Monday, February 16, 2015

Get Moving

Like so many people this time of year, I'm finding it hard to get outside and exercise. Brr! It is COLD! Sometimes, you just need a friend yelling in your ear to get out there and do it :)

I turned my friend's encouragement/taunting into a fun hand-lettered reminder. Hope it gets you moving too!

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Now Live On Etsy!

My Etsy shop is now open for business, selling prints of my favorite illustrations. I hope you'll hop on over and take a peek!

Please let me know if there are any sizes or other products you would be interested in seeing. And thanks, as always, for the wonderful support and encouragement!

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Sketching Letters

Whew, is it really OCTOBER? Pardon my two month disappearance! I have been a busy bee, hard at work on all sorts of projects, sketches, ideas, vacationing, home renovations, you name it.

After my First Steps of Hand Lettering class earlier this year, I completed the follow up course, The Final Steps of Hand-Lettering: Color & Texture. This class was taught by the same awesome instructor, Mary Kate McDevitt, and it really was inspiring to see how she works. Though I didn't get around to formally finishing my project on the site, I did see one sketch through to completion.

Since then, I've been quietly practicing, observing and putting ideas down on paper. I thought I'd let ya'll take a peek into the ol' notebook. Please give me some feedback :D

Remember that vacation I mentioned? Guess where we went?

I wouldn't mind doing some more refined sketches with this one, and trying out some Miami-inspired colors. (No, I didn't go to Miami, but I'm not really what kind of colors Ocean City, MD brings to mind, do you?)

For the first part of vacation, I sadly was not feeling 100%. In fact, I was downright miserable. But at least I put my misery to work and came up with a nice drawing. This one I definitely plan to refine and ink! 

And finally, as I am a giant running nerd, I always go back to my passion. Here are some simple sketches. Just need to figure out which ones to move forward with.

Thus ends my tour de notebook. Up next, I'll share some of my work from the 21-day drawing challenge. Boy was that super fun! I'd also like to do a new tutorial soon. Taking suggestions!

Friday, July 11, 2014

Coastal Watercolor Cutout Series


Ahoy friends! Without further ado, I am very proud to present a small series of illustrations I've been working on over the past year. Since time seems to be a rare commodity these days, I've been slowly, ever so slowly chipping away at these, making refinements, adding and subtracting for what seems like forever. But I think they are at a good place now.

I was very inspired by the watery textures and soft colors in my darling daughter's paintings, and thought they would lend themselves to a coastal themed series. I snipped and nipped and played with negative space. I love that they are perfectly imperfect.

What do you think? I'd like to keep expanding on these and would welcome some ideas. Prints will be available on Etsy soon!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

A First Encounter with Skillshare

Have you ever clicked on an ad that pops up in your Facebook feed? I tend not to, but a while back, I started seeing irresistible ads for Skillshare classes. They offer very specific, online courses for creatives. You go at your own pace, they are affordable at $15-30 a pop, and there is a very diverse range of topics, taught by other experienced creatives. I decided to give it a try, and enrolled myself in Mary Kate McDevitt's The First Steps of Hand-Lettering course.

The way the classes work is that you watch the instructor's videos, look through his or her example material, and then apply the lessons to your own project. The classes are broken down into digestible sections, and you can go at your own pace. You start a project page to share your own steps and final product, and you can view (and comment on) other students' work as well.

For better for for worse, I was hooked on this project. I spent hours doing sketches and brainstorming. I developed a few ideas, drawing and redrawing. It felt wonderful to be totally invested into a project just for me. Now my house will tell you it was a little neglected during this process, but we've made amends :-P

For a theme, I wanted to focus on the homey, comforting ritual of sharing a cup of coffee. In my family, coffee is a vehicle for conversation, sharing and relaxing. I look forward to coffee time every day, and aimed to capture these ideas in my project.

My word list, if you can read my chicken scratch

Mood board with old-timey, farm house vibe

Lettering warm-up



Refined sketch

Refined sketch
At this point, I was struggling a bit, but I pushed through, did a lot more sketching, rearranged my composition, and wound up with this:

Finalized sketch, ready to ink

Inked sketch, ready for scanning and color (which I'll learn more about in the follow-up course)

In the end, I wound up with a piece that I like. But more important than the final drawing was the experience of the project in its entirety. I've found myself sketching a lot more often as a result, and look forward to learning more. I'm currently enrolled in Mary Kate's follow-up course to the first one, and hope to dive into that once I finish up some freelance projects on my plate. But that's the beauty of Skillshare: the course doesn't expire. So I can log on to the course whenever I week, next month, next year, and complete the project as I have time.

Have any of you tried Skillshare yet? How was your experience?

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

The Sochi Olympics Logo

The Olympics are just about here! Every two years, the world turns their attention to a new locale, and a new celebration of the world's best athletes. And with the entire world watching, the organizing committee must come up with a logo to put a face on their Olympics. That's a tall order! The logo appears on every broadcast, every venue, merchandise, the website, and much more.

The Sochi Olympics logo is surprising in its simplicity and lack of illustration (aside from the Olympic rings). It is also the very first logo to feature a web address. Russia has a rich cultural history of intricate, detailed art. Religous icons, nesting dolls and scrolling floral folk art come to mind. So for the host city to choose a modern-looking, very simplified logo is quite daring. I like how the letters "o" "h" and "i" in sochi are mirrored in the "014" below and the blue color hits the right wintry note.

As can be expected, there has been some outcry that the logo does not call any attention to Sochi's heritage.  As you can see in the logos below, many previous host countries took the opportunity to showcase various facets of their culture.

While I agree that the logo is a great place to showcase a city's heritage (I just LOVE everything about the Vancouver logo above), I think the Sochi's logo works. It presents the Sochi Olympics as of the digital era and shows innovation in it's simplicity.

What do you think of Sochi's logo? Plain Jane or just right?

Monday, October 14, 2013

AG & Co. Trade Show Banners

The folks at Alan Gaynor & Company, an architecture firm, approached me recently to design a trio of banners for use at a trade show. Trade show booths are an empty canvas and it is up to the occupier (and/or their designer) to transform them into an inviting space. Alan and Michele wanted a lively, professional backdrop to their booth.

Our goals were to feature the company logo, contact info and association logo on the central banner, and display their scope of work on the side banners. Using the angular shapes associated with their brand, I created a framework of shapes to place the images in. I was supplied with a large variety of portfolio images, and took great care paring the selection down. I looked for images that contained dynamic shapes, which played off the angular framework, and bright, bold colors to pop against the black.

Photo courtesy Alan Gaynor & Co.

An interesting tip to keep in mind when designing these: make sure the main focus of your design is in the upper half of your banners. When looking at the photo above, it's probaby a no-brainer as to why you would do this. The bottom of the banners fall behind a table, often with people in front of them. However, when you are designing, with only your template open before you, it's very easy to forget the environment, and get lost in the details of the design. I had originally placed the company contact info and association logo down at the bottom of the central banner. It looked more balanced there than in the current location, but would never have been visible after placement in the booth. Always remember your end use!  

Michele and Alan working their magic at the trade show. Photo courtesy Alan Gaynor & Co.

Alan, Michele and the rest of their team were very happy with the end result! It was a pleasure to work with them. Banner printing was done by