Archive for the ‘illustration’ Category

‘Indifference Cards’ Printables

Tuesday, February 12th, 2013

2013 Indifference Cards

You may recall last year I offered a set of Valentine’s, as well as some “I Hate You” cards. This year I thought about what really was the opposite of love. The answer is indifference. So what do you send to the person you really don’t think about? The person you kind of remember? Of course, in reality you send them nothing. But that’s no fun. So here are some options. And bonus: This year the cards have messages inside, too! These are big files, but totally worth it. I mean, when it comes to letting someone know you sort of remember them…um…you know, it’s like important to…try?

“You still live in that place?” PDF

“Hi, you.” PDF

I know. I know. Some of you are out there, full of hate! rage! scorn! and a need to express it. Here are a couple of cards for those of you who need to send some venom.

2013 hate cards

“When you least expect it.” PDF

“I hope you get MRSA.” PDF

Use with caution! Good luck.

Who are you wearing?

Monday, February 27th, 2012


You watched the Oscars last night, tuning in early to see the red carpet and all the celebrity fashions. You had a little taste of the glamour and glitz of Hollywood. But on Monday you returned to work, turned on your computer and realized, your computer desktop was wearing last year’s fashions! Joan would tear you apart.

Save yourself from further embarrassment and download one or all of these desktop ready-to-wears.


Limoncello Ingredients Wallpaper

960 x 640 (iPhone)
1024 x 1024 (iPad)
1440 x 900
1680 x 1050


Yellow Sad Monster Wallpaper

960 x 640 (iPhone)
1024 x 1024 (iPad)
1440 x 900
1680 x 1050


Pink Sad Monster Wallpaper

960 x 640 (iPhone)
1024 x 1024 (iPad)
1440 x 900
1680 x 1050


Love Birdies Wallpaper

960 x 640 (iPhone)
1024 x 1024 (iPad)
1440 x 900
1680 x 1050

‘I Hate You Cards’ Printables

Friday, February 3rd, 2012

After devoting a rather long entry to Valentine’s Day and love, I felt compelled to offer the counter-argument, to balance things out. Hate, the passionate fiery emotion that can eat us up from the inside, is not exactly the opposite of love, but compelling all the same.

If you feel like you’ve been neglecting that special someone who you just hate, not giving them their due attention, hand them one of these cards. And they’ll know you’ve been thinking of them…choking on their morning coffee or finding a severed rat’s head in their cereal.

Honestly, I can’t think of any good that could come from giving these to someone, but what do I know?

Button “I wish you were dead” PDF

Button “Eat dirt” PDF

But wait there’s more. See the bonus…

Valentine’s Day Printables

Wednesday, February 1st, 2012

I have created two very different valentines to share—a stricken little monster and a slightly grotesque heart. If you’re like me, and struggle with the sappy messages in many greeting cards, maybe one of my offbeat valentines will be the right fit for your special someone.

Button “My heart is yours” PDF

Button “Could you love a monster” PDF

So what’s the story with the monster? Long ago I sculpted a little clay gargoyle, about five inches tall. I painted him solid white. It was February. I gave him a little heart sign that said, “Could you love a monster?” and sold him at the annual Tiny Art Show at Emerge Gallery for $10. Since then, the phrase “Could you love a monster?” has stuck with me. We’ve all been at that vulnerable place in a relationship where we question whether we are ready to dive deeper into a relationship or not. It can feel like asking someone to love a monster. Gosh, isn’t love lovely, even when it’s devastating?

We all know what Valentine’s Day has become, a competition of who can send and receive the most embarrassing amount of flowers and gifts to their significant other at work. I don’t think any holiday is required to express how you feel to a person, but if having a day marked on a calendar inspires people to step outside their comfort zone and take that risk, I’m all for that. I’m a romantic, really.

Continue on to see a tutorial on making the cards, plus a BONUS…

Behind the Infusion

Sunday, January 1st, 2012

Remember how we all used to watch the Behind the Music documentaries? There’s something fascinating about learning what happened behind the polished result. Well consider this a blog version, where we go behind the scenes of a liqueur.

My good friend Kelly, decided she wanted to make limoncello and give it away as gifts for Christmas. Fortunately for her, she decided this about three months before Christmas because that’s how long it took to infuse lemon zest into alcohol. After a lot of work and even more time, Kelly filtered and bottled half of the batch and was ready for the holidays.

With so many steps and so much planning going into these homemade gifts, I couldn’t resist making a chart of the process.

Each bottle had 312 hours in it. That’s almost an hour per ounce. And in case your BS radar is going off, yes only half the batch was filtered and bottled, so assuming it takes another eight hours to filter the rest, and another hour to bottle, that would bring down the average per bottle to 157 hours. That’s still a lot of time!

In addition to helping Kelly make her limoncello by scrubbing the lemons and filtering the rum through my Brita, I gave it a name and designed the labels. The name Four Goldens Limoncello came from the fact that Kelly has four golden retrievers—Gatsby, whose favorite toy is a green bone; Mike, the laid back chow mix; Maddie, the happiest girl in the world; and then there’s Lawrence, he sort of defies explanation.

I made four little lemon-head dog cartoons, each one representing one of the goldens. Gatsby has his trademark green bone.

Below are three label ideas at an early stage. I showed these to Kelly and she picked the one she liked the most. She saw right away that her dogs were on the label. It made her happy, which made me happy.

I developed the design into a full label, making it look as professional as I could, even including details such as how many milliliters and ounces the bottle held. Kelly wanted to have a little joke on the label, so I wrote some unnecessary instructions, “It’s liquor. Drink it.”

Now for a little behind-the-scenes of the behind-the-scenes. As you see, I have a very fancy photo studio, and a highly-trained assistant…I know it looks like a piece of poster board and kitty cat.

He’s so helpful.

Partysaurus Wallpapers

Tuesday, October 4th, 2011

What do you do when a project you worked made you smile while working on it? I think you should find a reason to work with those things again. I couldn’t help smiling while drawing some cute dinosaurs for a project. But by the time the project was all done, not all of these party-goers were needed. I didn’t want them to feel sad since they didn’t get invited to that party, so I gave them a reason for existing–wallpapers!

Party all day long with my dinosaurs, just download them from the newly created Downloads page and put them on your computer desktop, your iPhone, even your iPad.


Sketchy girl

Tuesday, June 14th, 2011

I have a hard time sketching in a sketch book. The formality of those bound pages dedicated to collecting my sketches is a little intimidating. But I love to doodle and usually have the most success on scraps of paper.

Now why I was thinking about giant winter hats on a mild summery day, I’m not sure.

After scanning the image, I added some quick flat color. Clearly there is something on her mind, but she’s still cute.

Carolina on my mind

Wednesday, May 25th, 2011

Designing logos is one of my favorite things to do. It’s the type of project I can really sink my teeth into. I can put on my headphones and listen to my 12-hour long playlist and just sit there for hours at a time exploring…in an ideal world.

In the real world we have clients. Last year, at the company where I work, we took on a client who wanted to redo their logo. After many rounds of explorations with three designers working on options, they realized it was smarter for their business not to change their logo. That’s how it is sometimes. But that doesn’t mean the work you did on it wasn’t good work. So after sitting in a long-forgotten computer folder, I thought I’d dust off a few and put them out there for the world to see.

The client has a close tie to North Carolina (it’s even a part of their name) and requested a flag be involved. I’ll admit the prospect of incorporating a flag into a logo was sort of scary for me. A flag is a symbol unto itself and carries a lot of meaning. North Carolina’s flag has a lot of detail, unlike the flag of Texas or Japan, so stylizing it was a challenge. I also worked up a hand-drawn calligraphic treatment for the words North Carolina, in an attempt to give it a little historical feel.

There are many more ideas that I worked on, but here are just a few elements.

Take me out

Friday, May 13th, 2011

One of the executives at my company is involved in a group that organizes an annual outing to a Durham Bulls baseball game. He asked me to have a go at creating a flyer to replace the Word doc/clip art item that has gone out in the past. I am always happy to take one more Word doc posing as an advertisement out of circulation. (We have the technology!)

At first I went to a stock photography site to start the hunt for…baseball fans? a baseball? a baseball diamond? Let me say, I dread searching through stock images. It seems there’s never quite the right thing. But not long into the search I realized it would be a lot of fun to create a little illustration they could potentially update every year and make this outing more of an event. I’m actually still waiting for feedback on this, but I don’t think there’s any harm in sharing it. Just a fun little project. I have a weakness for banners.

Illustrating Dinos and Stress

Wednesday, February 16th, 2011

I added some new images today to the Illustration section. Clicking on the thumbs will show you the whole thing in all their glorious glory.

My latest favorite thing is the dino party. These little guys were designed for a birthday card that was supposed to be way off-base for teenagers, to the point it’s just funny. As I was drawing them and refining them, I was cracking myself up, especially when I added the little straps on the birthday hats. For the final art, I took the little pink guy in the middle, made him blue, and used him alone. The card will look like one of those “You’re 3!” kind of cards, but with things scratched out with marker, as if we found a used card and recycled it. Hopefully the recipients will get the joke. Meanwhile, I have a lot of adorable dinos hanging out that won’t necessarily get used. Hmm…what to do?

Personally, I hate most greeting cards. Going to the store to buy one is one of the most stressful things that shouldn’t be stressful. I wish more of them were just blank. It’s those sappy messages that I get caught up on. That’s just not my style. So it’s not that unusual for me to buy a childish card for someone’s birthday, cross through the “wrong” parts and sign it.

I also added a little stressed-out boy with his parents sluggishly napping behind him. This went with an article for kids about helping out more around the house. I really enjoy the detail on the dad’s socks, and of course, the retro mustache and sideburns. It’s like it’s my dad back there from my own childhood. Except that couch would need to be navy blue with little white dots all over.

A similar, though unrelated image, is the stress meter. This is just a little graphic I made that I stumbled across the other day and said, “Hey, I really like that. And I totally forgot about it.” It was part of the graphics for an article about stressing out over finances. The cartoony sweat drops make me happy. And the color palette feels very…fresh? Balanced? Well, I like it. I’ll leave it at that.