Welcome to our Speaker Spotlight series, designed to highlight some of our CreativePro Week 2017 Conference speakers, which will be in Atlanta, Georgia, May 22–26. We’ve assembled a dream team roster of Photoshop, InDesign, and Illustrator gurus, and thought you’d like to get to know what makes them tick, why they’re passionate about what they do, and what you can expect to learn from them at the conference.
David Blatner was born with a brain that needs to understand how everything ticks. A multi-faceted fellow, son of psychiatrist, step-son of an artificial intelligence research scientist — like his dads he is a promoter of imagination as well as more rational modes of thought. Today he is a successful author, conference producer and host, and an Adobe Certified InDesign guru and publisher.
David currently produces his magic in Woodinville, WA, where he lives with his wife, two teenage sons, two cats and a library overstocked with books.
The David Blatner File
David turned 50 last year! And, for his 50th birthday, he decided to get out from behind his desk and climb a mountain. He’s never done anything like this before, so he hired a personal trainer and decided to get in shape, and work on building his endurance. In 2016, between PePcon in June and the CreativePro conference in July, he attempted to summit Mt. Rainier, at 14,400 ft (4,392 m). He got to 12,600 feet, wearing crampons and roped to his fellow climbers before he was forced to turn back. But he’ll be back!
First Job: Believe it or not, my first real job was in high school, doing customer support for a company that had a membership and produced annual conferences! But the company was AAAI — the American Association for Artificial Intelligence.
Later, I became the typesetter for AI Magazine, using QuarkXPress version 2 and Adobe Illustrator 88.
First computer: You might say my first computer was the Xerox Alto, which was a huge precursor to the Mac, with 14” removable disks. The first real personal computer I used was in school: an IMSAI 8080. But the first computer I owned was a 128K Mac, in 1984. I received it as a gift when I went to college.
Lefty or righty: Lefty! (“I’m in my right mind!”)
Favorite TV show(s): I’ve been watching The Crown with my wife, which is pretty stunning. But I don’t watch much TV besides Seattle Seahawks games.
Favorite Author(s): I have bizarrely eclectic tastes. Right now I’m reading Wendy and Richard Pini’s Elfquest graphic novels, alongside In the Flow of Life by the Unitarian minister Eric Butterworth, Douglas Hofstadter’s I Am a Strange Loop, and Katherine Dunn’s Geek Love. I guess I’d say I enjoy reading authors that stretch my mind and remind me to wake up.
At 6:00 a.m. he is usually: Typing on my laptop. I’ve always been a morning person.
If you could only use one piece of software for the rest of your life what would it be?
That’s like asking for a single wish from a genie! I think I’d have to answer “some programming software,” because I could teach myself to program and then try to write all the other apps I’d want to use.
What motivates you to do what you do?
Well, I guess this gets a little philosophical or spiritual or something, but my dad once told me that the purpose of life is to “help God be born.” Now, I’m not religious, and I don’t even have any idea what that sentence really means, but still it speaks to me. There is a driving urge to make the world better — what Dylan Thomas once called “the force that, through the green fuse, drives the flower.”
The work I do through my books and through publishing and the events, is all part of getting people to understand the universe better, and communicate or express themselves more effectively. And that’s my way of helping.
Do you have a favorite moment from a previous conference (PePcon, IDcon or PSDcon)?
I have so many favorite moments! Most of my favorite memories are walking around a corner and seeing people talking with each other — experts and newbies and designers and developers, and everyone has something to learn and something to share. I love the real life connections that happen at these events that you just can’t get in our typical online worlds.
You’re presenting a session at CreativePro Week with Justin Putney on “HTML and InDesign” — what’s that about?
InDesign is all about “precision placement” of your text, graphics and layouts. And HTML is a “good enough” publishing platform. I don’t mean that in any negative way; it’s just reality. More importantly, HTML offers the chance for reflowable content. HTML is probably the most important technology standard in the world today, and unfortunately, InDesign doesn’t really play nice with it right now. So we’re going to talk about tips and techniques that help you fit InDesign into an HTML environment.
Are there any sessions, other than your own, that you are excited for at PePcon or CreativePro Week?
Oh my gosh, yes. During PS/AI (that’s the Photoshop and Illustrator part of the week), I’m really looking forward to seeing Dave Cross teach “Top Ten Photoshop Selection and Mask Tricks” and Bert Monroy’s “Master Class in Real World Design Techniques.”
At PePcon, I’m looking forward to seeing Daniel Dejan talk about print in a digital world again; he was one of our top-rated speakers last year and is full of such great information. Also, Leonard Rosenthol is coming to talk about PDF, and almost no one knows as much as he does about PDF. That will be a must-see session.
But it’s hard to pick, because there are so many amazing presenters. It’s going to be an incredible experience.
A Few CreativePro Tips from David
Where you can find David on the Web
What past conference attendees have to say about the mountaineer…
“David Blatner’s “List and Numbering” session solved years of confusion for me. Thank you.” ~ InDesign Conference attendee
“I will listen to David Blatner read the phone book. He makes every topic interesting. I love the five tips scenario, it keeps the group interested and keeps the topics moving.” ~ PePcon 2015 attendeeTags