Character Sketch

I'm working on some children's book illustrations for a self publishing author. Below are a few different stages from the character sketch painting process of a troll named Stamp. I actually started creating the sketch in Illustrator, but switched to gouache because it was a lot easier for me to produce the line work and shading that I wanted.

Process: Girl Power Card

As part of a maternity present I created a hand painted card. It was made using gouache on Bristol paper. The inspiration came from spring and a children's book a just got from the library called A Wizard in Love.

Low Poly Squirrel Poster

Thanksgiving is almost here. The leaves are busily falling from the trees, the rain has paid us more visits, and all the little neighborhood critters are busily foraging for winter foods and house bedding. Inspired by the speedy and often unseen squirrels that dart impulsively across our streets, I decided to create a poster—a royal squirrel crossing awareness poster. Hope this helps, my little friends! :)

Outtakes-Designs that Didn't Make the Cut

Designing happens in many stages. I often start with a design brief to acquire all necessary info, create moodboards to explore look/feel options, create two or more comps to give layout choices, then make several revisions of the final client choice before pushing the end product out the door. During that process some concepts are left behind never to see an audience, often never to even see outside the computer where they were conceived. I call these lost concepts "outtakes." I believe there is value even in these project remnants. Just because they weren't right for the client or ideal for one particular project, doesn't mean there isn't potential in them for future design work. In the spirit of showing more process, here are some of my outtakes from the past couple of years.

This was a book cover comp that I felt ticked many boxes, but was maybe too quirky. It also didn't include a color palette that was desired by the client. The final cover is in the "books" section of this website.

This was a book cover comp that I felt ticked many boxes, but was maybe too quirky. It also didn't include a color palette that was desired by the client. The final cover is in the "books" section of this website.

This book cover was similar in style to the author's previous cookbook, but didn't convey the idea of the 8x8 pan as well as the chosen layout (seen in "books" section of website).

This book cover was similar in style to the author's previous cookbook, but didn't convey the idea of the 8x8 pan as well as the chosen layout (seen in "books" section of website).

Originally this was just a blk/wht gouache painting presented as a cover option for The Less We Touch. It was too ominous and didn't provide enough whitespace for the title. I chose to finish it up in Illustrator.

Originally this was just a blk/wht gouache painting presented as a cover option for The Less We Touch. It was too ominous and didn't provide enough whitespace for the title. I chose to finish it up in Illustrator.

This was a concept for title pages for None Call Me Dad. Sometimes elements like this are just out of the project budget. It also wouldn't have fit with the cover design that was chosen.

This was a concept for title pages for None Call Me Dad. Sometimes elements like this are just out of the project budget. It also wouldn't have fit with the cover design that was chosen.

Creative Practice & Process

These days it's easy for me to become artistically complacent—not keeping up my practice with using traditional materials since most design work required of me is digital. I actually have to assign myself projects that require me to pick up my pencil and paint brush. As a designer and illustrator there are so many techniques I'd like to try as well as skills I want to work to improve. So, I force myself to do hand lettering, create animations, illustrate animals in a cartoon style, etc.. Because the more you work these creative muscles the stronger they get. And, when you leave certain tools behind, they get rusty. 

Because I love to see other people's process, here are the steps I took to complete a "thank you" card I made—with traditional media: pencil, gouache, watercolor, and pen on watercolor paper.

Double-exposure Portrait

Today I challenged myself to create my first double-exposure image in Photoshop. I don't think it's bad for my first one, but I can see how important it is to get the right face/landscape pairing for blending.

For this portrait I combined a photo I took of my son, and an image I downloaded of Mt. Fuji from Shutterstock. This was pretty fun to do. It was also very rewarding, because you can come up with a finished portrait in a couple of hours. There are lots of possibilities with this technique, and I'm looking forward to some more exploration.

Portrait Illustration with Objects

I thought I would share a couple process photos for an illustration I just finished. This illustration was a personal project. I chose items from my son's room that I felt best represented him at this moment in time, and made an illustrated snapshot.

First I laid out a collection of my son's goodies and took a photo with my phone. Nothing fancy.

First I laid out a collection of my son's goodies and took a photo with my phone. Nothing fancy.

Then I drew the images in Illustrator, and started coloring them in. I wasn't sure what I wanted to do for the type yet, so I just slapped in a placeholder. I was also still trying to figure out what I wanted to do with the background. At first I thought I might want it to have a paper texture. The one laid in here is linen.

Then I drew the images in Illustrator, and started coloring them in. I wasn't sure what I wanted to do for the type yet, so I just slapped in a placeholder. I was also still trying to figure out what I wanted to do with the background. At first I thought I might want it to have a paper texture. The one laid in here is linen.

For the final version I chose to go with a clean light blue background, and to do some decorative hand lettering—in a style to match the way I chose to draw the items.

For the final version I chose to go with a clean light blue background, and to do some decorative hand lettering—in a style to match the way I chose to draw the items.

Interrobang Collective Animation

I just made my first animation using Photoshop and After Effects. I have some learning to do about creating the right size/resolution for the intended media host, but I think I'm off to a good start. And, I really like making these little stories. It reminds me of when I took video classes at Cornish College of the Arts. One of my favorite parts was adding the music and sound effects. Super fun!

Evolution of a Logo

Logos are the visual distillation of a company. They help guide viewers by showing them what industry you are in, and what they can expect from you in terms of quality and relevancy. There are many factors involved in developing a logo for a brand including company history, competition, where the company is vs. where they want to go, etc. Filling in these blanks can require research on the part of the designer, as well as the company, and is collected in a comprehensive creative brief. All of the research needs to be taken into consideration by the designer. Depending on company size, research and development can take months to over a year. And often, where logo concepting starts isn’t always where the design ends up.


I really enjoy doing logo work for small businesses. Below is one of the concepting transformations I went through when designing a logo for a new counseling business.


  This was the first of several sketches on paper. The original copy included the option of a plus sign or an ampersand.

 

This was the first of several sketches on paper. The original copy included the option of a plus sign or an ampersand.

  The client really liked the idea of a unified couple of birds flying out of chaos. She also like the idea of the swift. So I worked with the idea of having them come out of the "h" like a chimney.

 

The client really liked the idea of a unified couple of birds flying out of chaos. She also like the idea of the swift. So I worked with the idea of having them come out of the "h" like a chimney.

  I'm not an expert at hand lettering. But, in order to get better, and when I think the concept could work nicely with it, I try my hand at it.

 

I'm not an expert at hand lettering. But, in order to get better, and when I think the concept could work nicely with it, I try my hand at it.


   

 

 

These are concepts from the first round of comps presented to the client. The artwork and type has all been re-done using Illustrator.


  This is the final design. Birds and flight lines have been refined, and all kerning, leading, and tracking has been adjusted. Because of the popularity of the plus sign in so many of the new cannabis shops, we had to do away with it in our design. I think that the "plus/and" is still suggested in this layout. Now I'm working on an animated version—just for kicks and giggles.

 

This is the final design. Birds and flight lines have been refined, and all kerning, leading, and tracking has been adjusted. Because of the popularity of the plus sign in so many of the new cannabis shops, we had to do away with it in our design. I think that the "plus/and" is still suggested in this layout. Now I'm working on an animated version—just for kicks and giggles.

view more logos here. Find out how I can help you with a logo by contacting me.

Book Design Proposal

Below are samples from a book design proposal I just put together. The book is historical non-fiction about a hotel created during the Arts and Crafts movement. The goal was to have the cover and interior have elements that are representative of that time period, but with a more updated feel.

New Book Project

Last week I made my company Interrobang Collective official. My partner, Poppy Milliken, and I received our business license. Even though we've been working together for a while now, it felt like a big step. We've also been working on a new book project, Bagging Groceries: Re-learning Humility in Long-term Recovery by author Dian Greenwood. You can read about the book on our website: InterrobangCollective.com. Below is the (in progress) cover I designed for the book.

Bagging-Groceries_Cover_R3-2_Final_011215.jpg

Infographic Joy

I just finished illustrating and designing two infographics for a couple different projects I was working on at CLEAResult. I love the process of looking at the information that needs to be conveyed, and coming up with interesting visual ways of communicating it.