It is Done

“It is done.” — Revelation 21:6

I’ve finished! All 22 chapters are now illustrated. I will undoubtedly continue to fuss with it, adding and revising things here and there, but this is basically it.

I’ve been working on it all day every day since October.

Next I work on an app for it, and generate high-res video of all the loops for other uses.

Hope you enjoy it! Please share it if you do.


Apocalypse Animated

I’ve revived my temporarily-abandoned Apocalypse project, which now lives at Instead of a movie, I’m illustrating the Book of Revelation with animated gif loops, in the tradition of Medieval and post-Medieval Apocalypses. Except instead of being hand-lettered and painted on parchment, it’s all digital. Still, the gif is the 21st Century’s equivalent of the woodcut, as I discussed 6 years ago:

…the advent of the printing press led to the explosion of a unique kind of illustration: the wood-cut. Since…the internet is in many ways analogous to the printing press, I saw a parallel in its own new kind of illustration: the animated gif.

I am currently up to Chapter 8, out of 22 chapters total. Here are some of my favorites so far:

Revelation 1:11 “What thou seest, write in a book….”
Revelation 4:2 “…behold, a throne was set in heaven, and one sat on the throne. 3 And he that sat was to look upon like a jasper and a sardine stone: and there was a rainbow round about the throne, in sight like unto an emerald.”
Revelation 6:13 “And the stars of heaven fell unto the earth, even as a fig tree casteth her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind.”
Revelation 7:3 “Saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads.”
Revelation 8:4 “And the smoke of the incense, which came with the prayers of the saints, ascended up before God out of the angel’s hand.”
Revelation 8:7 “The first angel sounded, and there followed hail and fire mingled with blood, and they were cast upon the earth: and the third part of trees was burnt up, and all green grass was burnt up.”
Revelation 8:11 “And the name of the star is called Wormwood: and the third part of the waters became wormwood; and many men died of the waters, because they were made bitter.”

Ultimately I’d like the whole thing to be available for download as an eBook. Some of the gifs are heavy, weighing in at over 4MB, although many are under 2. With up to 17 gifs per page (each chapter is one page), that can make it unwieldy to download on-the-fly in a phone’s browser. That said, it looks freaking great on phones, thanks to the “dynamic” WordPress template I was willing to wrestle with. As an eBook it could be downloaded in a single package and viewed at will on any device. But get this – there aren’t any eBook publishing programs that support animated gifs in this way! A few e-Readers support animated gifs, so such an eBook is at least possible, but it will take some custom coding for it to happen. Meanwhile, if you have a proper Internet connection, view the work-in-progress at


E-Z Parallax Animation

I made this to help collaborators generate animated fills for MysticSymbolic, but this E-Z technique can be used with pretty much any 2-D animation software.

This animated symbol is a stopwatch. It takes 6 seconds rather than 60 for the hand to complete a circuit.

This is the stopwatch moving straight across the screen left to right. It takes 6 seconds to do that.

This is the animated symbol above, replicated 6 times. Each instance of it is staggered by one second. Although it takes 6 seconds for one stopwatch to cross the screen left to right, this cycle is only one second, because of the time stagger; as soon as one stopwatch gets to one second, it’s in exactly the same starting position as the next stopwatch, and so on.

This is the time-staggered row above, replicated 4 times. Each instance of it is scaled up a bit. Not only does the root symbol (the stopwatch) increase in scale, but the distance it covers also increases proportionally. That means the largest stopwatch appears to travel fastest.

This is the same as above, but the scaled rows of traveling stopwatches are now distributed across the height of the canvas.

And that is how you get a nice E-Z parallax effect.


Acrylic Peg Pad

UPDATE: Now available for purchase here!

I asked Theo Gray to make me this 9.25 x 12″ acrylic peg pad (as opposed to peg bar) so I could do some quickie pencil animations on my glass drawing board, which I use as a cheap light table (see photo above).

Peg pad with punched graph paper under punched plain paper, in case I want grid lines for reference.

Instead of the traditional acme animation pegbar, which requires expensive pre-cut animation paper or/and a $500 hole punch, I wanted 3 round pegs that would line up with a standard inexpensive 3-hole punch. I specified clear acrylic, so I could scan drawings through it, so they’d stay in perfect register.

Peg pad on scanner
For larger drawings I rotate the peg pad on the scanner, but then I have to also rotate the resulting images, and I was impatient when I took these photos.

It works great. It’s small, light, and simple. I punch holes in cheap printer paper and off I go. Here’s a thing I made with it, inspired by Preston Blair:

Clearly this could be better, but it’s the fault of the animator, not the peg pad.  I need to practice my hand-drawn animatin’ to improve. Now I can!

We can make more of these peg pads if it looks like there’s enough demand to sell 5 to 10 of them. Would you buy one for $20? If so, we’ll make them and put them on the e-store. What say ye?




Velomobile shifting diagrams

I made these to illustrate the difference between shifting a Rohloff vs. conventional derailleur/cassette system in a velomobile going at speed. According to Doug Davis at Bicycle Evolution, some novice velonauts desire Rohloffs because they offer a very wide gear range, but the larger gaps between gears make them less efficient at speed. He has data about watts and gear inches and rotations per minute, but I merely tried to convey the drama of having to upshift too fast in a 60+ pound tub:

Rohloff hub: Shifting over 14% at speed puts sudden stress on the velonaut.

For contrast, the illustration below represents a more narrowly spaced conventional rear cassette setup, like what I have on my Mango:

Conventional derailleur/cassette: Shifting in smaller increments reduces stress and maintains efficiency at speed. The velonaut’s cadence slows only slightly after shifting, and quickly returns to normal.

Maybe we’ll talk about this, and other recumbent nerd stuff, on the next Laidback Bike Report.