ACANS News & Information Center
Robin and the Peachpit Press
Robin Williams, author of (just to name a few): Macs on the Go, Mac OS X.4 Tiger: Peachpit Learning Series , Robin Williams Web Design Workshop , The Non-Designer’s Design Book , and founder of Santa Fe Mac User Group (now with over 275 members) visited Dona Ana Community College (DACC) mid April to share her experiences as an author and Macintosh (Mac) specialist. Her short visit to Las Cruces was not taken lightly, as students and staff from both DACC and main campus New Mexico State University programs were in attendance; dozens of people eager to hear her spill the news about her latest endeavors.
Williams answers additional questions after the forum.
Abby Osborne, Assistant Professor of Digital Graphics Technology, began by introducing Robin Williams and John Tollett, her business partner, husband, and frequent co-author. Williams began the talk by explaining how she began growing tired of reading “how-to” computer books that failed to properly address their readers, and so she thought “I can write a book that bad;” thus her writing career began! Today, with over a dozen books and multiple journal and magazine articles attached to her bio, Williams maintains a spot on the top-selling list for many of her books, such as: The Little Mac Book ( Mac OS 9– now in its eighth edition with translations in twenty different languages), and her book Jargon: an informal dictionary of computer terms ( first computer dictionary written by a woman; reviewed by Mac and PC users alike as being “…without an exception, the best computer dictionary.”).
Although Williams’ work is directly related to the computer, as document design and web design principles are currently her most popular items, she still feels there is a necessity to “get back to the elements. ” When asked by a digital graphics teacher how she might go about “contemporizing” her 2D “the computer-based generation of images using mostly two-dimensional models”—Wikipedia) class, Williams suggested that this teacher revisit the foundations of art with her students. In her reference to this “revisit,” she simply offered that digital graphic art and document design may actually benefit if the creator remains constantly aware of other mediums not directly related to the computer (i.e. pick up some watercolors or a charcoal pencil).
Abby Osborne, Robin Williams, and John Tollett talk at a DACC forum.
Williams has an inventive eye for graphics and a straight-forward way of relating to her audience, which is why she attracts both digital graphic students and those English students with a keen interest in document design and layout. Sasha Scoggins, a DACC digital graphics technology student, mentioned how she has been using Williams’ book The Non-Designer’s Design Book (still on the best-seller list for its genre) for her Print Media/In-Design class and thought it was “great that she came to our campus even though we’re not really that big.”
Jennifer Cervantes, a Master’s student studying rhetoric and professional communication, commented that Williams was quite the interesting woman; full of “fun and intriguing stories.” Williams and Tollett entertained the audience and shared their knowledge on “making it.” Williams and Tollett were asked how they were able to establish themselves as successful designers and authors; Williams answered quickly, “you end up where you’re supposed to be when you have the guts to do what somebody else doesn ’t want to do. The path may be crumby, but you have to trek it in order to get somewhere.” Tollett added that “it is important to make lots of contacts in the school and the professional community. ” Following the open forum, Williams met with some of the graduating digital graphic technology students to give them feedback on their portfolios.
On Williams’ plate
• She is currently working on updating The Non-Designer’s Design Book and The Non-Designer’s Web Book
• She is one of the many researchers trying to figure out if Shakespeare really is a “he.” For more visit: Sweet Swan of Avon: Did a Woman Write Shakespeare?
• She continues to stay involved with her Santa Fe Mac User Group.
To read more about the astounding author/designer/web wizard/Mac pro, visit http://www.ratz.com/. Or visit her publisher, Peachpit Press, who has been “publishing top-notch books on the latest in graphic design, desktop publishing, multimedia, Web publishing, and general computing since 1986.”
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