This summer release of a limited edition flavor, Passion Fruit Lemonade, from Mike's Hard Lemonade features my illustration on the can! I was thrilled they they wanted to purchase my work and that it will be available all over the nation at select locations.
I never went to camp as a child, but this summer I decided to travel to Los Angeles to attend an intensive weekend called PaperCamp. It was attended by 40 business owners all seeking information about the paper goods industry. About trade shows, booths, wholesale, sales reps, product lines, and so much detailed information from retailers and successful designers, it was exciting and enlightening. Being around people that were in the same boat as I (or in a bigger boat, but headed the same direction) helped me to believe I can do this.
My goals for 2016 are focused on getting ramped up to offer paper goods wholesale. I have a lot to do, but at least now I know what this is. It's nice not being clueless!
I also went to another Camp this month! A local event sponsored by HOW Magazine. Creative Bootcamp by Stefan Mumaw is a book I have seen around but never read. Stefan led a full day of creativity exercises which were fun and quite a workout. I usually dread working on teams, but everyone there (a nice small group of 18) was equally devoted to accomplishing tasks while honoring others contributions. It was collaboration at its finest. Stefan's presentation style was engaging and anecdotal, but we were seriously focused on fun. Oh and I won both prizes that day with partners. I won his other book by working on a team of talented designers to create a catapult out of dollar store junk. Our design shot the farthest! (Thanks Alexandra and Kim! We rock.)
I would recommend his book, Creative BootCamp. In fact I am reading it now. I am to the part where I have to spend a few minutes every day on a creative task. A nice way to start the day!
Creativity is a muscle that has to be exercised. If you don't use it, you lose it.
Finally, this week I got my Uppercase Magazine in the mail and was excited to see one of my lettering designs in print. Issue 27 is all about illustrators. Right there on the Trend pages was a basketball I painted with custom lettering. I love this magazine, so I am gobsmacked to be in it.
I made a trip to Type Camp San Francisco this March held at Adobe. Shelley Gruendler runs Type Camps all over the world, bringing great instructors together for people that want to learn more about type. Stephen Coles and Alexandre Saumier Demers were the expert instructors for my session. We spent half of the day sketching characters and the other half identifying differences/characteristics and practicing type selection. I learned a lot and confirmed that I have a crush on type, and it's growing. I hope I can attend another Type Camp soon. Here are some shots from camp along with a closeup of one of my sketches that day.
It was worth the trip alone, but I added a few days on to my trip to see a few more type, design and art spots. First I went on a tour of Arion Press/M&H Type Foundry...so much type! I got to see the typecasters, the presses, the endless drawers of type (which I really wanted to open) and the gallery was filled with fine art books to admire.
Then I made a trip out to Alcatraz where they have an installation of art all over the island by Ai WeiWei. (aiweiweialcatraz.org) I was glad I took the night tour, because there was time to spend on the regular tour, but also enough to see every installation he had made there. Remarkable since he is still not allowed to leave China. I watched a couple of documentaries on NetFlix about him before I went and it really put the work in context for me. There is even a video on the website linked above showing some of the installation process. Very soulful work.
I also made a stop at the Museo Italo Americano to see a retrospective of Primo Angeli's design work. I was there when they just opened the doors for the day and as luck would have it, Primo was there to check in on the exhibit. He came over, introduced himself and chatted with me a while. An unexpected treat! If you aren't familiar with his work, he designed lots of San Francisco posters, along with the Boudin Sour Dough Bread identity. Here are a few images I will leave you with.
I didn't even mention the murals in the Mission where I picked a few letterpress and screen-printed cards. I loved that there was so much art and design to see in San Francisco. I am sure I will be back again someday.
I spent this past weekend in Itasca at the STA-Chicago (Society of Typographic Arts) Retreat. It was filled with interesting conversation, designs and questions. Larry McDonald's presentation questioned how we could generate type and communicate without a keyboard or electricity. Aside from the manual press, it can be done with stencils. He brought in a recently acquired beast of a machine, a Diagraph Bradley stencil cutter. I've never seen such a thing. It reminded me of my DYMO Label maker from the 70s, but bigger and heavier. You insert paper, spin the wheel to the letter you want and pull the lever to punch it out of the paper, and it automatically advances. But no spaces. We all punched some stencils, mine is shown here.
Then last evening, I was at Spudnik Press for a Risograph workshop! This Japanese machine uses a stencil process, similar to screenprinting, but it all takes place inside a beige box that looks just like a photocopier. It seems a bit messy and a bit glitchy, but I think that is the allure of it. The machine scans whatever is on the glass and makes a stencil, the master, on what looks like wax paper, which then sits on the drum filled with ink. Then paper passes the drum to get an impression in that single ink color. Want a new color, switch the drums out of the machine. Want a new stencil, push the button to make the machine generate a new stencil. But of course, it looks like a copier so it behaves like a copier too. So many error messages and paper jams!
The image above is a detail of a group practice sheet we made, printed in green, then red, then black.
I love learning all the new/old ways of making stuff.
From over 8,000 entries, 5 winning designs were chosen from Keyword Design—in Identity Design, Poster Design, Creative Use of Stock, and Invitation Design categories—in the American Graphic Design Awards competition.
These designs will be published in the December issue of Graphic Design USA and are currently in an online gallery.
This year I created a handful of holiday designs. And had fun doing them! It gave me the opportunity to illustrate a polar bear, a little black dress, vintage ornaments, a tiny deer, and lots of emoji. I've never made emoji before. Or is that emojis? As you can tell, I steer clear of the holiday standards. I like for the design to reflect the company sending it. Capture their personality or speak to their client base. And make sure they stand out!
I designed the logo for Popa Heating & Cooling, and have a little fun with their mascot every year for their holiday card.
For the Annual Holiday Reading at South Shore Arts, I illustrated this little lady and added a little mistletoe.
RIchter Dental wanted a message about giving this year, and I thought this juicy, scripty saying would do the job.
Orthodontic Specialists has a teenage client base, so the direction for this card was decidedly contemporary, not traditional. It is a holiday emoji mosaic! (All emoji were illustrated by me.)
Vintage ornaments set the tone for a 50's show at Towle Theater. And brilliant colors!
This weekend was spent in Two Rivers, Wisconsin surrounded by wood type, metal type, presses, and lots of friendly and equally nerdy printers. It was a gathering of type-geeks at Hamilton Wood Type & Printing Museum. I got to see wonderful presentations from the men at Tipoteca Italiana—they came in from Cornuda, Italy—and from Clint Harvey at The Bacon Factory in Brisbane, Australia. David Wolske showed off his creative use of type and press with the technique he has coined, isotype printing. His presentation motivated me to stop planning so much before I get on press and play with the problem-solving process to make unexpected prints.
I got to get my hands dirty as well while I was there with a day of workshops. Jessica Spring from Springtide Press showed us all how to cobble together the materials to set type on a curve. The photo below shows the lock-up I created using a roll of electrical tape and a plumber's clamp. Who knew?
I learned a lot, came home with some "new" old metal type and lots of printed samples. Now to make some time to print before the end of the year—I have lots of ideas!
Here are just a few images from that weekend...
Actually, 125x12 feet give or take is what I have to tackle sometime next year. Be careful what you wish, I guess.
This new item on my TO-DO list is a result of submitting a design to the Uptown Alderman's office call for artwork for the Lake Shore Drive underpass (or as we like to call them here in the Midwest, viaduct). They put it up to a public vote and I was a finalist selected to paint one of the locations in uptown—Lawrence Avenue. This is a great location for me because it is the exit that most driving to Aragon, the Riv or Green Mill will take. The mural I designed is influenced by the Deco designs popular during the most talked about time period in Uptown's history. Uptown is recently designated as a music and entertainment district, so my design included musical instruments of all kind. I am both excited and a little worried about the daunting task ahead. This will be my first mural, and it is a big one, so wish me luck!