Author Archive

The Narrative Medium of our Times: An Interview with TV Critic Matthew Gilbert

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TV is no longer the second cousin to film; in many ways, it’s become the higher art form. And to a great extent, television has become society’s barometer—it shapes and tells us more about who we are than almost any other medium.

The Eyes of Writers

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The responsibility to organize what we see, to take the randomness of life and reconstruct it into a new form that has meaning, lies squarely with writers and other creative people (scientists and mathematicians alike).

Art & Politics: An Interview with Author & Best American Short Stories Editor Heidi Pitlor

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What is the function of the artist and writer in a troubled society? What is our role in these uncertain and precarious political times?

Thinking and Seeing in Pictures: The Art of Visualization

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Most writers I know have amazing verbal skills. They became writers because they fell in love with reading books. But as Joseph Conrad suggests, writers are equal parts visual artists. We paint pictures with words.

Character Through the Portraits of Alice Neel

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Almost everything I know about character development, I learned by studying the portraits of Alice Neel, who painted portraits in the mid-20th century at a time when the art world considered portrait painting nearly irrelevant.

Seeing the Forest for the Trees: A Dyslexic’s Point of View

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The information age has left us mired in details. Unable to see the big picture, we suffer from shortsightedness. We can’t discern the connections between actions and consequences, or recognize the pattern that shows we are all connected as one.

A Writer’s Ode to Seeing

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Bearing witness to each other and the planet is a solemn act. If we stop and truly observe our surroundings the way Thoreau did, we might be more inclined to save our planet. If we took the time to really see one another, we might appreciate better the value

Cartoons & Archetypes: How They Work and What to Know

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I learned about character development not by studying it, but by understanding the nature of cartoons. I spent years sculpting superheroes and cartoon characters for DC Comics, Nickelodeon, Pixar, and others. Although the perception is changing, the art world considers cartooning of all kinds to be a distant, lesser

The Artist’s Statement—How Visual Artists Find and Use Voice

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Voice is an intangible but discernible sensibility that threads through and ties together a body of work. It can be loud or quiet, but we always feel it.

Sketching and Writing: A Visual Artist’s Perspective

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The first thing we had to do was exchange our sharpened pencils for a thick piece of charcoal. We were instructed not to hold the charcoal too tightly. A pose would often last as little as five seconds, but we were expected to capture the whole thing.