Wednesday, December 28, 2011

My Top 5 Videogames of 2011 PT.3

The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword. I would consider it one of the best in the series. One of the best, if not the best game on the Wii. The most fun I've had with motion controls in a long time. There's so much to like about this game, I could go on and on. But this isn't a blog about my gaming habits, it's a blog about my daily project.

Today's sticker features Fi - a new character who embodies the spirit of the Master Sword. In the game, she serves as your 'Navi' character - guiding you and giving you hints (sometimes warning you about the low batteries in your Wii remote). I decided to show her form using only highlights. The triforce was added to drive home the Zelda theme and illustrate the importance of the character in regards to the rest of the series.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

My Top 5 Videogames of 2011 PT.2

Today's game: Bastion. It's amazing. It was one of my favorite gaming experiences of the year. The artwork alone was enough to convince me to get it - but the narration, gameplay, and music kept me coming back for more. The soundtrack is free to listen to at bandcamp (seriously, check out 'Build That Wall' to see what I'm talking about).

I've wanted to do a horizontal sticker for a while now. I used some artwork from the game, fearing what may happen if I try to come up with my own interpretation of 'the kid' in a short amount of time. The dimensions of the sticker don't make it seem like there's much of a difference between horizontal and vertical, but the difference is pretty striking.

Monday, December 26, 2011

My Top 5 Videogames of 2011...

I'll be using these next 5 posts/stickers to tell you about my five favorite games of 2011. I figure this is as good a time as any to make a bunch of game-themed stickers. These aren't in any particular order.

Today's sticker celebrates Pokemon Black/White. I probably have more time invested in this one game than in all the rest of the games in my top 5 combined. This game has all the nerdy stuff I cannot get enough of: collecting, exploring, fighting, obscure mechanics, resource management, 'deck building', and customizing. I loved all of the crazy new graphical touches. I was thankful for the increased battle speeds. I delighted in all of the battle challenges and post-main campaign story stuff. This isn't the game that will make people into new Pokemon fans, but it will certainly please anyone who has tried to catch 'em all before.

Went with a pokeball design because it seemed to fit the format better. My wife suggested I base the design around my favorite new Pokemon. I honestly couldn't choose a favorite from that whole list. I suppose you could go back to my second post and pretend I made a pidove sticker.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Thursday, December 22, 2011


Experimenting with calligraphic lines and intentional off-setting. It's hard create something haphazard without making it look lazy and thrown together. I've wanted to try this style for some time now, but I could never get it to look right. Not a total success, but I think I figured out how to make it look believable - make your line-work first, then create shapes underneath.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011


My regular job has me tracing around objects pretty much all day with the Bezier Pen tool in Photoshop. Since the paths are being used for raster objects, it isn't really important to create nice shapes with prime point placement, correct anchor point usage, or shape building methods. Just the same, I and everyone else on the team is a ninja with the pen tool - creating clip paths and masking products with cold efficiency.

Hence, today's sticker is based on a real image of an ice skate. I think I would have preferred to use the more traditional method (research, draw, scan, vector, color) over this quick and dirty approach. But as I'm trying to get back into regular updates, it seemed more important to get the work done. I was curious as to how this approach would look - and now I know.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Not Done Yet...

I didn't want to just post another lame experiment. This is a simple design using the pattern tool and seam workaround. I also managed to get some use out of the align and distribute pattern (no more unintentionally off-center objects for me).

Tomorrow will be an idea generation day. Time to hit the stimuli queue (books and other media I'm absorbing for future creative breakthroughs) and see what I can find. I've learned to create some competent vector shapes - now it's time to take it further.

This project isn't done until I've made 365 stickers.

Thursday, December 15, 2011


Duplicate the repeating pattern with the awful seam problem, offset slightly, and the seams disappear. There. Now I can go on.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

More Experiments

No great answers about my anti-aliasing issues. This makes pattern-making a major pain. I won't let that get me down though...

You know what does work? The pattern along path feature. I made a quick digital sketch of the classic noodle bowl patten, and here it is. I imagine there are some quirks to this feature, but it feels like a small victory for me.

My Christmas presents are currently resting on my scanner, making it pretty tough to get things done in general. I hope to get back to actual work soon. All this research is going a long way to helping me accomplish that.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Kind of ugly

After getting burned by the pattern making tools in Inkscape (remember the houndstooth umbrella), I decided to consult the manual. Turns out, patterns always create seams. Something about anti-aliasing.

It's really disappointing to say the least. I created the above image as an experiment in repeating lines (gotta have this stuff down to do tartan right). It's got ugly seams all over the place. More experiments down the road I guess.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Project I was talking about...

Thought I would go ahead and post this while I'm here. Made this for a friend's birthday card (he's fan of the color green, giraffes, and art deco prints) with Photoshop's primitive vector tools. I have to give a lot of credit to this great tutorial by Chris Spooner. Check out his awesomely-designed blog and sweet vector tutorials.


I've been sitting on this one for a while: much like the Chozo statues themselves - sitting in the dark waiting to dispense their treasure.

Metroid deserves more than one sticker for its 25th anniversary. It deserves more than two, actually. For all the great things that the Metroid series has inspired (Cave Story, Symphony of the Night, Shadow Complex, and Monster Tale to name a few), I would start a new daily creative project and blog to celebrate. But I am one person with one daily project I have trouble updating regularly, so it's not in the cards for now.

I am still gathering knowledge on Inkscape's features. I am trying to approach these vectors with more care and more craft. I don't have the time to really scrutinize every point and shape the way I would like. I'm still not confident with these really complicated pieces. There's a long way to go yet.

Thursday, December 8, 2011


Getting away from the holiday theme for just a moment. Lord Vader seems kind of content in this piece - almost happy. It's kind of adorable.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Bizay Bizay

Got nutcrackers on the brain. As it stands, this is my current sketch. I want to use the idea, but I'm not too fond of the current direction.

Aforementioned project is complete. It was an illustration for a birthday card coming up at the end of the week. I will post it on Friday evening.

A similar project has recently come up. The turnaround time should be soon. Thinking a lot about stencils. I should be back to thinking complete thoughts once all these holiday shenanigans are at an end.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011


An idea similar to my princess peach design. Reindeer antlers are really fun to draw - they are also great practice for curved bezier shapes.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Weird Shoes

Thinking about elf shoes and ice skates. This time, the elves won out. These seasonal colors and attitudes have allowed me to clear my head a bit and think in new ways.

I have a couple non-sticker projects coming up that I think will go much smoother with my recent training. I'll let you know how that goes.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Seasonal Nanner

Re-flavored the stickers for the season. Enjoy these holiday themed nanner-stickers.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Out with the old...

Hitting you with some neoplasticism tonight. Working with pixel art yesterday drove me crazy so I thought I would calm it down a little bit. Take those squares and rectangles, arrange them, and try to create a harmony. I was a bit worried about my lack of red or black, but it turned out fine.

I based the entire composition around one small blue square: my prime construct. All of the other shapes were created for visual rhythm and also as a means of balancing against that one shape. Because of it's dark tone, perfect symmetry, and position (slightly above and left of center - perfect focal point), the blue square has a metric ton of visual weight. All of the other shapes had to be larger to compensate.

I also had time to improve the sticker template. My re-design will get rid of those ugly lines from joining yellow edges to the yellow border. You can see in the above diagram. I will re-do my older stickers this way as well, since I plan on printing these out at some point.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011


Re-do on the cloud sticker. Some balance issues were addressed. Still not totally happy with it. But it's out there, and I see what I did wrong (so do you).

Tonight, I wanted to do something quick and dirty as an experiment for an upcoming sticker. I have worked in the 8-bit style before in programs that weren't nearly as well-suited to it. This seemed like it would be a cake-walk. However, 20 minutes in and I was seeing all of the reasons this would be a huge mistake.

The sprite was based directly off the Super Pac-Man arcade game, scaled back to my three-color palette of course. It's a mess. Shapes were cut incorrectly, alignment problems are numerous, it doesn't read well from a distance. Blarg.

I'll figure out a way to save this one. But for now, let's call the experiment a work-in-progress.

Monday, November 28, 2011


Here's a bonus: all the raw shapes that made today's sticker.

Working on stylizing clouds. You really can't get much more stylized than the woodblock prints of Hiroshige, Hokusai, and the other master woodblock printers of Japan. I've included Mt. Fuji to give a solid shape to play with the clouds. The sunburst seemed...appropriate.

I feel like the well is drying a bit. The ideas aren't coming quite so easily and my sketchbook isn't filling as fast. I need to set aside some time for idea generation and study.

Sunday, November 27, 2011


I put the same 24 piece Finding Nemo puzzle together a couple dozen times over the weekend with my daughter. Call that the inspiration for this one. It was still a lot of fun.

Saturday, November 26, 2011


Sort of lost today. Wasn't really sure where I was going today in terms of this project. My daughter is sick, and she loves alligators more than most little girls could ever claim to. This is for her I guess.

I eschewed the regular method of sketch, scan, vector in favor of brevity. I used the calligraphy tool to create my rough sketch, reduced the opacity, locked it, and made more precise shapes over it.

A younger, less disciplined version of me would have crumpled under the pressure of outside distractions by now. Between Bastion, Skyward Sword, and watching my wife play Skyrim, I would say making these stickers sounds like a lot less fun. But when I press against resistance and tell myself to just start working - I am reminded how much I love this art stuff.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving

Decided to celebrate by making a pie. Don't think anyone appreciated the inedible kind. Oh well.

Hope you're having a happy Thanksgiving, however you've chosen to celebrate.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Celestial Nanner

An older idea incorporating the calligraphy tool. Not much else to say about it.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Ear Goggles

Sort of a tribute to the earbuds that just broke on me. I've never owned a nice pair of headphones because I don't consider myself an audiophile. Just the same, it would be pretty cool to hear the awesome mixes at oki-ni coming from a comfy pair of insulated, dj-style phones.

If you decided to follow the above link - I would recommend checking out the mixes by The Go! Team, Villa, and The Magician. This stuff gets me through my work days and inspires my projects.

Sunday, November 20, 2011


Nature has inspired some of my favorite personal work. I've talked about pigeons and bugs a lot, and it should go without saying that I love animal print patterns (zebra stripes coming soon). So a turtle shell sticker seemed like a good fit.

I wish I had designed this with one of my templates, because I don't like the way the final piece fits on the sticker. This was a pretty good opportunity to try out the spiral tool. Overall: fun work that allowed me to learn something new. Call it a success.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Hecka-Ninja Nanner

I've been wanting to do a ninja sticker for a while now. While I was working at my regular job, I jotted down some notes about what I would want from a ninja sticker. My mind was thinking about ninja weapons, hand signs (ninja magic, of course), and action poses. I decided I wanted to do something different in the end.

One ninja is cool, but a group of them is even better. I have a sketchbook page I have been filling with different eyes (experimenting to get more expressive and varied shapes) which was perfect for this piece.

According to internet-meme law, I should do a pirate themed sticker at some point. I'll start kicking around ideas for that soon I guess.

Early Post - Vectorized Scarf

Finished version of a sticker I posted the other day. Go back a couple posts and check out the sketch if you'd like.

New sticker coming tonight (this post doesn't count since I'm just posting a final version of a sketch).

Friday, November 18, 2011

More Unplugged Nanner-y

Some more work in progress. There is a 'pattern along path' tool in inkscape I want to use on this paisley print to really bring up the details. Notice the sketch is in a free-hand oval with the symmetrical split. It's a lot of fun to try to draw the other side as accurately as possible. Sometimes though, I like to create half the design and see what it looks like when it has been duplicated and mirrored. The results remind me of creating those nifty paper snowflakes in school.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

The Fall

November is passing by way too quickly. Almost time to bring out the heavier coats, scarves, and hats. With that - it's hard for me to escape images of rain-soaked streets and piles of colorful leaves obscuring front lawns.

That sort of thinking lead to the umbrella design a few posts ago. It also inspired today's drawing, which will become a sticker soon.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Metroid's 25th Redux In Progress

Currently working on a side-project. I didn't want to halt everything, so I thought I would show today's sticker in sketch-form.

I've created some large-sized banana sticker templates to print out and use on more complicated designs. This allows me to work in the actual dimensions of the oval and make the most effective use of the negative shapes.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Houndstooth Umbrella and Technical Difficulties

My self-judgement and assessment of these stickers tends to be about nit-picky things that fall outside the notice of most people. The problem with this sticker (which will definitely be reworked) is pretty obvious.

Inkscape has a pattern maker tool. It's really handy for a guy like me who really enjoys these things. However, I have learned today that it requires more precision than I usually work with. Those seams are a result of some weird measurements and snapping problems.

Back to the drawing board I guess.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Slipping Away

To my wife - who supports all of my creative endeavors and inspires most of them. I finally figured out what to do with this design.

Lots of ideas in the sketchbook to make up for lost stickers.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Late Post

Couldn't get internet to work last night, so here's that sticker. Anyone else excited for Skyward Sword?

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Wing Phase

I feel like I've gone through a wing phase these last few years. Sure I've painted and drawn my fair share of bugs - but wings have made their way into more than a few of my pieces. I tried this time to create more of a stylized wing symbol than to try and convey all of the complex structure present in an actual wing. The idea here is to convey the idea of a wing as simply as possible so the viewer can react quickly before discarding the sticker.

I made the wing sticker in both a right and left orientation for creative placement. Or if you are feeling saucy, I suppose you could give a banana a complete set of wings.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011


I had the idea for this a few days ago but I couldn't think of how to embellish it. I think it's a strong enough icon to really stand on its own. Placed upon a banana, this sticker gives the idea that there is something great and mysterious waiting inside (and there is).

Our symbol system is really complex and crazy to think about. We unknowingly store data in our brains that allows us to unearth experiences and memories simply by looking at these symbols. The keyhole is no different. Current locks don't look like this at all, but still we associate the shape with the unknown and the untouchable.

However, the symbol system can get us into trouble when we really have to look at the world for what it is. One hurdle beginning artists have to overcome is setting aside what they "know" to truly see. Betty Edwards has tons more in-depth research and knowledge on this phenomenon in her great books: Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain and Drawing on the Artist Within. Check them out sometime.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Argyle Nanner and "The Debt"

Another repeating pattern...I'm sensing...a pattern here. Ack!

I realize I am acquiring a large debt on missed posts. It's not the sort of thing I like to do (I like posting bad work more than not posting at all), but it happens. One neat thing about a daily project is that it has me constantly thinking about new designs. Unfortunately, it's also too easy to get wrapped up in the day.

I spend my work breaks thinking up ideas, and I spend my evenings trying to make them happen. It never feels like a chore since I'm always doing something different. Sometimes I listen to music to help the creative process along. I really like trying to discover new artists and find out my musical tastes.

I won't make a habit of posting too much about the music I like. But if you are interested in what I've been listening to whilst thinking up these pattern stickers, check out Paraphrase Accolade by Nouveaunoise. It's hard for me to explain music since I'm not a music guy at all, but I'll try. Nouveaunoise is an Irish electronic duo who make music out of crazy amounts of instrument and vocal samples layered perfectly one on top of the other. It's not obnoxious, auto-tune electric pop. It's not something you would hear at a rave. It won't be placed into the "Dub-step" folder.

The album is free to listen to through the above link. You can check out their other stuff from there, too.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Hoot Nanner

Owls are a pretty hot item right now. Fun fact: my wife actually liked them before they were cool. It seemed unavoidable, so I just went ahead and did it.

As I get more comfortable with inkscape, I find that I can finish these smaller pieces much faster. I'm also making much nicer shapes. I've got a few ideas on the burner right now that I hope to create soon. One of them is a little tribute to Zelda's 25th anniversary.

Saturday, October 29, 2011


Deceptively simple. Gingham is a neat pattern formed by intentionally offset stitching. At least, that's what I see when I stare intensely at my work shirts. If I made opacity changes and gradients available to me, this would have been a lot easier. However, I opted to create and manage a bunch of rectangles which were rotated, scaled down, colored, and clip-masked.

I will definitely be re-doing this one. There are flaws involving grouping, stroke color, and balance. Once again: theory is correct, but the execution got wonky. Trends being what they are, you can look forward to stickers featuring tartan, paisley, and argyle.

Friday, October 28, 2011


Inspired by William Morris. I love repeating patterns. It's really cool to look at a piece of fabric and try to find the edges of the repeating patterns printed on it. I find myself hypnotized by shower curtains and couches.

I meant to create something based on plant-like elements. It kind of reminds me of a tiger though. Weird. I realize I am a few stickers behind, so I will be making those up soon. Thanks for following me, whoever you are out there.


New post forthcoming. I fixed a small problem with my last sticker - one line that had three duplicates of itself stacked on one another, making it seem thicker than it actually is. I'll leave the post as-is so you can see the difference.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

'B' is for banana

Not too sure how I feel about this one. Trying hatching as a method of shading. Kind of a pain. Experiment 50% successful.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Saturday, October 22, 2011


Week three. First repeating pattern. Searching for a more elegant way of creating patterns. Tomorrow's piece is already in the works. Should be more complicated than these tend to be.

Friday, October 21, 2011


I wanted to draw, but I wasn't sure where to start. I wanted to make something cool, but it never quite turned out right. I had ideas, but I didn't think I had the means to make them work. I was experiencing what Steven Pressfield refers to as "resistance".

Normally, I would have accepted any excuse to stop working or trying. I would suddenly get a headache or get really tired. Sometimes a paralysis would set in as I weighed and considered future actions rather than acting in any way. Now I know the cost of giving into resistance - regret and stagnation.

I made a mark and I ran with it. Before I knew it, I had a usable sketch. Soon after, I was making my shapes, refining my nodes, applying color, scaling, and setting clip paths. I made something. I proved resistance wrong. I won today.