Till 2009

I'm on vacation from now until the end of the year. I will continue posting in January 2009. Happy Holidays!

Holidays Card Inspiration 2008

I like the simple and artistic feel of these holiday cards. The ornate green and white card is from Invitation Consultants and the rest from Pear Tree Greetings. I especially like how the Pear Tree Greetings designers were creative with not-so-traditional holiday colors.

The Art of Laurel Burch

I recently noticed this beautiful notebook with art by Laurel Burch. Although you can't see it in this photo, there's also a Native American quote I love on the notebook: "The soul would have no rainbow if the eyes had no tears."

Laurel's site has more of her colorful and eclectic work. These two horse paintings are my favorites from her site.

My Work: Plant Molecular & Cellular Biology Logos

I'm in logo mode. I worked on these a while back and have another logo project in process. Now if only I had shorter center or program names to work with... The logo I'm working on now has 11 words in the name.

Flock notecards

These strikingly simple and beautifully illustrated notecards are by Eleanor Grosch and are available at chroniclebooks.com.

The Font Game

Test your typographical recognition skills with the rather difficult Font Game from ilovetypography.com. While you're there, browse around the typography deliciousness that is ilovetypography.com. I scored 31 out of 34 in the Font Game—it really is difficult.


While other san serifs can be cold and ultra-modern, Cosmos's gently shaped letters and active italics make it the "friendly san serif," at least in my book.

The Calling

I like the vintage tech look of this book cover. I especially like the simple and moody color scheme and detailed black and white patterns.


Remember spirographs? I used to love making them—it was one of my favorite toys as a kid. I stumbled into a neat tutorial on making spirographs that's different from just doing step and repeat in Illustrator. Here's my summary:

  1. Open a new document in Illustrator. Set your stroke color to black, point size to 0.5, and your fill color to none.
  2. Draw a shape (star, circle, spiral, rectangle, etc). While still holding down on the mouse button, hold down the ` key (it's right next to the 1 on a standard US keyboard).
  3. Now, move your mouse around—play with zooming out, zooming in, moving it in circles, etc. The direction and speed you move the mouse determines the size of the copied shape and space between the copies. Faster = further apart. Have fun!

Mulberry Tree

My favorite Van Gogh painting is this one, Mulberry Tree, painted in 1889 at an asylum in Saint-Rémy. I love the energy and corkscrew curls of the branches.

Christmas Ice Skating

This simple ice skating scene is adorable. I love the colors and the simple stick people. It's one of Smashing Magazine's desktop wallpapers for December and is designed by VladStudio.

Distressed Grunge Effect

Here's how to create grunge or distressed look for your text or image. This technique has you create the distressed texture in Photoshop and then jumps to Illustrator. Skip ahead to step 5 if you already have a distressed texture that's vector.

  1. In Photoshop, create a 5 x 5 in. grayscale document in Photoshop. Make sure the background is white. 
  2. On the same layer and with black as your foreground color, use grunge brushes or Photoshop effects to create a distressed texture. 
  3. Apply Image > Adjustments > Levels and pull the black and white sliders towards the middle to get a black and white image with very few shades of gray. Save your image.
  4. In a blank Illustrator document, place the Photoshop grunge file. Choose Object > Live Trace > Tracing Options. Choose Black and White Logo, check Preview and adjust the Path Fitting and Corner Angle as necessary. Make sure Ignore White is checked and click Trace. Click the Expand button.
  5. Group (Cmd-G) your vector texture and copy it to the clipboard. Open your clean artwork, making sure it's a different color than the vector texture. Paste the vector texture.
  6. For Sample 1 (top left), make the texture white and reduce the opacity to 40%.
  7. For Sample 2 (top right), select both the clean artwork and the vector texture. Click on Divide in the Pathfinder.
  8. Using the group selection tool, click on a piece of your vector texture and choose Select > Same > Fill Color. Press Delete. Repeat this action for the little pieces left (usually there are blank pieces left with a fill of none, stroke of none). This cleans up your artwork so you have a truly one color piece of artwork, necessary for one color T-shirt printing.