I'm off

The time has finally come—I'm leaving on vacation tomorrow. I will start blogging again when I get back (mid-August). So goodbye for a while... vaarwel, Auf Wiedersehen, and farväl.

Gardens of Water


This book cover stands out for its beautiful simplicity. I like the elegant and slightly battered title and the white on white photography.

Fairfield


I'm getting ready for my vacation and this quote made me laugh. It's especially true with the current value of the US dollar compared to the Euro or Swedish kronor.

Fairfield is a serif font with variety! Light, medium, bold, heavy, italics, small caps, and swash. There's even a caption version which I used for second sentence (I liked the rounded 'a's and flowing serifs). For large blocks of text, Fairfield Light is a little too thin and Fairfield Medium a little too heavy but it works well for headers, call outs and the like.

My Work: Simple Baby Shower Card


I made this simple and modern card for a friend's baby shower. I didn't have a whole lot of time to spend on it but it was still fun. I used a green and white color scheme to match the little hooded towel I bought for her baby. Font used: Helvetica.

Helsinki


This is an interesting decorative font I saw on cafepress. Cute curlicues!

Longleaf Pine and the Scatter Brush


I recently had a logo project where one of the elements needed to be pine tree, and not just any pine tree, a longleaf pine—a type common to Florida and the Southern US. Here's how I created my tree(s) from scratch with help from Illustrator's scatter brush.


  1. Open a blank document in Illustrator. Using varying stroke widths, create your branches and tree trunk (I used a longleaf pine photo for reference.)
  2. Draw the pine needles and apply a very thin stroke weight. I used a .3 pt stroke with round joins and round caps. Save this grouping off to the side of the page.
  3. With your pine needles selected, go to the Brushes flyout menu, choose Create new brush and then New scatter brush.
  4. Name your brush and change all the drop down menus for size, spacing, scatter and rotation to random. Pull apart the sliders to choose how much your brush will be varied. My values were Size: 85% to 115%, Spacing: 102% to 97%, Scatter: -35% to  13%, Rotation: -21 to 93. You can also vary color but I chose not to do that this time.
  5. Choose the paintbrush tool and click on your new scatter brush. Draw a curving line over the branches. Continue to draw other randomly shaped lines until the tree looks full (you can also speed this up by copying and pasting full sections of pine needles). 
  6. In any areas that need a fix (ends of branches, etc.) copy and rotate your original pine tree needle grouping (the one you put to the side of the page earlier). You can consider your pine tree finished (tree on left). 
  7. For the tree on the right, select all of your scatter brush strokes and choose Object > Expand Appearance. Click on a green needle and choose Select > Same > Stroke Color. Change the strokes to 3pt. 
  8. Choose Object > Expand and then choose Stroke. In the Pathfinder menu, Opt-click on "Add to Shape area" to get your final shape. The path will most likely need some smoothing so apply Object > Path > Simplify at around 90%. Delete cutout sections as desired to get your simplified tree. 

Perennial Moment


Abstract dandelions are beautifully rendered with delicate strokes and a palette of soft greens. Very soothing. I especially like the pieces of white fluff floating away. Available from Etsy.

Pardon My Dust

As you can see, my site has a new look. I'm integrating my portfolio site with this blog. I've still got some work to go on the portfolio site. Until I'm completely updated, my old site will still be available here.

Photos in a Theme: Wrought Iron


I've got to get out there with the camera again. Until then, I find that gathering a variety of photos on the same subject is a good way to spark inspiration and creativity.

Thanks to the following stock.xchng users for the photos: Plusverde, liesie, scol22, penywise, klsmith77, and andrewatla

StoryPeople


I wanted to share some art from StoryPeople artist Brian Andreas. I love the bright colors, quirky shapes and poetic words.


Selves to Agree
"I think my life would be easier, she said, if I could just get my selves to agree on something."


Bittersweet
"She said she usually cried at least once each day not because she was sad, but because the world was so beautiful and life was so short."

Photo Edges: Two Ways


Here are two different ways to create artistic or rough photo edges.


Photoshop Only

  1. Open your image in Photoshop.
  2. Make a rectangular selection and click on the add layer mask button at the bottom of the layers palette.
  3. Click on the layer mask (important!) and apply Filter > Brush Strokes > Spatter. For this example I used the values spray radius: 18, smoothness: 11.
  4. To smooth the bitmapped edge, go to Select > Refine Edge. My values for this example were radius: 1, contrast: 20%, smooth: 3, feather: 0, contract: 0.


Illustrator and Photoshop Combined

  1. Draw a rectangle on a blank page in Illustrator.
  2. Add a black fill and 1.5 pt black stroke. Apply Effect > Stylize > Round Corners and use amount: 2 pt.
  3. Open the Artistic_ChalkCharcoalPencil brush library and apply the Chalk - Scribble brush to the stroke.
  4. Select the rectangle, copy it and paste a copy in front (Cmd-F). Rotate the copied rectangle 180 degrees. (This step fills in any empty corners. Often a brush stroke will get too thin or disappear in one corner.)
  5. Select all (Cmd-A) and choose Object > Expand Appearance. Select all again and copy the rectangle to the clipboard.
  6. Switch to Photoshop and open your image file.
  7. Paste the rectangle as a shape layer with a black fill. Scale up or down as necessary.
  8. On the shape layer, Cmd-click on the vector mask to load a selection of that mask.
  9. On the photo layer, click the add layer mask button at the bottom of the layers palette. Hide the shape layer.


Thanks to stock.xchng user theo1krie for the photo.

My Work: Inside the Lotus


Extra time on my hands + lotus stock photos + lots of Photoshop layers and blending modes = a dreamy, textured, colorful piece of personal art. I create designs appropriate for a client's content and message in my day to day job so it's fun to create for myself once in a while.