My Work: Blueberry Cartoon

Here's a cute little blueberry cartoon I designed recently. It's for a blueberry festival in Escambia County, Florida.

Update: I created another blueberry cartoon: a blueberry girl for the blueberry pageant. The original berry's coloring and shading got slightly reworked also. Here's my tutorial on how to make that vector tiara.

Butterfly Card

It was a nice surprise to recently open up an envelope addressed to me and find this card. I had randomly noticed and admired this very card in a shop months ago and now there it was — right in my hands. I love the gold detailing on the butterfly wings and the simple and sweet design. From Papyrus.

Jill Bliss

I like the whimsical and colorful simplicity of these notebooks from Jill Bliss. Available from Chronicle Books.

More Pepsi Fun

Lawrence Yang created this funny and ironic drawing of what he thinks about whenever he sees the new Pepsi ads.

Font Prejudice

At no time is it more clear that I have font prejudice than when I'm trying to choose a font for a new logo. I was browsing through FontExplorer today, looking for fonts and noting how many of them I don't like.

Some of my dislikes are (in my opinion) somewhat reasonable, dislikes for:

  • badly designed fonts (like Gill Sans which has great letterforms but crappy word spacing in every version I've ever used)
  • fonts that suit a very specific purpose but are so broadly misused/overused that I can't stand seeing them anymore (Comic Sans, Papyrus, Marigold, Tekton)
  • fonts that are just ugly (Matura Script Capitals) and 
  • fonts that represent the worst of Microsoft Word to me (Times New Roman, anything Lucida).

But then there are other fonts like Optima, Goudy and Zapfino. Perfectly good fonts that never hurt anyone. I just don't like them.

Take today. I was browsing through my fonts and  noticed a font the logo name looked pretty good in. I look closer and "Oh no, not Goudy!" Here I am ready to reject a perfectly good font because of my unreasonable prejudice. Just to prove I'm not letting my prejudices overcome my good design sense, I'm going to try and design a logo version with Goudy. If it's appropriate and looks good, just use it.

Botticelli's Venus

No designer can avoid recognizing Botticelli's The Birth of Venus. This beautiful painting was the face of Illustrator until the bland solid color icons of today. I love this painting for it's grace, detail and beauty. I especially appreciate the detail and softness in Venus's face and hair.

The Scales of Justice

I like the layers and texture in this cover design from Penguin Books. It's interesting to see how a design can have plenty of depth with a monochromatic color scheme.

Live enviably

I like the simplicity and message on this bag design from Green Eyed Monster. What a company name! Definitely creative and memorable.

Creating a Line Drawing or Pencil Drawing from a Photograph

There are a few different ways to create a black and white line drawing from a photograph in Photoshop. Here are the methods that work best for me:

Threshold method:

  1. Open a photo in Photoshop. Apply Curves as necessary.
  2. Duplicate the background layer. Apply Filter > Other > High Pass with a low radius (anywhere between 2-6 depending on the image resolution).
  3. Choose Image > Adjustments > Threshold and move the slider until you like the effect. I used 123 for this image.
  4. Add a layer filled with white below your threshold layer.
  5. On the threshold layer, add a layer mask and paint out any undesired details. I wanted a simple look for this photo so I painted out the textured areas in her skin.

Color Dodge method:

  1. Open a photo in Photoshop. Apply Curves as necessary.
  2. Duplicate the background layer twice for a total of 3 image layers.
  3. Change the layer mode of the topmost layer to Color Dodge.
  4. Invert the top layer (Cmd-I) and apply a Gaussian Blur of 5 px.
  5. On the middle layer, apply Filter > Artistic > Poster Edges with Edge thickness: 1, Edge intensity: 0, Posterization: 6.
  6. Above all of the layers, add a Hue Saturation adjustment layer and move the Saturation slider to -100 to desaturate the image.
  7. Apply Curves to remove some of the gray from the image and add contrast.

Optional 3rd method:

  • Depending on the look you want, Filter > Sketch > Stamp, can sometimes give some interesting results. With the stamp filter, the higher the resolution, the better the results.

Thanks to stock.xchng user trublueboy for this image.

Festival Logos

I stumbled into these festival logos when doing design research for a current project. On the jazz and blues logo, I like the color scheme, movement and the way the designer gracefully fit in all of the text. On the Tirgan logo, I like the flowing lines, Arabic elements and the images within the butterfly wings.

Pink Loves Brown

Pink Loves Brown has some adorable modern bookplates. Also notable are the periodic table of sentiments cards.

Annick Poirier

Annick Poirier's illustrations are outstanding. I love the composition, colors, mix of photo-realistic illustration with simple shapes and silhouettes. More at