Probably the first thing you noticed recently is the change in appearance. Pip is an artist and it has always been his contention that Pigtails in Paint should not only inform, but be an aesthetic expression in its own right. Readers now get a clearer impression about the nature of the site by signaling that we do not shy away from nudity and perhaps those who are offended by such things ought not explore any further. I have placed our old banner on our third anniversary post here for future reference.
Naturally, with me (Ron) officially at the helm, readers may have observed a shift in style and emphasis and Pip wanted the artwork to reflect the newer personality and step things up a notch as it were. In the past few days, he has been making small revisions to get it just the way he wants and there may be more adjustments yet to come. Also, for the first time, a photograph was used to design the masthead. Lamentably, there was no identifying information and since it was a black and white photo, Pip hand-tinted it himself which is why there have been subtle changes made over the past few days. Apart from the use of a nude and the feminine color scheme, Pip made sure to incorporate a flower design–an important universal symbol of femininity—and a classical stylization to reflect the artistic nature of our blog. Pip felt that sticking to a tighter color range lent the imagery a classy elegance, which better reflects the state of things right now. To both our surprise, Pigtails has become quite popular but we feel it is important not to sacrifice our respectability to the altar of popularity. As time permits, we will be making some small changes to the appearance of the editorial content as well to give it a bit more polish.
I am pleased by the restraint of our readers—not badgering us about our low productivity of late. I remind our readers that this is a volunteer effort, so whenever life’s obligations demand something of us, we must take the time to deal with it. Of course, in the backs of our minds, we are always hoping we had more time to devote to Pigtails as there is so much basic material still to get out there. At this point in time, we are starting to put our youthful growing pains behind us and now must cope with the arduous task of fleshing out the site. Once Pip and I realized what a wonderful resource Pigtails in Paint could be, it became clear that the structure of the site had to change. In addition to reposting lost material, Pip redesigned the classification system to make it more clear and organized. New reference pages need to be added that do not belong in the blog-proper. Starting a couple days ago, a “Community” tab was added so that a research center of sorts can take shape. The “Image Library” will serve as a launching point for readers to contribute missing information before a proper post can be made. It is not uncommon for us to post things where there is some information missing, but sometimes there is simply not enough to even begin without seeming perfunctory.
Also, added under the heading of “Community” will be a “Transcriptions” subcategory. I have taken a personal interest lately in transcriptions and hope that our readers will begin to have access to information that was not available in English before. The text in one of David Hamilton’s books was an invaluable resource in putting together that post. I also told readers that anyone requesting a full transcript of the text would be sent one. Instead, we can have it posted for readers to peruse at their own leisure. The second reason for taking an interest in transcriptions is that a lot of non-English material needs to be typed in so that at least online translators have something to work with. Part of what has taken up so much of my time lately is the challenge of learning to input Japanese. The written language is quite different from any other language as it uses three sets of characters/alphabets all mixed together (not counting numerals). I have now gotten a fairly good handle on how to input them and as interesting insights are discovered, I can share them. Also, with the transcriptions available at this site, readers fluent in a particular language can offer their translating services and enhance this site. Besides Japanese, I am working on some French transcriptions as well and I expect that will lead to a number of others in due course. The first transcription posted is Japanese and is the log that Hajime Sawatari made during his trip to England to shoot Samantha Gates et al for his book Alice. I intend to make a follow-up post about Gates that will include some of the information discovered there.  A volunteer has come forward to translate those journal entries. That brings us one step closer to completing the Gates post. However, more courageous souls are needed to help with this Japanese workload; more transcribers and translators are needed.
Finally, this month I will have the time to write my ‘Community of Practice’ post that will spell out more precisely the ways in which readers can contribute to the site. A copy will be posted on the main “Community” page and it is that version that will be updated from time to time for ongoing reference.
Pip and I wish you all a happy and enjoyable summer. -Ron
[Editorial update: The Hajime Sawatari journal has been translated, so its transcription has been removed from the site. The ‘Community of Practice’ article has been transformed into the page ‘Community’.]