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November 2007
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January 2008


Good evening. How are you? If you chose to celebrate yesterday, how was it? I hope you had a good day, either way! I have to say that what I notice most about major holidays now is the disturbing slowdown of information. I usually get about 50 to 100 actual non-spam e-mails a day. Yesterday: Five. That's just wrong. I was happy that some normalcy was restored today.

The sudden silence did give me time to do some extra detailed animation for you, though. I'll tell you a little bit more about that in a second, but first,
please enjoy this week's clip:

I'm curious what you think the story is. At the same time, I'm curiouser still what your New Year's Resolutions are. If you're game, maybe you'll post them here to get the rest of us inspired. As always, you can post stories and comments by clicking the big, green block of type:


OK. A few production notes on this particular installment of the Monsters: Usually, each animation is put together out of 10 to 15 layers --- 4 eyelids, upper and lower jaw, movable arms and legs, maybe a little waving hair --- that sort of thing. But since we're dealing with three close-up monsters here --- monsters with tricky party hats, hidden teeth, and big dreams --- the animation has 46 layers. Each eye has three parts, for example --- the pupil, the iris ring, and a background. Plus the aforementioned eyelids.

As it turns out, 46 layers have a tendency to crash my otherwise fabulous anime software. I tried rendering with different settings, but nothing worked. The only thing that did the trick was to render the animation sequence 10 frames at a time. This left me with 138 separate files, which I then reassembled in Quicktime. That last step didn't actually take that long, but the piecemeal render ate up about five hours. But whaddaya gonna do? Simplify? I think not!

I shot a few seconds of the render process for you, because
it's actually oddly soothing to watch in real time. Take a look:

So... just imagine this times 1380. Ha! I do wonder if staring at this kind of thing all day has some sort of effect on me has some sort of effect on me has some sort of effect on me. But what can I do? I'm a slave to love. Because as you well know 344 LOVES YOU


Good evening. How are you? I hope the holiday madness is beginning to settle into more of a holiday coziness. If you're a giver of gifts, I hope they're all wrapped and/or mailed, and that you can finally take a breath. So it is with me over here at Monster Headquarters. I'm skipping the festivities myself, but those who are getting gifts from me are taken care of. Except for you, of course.

Over the past two months I've been shamefully remiss in keeping up with the Open Source Monsters. Emily, Tiffany, and James sent beautiful new monsters well over a month ago, and as you'll see the Watkins Clan is poised to become for the monsters what the Carter Family were to country music. Well, now that things are a bit calmer around here I finally had the chance to format all the monsters for display, and to catch up on a few of my own.

I also have a new Open Source Ink Blot for you. So if you're in need of a little escape from your yuletide obligations, you can go to town with this PDF right here.

I can't wait to see what you come up with! If you haven't made a monster of your own yet, maybe the slow days between the holidays are the perfect time to get in on the action. Here's how it works:

Download OPEN SOURCE INK BLOT 22, print it out, and have at it in any way you like: Draw, paint, origami, film, sculpt, write an orchestral score for it. Just scan, photograph, or otherwise document the result and send it my way at and I'll put the result on the blog right here. If you can, please make your file 480 pixels wide. If you can't, don't worry about it.
I'll resize it for you.

Here are some drawings that should give you plenty of inspiration:



Here are my own versions of Open Source Blots 7, 17, 19, 20, and 21. I already did No.19 a while back, but it slipped my mind, so I did it again. Luckily, it turned out completely different from the first time. See what you think:


Lastly, art student Chris Comper asked me if he could make a few of his own monsters for a school assignment. Who am I to say No? Take a look at the cool monsters he came up with:


HAPPY HOLIDAYS everybody! Have yourself a really good one! And don't forget to check back in on Wednesday. I'm cooking up a special Year End Edition of the Weekly Monster for you. Why? Do you still have to ask? Because 344 LOVES YOU


Good afternoon. I hope you're surviving the year end madness
wherever you are. Maybe the new Weekly Monster will offer a two minute respite
for all the jingling. It's a simple one this week, but still a different creature
from weeks past. I do hope you'll like it:

What's the story, do you think? Who's starring in this movie? Who made it? Who watched it? I'm very curious to hear what you think:


For now, I wish you a very merry week ahead, whether you're yulefied, or just taking a few days to relax. Mellow Xmas! Mellow Xmas everybody! A New Year's Monster will be waiting for you next Wednesday. Why? Because 344 LOVES YOU


Good afternoon. Dutch composer Bart van Delft just sent me a version
of Monster 122 that he scored with his own soundtrack. It's very cool!
Very loungy and mellow. I love it, and I have to share it with you:

I think with a little encouragement we could persuade Bart
to score a few more monsters. What do you think?

Even in the gray L.A. rain
you gotta know that 344 LOVES YOU


Good evening. How are you? I hope you've had a good weekend. As promised, I'm ready to give you the low-down on yesterday's glamorous gala opening of the ECHO PARK TIME TRAVEL MART.

Let me get right to the good stuff with a few photos, all of which will open up to 800 pixel width when you click on them. (This will come in handy on the product shots.)




Isn't that a lovely marquee? Don't you love the pseudo-gold-leaf 826LA? And the nice stripes on the wall? Even the freezer signs are custom made.

Now, let's browse the shelves:


Back on September 30th, 2006 at 11:09 AM, Mac was the person who first contacted me about the store, based on a kind recommendation from Sam Potts, who designed the Superhero Supply Co. in Brooklyn. (Please come visit us in L.A., Sam, so I can actually meet you and say Thank you!) Back then Mac said that the store would open in December 2006 and if I could blitz through a few designs for them. Ha! Of course, then everything dragged out, which is just as well. I managed to squeeze a little work into the interim---this entire site, for example, and the book about it.

His actual words were "I'm wondering whether you'd be at all interested in doing a little design for us. A couple product lines, maybe? I should tell you up front that the work would have to be pro bono, but that it's also fun, rewarding, exciting, for a good cause, etc." Of course I said YES! ABSOLUTELY! Who would ever say no to designing a Time Travel Store, for crying out loud? Could anything be more up my alley? [Note: If you're reading this and you're working on a high-end shoe store, on a sexy fashion label, an airline identity, or a line of artisanal chocolates or cheeses... do call!] Anyway... time travel? Hell yes!

My one condition was this: I'd do the job, as long as I'd be the exclusive designer for the store. (Sorry, [name withheld].) I freely admit that I'm a glory hound, and a whore for attention in general. I wanted design dominion over that store, and the 826 team were kind enough to grant my wish. I hope they're happy with their decision. I know I am. (Thank you for everything, Mac & Amy!)

So there you go.

Lastly, let me show you the pride and joy of the Echo Park Time Travel Mart --- our very own ICEE machine:


Sadly, it conked out just minutes before the opening event, but it'll be rockin' and rollin' for the full opening on January 15th, 2008. In the meantime everybody had a good time wandering the aisles and enjoying the company.

Since this is Los Angeles, let me share the sightings: I saw Catherine Keener, Rhea Perlman, Mike White, Spike Jonze, Jenny Lewis, Zooey Deschanel and---be still my heart---Natalie Portman. I heard that we also had Ted Danson, Jason Bateman and the excellent Michael Cera in the store. Needless to say, I didn't speak to any of the celebs, or make so much as eye contact. I wouldn't know the first thing to say. Maybe Vulcans got into the whole telepathy thing because they're shy, too. It kinda sucks, but what can you do? I'm working on it. Still... Natalie Portman checked out a whole bunch of my designs and the very thought pleases me. Tee-hee! (Or should I say gleyven?)

I did briefly get to say Hello to Dave Eggers, who's kind of cute, I suppose, but it's just not the same. (Sorry, Dave.)

We opened the store for another few hours earlier today, and I got to greet a few more of my friends. Thank you to all of you who came to visit last night and today. I hope you had a good time, and that you picked up some time-shifty stocking stuffers. If you didn't have a chance to be there, you can check out the store at the Monster Book Launch Party on March 1st. In the meantime, why not buy a few holiday gifts at 826LA's online Holiday Sale?

So there you have it. The Time Travel Store! It'll be closed until the grand re-opening in January, so Scott can finish the build, and I'll do a few more product designs, too. In the meantime, here is a seven minute video walkthrough that I captured for you just minutes before the doors officially opened. It's full of glorious ambient noise and random background conversation. Hell, it even has a cameo by Mac Barnett. I hope you'll enjoy it. (Revver truncated the video at 5 minutes and 45 seconds. I guess there was just too much nudity and cursing in the last minute and 15 seconds. You'll just have to imagine it, I guess.)

You do know, don't you, that 344 LOVES YOU


Good afternoon! How are you? I'm sorry that I'm only posting so sporadically right now, but I'm in overdrive on finalizing a few more product designs for the ECHO PARK TIME TRAVEL MART, which is opening on Sunday. Beyond that, there are a few other things happening that make it hard to write as often as I'd like. That said, it is Wednesday, and neither sleet nor snow (or, in the case of Los Angeles, a vicious 65º cold snap) will keep me from bringing you a new Weekly Monster.

It looks like you had fun with last week's monster, and I hope you'll enjoy this one, too. What do you think explains his (Her? Its?) particular style? Where do you think 126 is headed? And why? Is he coming back? Is he running an errand? Going home? Setting out? Is he alone? Is he but one organism? Or is symbiosis involved? What do you think?


I'm excited to see what you'll come up with.
Who knows if there will be a second book.
Get in on the ground floor!

For now, I hope you'll have a lovely, mellow rest of the week.
If you're in L.A. this Sunday, please drop by the store opening and say Hello.
The address is 1714 Sunset Blvd. and the doors open at noon.
Until then, you surely must know that 344 LOVES YOU


Good morning. The monsters still completely surprise me every time. I certainly didn't see this one coming --- had no idea it would look that way, had no idea it would do what it does. It all just came out that way over the course of 24 hours. And isn't that exactly how it's supposed to work? I hope you'll like the result. It's seasonal, don't you know. Who wouldn't want to increase their holiday cheer with this here monster?

You posted some excellent stories for last week's monster, and I hope you'll tell me a little bit more about this one, too. You know that this one's got a colorful background. And a colorful future, I'm sure. Don't hold back! Do please share your thoughts on the matter:


I'm off to bed for a bit. But don't think that my being temporarily unconscious will change the fact that 344 LOVES YOU