Wednesday, December 12, 2012


Quilting patterns are really awesome. Their complexity is really inspiring, especially when you consider that this beautiful geometry is made up of simple little shapes.

I would usually complain about Inkscape's "helpful" anti-aliased edges - but here, seeing all of the little quilted squares drives my point home. Still, this feature sucks. It's one of the little quirks that makes Adobe Illustrator seem that much more inviting.

Thursday, December 6, 2012


I was thinking about light projected from the inside of a house onto the street. There's a narrative aspect to that image. There are questions to be answered, but no one to ask. A door left wide open on a cold evening is...unusual. What about a whole neighborhood with doors wide open? What about flat homes with no interior emitting light in one direction?

I should have maybe added one more row.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012


It's a Yeti. This is as close as I think I'll ever get to actually stitching something. I admire the work, but I have no real knowledge of it. On the other hand, I really admire sasquatch without really knowing anything about him/her/it...traditional bigfoot sticker forthcoming.

This design was inspired by the awesome shirts over at shirt.woot. Seriously, go check out their great selection of unique tees.

Friday, November 30, 2012


More work involving hair. This time, the thought of curls. Not much more to say about the idea of this (I think yesterday's post pretty much covers it). This piece was a challenge to get into vector form because of the overlapping shapes and contours. I'm not happy with the solution I chose (creating shapes to fake the overlapping strokes) - I think it looks sloppy. More things to think about...

Thursday, November 29, 2012


I wrote down a few words in my sketchbook the other day - among these: fluffy, fuzzy, curly. I can never be certain where my head is at any given moment. In that instant I was thinking of long, curly yellow hair. I also thought about dandelions and fluffy white cats.

I created the sketch that became this sticker based on the previous thoughts. Hair is such an interesting, sometimes complicated, often beautiful subject for artwork. The only thing I can be sure of is that I'm not done thinking about hair.


Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Wells and Wheelhouses

Today's work was inspired by The Accidental Creative (the website, the book, and the podcast). Three words: prolific, brilliant, and healthy. They form the essence of creativity. With some practices and discipline, it's possible to find all three and tap into our potential.

I say today's work was inspired by The Accidental Creative - but really, a lot of the work that went into this project since day one was made possible by those ideas. If it weren't for the Accidental Creative, I wouldn't have read Pressfield's "The War of Art" (which forced me to confront my procrastination head-on) or Scalin's "365: A Daily Creative Journal" (which inspired the daily project I'm blogging about). Thanks, Todd!

I used Inkscape's calligraphy brush and my WACOM tablet's pressure-sensitive stylus (and a lot of ctrl+z) to create the lettering. The style and the working method were almost completely foreign to me. I didn't go into this with any idea of what I was going to do (which I wouldn't normally do with the Bezier tool, but it worked out perfectly with the calligraphy brush).

Tuesday, November 27, 2012


I've been carrying this one round for a while now. I love having access to a scalable isometric grid (sure beats printing it out and trying to make those nice, exact, shapes from a scan). It was hard to make this shape into a three color thing - I'm still not sure if I even did it correctly.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012


My first time using the isometric grid in Inkscape. I love playing around with perspective systems in drawing. With a little know-how, you can create views and objects directly from your imagination. It makes doodling that much more off-the-wall. This was so much fun to do; I may have to revisit the idea...

Monday, November 19, 2012


You have no idea how fun it was to type out that title. It's been a while. I put a lot on my plate, and I'm not sure if I was able to handle it all. Eventually, I just had to sit down with a pencil and some paper and just start coming up with ideas.

This hammer was inspired by Paper Mario: Sticker Star for the 3DS. That game is awesome - it has stickers, cool puzzles, funny dialogue, turn-based battles, and Mario! In my short time with the game, there have been so many moments of genuine joy - the kind where I suddenly become conscious of my face muscles contracting and...oh, that's smiling. Rad.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012


Not much to say about this one. I set out to see if I could make this design using only lines (no enclosed shapes). Success. If you put a heavy stroke on a line, you can give it the illusion of being a shape with a stroked outline. All you have to do is duplicate it, change it's color, adjust the stroke width up a bit, and send it behind the original.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012


Some weird things happened with this one. I'm not happy with all of the shapes. Some of the letters had some extraneous nodes that created some weird curves. Deleting these weird points lead to some unusual, sharp edges. The curls in the center look great - I kind of hate the others. On top of everything else, I couldn't figure out how to properly convert these shapes into paths. This meant I couldn't use path effects, and thus couldn't finish this the way I wanted.

It was really bugging me to have this sketch ready for so long without a sticker. I really want to do this one again. I also want to go back to actually producing a sticker a day. Yeah.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

New Banner

I've had the idea of a new banner for the blog for a while. Creating letter forms still scares me to death. There's no place for sloppy curves and ill-fitting shapes when it comes to words. They have a different flow to them. I want to create something new, but it has to be familiar enough to be recognizable. It's scary, but necessary.

Saturday, November 3, 2012


Not a deep cut from my subconscious or anything. This is a pattern stitched onto a pillow on my couch. I always notice this when I can't seem to come up with an idea for a sticker. My brain says "hey, just do this - it's easy". At some point I either had to do it and get it out of my head or not do it and go insane. I suppose if I wanted to make this a challenge, I would create a usable pattern from it. However, I don't feel like struggling with Inkscape's aliasing problems for such a small payoff.

I have a few big projects queued up at the moment. They don't have concrete deadlines, which might be a problem for me. I should write those down. I should also get something to eat...

Tuesday, October 30, 2012


I started sketching a series of straight lines with minor variations earlier today. Twenty minutes after I started I had a pretty cool design in front of me. These lines don't seem to convey topography the way the sketch does. However, I think it was kind of cool to sit down and think about how to convert the sketch into a vector.

A really cool thing starts to happen when you learn more about your craft - you don't have to think quite as hard to accomplish things you once thought were impossible. I assembled each piece of this sticker in my head before I even picked up my stylus. I could think less and do more.

It's just lines. It's not all that complicated (it would have gave me an ulcer when I was still a beginner though). I'm already picking apart things I don't like about it. But it really felt like a break-through after two of those lines hit the page.

Monday, October 29, 2012


It's a lobster claw. Not sure where that thought came from. I guess it's sort of There are a few notable things about this piece. First, I made this with only two ideas in mind: lobster claw and large. Second, this didn't take a long time to put together.

Looking at something complicated like this and thinking about how difficult it was just to draw (and it wasn't the most detailed or accurate drawing), this was hard to start. I'm glad I was able to start and finish. Still lots to do.

Friday, October 26, 2012


Realized just before posting that I actually have an ampersand sticker already. It's part of the Sword & Sworcery logo and it's amazing. Also realized that letterforms are still incredibly hard to make by hand. Initially, I wanted to say that I hate this sticker. The more I look at it, the more flaws I find. But thinking back to my fledgling days as a vector fan, I can remember many terrible shapes passed off as letters.

This is just a step. There are lessons to be learned still. I would be crazy to assume I mastered my craft already. I've barely ventured out of these three colors or messed with "realism".

I'm off to design a pumpkin. Come to think of it, I have a lot more letters to design soon...

Wednesday, October 24, 2012


Recent thought about classical Greek architecture and art history inspired this sticker. I was thinking to myself, "what's the difference between the Doric and Ionic style again?". This was actually a bit more difficult than I imagined it would be. Regardless, here's my sticker based on the Ionic style Greek columns.

I'm still not sure what the best practice is for creating curls like this. Drawing a curving line and leaving it alone leads to an uninteresting curl with one line width ending in a weird square or round tip. Trying to draw a shape just leads to a messy curl with unusual undulating lines. This time I made a line, but copied it and merged the endpoints together. This may be the best way so far, though it did produce some weird results in places.

I really like the shadows in the flutes, though.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Nanner #219

There's nothing particularly special about my 219th sticker, except that it probably should have happened sometime in June. I look at a project like this and give myself a lot of grief for not getting myself to do it everyday. However, I should be proud of all of the breakthroughs and knowledge I have gained at every step.

This hasn't been easy. There are distractions at every turn. I doubt myself. I talk myself out of it. My living situation drains me physically and mentally. I panic. I become frozen with thoughts of inadequacy.

Sometimes though, I can shake it all off. I become aware of resistance. I remind myself that I only have today to do today's work. I put something (good or bad) on the page. I do the work.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012


Attempted to make something very simple using only only two shapes (the "eye" is a bonus). I'm not sure where the elephant came from. I was starting to take an unplanned nap in my chair when suddenly, I caught a glimpse of this sticker before jolting awake. The original version seemed a bit more sophisticated - somewhat more angular with some cool, but incidental, hatching.

My portfolio is still progressing. I've thought up some ideas and got some inspiration from an old-ish basic design text book. Right now, I am mostly sitting on a stack of hypothetical projects from school assignments. Frankly, a lot of them are embarrassing to look at. I'm becoming more confident with my illustration as I gain awareness of my style, fill sketchbooks with doodles and ideas, and master the tools I've chosen.

Friday, October 5, 2012


Decided to catch up on the vector part of my stickers today: didn't realize how complicated this one sticker would be. I'm glad I did this, though, since I have a similar design lined up in the future. I learned a lot about these balloon letters and what not to do with vignettes.

The upcoming weekend will give me time to do more stickers...and read...a lot.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Sketches for the week

These are a few ideas that have been kicking around for a while now. The first two need some major assembly. The third sketch is almost there, I think (I just want to refine/add the small flame shooting out of this nostril).

I've done quite a bit of reading lately, and I've learned a lot about myself in the process. I should get back to work. Stickers are on their way.

Monday, October 1, 2012

NannerTopHat and NannerTile

I'm working on some new side projects- nothing big, just working no a portfolio. There are a few of these stickers that would work as great jumping-off points for sample work. I'm still trying to figure out what I have to say - what my work even means. My thoughts are so disjointed in general, forming them into one message should prove challenging.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Why I put this off...

I had no idea this thing was going to be so complicated. Even with a new set of skills and available tools, this was tough to build. It's getting too late to color, re-order layers, apply stroke styles, and put onto a template.


I had a vision of how I thought this would turn out. The final product is a bit different than expected. Not bad I guess. It's pretty early in the day still, I should do some more.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012


Airships are pretty cool. It's also pretty nice to eschew the usual vertical orientation every now and again. Clouds continue to be a blast to make.

This whole thing was a lot harder to do than I figured it would be. I'm not sure if I really captured the roundness of the shape. The contour lines would probably be bent a bit more than that, but they work.

Used a new tool: basically the paint bucket. At this small size, it's difficult to tell but the shapes produced by this tool aren't very pretty. I got the equivalent of a rough magic wand selection in Photoshop, only in vector form. Oh well.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

So stop feeling sorry for yourself and just make something...

Kind of a fun experiment in creating a Tiki mask. I don't know much about the culture or ideas that spawned these awesome objects, and that sort of drives me nuts. Without getting too lost in research, I took a couple examples and made an attempt of my own. I want to do more like that.

Sunday, September 16, 2012 bandage

You know...because bandaid is just the genericized trademark for adhesive bandage. Just like how velcro is the genericized trademark for wacky, burr-like, fabric fastener. Let us not forget how Milk Bites are the Kraft Foods' genericized trademark for delicious, weird, granola bars with some kind of milk product...

Let me get something out of the way: my reasons for starting this project are kind of all over the place. Beyond all of the logical reasons I told myself (learning Inkscape, getting into vector illustration, overcoming procrastination), there was always one clear answer: escape.

The genesis of this project was a terrible argument I had with my wife that nearly tore us apart. Fast forward to today where she has all but completely moved out/on, and I understand how important this whole thing is. I have a rapidly shrinking sense of self-worth and my motivation waxes and wanes randomly. I'm watching my family dissolve, and there are very things left to grab and keep from falling.

I'm appreciative of those remaining footholds, though: the people who have helped out, directly and indirectly, while I hang on for dear life. I also want to thank this project, if possible, for giving me something else to think about when things go even more wrong. I'm sorry for not updating everyday like I'm supposed to, but understand that I'm still learning how this all works.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

There has to be a better word...

Trying my hand at some graffiti-style bubble-lettering. I like the results, but I want a better word before I move on to vectoring.