
Everyone is making an effort to relocate from the country and no one wants to be left behind but I also know that not everyone can leave. Like the fish's mother said, everyone says the other side is better but from what I have heard some people succeed almost immediately while it takes others some time.
While I am here I don't want to resent myself for not trying to leave but what I realised from your story is that whether or not I leave I need to make the best of whatever situation I find myself.”
From Hassaan in Pakistan, who writes:
“Inspiring story, Salman! Reminds me of all the lessons I learned from Buddhism, Alan Watts, Thich Nhat Hanh. ‘Be here, accept what have you. Look for the beauty in.’”
If you read the story, what were your thoughts? I’d love to hear from you.