Wednesday, September 29, 2010


A great illustrator and friend taught me that working really small is a great way to start. Here's about 4 hours worth of doodling to get some character development for a Christmas piece I'm illustrating. Each one is no more than 1" tall. Enjoy!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Maybe this will light a fire under me...

The Sketchbook Project: 2011

Just signed up for my chosen theme is "Great Hopes and Massive Failures." Yes, I believe there is enough material in that context to fill a small book...

Thursday, November 6, 2008


So I'm in a city branding class and am in the process of making the city mark... I'd love some feedback on what you like... give me your top three choices of logo and top choice of type? Thanks!!!

Here's the brand platform for the project so you know what I'm trying to do with the mark...

White River Junction, VT

PROPOSED Brand Platform

Brand Vision:
Voted one of the ten coolest small towns in the US, White River Junction has always been a place for coming together. While the bustle of the railroad days has ended, interstate highways have opened new and unique possibilities for White River Junction residents and visitors alike to build a sense of belonging in an authentic community. With a burgeoning fine-art school, eclectic, independently owned and operated art studios, restaurants and retail spaces, White River Junction is re-inventing itself, transforming into a vibrant, energized destination for the entire Upper Valley Community and its visitors.

Brand Mission:
White River Junction's community has a strong internal commitment to creating a better quality of life. Visitors to downtown will experience a welcoming and inclusive environment: alive, energized and easily accessible by foot, bus, and rail. Current residents and business owners will be proactive in inviting new residents, clientele, and potential investors to visit and participate in community events. By drawing Upper Valley residents, tourists and travellers to the city center, White River Junction can share the vibrancy and uniqueness of itself while re-emerging as an economic, social, and cultural junction.

Brand Values:

Everyone is welcomed and encouraged to participate in what goes on in White River Junction. We value diversity in all its forms and find strength in our differences. Individuality builds community.

Individual and corporate initiative has made White River Junction what it is today. We are proactive in seeking ways to embrace change, create opportunity and overcome obstacles.

Much of what exists in White River Junction today is a result of an individual's passion—from the renovation of the Tip Top Bakery, to the evolution of Revolution, to the Main Street Museum and the Center for Cartoon Studies. We believe happiness comes from being passionate about what we do, and we seek to ignite passion in others.

There is no end to what a community can accomplish when it comes together. We believe that drawing from a community's creative, economic, and cultural wealth strengthens pride and belonging. Giving back to the community in return keeps that wealth circulating.

Brand Personality:

Brand Tone of Voice:

Saturday, October 25, 2008


In my Message & Content class we've been working on posters encouraging people to get out and vote. Here's what I'm tossing around so far. (Again, I'm a student and not making any money on these so if one of them is a picture you posted on flickr, please don't sue me.)

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Something to Think About...

I went to a seminar my freshman year in college entitled "Racism Among the Well Intentioned." It impacted me a lot then and the following reminds me of that talk... I'm struggling a lot with the importance of this election and how divisive it is, even among some of my closest friends here in Atlanta. If nothing else, stop to think about who and what you're really voting for...and then MAKE SURE you vote.

circulating thru email...I've been sent this a few times now:

Obama/Biden vs McCain/Palin, what if things were switched around?

Would the country's collective point of view be different? Could racism be the culprit?

Ponder the following:

What if the Obamas had paraded five children across the stage, including
a three month old infant and an unmarried, pregnant teenage daughter?

What if John McCain was a former president of the Harvard Law Review?

What if Barack Obama finished fifth from the bottom of his graduating class?

What if McCain had only married once, and Obama was a divorcée?

What if Obama was the candidate who left his first wife after a severe disfiguring car accident?

What if Obama had met his second wife in a bar and had a long affair while he was still married?

What if Michelle Obama was the wife who not only became addicted to pain killers but also acquired them illegally through her charitable organization?

What if Cindy McCain graduated from Harvard?

What if Obama had been a member of the Keating Five? (The Keating Five were five United States Senators accused of corruption in 1989, igniting a major political scandal as part of the larger Savings and Loan crisis of the late 1980s and early 1990s.)

What if McCain was a charismatic, eloquent speaker?

What if Obama couldn't read from a teleprompter?

What if Obama had military experience that included discipline problems and a record of crashing seven planes?

What if Obama was known to display publicly, on many occasions, a serious anger management problem?

What if Michelle Obama's family had made their money from beer distribution?

What if the Obamas had adopted a white child?

You could easily add to this list. If these questions reflected reality, do you believe the election numbers would be as close as they are?

This is what racism does. It covers up, rationalizes and minimizes positive qualities in one candidate and emphasizes negative qualities in another, based only on color difference.

Educational Backgrounds:

Barack Obama:
Columbia University—B.A. Political Science with a Specialization in International Relations.
Harvard–Juris Doctor (J.D.) Magna Cum Laude

Joseph Biden:
University of Delaware—B.A. in History and B.A. in Political Science.
Syracuse University College of Law—Juris Doctor (J.D.)

John McCain:
United States Naval Academy—Class rank: 894 of 899

Sarah Palin:
Hawaii Pacific University—1 semester
North Idaho College—2 semesters, general study
University of Idaho—2 semesters, journalism
Matanuska-Susitna College—1 semester
University of Idaho—3 semesters, B.A. in Journalism

Education isn't everything, but this is about the two highest offices in the land as well as our standing in the world. You make the call

Just... take a minute and think about it.


Wednesday, October 1, 2008

No self-respecting typographer would be caught dead...

wearing this t-shirt. I got it at the last Master's swim meet I swam at in Boston...before I knew what bad type was. There's just no way I can wear it knowing what I know now. So sad, 'cause I really liked it before...

At least the words aren't all tracked out with weird letter-spacing. But I'm guessing we all could've gone swimming in rivers that big...

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Project Packaging, Final Projects

So ya'll have seen The Amphibian—he was my solution to week 3's Project Packaging challenge which was to take Barbie or GI Joe and create a new, original identity. Wanting to spread peace, love and understanding to the world, the Post Bellum series could also include Tour De France Joe, Mt. Everest Joe, Scuba Joe, 8 Olympic Swimming Medals Joe (ok, that name might need to be tweaked a bit), Eco Challenge Joe... you get the idea. Think I should figure out how to pitch it to Hasbro?

Each week of Project Packaging, we had a different challenge and only a week to get it done—to a point that's essentially finished, not just comp-ed up. Every week there was a winner and your stuff got displayed at school for the following week. Since we're all paying for an education, no one got voted off. :) If you want to check out the class blog, you can see what other people did. Here are a few of my other projects...

Week 1:
Design packages for two bags of munchies—chips, cheetos, whatever... one original flavor and one alternate flavor... using only hand done type and illustrations. We were allowed to use a typeface for the fine print but were supposed to come up with illustrations for the major type and graphics. We could either use the company's existing logo or design a new one... which I did since it fit better with my design.

Zapp's Potato Chips are made in Grammercy, LA, just outside of New Orleans. I thought it would be fun to give it a bit of bayou flavor, especially in celebration of the cajun crawtators. These are YUMMY chips, by the way.

Here's the original bag design:

And here's my re-design:

Week 2:
We did pet food and the only stipulations were that we had to use photography and of the two packages, one had to be a can. I got to do cat food... for some reason I didn't take a picture of the can. The judges really felt this missed the mark as they thought the barley was wheat and it says "no wheat" on the front of the package. They said they wanted to see chickens on the package. Right. That's what I was thinking too... but... well... This one didnt' make it to my final critique as we only had to choose 4 of the 6 projects to revise. I liked it... but as far as communicating what's in the kinda flopped. The original is on the right, my re-design on the left:

Week 3: The Amphibian

Week 4: BEER!!
Design a 6 pack (or 4 pack) of some type of bottled beverage using only ONE Typeface (which was assigned to us) and minimal other graphics. I was assigned "Excelsior" which is a kind of boring, standard serif typeface. It was created as a newpaper face in the 20s, in case you wondered.

I chose Smithwick's Ale (pronounced "smitticks" or "smiddicks" for those irishly challenged) and gave it a medieval, castle feel—in celebration of Excelsior and in light of the fact that Kilkenney Ireland, where the ale is made, has one of the oldest standing castle towers in existence. The package is bigger than most six packs and would likely be a total headache to have on store shelves...but the thought was that once the adults are done drinking the beer, they can give the "castle" to their kids to play with... a re-use is better than straight into the recycle bin, right? That's what I thought!! The castle bricks are all made out of type.

The 6 pack—hexagonal shaped and in the style of a castle!:

Up closer, the banner is a hand painted watercolor I did:

And the bottle labels:

Week 5:
Find a product at Walmart, made for Walmart and labeled with one of it's brands (Mainstays, Home Trends, Faded Glory, etc.) and create a packaging re-design to allow the product to compete with Target...but at close to the same Walmart price point. In other words, don't break the packaging budget so that Walmart would have to charge more. I opted for a stainless steel coffee tumbler (it had only a sticker on the bottom), coffee scoops and filters which were both in non-descript baggies.

Week 6:
International Foods. We just had to find some food product that's made in another country and re-design the packaging...again, two packages and one had to be a can. I went with three since my brand had two nice bottles as well. AND, I actually WON this one... the final week. You can see the original packaging here and here (the Sofrito ACTUALLY uses comic sans as it's main typeface). The two bottles don't go together at all so I was looking to make a more consistent line. And the tomato paste didn't exist but I needed a can so invented it. Here are the final three:

That's it for Project Packaging! It was a great class and I learned a ton... especially the fact that I don't think I want to purely design packaging for a living. It was intense to have to get these done in only a week but I learned how to move much faster with my decisions and how to just pick a direction and go with my gut...which, in most cases, is the right direction. Nice to know...

Triathlete GI Joe, Final Version

So I revised some things on The Amphibian packaging and wound up showing this final version to my critique panel. They weren't crazy about the army green—they actually thought it was brown—but whatever. I thought it worked better than the weird sky/water splotches on the first version. Just in case anyone recognizes a photo they took and posted on flickr, know that I've made absolutely no money by using your photographs!! Oh, and The Amphibian's civilian name might look familiar to some of you...

Notice Amelia in disguise!

Fun with Type

OK, so it's been awhile... break is over and I'm slowly easing into quarter number 5. I got pretty slammed at the end of last quarter! Totally intense...

A friend of mine needed some stuff done for her practice so I agreed to do it on trade... nice for me, eh? I worked on these over break and love how they came out...

I think I might be a type addict... it's SO much fun to work with hand drawn type...

Sunday, August 10, 2008

The Amphibian!

So I'm in a packaging class and each week we have a different challenge - like project runway. You can see what we've been doing here but I had to post this because it just makes me laugh. We had to "re-brand" either Barbie or GI Joe - you know, make a new version of the doll that hasn't been done yet. I was assigned GI Joe and I don't know about you, but have you ever seen how freakin' violent those toys are? Anyway, I wound up using Ken and just called him GI Joe - he's THE AMPHIBIAN - the Ironman Triathlete for the new Post-Bellum line of GI Joes. The series would continue with Tour De France Joe, Mt. Everest Scaling Joe, Scuba Joe, Michael Phelps get the idea. I just giggled to myself the whole time i was making him. His swim cap is the thumb of a rubber glove. And he has a bike too - I haven't downloaded the pics from my camera yet... more to come.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Perennial Obsession

When I moved to Georgia, I got really excited about the fact that I was going to be able to have blue hydrangeas

and wisteria

and all other kinds of warmer zone perennials. The flowers in Vermont are certainly wonderful and I miss the cool summer breezes too but how amazing to have a hedge of hydrangeas instead of boring boxwood. It's been a definite trade off though and what I think I've missed the most are the lilacs.

Georgia doesn't have lilacs, and while I'm developing a fondness for the crape myrtle (I live two blocks off Myrtle STREET actually),

it's just not the same as the trusty old lilac. There's something so classic, comforting and homey about a big old lilac bush. I can't wait until I have my own yard again. There will be perennials and vegetables GALORE!!

For my Type is Mass class with Anne, we had to make a self-promo piece that was rooted in something we cared a lot about or an experience we'd had...something that revealed a piece of ourselves while at the same time delivering our contact info etc.

I chose to do a suite of three leave-behind pieces (I'd likely only leave one at a time but variety is good, especially if I were to interview with more than one person) based on my love of perennials. I used bulbs for ease/practicality... each one contains a bulb of either a daffodil, hyacinth or lily (well, actually, they're shallots and wasn't bulb season at the nursery) and the concept is that I'm a "Perennial Designer"...a metaphor of me as a hardy, dependable, carefree, colorful, disease and pest-free designer (that last one was thrown in to prove I have a sense of humor too.) On the front is my contact info and a big H carved out with plastic backing to see the bulb inside. One side shows the watercolor illustration I did, a second side has the USDA hardiness zone map and the third side lists the characteristics of a perennial designer. On the bottom of each box is the name of the flower (in calligraphic hand drawn text) with planting/care instructions. I used the HTF typeface Archer, a beautiful slab serif, on all of the keystroked type.

I started by making a paper comp so I knew what size to make the box, then flattened the box and used watercolor paints for the illustrations (each illustration was close to 10" high but I made sure they were proportional to the final box size so I could reduce them easily):

Then I drew the decorative frame and wrote the flower names for the bottom of each box. About 100 frames and 30-40 iterations of each word later, these were the best:

I scanned everything and then placed it all in InDesign and set the Archer Text. Here are the finals of each side... the flower illustration wrapped onto the top of each box:

The finals are 3.5 inches tall by 2 inches square (actually, business card dimensions). Each piece is attractive enough that you wouldn't mind keeping it on your desk (with my handy contact info just an arm's reach away) and you can always think of me when your flower blooms each spring! My critique panel thought this idea was a keeper.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Editorial Icons

OK, I'm already bored trying to do this in chronological order so I'm just going to add labels to each post designating which quarter the work was done in.

While we were working on our cut paper posters, we had to go back through all of our thumbnail sketches and pick 5 of just our animal, and 5 others of our animal in the style of our civilization. I don't exactly know why they're called editorial icons. Once we had the 10, we had to shrink them down so they were no more than 2 inches at the biggest dimension and place them on a 10" x 10" sheet in such a way as to force the viewer's eye to go to the strongest icon. This would be a tactic to use when showing clients multiple options of logos, for example, when you want them to choose a particular can actually position them on the page using directional forces (swelling, point, centripetal forces) to get them to choose the one you think is the best design.

Here are my non-civ icons (ie, just my sheep). We were also given criteria that we had to meet, such as at least one icon has to be a notan:

And here are the Absaroke/Crow sheep:

Here's how I placed them on the page. They had to be equidistant from each edge, which by default made them centered. The most powerful spot on the page is always the top right so that's where you're supposed to look. Sylvia thought they worked okay so that was good enough for me!

I just remembered how many friggin' times I had to draw a sheep.