Over the past two years I’ve watched as my husband’s website has grown from a simple concept for a few pieces of paper into an active community site with regular writers, contributors, and tens of thousands of visitors from the four corners of the globe each day. I’ve watched with some surprise and not undue pride as his small hobby and love of tinkering has gradually won the attention of numerous major productivity websites, and even the likes of the Boston Globe, CNN, Pen World, Washington Post, Sacramento Bee, a DIY televison network, Fortune Magazine, the Globe and Mail, the National Post, and an interview with the New York Times among others… but today it did my heart much good to see a show of support from our home province. An especially cool little St. John’s based arts and entertainment paper called the Scope with a circulation of some seven thousand did an article which featured diyplanner.com for their “Student Survival Guide” issue. You can read the interview and other articles in the online version of their paper which came out today.
This has been a pretty exciting time in our household. A few months after the release of his D*I*Y Planner Hipster PDA Edition to rave reviews, Doug –with the help of dedicated friends from around the world– launched DIYPlanner.com on Saturday. This illustration, which graces the front page, is a play on Escher’s well-known drawing by award-winning artist, Brad Reid. Brad, who is a life-long friend of my husband, also happens to be an art school buddy of mine, and is our baby Conor’s godfather. A brilliant painter (one of my favourite pieces is here), Brad has (like me) put his work in oil on the back burner, but whereas I’ve started to explore egg tempera he is experimenting in digital work. He recently set up a blog, but hasn’t yet settled on a name for it.
I am so proud of Doug, and with good reason. DIYPlanner.com is about much more than productivity and the ever growing-list of beautiful template designs being offered free to the world under the Creative Commons licence. It is a community site to meet the growing needs of the “back to paper movement,” with a daily blog with great writers from different fields and a guest poster once a week. It is a place where right and left brain thinkers meet. I dashed off a 14-point post on nurturing creative energy in the Arts and Illustration forum. Feel free to jump in!
This site is not just for organizational geeks and the technically minded: things have become much more accessible (yes, mom this means you too!), and the site is even including material on journalling, scrapbooking, mind-mapping, and other topics that might benefit creative people. Template submissions from more artists and designers are definitely encouraged! The “official kits” have been downloaded about 400,000 times to date, and the daily hits are 20,000 and climbing, so you can be assured of a lot of interest… promotion and a great way to help out people in need of advice and guidance — what more could you want?
The escape was carefully orchestrated. Congo made sure the coast was clear, Bonzo distracted me with his endearing rendition of Polonius’ farewell speech to Laertes, Pierre engaged my wife with the latest Daniel Smith artists’ catalogue, and Polly constructed the electromagnet that attracted the key to the cage from atop the bookshelf. They waited till after midnight, then opened the padlock and quietly crept to the Mac to get to work.
This morning I found the fruits of their labour, stacked neatly in a small pile atop the printer.
It’s encouraging to read the comments, and hear about the email Doug receives. One tech writer said that with the planner’s help he is able to finally write again, and I was especially touched to read how sufferers of ADD say the hipster version will be of special help to them. Maybe there is something in this analog planner that eases the flow between the right and left brain? Myself, I ‘m really looking forward to the release of the creativity pack. I’m one of the fray who have made suggestions for the templates for artists. Yes! It should be no surprise that we need help with organization too, and it goes without saying that painters love and respond to the sensuality of paper.
I enjoy reading a million monkey’s typing (even when Doug’s technical know-how occasionally flies over my head), but I especially got a kick out of this intro. It left me trying to recall the ending of the shoe elves, but for th0se who may have missed other references:
“Pierre” Brassau refers to another painter, who received sudden critical acclaim in 1964.
Brassau paints with powerful strokes, but also with clear determination. His brush strokes twist with furious fastidiousness. Pierre is an artist who performs with the delicacy of a ballet dancer.”
Pierre’s career was cut short when it was discovered he was actually a four year old West African chimpanzee named Peter who lived in Sweden’s Boras Zoo. Richard Saunders recounts the tale at the end of his book The World’s Greatest Hoaxes. The prank had began when newsmen from a local daily had bribed the 70 year old keeper to supply Peter with brushes, oil paint and a few canvases. They then placed six of his creations in a reputable gallery, and watched by in glee as work sold and the critics raved.
The story is now legendary, but I haven’t been able to find images of Brassau’s work. (If anybody knows where examples may be found please let me know.)