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© Alma Hoffmann, 2019

Hello reader!


It has been a while! Two months give or take. My last newsletter update was in September. And boy, has the time gone by! The Fall semester is coming to a close, Thanksgiving is next week, and Christmas is pretty much around the corner. I have some news for you. That picture you see at the top is an actual quote from my book. Since my news on this newsletter has to do with my book, it seemed appropriate to start with it.

As some of you know, I wrote a book titled Sketching as Design Thinking. The publisher is Routledge. After almost two years (writing and editing) the book is coming out on November 28th. Yes, you read that right! This coming week! I can barely wait! I would love it if you would consider pre-ordering and leaving a review on Amazon. Yes, I am on Amazon people, as an author! Pinch me, please!

If you are local and you order the book, I will be happy to meet you and sign it for you! Or if you are in Iowa this coming Christmas, I will sign it for you. With my super-duper Lamy—fountain pens. You can even tell me if you like purple, green, or black ink. Yes, I have three Lamy pens (and I would not mind another one!).

Here are the links for you to pre-order the book and there will be a Kindle version too!
This feels very surreal to me for many reasons. I still remember the day I woke up with the entire outline for this book crystal clear and I put it down on paper. It was a Friday morning. I submitted the proposal to three publishers. Two turned me down and one would publish it but it was not a process I was happy with and they were not academic publishers. Then, I did get a contract with an academic publisher, but someone I had met who used to work for them told me to get out. This left me hanging for a while. Even Smashing Magazine, where I am an editor turned me down! They had a book in the works similar to mine. Don't worry I am still very much an editor and we love each other. :-)

One morning I started to think, well, what is the worse that can happen if I send it to Routledge? So, I found the emails of the editors and contacted them. They were interested but they needed a sample chapter. I decided to write the most difficult chapter. Sent it. It was then sent to blind reviews— 4 reviewers. Got full approval from 2 and approval with revisions from the other 2. Not bad for a chapter that really was the hardest one. But then, the saga expanded.

On my way to Germany, I got an email that my editor was leaving and starting from zero was a very real possibility. Let me clarify: I was on a plane. Not much I could do at that moment. A month went by and I did not hear anything. I contacted them again and they transferred me to their crew in London. They loved the book idea, the chapter, everything. They sent the contract. And you know what? It took me close to a month to sign it. So much so that they wondered if there was something wrong with the contract. I signed it and the work started.

I would be remiss not to mention that my in-laws had a lot to do with this book being done. We went to visit for Spring Break and the last day during breakfast I said that I would be cool to leave town for the summer to write the book. My mother in law, Linda, said: “that can be arranged”. And they made it happen. I wrote the bulk of the book while in North Carolina. I am deeply grateful to them.

Other news

My lettering work was showcased in the magazine Uppercase along with several other letterers and calligraphers. Though Janine, the publisher has calls for artworks out each month, this issue was all about handwriting, lettering, and calligraphy. I am very honored to have been selected for it. See the picture below.
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© Alma Hoffmann, 2019
In addition to being showcased in this magazine, I had a solo show this last September at the Mobile Arts Council. Several of my students showed up at the reception. It was so cool to see them! In October one of my recent artworks got accepted in the group show by the Mobile Arts Association. I love that I get to participate in these shows! And they make unique Xmas gifts! Hint, hint!

I applied for a sabbatical for Fall 2020. I am waiting on whether or not it will be approved. Fingers crossed that I get it. I have interesting projects to develop during that time. Today I was in a phone call with Franz Hoffman, the creator of FontSelf discussing the software, my future projects, and integrating this tool in my classes. I can't wait to tell you more but you'll have to wait. I also had a very interesting conversation with Alina Gutierrez, the founder of Visualversa, to collaborate in other projects of mutual interest.

Books that I think you will like

I just finished reading the book Ultralearning by Scott Young. I highly recommend this book. It sets out to provide you with a framework on how to learn pretty much anything. This book is easy to read but the lessons are invaluable. He provides examples from his own life (he dedicated a year of his life to not speak English in order to learn 4 or 5 languages) and others. I loved it.

The lessons apply to pretty much anything you want to learn whether it is coding, languages, or a skill. Of course, the framework would need to be modified depending on what you want to learn but the beauty of the book is that he touches on that and offers practical guidance on how to apply his framework. With the web, we have seen an explosion on the availability of learning platforms and now it seems that everyone charges for courses. I feel overwhelmed sometimes. The book is a great reminder that autonomous learning is a skill that not only can be mastered but it also gives you an edge.

Email and newsletter problems

I have been having problems with my newsletter service, my host, and my emails. These three don't seem to have a strong relationship. To make sure I get your reply if you want to reply, make sure to reply to almahoffmann@gmail.com. If you hit reply on your program, it will go to hello@almahoffmann.com and you will get a failure notification. My apologies. I am investigating easier ways to handle my newsletters. This is one of the reasons my newsletters have not been as frequent.

Bye! I will leave you for now. I will be back in touch around Christmas or New Year to say hello and share my greetings!

As usual, until the next one. If you don't want to receive these newsletters, hit the unsubscribe link at the bottom and you're done. No hard feelings. ⤵️
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