GenCon was amazing this year and as with most conventions and conferences I attend, left me completely inspired and exhausted. Wil Wheaton and I made eye contact while I was in line to buy 5 Gold and a Party t-shirts. I mean, how can I not feel some inspiration from just that experience.


Going to these events makes me want to create things. I often find myself struggling for motivation to create after work and on the weekends since I work in a creative field. Just ask my knitting basket brimming with a half finished scarf (and by scarf I mean mangled mess of double stitches and knots) and unused spools of yarn. The more my creative juices flow at work, the less I want to feel like letting them bubble at home. It’s not that I don’t want to finish knitting that scarf, I just can’t find the drive to do it. Conferences and and conventions give me that drive. It’s all about stepping out of the normal day to day grind.


GenCon made me realize how nerdy I have become/always been. This was our first year doing a 4-Day pass and we tried to make the most of it. We purchased a ton of games and I’m excited for an impending game day with our little group of gamer friends. The Titans Grave panel was great and has made me an appreciation for the creativity that goes into creating a story driven RPG that robust.


Some of the items we purchased:
Takenoko Chibis expansion (tile signed by the Antoine Bauza)
Cthulu Realms
Star Realms
Tesla vs Edison
TitansGrave book (signed by Chris Pramas)
5 Gold and a Party t-shirt
Fantasy Age book
King of Tokyo Halloween expansion
Eldritch Horror
Arkham Horror dice set
Escape from Innsmouth
Copious amounts of Bee Coffee
And dice, lots of dice (and more things I can’t remember)

Games demoed that were awesome:
Medieval Academy
Welcome to the Dungeon
A fun Kickstarter game (I don’t remember the name of) sort of like Cards Against Humanity but more creative
Creative Clash (also on Kickstarter)

Check out this happy GenCon customer.

Litmus animated GIF goodness

See the Sweet Litmus animated GIF


This. Is. Beautiful.


Litmus is generally amazing, so this is par for the course for them. This was recently sent out in an email to promote their upcoming conference.


Claps and snaps all around.

Inspiration in Nature

I always say taking a walk can be the best way to draw inspiration. I bet that’s what inspired these guys.

Record Your Inspiration No Matter How Insane

Helvetica Documentary coverI’m not someone who sits around stewing in my own creative juices 24/7. Instead I have fits of creativity and inspiration, usually spawned by something I’m reading or watching. Recently I watched the Helvetica documentary and became so inspired I had to open up Evernote and my sketchbook and start recording doodles, thoughts, quotes from the movie and making lists of creative endeavors I wanted to pursue because of this film. This doesn’t happen often, but when it does, I become a volcano of ideas spewing forth and writing everything down so I can look back on it when I’m feeling like an idiot or self-conscious about my ability as a designer. 90% of the time I never look at these notes again, but I revel in the solace that these creative outpourings of my psyche exist for me to reflect on if I so choose. These schizophrenic doodles and notes are a creative security blanket for me. My Moleskine sketches or sporadic ramblings would surely qualify me as a prime patient for the loony bin, but I’m willing to share a few of my coherent thoughts while watching Helvetica now.

It began with the interview with graphic designer David Carson and these quotes:

Just because something is legible doesn’t mean it communicates.

There is a very thin line between simple and clean and powerful, and simple and clean and boring.

From there I just started to write and sketch for the rest of movie. Here’s a snippit of my reaction to these quotes:

These quotes really resonate with me because as a designer, I feel like I am always dancing on the line of clean and boring. This is derived from my fear and confidence as a graphic designer (that is to say, my lack of confidence). Hearing these words from a designer that has made himself successful by going against the grain and breaking all the rules is both incredibly inspiring and frightening. Such great success does not come without immense failure. We’re all afraid to fail but making mistakes and learning from them is the only real way that we grow as humans, not just designers.

Yeah yeah, I totally admit I’m not the most confident designer here (which I’m working on), but this is all in the interest of being honest. I wrote three additional paragraphs on this subject and sketched and sketched and sketched. Those sketches will remain a mystery to the interwebs because like I said, they’re crazy, but they are all mine.


What’s the point of this post you might be wondering. The point its always be open and on the look out for inspiration and ways to get inspired. More importantly, always be ready to record the source of that inspiration. If nature is your source of inspiration, don’t forget that sketchbook the next time you take a stroll or go hiking.  If there’s a blogger or designer you find squee worthy, save blog entries and links to inspirational pieces of work. You never know what you might discover about the world around you, or yourself. This all sounds pretty self explanatory doesn’t it? You’d be surprised to find how many people working in creative fields don’t do this, or even sketch for that matter. Maybe they’re confident enough not to be burdened with looking for inspirational resources, but confidence and passion are two different animals. Those passionate about their careers have oodles of notes and sketches laying around and they are creating the most inspiring work out there.