Archive for the 'Design' Category

The Write Stuff, A Sketch + Colors

We are approaching the final hours to score my design “The Write Stuff” on Threadless! I’ve gotten some pretty positive responses on this design (including enthusiastic words from friends at 826 National) and it will be really exciting if this is selected for print, but I’m calling on everyone to give it that extra push it needs to really stand out by scoring it a FIVE (if you haven’t done so already). Don’t have a Threadless account? Sign up for free here. Just for fun, I’m posting a sketch from the “making of” and a couple images of the design against the Silver tee color, as well as some alternate colors of tees. The colors of the design itself have not been altered here — just the shirt colors. Enjoy!

The Write Stuff

I submitted my first Threadless design last night! It is pending approval, but the page is online here:

The Write Stuff by artandstory

You can check back over the next couple of days to see if it’s approved and available for scoring (I hope you will give it a 5). I originally intended this for Threadless’s challenge for 826 National, but the deadline was midnight last night (Monday) and I only just found out about the contest on Friday, with little time to work on it over the weekend. So… I missed the deadline by a few minutes. Nonetheless, I felt it was a solid design, so I submitted it to the general area of Threadless for scoring. Since the normal cash prize for having a design selected for print is higher than the one for the 826 challenge, should my design go to print, I’m pledging to donate a portion of the award to 826 for providing me with the inspiration.

I’ve experienced the work that 826 National does firsthand, volunteering as a cartoonist for their Storytelling and Bookmaking field trips. It’s usually a class of first- or second-graders. They come in to 826LA’s location in Echo Park, behind the Time Travel Mart, and they write a story. I illustrate it on the spot! It’s given me some insight/reminder of the sorts of things that are bouncing around in their imaginations.

See also: 826 National

Notes on Materials — Moleskine Mod


The modification has so far gone well. The stubborn curve is starting to come out of the pages and I’ve enjoyed the versatility and portability of this “frankenskine.” But shortly after starting to use it, I became aware that I did NOT refill this moleskine with the same paper I tested out in the weeks prior.

The paper I originally used seemed thinner and slightly off-white, whereas the paper I put into the book was a bright white and somewhat thicker (and as a result, stiffer).

See if you can tell the difference between the two in these photos:

Martha’s instructions at Trumpetvine Travels call for Fabriano Artistico 90lb (200gsm) Hot Press. So which one was which …and how did this happen? A trip back to Blick art supply (on Beverly Blvd in Los Angeles) quickly answered that question when I took a look at their watercolor papers and saw what a mess they were! It’s no wonder I grabbed two different papers. They were totally mixed up, with at least three different kinds of paper shelved under each label. By looking at the item numbers penciled on the edges of each sheet, however, and comparing them to the numbers on the shelf labels, I was able to at least figure out which ones I had bought.
And it turns out that the paper I initially tested on was in fact Fabriano Artistico 90lb (200gsm) Hot Press (what Martha suggests) and the paper that I put into my modified Moleskine was a different one — still a Fabriano Artistico Hot Press, but Extra White and 300gsm. The paper is indeed a bright white and it is 150% the thickness!
This mixup explains why the bookblock was such a tight fit for the Moleskine cover. Fortunately, Martha’s recommendations allowed for some leeway, so the bookblock did at least fit and I’m finding it works well enough for my needs so far. One possible advantage is there’s less show-through when using ink, but the downside is I think the ink from my brush pen does not flow quite as smoothly on this paper, although the difference may be pretty slight.
More notes on materials in my next post, when I talk about the pros and cons of different watercolor sets (I bet you can’t wait! I know this is REALLY exciting stuff!).

New York & Paris Headers

New header images for the ol’ bloggy. These are from photos taken in New York and Paris, May 2007. Notice they all have lines leading from the upper right to the lower left? Kind of odd how that turned out.
West Village, Manhattan:
Red Hook, Brooklyn:
Rooflines of Paris, France:
Musée d’Orsay, Paris:

Moleskine Modification

I don’t have much time to write this post, so I’m hoping the pictures will speak for themselves. Today I took a Moleskine small daily planner and reloaded it with 90 lb. Fabriano Artistico hot press watercolor paper (according to the instructions posted by Martha at Trumpetvine Travels). This is something I’ve been meaning to do for months, but with Sketchcrawl 15 tomorrow and only two pages left in my current Moleskine sketchbook, today was the day. Some of the watercolored sketches I’ve posted in the past couple weeks have been on loose pieces of Fabriano Artistico already cut and folded with the intention of binding, but I never got around to it. Well, at least now I’m sure I like this paper. It’s versatile. It takes well to pencil, ink, and watercolor. Everything I need in a sketchbook but in the Moleskine format. Anyway, here are the pictures! Sorry there are so many. I’ve sized them down to make them a little more manageable.

Chimp Trip

Shannon McNally T-Shirt Design
I just completed this T-shirt design for musician-singer-songwriter and friend Shannon McNally. The design on the left is for printing on light-colored shirts and the one on the right is for dark shirts. Click the image for a larger view. Also, here’s a detail image:
Shannon McNally T-Shirt Design (detail)
This image came about while sketching on the concept of a chimp among mushrooms and Shannon liked it enough that we decided to go with it, even though her original idea had the chimp playing drums on some mushrooms. It’s another image I really like and maybe can pursue at some other point, maybe for another shirt design? She told me on the phone that the idea relates to a sort of theory she has on the origin of religion involving a drumming chimp and perhaps some mushrooms. You put the pieces together on that one, but just consider the possibility of non- or pre-human primates having vividly (there’s that word again, vivid! I think it’s the word of the week or something.) spiritual and creative experiences. I think it’s not so far fetched.

New Header

Cables and Clouds, Los Angeles


Taken from the front steps of my apartment, these are the same telephone poles that appear in this drawing from Sketchcrawl 12 1/2:


The number of header images now in random rotation is 23 and it can sometimes take a lot of clicks before a new header image is ever seen by the public. Since I don’t get that many hits on this blog, anyway, for some of you that could mean it could possibly be about a YEAR before you saw a particular header image in use. For that reason, I’m going to start taking the other header images out of rotation for about one week after posting new ones. So for about the next week, this will be the featured header image on the Art & Story Blog. EDIT: I’m going to include the recent Hawaii headers in this week’s rotation, as well.


I almost forgot to post this. This is a style experiment I whipped up a few months ago when a friend contacted me about doing a print ad design/illustration for Gemini Mixers. I didn’t have any samples that quite matched the style they were going for, so I came up with one. The job ended up not materializing, but that’s how it goes sometimes.

El Loteriador

field31_card - El Loteriador
Loteria Mexican Restaurant, Los Angeles Farmer’s Market

New Headers: Hawaii

I’m finally adding some new header images made from photos I took while in Honolulu, Hawaii.
Honpa Hongwanji Hawaii Betsuin Buddhist Temple:
New Kapahulu Chop Suey:

Holiday Lights Sketch

This was my first and very spontaneous sketch for the design of Holiday Lights. After a couple of failed attempts to improve upon the composition, I ultimately just decided to follow it exactly. Sometimes the first ideas are the best.

Holiday Lights

We didn’t make a holiday mix CD in 2005, but we did get our acts together to make one this year! Hey, finding stuff that doesn’t make you want to throw up is challenging stuff. This year’s concept is Holiday Lights.

Mele Kalikimaka, everyone!




Holiday Here and There

A couple of years ago, my girlfriend and I collaborated on a Holiday mix CD to send to family and friends. The idea was to have a few Christmasy songs scattered throughout, but just to put songs on there that we liked and that might play well in a wintery, festive, giftwrap-ripping environment. Hopefully it would also be a CD someone could listen to at other times of the year and not have the urge to regurgitate. We called it Holiday Here and There. Playing off of that title, I thought of how our families were scattered about here and there in Hawaii, Seattle, San Francisco, and Cincinnati and designed this cover/insert:

(Note that the colors are slightly off from the print version. I’m having calibration issues between Photoshop and Imageready.)
Front of the CD insert:


Back of the CD insert (what you’d see with the CD case open):


The full insert unfolded:


And One More

Here’s another new header image from a recent trip to San Francisco.

New Headers

Finally, here are some new header images made from photos taken on the October/November trip to South Carolina and Mississippi.