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.