Mid-Term Reflections

This week marks mid-term, the middle of the Fall semester. That means we have eight weeks behind us and eight weeks left to go.

It’s thrilling to look back at the projects I’ve done so far, and tally all the great things I’ve learned, some of which I’ve shared here recently.

  • We’ve covered various techniques, from drawing, sketching, pen and ink, digital college, acrylic painting, and line drawings.
  • We’ve tried several different usages, from editorial illustrations to advertising illustrations, posters to trading cards to icons to greeting cards, to logos and labels.

I think one of the most important skills I continue to build on is developing an eye for the right design elements for the purpose and audience. We are also learning the business side of being an illustrator, which is exciting to dream about.

I’ve also designed several websites with new web skills, primarily how to use better html code for search engine optimization, how to organize information better and in more visually appealing ways, how to set up interesting photo galleries, and how to design a site to be flexible for a desktop screen, tablet and mobile device.

I’m excited about all the things still left to cover in the next eight weeks. Posters, spot illustrations, logos, packaging designs, tshirt design, self promo product, and more fun stuff!

I hope you’ll continue to stay with me on this journey. Thanks for stopping by!


It felt so good to turn in my final project for Color Theory class on Monday!

Our mission for the final color project was to:

-Design a series of 3 in-store posters, each measuring 5 inches wide by 9.5 inches tall, with a focus on sports or fashion. I chose REI because I love being outdoors.

-Use a split complementary or triadic color scheme. I chose a triadic color scheme of blue-violet, red-orange and yellow-green.

-Make the figures the focal point of each poster, and the typography the least dominant element.

I used Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop and InDesign to create these posters, which was great experience. Since I’ve used Photoshop the least, I found some tutorials to accomplish the techniques I needed to learn to pull off my concept. I spent a ton of time on these designs, so I’m happy with how they turned out. I was also very happy to hear my teacher liked them. What a great way to end a challenging class!

Thanks for stopping by.

Designing a Billboard

For my concept development class, we had to come up with an idea for a billboard. Our main challenge was to show contrast, whether that be through value, color, shape, size, texture, scale, proximity, placement, or just something unexpected. I chose scale for my design. We were allowed to make part of the billboard extend outside our parameters of 3-1/2 inches by 12 inches, which can make it more eye-catching.

I was originally thinking about doing some type of public service message, like “stay in school” or “learn to read.” To be honest with you, I really don’t like billboards at all, so I decided to keep it light. Since garden season is upon us, I thought it would be fun to do a billboard for a seed company.

I worked out a few ideas with the usual process, thumbnail sketches and then a rough sketch, which I hated. So when it came time for me to do the final design, I worked a little slower and more deliberate. I really wanted those Prismacolor pencils to look shiny on the tomatoes and grassy on the background.

I’m really happy with how this turned out, so it was a good lesson for me to keep pushing myself. I’m off to work on more projects for finals. Have a great weekend, everyone!

Final Logo Design Project

I finished my final color project for design class this weekend, and I’m so excited to share it with you!

Remember I had been working diligently on it for the past week? I finished painting and assembling the designs into an accordion book. 

final logo accordion book

We had to create a design in just black and white, and a design using analogous colors.

black-white and analogous designsThen we had to create a design with complimentary colors (opposites on the color wheel). And finally, we had to display the original design with the three new designs.

Complimentary design and all four designs

To accompany these designs, we had to create an inspiration board of images and colors.

surf wear inspiration boardI love how it all looks together. Makes you want to go to the beach or surfing, doesn’t it?

inspiration board and logo designs

I have always wanted to create an inspiration board for something. Now I will definitely do more of this. The search for colors, the search for images. It really gets your creative juices going.

I can’t believe how far I’ve come this semester with this design class. I learned so much about designing with lines, shapes, typography, texture, and color. Next up, more drawing!

Designing With Color Art Project

I have been spending a lot of time this week on my almost final project for design class. 

We had to pick one of our shape drawings to use for a logo design project.  

daisy drawings

Remember the Gerber daisy I drew that looks like a sun? I decided to use that design.

gerber daisy drawing

Next we had to think of a business name that would go with our logo. I have always wanted to learn to surf, and I love Roxy, Quicksilver and Billabong clothing, so that was the inspiration for my hypothetical business – Sun Devil Surf Wear.  We also had to find a font that goes with the image of our business.

logo painting in progress

The first of four illustrator boards had to be painted in just black.

logo designs in progress

The second illustrator board has to be painted in two analagous colors. I am going to use red and orange.

The Color Wheel

The third illustrator board has to be painted in two complimentary colors or two to three split complimentary colors. I am going to use orange and blue.

reverse side of color wheel

The last board has to have small versions of the first three designs arranged in a creative way.

Finally, all the boards should be assembled into an accordion book, similar to my value project. I promise I will show you pictures of the final book.

After this logo design project is done, I have one project left for the semester – to create a color inspiration board for a book cover, band tour poster, or the above business we made up. I have always wanted to create an inspiration board for something, and now I have a mission. Just need to decide what be inspired by – this book or this book.

Value Project

Thank you so much everyone for your love and encouragement on my last post about my typography projects! You made my day!

Our most recent project for my design class was to create an accordion book of six stages of value, where you focus on shading, from black to gray to white.  The first step was to find a photo of an organic object that showed highlighting and shadowing.  I chose a photograph I took of a double hibiscus while on my trip in China.

double hibiscus

The second step was to draw the image using pencil, making sure to do a lot of shading where the shadows are.

step 2 drawing

The third step was to paint the image using gray scale, meaning black for the shadows, gray for the in-betweens, and white for the highlights. This was the first time I ever worked with gouache, which was tricky. It’s a watercolor paint, but has a thicker consistency and gives a more opaque coat.

step 3 gray scale tones

The fourth step was to paint the image using only black and white for the shading and highlighting, again with gouache.

step 4 black and white

The fifth step was to paint the image in reverse – white for the shading and black for the highlighting.

step 5 white on black

The sixth step was to do a gestural drawing, which is just a loose, free-flowing, quick sketch of what the object is doing or how it feels, not so much what it looks like. (another good exercise forcing me to think outside the box)

step six gestural drawing

The final step was to mount each piece onto black illustrator board, and assemble the boards into an accordion book.

finished accordion bookThis was a very challenging and time-consuming but fun project.  I am SO happy with the final results! I love how each stage of my project turned out.  I also love the accordion book format, which I will definitely do again. I learned how to really look at an object, how to use gouache, how to paint, and how to design with value, which can really change the finished piece, depending on the effect you are going for.

Next up, working with texture – we get to design a texture quilt using images of texture cut from magazine photos.  Fun!

Design Projects on Typeface

In my design class, we worked on several projects related to the study of typography and fonts.  I think I have always taken fonts for granted because I use Microsoft Word a lot, so I learned a lot about letters in this section of our class.

Our first project was to pick six word pairs that are opposite each other, and then choose a font that portrays those words and contrasts each other.

word pairs study(so many fonts to choose from!)

Our next project was to pick one letter from a couple fonts – I chose a “T” in Esprit Bold – and render it in six ways: black letter on white background, white letter on black background, enlarge a portion of the letter, take apart the letter and reassemble (I did a mosaic with shiny paper), experiment with texture (I used gold embossed paper on maroon velvety paper), and 6-experiment with color (I used green grass on camoflauge paper).

Letterform Study

(letter forms all mixed up!)

Our last project was to think of a word we could portray graphically and render that using any media.  I chose the word “Stitch” and rendered it using needle and thread in the Justine font on a quilted background.

Stitch word play

(“Stitch” word play)

It’s so fun being able to combine my writing and sewing experiences for this design class!  I am also loving learning how to think outside the box with these projects.

Our next section was Value, so I will share pictures of how we designed with value in mind.

Six-Word Memoir

In last week’s design class, we began our study of typography.  We had to create our own six-word memoir, which we used to practice hand lettering.  The memoir idea is based on an NPR Talk of the Nation series.  We were asked to write a story of our own life in six words.  Sounds hard, doesn’t it?  You should try it sometime because it’s actually quite fun!

winter contemplation2

Naturally, I made a word list, which is always a great place to start a writing challenge.  I thought about the description of an ISFP, my personality trait defined by the Myers Briggs personality test.  It says I’m a quiet, artistic, loyal, individualistic, sensitive person who lives for the present moment.  Here’s what I came up with

“Quiet individual creating in the moment.” 

I spent in class measuring out the baseline, the x-height and the ascender lines, and then figuring out how to fit everything evenly on one page.  My spacing ended up being far from perfect, but I usually write in messy cursive writing, so this was hard. 

winter contemplation

On the drive home from class, I thought of another six-word memoir:

     “Right-brain in left-brain job.”

I decided to stick to the original saying because I don’t want my job to define me, no matter what I do for a living!

What would your six-word memoir say?