Saturday, December 27, 2008

Some drawings from Christmas...

I brought my box of prismacolor markers with me out to my parents' house where I had to stay over the holiday. The markers provide a very bold color treatment, and they have a tendency to bleed through the page. The solvents are so strong that they layer very well without muddying together. This is an experimental set, my favorite is the second one down. I laid down the plaid pattern first with my markers and then disregarded it, drawing observationally right on top. I really enjoy getting away from the controlled environment of the computer.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Monday, December 22, 2008

The snow is driving us all a bit crazy...

It's been icy and snowing off and on for over a week now. Snowfall in most areas is well over a foot. I've been stuck inside for days now. One would think this would be a perfect opportunity to get some work done, but it's not coming so easily. The cabin fever is starting to set in. Hopefully things thaw out a bit before New Years Eve.

While stuck inside, I've been experimenting with patterns, both repeating and non-repeating. For a repeating pattern it's as easy as making a concise sketch, scanning it and tiling it in photoshop. For non-repeating I try to develop a set of rules in my head to guide my drawing. With the above example I just drew polygons, playing around with scale and layering. I've been working with patterns for a few years now. Over the past month I've been doing a lot of work for a wrapping paper company (more on that later...) Patterns have factored in heavily. For Christmas Sarah got me Over & Over: A Catalog of Hand-Drawn Patterns. By Mike Perry. It's a must-have for the library of any pattern aficionado. Perry has currated a vast collection of beautiful patterns by a diverse array of contemporary illustrator's and designers. It's really gotten me back into the pattern creation drive. Check it out, as well as the rest of Mike Perry's work. I'm a huge fan.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Thursday, December 18, 2008

It's soggy outside, so I'll stay in...

A week ago, Sarah and I looked at a two-bedroom apartment in North Portland. We decided it fit our criteria, ample space being the number one and aesthetic value being the second. We filled out the application form and paid the fee. The next day we heard from the leasing agent and the place fell into our hands. Saturday rolls around and I'm trying to get some client work off my plate, while slowly boxing up my earthly posessions. No moving takes place on saturday. Sunday hits and we're under the snow, people are sliding all over the place. If you have lived in a place that experiences substantial snow on a regular basis, I'm sure your municipality knows how to cope. Here in Portland we can handle the rain, but when the snow hits we all turn into idiots. People are slip-sliding all over the place like a bad round of bumper cars. Every time it snows here it seems there's a sledding related death, last year there were two. That being said, we haven't gotten a chance to move anything into our new place. I'm choosing to stay inside and get some work done and do some drawing.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Sunday Snow...

Friday, December 12, 2008

I watch the kitchen while the others watch TV...

It's been too long since I've done some serious observational drawing. Lately I've been using my sketchbook to record thoughts on a certain project, prioritize tasks, thumbnail logo concepts, hand draw type, write down recipes and many other banal life tasks. I'm going to try to dedicate more time to patient observation and recording of my environment. This drawing was done not with my typical Micron pens, but a Staedtler Liquid Point 7 ballpoint pen. It lays down much too much ink for my liking, so I think I'll stick with my Microns when working in my sketchbook.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Sunday, December 7, 2008

BMX - War

BMX - War, Listen Here

I spend a decent amount of time in front of this here computer screen. As I work I'm constantly in search of new tracks that inspire me to keep at it. This band is a standout that has yet to garner significant hype here in the States. Hailing from Queensland, Australia, this quartet crafts bouncy pop that makes you want to throw on your Walkman and cruise down to 7-11 for a slurpee. Inspired by their music, I threw together this graphic to go with their track on my iTunes. It makes me wish I was in Australia at the beach right now...

BMX on myspace

Saturday, December 6, 2008

in the spirit of Hitchcock...

Over the past few years I've been amassing a small library of reference material and clip art. When I go out to thrift shop I've gravitated more towards the bookshelves than the clothing racks. While I'm still on the quest for the perfect fitted shirt, my thrift library has grown. I could write a book about how graphic design is like producing music, and maybe I will. A designer should know the context that his work will be entering into. Like hip-hop, the design world has always sampled past material. With sampling you can subvert the original message into an idea that's entirely new. By juxtapozing a few old ads together, the copy takes on new meaning. It's all about context...

Friday, December 5, 2008

55DSL Logo Remix Challenge...

I just uploaded my entry for the 55DSL logo remix challenge. The contest is through Cut & Paste, so I figured I'd represent Portland to the best of my abilities. Hit the link below and vote me up! I will love you forever if you do.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

The creative conundrum...

I think this clip will strike a chord with anyone trying to make a solid go of it as a creative professional. NPR's Ira Glass lays out the primary struggle that we all face in our creative development; the stage at which our skillset doesn't live up to our taste. I find myself there right now, I've been there for a while actually. It's the struggle of waking up every morning, knowing that you have to create, but not really feeling up to the task. My sketchbook is my roadmap, itinerary, idea repository, personal assistant and friend. I will say that the creative life isn't as easy and glamorous as it may seem from the outside. Regardless of the creative blocks, developmental struggles, deadlines, bad clients, good clients, meltdowns and moments of sheer panic, I would much rather be doing this than anything else.

Get Pumped!

Friday, November 28, 2008

Thursday, November 27, 2008

I'm thankful for drawing...

As I was waiting for dinner this afternoon I pulled out my sketchbook and found a nearby pen to do some free-form drawing. I've been listening to a bit of Blue Note jazz lately. I'm attracted to the improvisational nature of jazz and try to carry that forward in my work. This drawing was constructed by drawing a shape, then feeding the next one off of the previous. The pen led itself, improvising off the curves and junctures of the shape next to it. I've said it before, but drawing is very similar to composing music.

That being said, this thanksgiving I am definitely thankful for the spare moments that I can steal for some personal drawing time.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Improved weapons...

A quick trip through my sketch archives turned up this gem. It looks to be from when I was in 8th grade, and drawing guns was all the rage. Is it a universally accepted truth that by taping multiple things together, the end result is exponentially more effective than each piece on it's own? This contraption looks exceptionally dangerous to my 23 year old eyes. I selected this drawing because it's exactly what Andrew Jeffrey Wright is doing with his Improved Weapons series. Of course when I drew this back in 8th grade, I just thought it was badass, like some secret weapon from Duke Nukem. Now it's just absurd, but that's the beauty of it right? Oh absurdity, how I long for thee.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Monday, October 27, 2008

The Radiator Ghost...

Here's a sketch culled from my sketchbook. The date on the opposite page places the drawing in January of last year. It's been interesting looking back at where I've been in my creative development. I've learned that the hardest thing about freelancing is constantly coming up with fresh ideas. Sometimes reviewing old sketchbooks can jostle old thought processes loose for use in the present moment. If anything it can be nostalgic.


Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Time travel via sketchbook...

Here's a page from a sketchbook of mine from roughly three years ago.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

I'm not dead...

Once again I've let the blogging lag behind my other duties. Perhaps because at the moment, blogging isn't one of my official duties. I do like to keep curious folks updated on things that I am involved with. So I offer my sincerest apologies and a few reasons why you haven't seen updates here.

My most consuming project of late has been the creation of the Dapper Cap brand. Brand development is always a strenuous and time consuming endeavor, but the results always make it worthwhile. The Dapper Cap is a retailer of fine caps and hats, with a flagship location on NW 23rd street. The shop will be the premier destination for hats in Portland. I'm working as the art director on the project, overseeing designers from PNCA's Center4Design. I've worked with a few new companies in my career as a designer and I must say I really do enjoy the flexibility and innovation it lends to my design process. Companies that have been around for years are more set in their ways, but when working with a startup, the designer has a lot more say in things. I'm really excited about the possibilities of the Dapper Cap brand, as the art director I really hope to provide innovative design that draws in consumers and contributes to brisk business. If you're reading this you're invited to our grand opening kick-off event, details in the image above.

Tonight I'm participating in TwentyFourSeven's fundraiser art show benefiting the Democratic Party. 14 artists were asked to create a portrait of Barack Obama. For this piece I worked with what I know best, pen & ink. I tried to convey a sense of hope, the hope that Obama inspires in me when I see him speak. The work incorporates some typography, pulled from aspects of Obama's campaign as well as an excerpt from his nomination acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention. I'm honored to participate in the show and ready to cast my vote. We're at a critical juncture between the defunct ways of the past and the change we need moving into the 21st century. Our vote matters more now than it ever has.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Troubling times...

Brigade homeland tours start Oct.1

Here's a troubling bit of news from the US Army Times website. Starting October 1st the US Military will be deployed within the homeland. The site lays out possible uses for having soldiers deployed within the homeland:

"They may be called upon to help with civil unrest and crowd control or to deal with potentially horrific scenarios such as massive poisoning and chaos in response to a chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear or high-yield explosive, or CBRNE, attack."

It looks like they're counting on some civil unrest in the near future. Are they worried that if the warmonger McCain rigs the election there will be some dissatisfied citizens? Are they worried that if the economy tanks and throngs of jobless take to the streets then we need martial law to contain them? These are scary times, what's left of our democracy is being erroded. We have less rights than we did a decade ago, this could be a slippery slop. I pray that it's not. I pray that the right person for the job gets elected this november. I pray that we all open our eyes and see the true state that the world is in today. This isn't the time for "ignorance is bliss." Right now ignorance is death.

I implore everyone that reads this to stay informed, and vote for the candidate of your choosing. If we don't vote then we may as well have no voice at all. Make yourself heard.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Designing the new economy...

These past few days have been a time of uncertainty for everybody. Some people may be following current events closer than others, but everyone can sense the feeling hanging in the air. Without getting too political here, it's certain that things are going to change in a big way. The American Dream of the past 60 years is toppling in on itself, so I say it's time to design the new American Dream. This dream may be scaled back from the sprawling suburbs conceived of last century. We may not own four cars, but maybe we can count on one good working automobile. Life may involve walking to the store and biking to work. The new American Dream probably won't involve living in a 6-bedroom, 5-bath house. Things are going to get scaled back, expectations are going to have to be curbed. Things are changing, and there is lots of design to go along with the change. I myself am excited, bring on the 21st century American Dream.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Making Progress...

The process of designing my new portfolio site has been interesting. The design has been floating around in my head for quite some time, I've simply been waiting for the right time to get it onto paper and then onto the web. The key to web design is considering the function of the site over it's outward appearance. The aesthetic "window dressing" of a website is the easiest part. The hardest part is to get the end user to see what you want them to see. A good website should guide the user around to it's various pages, but also give license for exploration.

The main function of a portfolio site is to showcase the work. I'm trying to keep this principle at the forefront of my design process. I want the site to be subtle, elegant and easy to use, really giving the work room to shine. All in all I want a site that will last at least two years.

On another note, I've jumped on the Twitter bandwagon. Feel free to follow me, I love company.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Barbecue Bot

I pulled this guy out of the sketchbook archive and put him behind the grill where he belongs. I'd say I drew him around 2004. It can be awkward looking back at old drawings, almost like your junior high yearbook. It's important though to remember where you've traveled in your creative exploits. Sometimes it can kick you out of a creative slump, who knows.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Friday, September 19, 2008

Calm in the eye of the storm...

After a period of time working outside of the studio, I am back in my familiar surroundings. We are quickly approaching the last day of summer, and oh what a summer it has been. A lot of my work is coming to fruition this fall. One piece I'm very excited about is the PNCA BFA catalog, which I provided a series of illustrations for. Some work in progress is pictured above. I've received a prototype, but the catalogs probably won't be hitting until next month. My main push at the moment is to develop my new portfolio site, which will reside at My plan is to move all of my design and illustration work under this domain, while retaining for merchandising purposes.

I'm trying to take full advantage of this period of calm. This is my chance to do the work that I want to do and take things to the next level of progression.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

I love this....

A busy week...

These past few weeks have been some of the busiest since thesis time in the spring. I'm up in the studio by 9 and out around 6:30 just to keep on top of everything. Some project I've worked on over the summer will be coming to fruition soon. I love that gap between completing a project and then seeing it in print or on the web, whichever format it was intended for. It's almost as if someone completely seperate from me created the work, and I'm seeing it for the first time. When I'm in the midst of a project it can be hard to step back and look at the work objectively, I am too acquainted with every minute detail. I'll be sure to keep you readers informed when my projects hit the streets.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

An afternoon at Nike...

Last week I was invited out to Nike to participate in their Thirst Thursday employee party. Carolyn Davidson, the designer of the swoosh was present as the guest of honor. Because she was a Portland State design student when she developed Nike's legendary mark, the organizers thought it would be fitting to bring out some local designers and artists to customize some Nike bags. Mia Nolting, Ryan Bubnis and I were given the task of customizing white Nike iD messenger bags. The embellished bags would then be auctioned off to benefit the Children's Cancer Association. Armed with our tools of choice, we went to work customizing the bags in our respective styles. Mia worked in Sharpie, Ryan in acrylic paint and I had an assortment of paint pens. To prepare, I did some sketching in my book to get some ideas to reference in case I drew a blank on the spot.

It was a 101 degree afternoon, but I was fueled by RebBull and ready to go. I decided to wing it for my first bag, just flowing from the top of my head. The paint pens worked great on the bag material, which appeared to be a sturdy nylon. The Nike ID bag was a great canvas to draw on.

For my second bag I referenced some of the sketches I had prepared beforehand. I wanted to give my personal take on Nike culture, treating this one as almost a commissioned piece. I had a lot of fun with both of the bags. Working in the creative field, it's easy to take art for granted. Most people don't get to see art being made so it's a special treat to watch artists doing their thing. This is the second time that I've done art in a live setting, it's very exhilarating to get peoples' feedback on the spot. I really enjoy doing this and hope I'll get another chance to do something similar in the future.

After finishing two bags I took a walk around to see what my comrades had been up to:

Ryan Bubnis

Mia Nolting

We finished off the event with a joint collaboration bag:

The event was a great success. It was a lot of fun spending some time outside of the studio in the sun. We all got some great exposure within the Nike community. All of our bags were auctioned off. Along with the bags that were customized by Nike's in house designers, the auctions raised over $7000 dollars for the Children's Cancer Association. The three of us were all PNCA alums, so it was a great chance to represent alma matter. I'm very thankful for the opportunity and honored that my work was able to help such a great cause.

About Me

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I am a sketchbook addict. I live for the moment that the ink sits wet on the paper.