Sunday, December 18, 2011

Saving more money for holiday shopping...

Here's a thought...instead of blowing some serious coin on graphic layout bond, try spending $2.79 for thirty square feet of parchment paper at your local grocery store.  This (of course) is not meant to be a permanent solution, but it works great for preliminary drafts and budgeting for holiday expenditures.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Getting more mileage out of your paint.

You've reached the end of another tube of the middle of a job...and you don't have a backup.  There are many techniques for getting the last figments of pigment out of the tube and onto the canvas (the roll method, the press method, the squeeze method, the re-roll method) but none of them seem to yield enough paint when you need it most.  Behold...the "insert-clever-name-here" method.  

Step 1:  The culprit...take your nearly empty tube of paint and press as much of what's left towards the traditional evacuation point (keep the cap on while completing this step).

Step 2:  Grab your scissors and cut off the top of the tube (cutting point will vary for each tube).

Step 3:  Discard the top portion of the tube.

Step 4:  Pry open the remaining portion of the tube to reveal the precious pigment pressed down from the first step.

Step 5:  Grab a paint brush and paint directly from the tube.  Preserve any leftovers by wrapping plastic wrap over the opening or scraping out the pigment and transferring to another container.

Final notes:  This method may be applied to toothpaste, hair gel, shampoo, face wash, body wash and other various products packaged in plastic tubes and materials that can be cut with scissors.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

A weekend of blatant typography abuse.

It's not every year that one, by luck alone, gets to enjoy the long Thanksgiving weekend due to a work scheduling snafu.  Thanks to this fortuitous vacation, a trip was hastily put into action and in no time I found myself relaxing in a little cabin surrounded by old growth forest (near a town that shall remain nameless), eating Tofurky and gorging myself on carbohydrates (beer).
     After Thanksgiving I had a chance to explore the nameless town (let's call it "Town A") for a couple of days.  Now "Town A" is a great place to get away from the big crowded city.  It's a town that allows one to walk a full stride, drive the speed limit, walk right into a restaurant and sit down at any table (except Sunday for breakfast after church, of course).  "Town A"  also has a great local economy that is matched, possibly surpassed, by the friendly laid back attitudes of its local population.  Not to mention the wineries and tap houses are plentiful and among some of the highest quality. 
     Walking around downtown "Town A" also provides a chance for typophiles to see some excellent (sometimes alarming) obvious examples of font abuse and overuse:

Care-less use of Papyrus (this one actually kind of works)...

...nothing says hungry like those finely nibbled edges... more for good measure.  Maybe the posters are actually printed on papyrus paper?

Winer, "We don't like to be associated with you descender types."

    Now we're talkin'!


Sunday, November 20, 2011

Clown wins battle with alcoholism , finds new life in brain teaser industry.

"Pooter-the-clown...put 'er there!"
Twenty years after Buck Russell made the comical entertainer rethink the drink, Pooter-the-clown has transformed his life and career out of the spotlight of children's birthday parties and into the realm of print publication.  Pooter has made a seemingly miraculous turnaround from being in the gutter (perpetually intoxicated, homeless, living out of his mouse modified Volkswaggen) to gracing the full cover covers of word seek puzzle books across the nation.

   A video for those of you born after 1984...

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Sunday, October 23, 2011

"No my friend...that taco was delectable"

"Epic" - Recently joined the ranks of other fallen words.
   Epic has become the latest casualty in the war on language, joining the ranks of its oft-paired counterpart "fail."  While the word historically has been a word reserved for legendary and heroic narratives and truly monumental situations, epic has been adjectivally cavorting with everything from chicken nuggets to high school football games.  Epic refused to comment on its new career path but it has joined the growing list of words that have been depreciating in meaning and power in the recent years. Close family friend Awesome did officially state, "[Epic] has been out of work for a while now, as are a lot of us.  Times are pretty tough so we'll take what we can get for now."

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Legalize it.

Eugene, OR -
     How do you solve your city's budget crisis from "cleaning up" street art?  Make it legal!  The small spray park pictured above may be the start of a new trend sweeping across the states.  In Eugene, a small designated area invites artists of all skill levels to throw up a piece.  While some may argue that this is not true street art (cheapening the thrill of illegality and exposure), it is a progressive step in recognizing, respecting and preserving artistic culture that would otherwise remain unwarranted in many cities.    

Get a good look...they won't stay this way for too long.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Book Review - Just My Type: A book about fonts by Simon Garfield

Attention all typophiles!  We have found a "must read" for all fans of typography.  Just My Type: A book about fonts offers readers a chance to survey the world of typefaces through historical and contemporary anecdotes with chapter breaks devoted to brief histories of selected fonts throughout.  Included are chapters concerning the attributes of a good font, the worst fonts in the world, and an explanation of why that quick brown fox is always jumping over the lazy dog.  A full bibliographical list of both text and online references included along with a Periodic Table of Typefaces gracing the inside covers - a nice touch to an already thorough and entertaining text.      

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Back in Seattle Again

A Weather Pattern Near North Seattle.
The two week long Seattle summer has finally ended as we now find ourselves thrust into the season of jeans, long sleeves, and wet shoes.  Aside from the weather however, it is also the season of Baseball playoffs (Go Tigers!), Hockey preseason (Go Wings!), American Football (of course), apple picking, light jackets, killer fall television lineups, chili cook-offs, apple cider (and donuts), pumpkin carving, crisp breezes, apple pies, harvesting those tasty crops, hay rides, haunted houses, Oktoberfest, flannel shirts, early sunsets, holiday after holiday....after holiday and many birthday celebrations (in my family at least).      

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Nearly Retired Sketchbook Discovers Affinity for Geometry and Algebra

Shoreline, WA-
     GRE test day is hastily approaching.  Last minute study sessions are being crammed into every spare minute as former and future students prepare for their first official step towards fine tuning their higher education and entering the realms of graduate school.  And while most scrap papers used for jotting down notes and solving equations come from more traditional backgrounds (Five Star® notebooks and ruled legal pads) one local sketchbook is finding a new purpose late in life.
     "I guess it all started simply with geometry,"  claims the 78 day old sketchbook from Shoreline,  "shapes have always been my thing."
     The elderly sketchbook then reminisced about his younger days, realizing that he was no stranger to words and numbers frequently gracing his pages.  "A phone number here...a grocery list there...and most often, jotted ideas for future reference.  Algebraic equations were a simple transition.  It was just a matter of time and patience."  Needless to say, this sketchbook in particular seemed almost destined from the start to prepare his owner for the Graduate Record Examinations this coming August.
     Today, the sketchbook spends a majority of his twilight years dealing with illustrations, color studies and compositional sketches in efforts to create stunning visuals.  He claims while it was exciting to try something new for a while, it was refreshing to get back to his roots and indulge in what he is truly passionate about. 
     "I was happy to step out of my boundaries and help out, but I was mostly looking for an opportunity to prove to myself I could do it.  Now that I know that, I feel like I can do anything!" 
     This extraordinary sketchbook has proven to all sketchbooks, bar-top napkins, scrap papers, legal pads and notebooks alike that it is acceptable to do things out of the ordinary, and that sometimes it is a necessary exercise in discovering, or rediscovering, one's true self.        

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Forecast : Clouds, Rain, Productivity...

The clouds rolled in with promises of rain; a common sight in the Pacific Northwest.  And while the summer weather is enjoyable, with copious amounts of heat and vitamin D, there is an interesting world that emerges when the rain comes down.  Slimy creatures come out of hiding and slurp across the ground, hard shadows disappear into a unified midtone with the colors of once thirsty foliage exploding to break up the monotony of neutrality.  The inspiration is there if you don't mind getting a little muddy or wet while searching for it.       

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Whilst cooking breakfast this morning, a rare and surprising event occurred.  A supposed "lucky" double yolk graced my frying pan and in the blink of an eye, my cholesterol intake doubled unintentionally.  This got me to thinking...

Why are double yolks lucky?  And for that matter, why are black cats or walking under ladders unlucky?  Does it only become luck if you perceive it?  Is the luck (good or bad) transferable if you wish not to possess it?


Saturday, June 11, 2011

Rolling Stone - Don't crease m'pages!

Rolling Stone - July 2011 Special Collectors Edition

Thank you Rolling Stone!  A new and updated "100 Greatest Artists of All Time" issue has surprised me on the newsstand this past week, replacing my long lost (misplaced?) 2004-05 editions (yeah that's right...two issues for the complete list) with one fully illustrated collectors edition.  Insightful articles written by musicians accompanied by beautifully executed illustrations make this a truly unique artifact for any illustrator's collection.  I can assure you Rolling Stone, that I will take better care of this one!     

Sunday, May 15, 2011

A note on typeface addiction...

Number Study from The Adults by Alison Espach
As an avid reader of many subjects, I tend to navigate my way around the pages of literature with general ease and comprehension.  On occasion, however, I find myself on a detour when I see an interesting font choice for relaying a story.  Most often the chapter and page numbers pique my curiosity, the way they interact with each other, every other page a new exciting combination graces the typically insignificant corners.  From here it moves into a recognition of a single letter (a lowercase "g"; a capital "W") and continues to spread from letter to letter to word to sentence to pages to chapters...

At some point I come out of the stupor and realize that I have no recollection of any information presented in the last few pages (a blackout if you will).  Naturally, I reread the passage and all is well, but my addiction to the printed word is merely temporarily suppressed.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Gesture Drawing @ Pixelovely

Can't get enough figure drawing? offers free tools for both human and animal gestures with customizable options.  Range from 30 second to 10 minute poses of fully clothed or nude human figures, mammals, birds, rodents and more.  Donations welcome.        

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Future Stategies Workshop

Portland area artist, Thomas James, is coming to Seattle on March 30 to give a workshop on how to survive as a creative professional in an ever changing market.  More information can be found at the Seattle Graphic Artists Guild website.  Also be sure to visit the Escape from Illustration Island website for valuable tutorials and resources including the insightful and entertaining EFII podcast.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Big Illustration Party Time!

After a long, year absence from the podcast universe, Big Illustration Party Time has returned.  Kevin Cross & Joshua Kemble have brought this valuable resource to all illustration freelancers since 2009, and now have even more wisdom and expertise to share with the illustration community.  Be sure to download the podcast and join the party!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Hello old friend?

Rummaging through the volumes of discarded publications at my local used book shop, I came across an old "friend" and, feeling a bit nostalgic, I couldn't pass up the opportunity to give this one a new home.  I first noticed the all too familiar spine of Gardner's Art Through the Ages (same typeface used 80 years later) on a curiously compact and hand-held version of the 50 pound tome I lugged around during my art school days.  Upon further investigation, I came across only one publishing date (c. 1926) and nearly eight decades of history that had not happened yet.  So there I am holding a first edition of Gardner's, a book that brought me much enlightenment with it's seemingly endless information (and even more long nights of misery cramming for tests, writing research papers and putting together slide presentations for various history classes), paranoid that some other customer will see what I have found and steal it from me (irrational).  Like a scheming thief, I semi-conceal the book near my body occasionally looking over my shoulder until I got to the cashier and gently placed it on the counter for purchase.  The kind gentleman punched a few buttons on his register and kindly told me that the book cost $5 and some change (and yet another disparity).
One of four color plates throughout Gardner's Art Through the Ages (First Edition) 

Copyright 1926, First Edition verified by my two volume Eleventh Edition.