Everyone loved the Monster Box (they call him the Candy Monster) so much they didn’t want to put him away for the season (honestly where would they put him? He’s enormous and he no longer folds flat) so now he’s dressed for Thanksgiving and collecting donations for the canned food drive.
A Character Strong Lion
Just a little guy I made for someone else’s “character strong trait” display. There are 9 of these traits they want to communicate to children, one for every month of the school year. We added “kindness” so the weights could balance, plus we’re a “Be Kind” school. I guess they’re going to laminate the pieces and reuse then for a while, but it’s not my bulletin board so I don’t know the whole story.
As I was working, one kid informed me that, “there is this thing called heterochromia,” and that I should make a lion with different colored eyes. Then another kid told me that I should give this lion abs.
This Machine Annoys Fascists
I once read that after writing “Night Moves,” Bob Seger fell into a deep depression, fueled by the belief that he had hit the pinnacle of his career and would never write another song as great and meaningful as that one. Personally, I prefer “Old Time Rock and Roll,” but when I look at this image, I think to myself, “You might as well retire from graphic design because this is the greatest thing you’ll ever do.”
But Bob Seeger didn’t retire and neither will I. People are already asking for T-shirt versions of “Respect Your Local Monsters,” so that’s what I will make next. Plus I have another cool commission in the works.
The quote here is, of course, a riff off Woody Guthrie’s, “This Machine Kills Fascists,” message, which the folk singer wrote in black across his acoustic guitar. And the ukulele being a sort of baby guitar, its power is not as lethal, but still shots fired against the enemy.
As it’s looking more and more likely that this country is willing to go full Fascist in the next couple years, and Gen X is old and has back pain, and this is about the level of resistance I’m able to muster currently. I personally plan to get shot in the face in my own home if they start hauling off antifa. I’m Jewish and don’t have the stomach for going quietly.
You can purchase “This Machine Annoys Fascists” on a wide array of fine quality stickers, T-shirts, home goods, and various other production in my RedBubble shop.
She Tortoise Well
My mom was recently admiring my fishy switch plate so I thought I’d make her something in a similar style for a birthday card, but I decided on a turtle, because she also likes those little folksy Mexican bobble head turtle things. I don’t know what they’re called.
The turtle’s body is cut from a single image of a hibiscus and the shell is an ad for fiber or something like that. I love how hexagons tesselate, even though these ones are imperfect.
I brought this card to the library, where my parents were presenting a science program about electricity for little kids on my mom’s birthday, because that is how my parents roll.
Spooky Season Bonus: The Monster Box of Monsters!
I honestly cannot tell you what the Monster Box is all about. The front office staff just asked me to make this for the PTA. They wanted a large box that looked like a monster and you could put candy in the mouth. They did not explain anything beyond that. I gather someone saw a similar project on Pinterest or something. I will have to go to the Fall Festival to divine the true meaning of the Monster Box.
Getting the box was a bit of a chore, and then I had to rebuild it because it didn’t have a bottom, and the top was kind of weird. After I cut the mouth I realized that they wouldn’t have any good way to get the candy OUT of the box, so I cut another access panel in the back. Then I made it look like the monster was wearing novelty underpants.
If I had to do it again, I would do a lot of this differently. I’m not use to working in 3 dimensions or with cardboard.
This project took about 7 hours, and used 1 1/2 bottles of Elmer’s glue. There was also a lot of tape involved and a little of my special bookbinding plastic adhesive. I might go back and hit the horns with the hot glue gun just to be sure. They are the number one thing I would do differently if I did this again. I’m not sure they’re stable.
Happy Halloween Season!
Hooray! Halloween! I’m definitely one of those people who believes the entire month of October is intended to build up to Halloween. In fact, I made this one at the end of September, and I think I did an excellent job of creating something that suited the entire autumn and can stick around until after All Souls’. I love how the entire design came out (even though I made mistakes with my own font) and may try to preserve it when I swap it out for my holiday design. I was thinking about making it all summer! If only I had also been thinking about all my fancy, patterned scissors, I could have save myself a lot of time cutting it out.
Gila monsters are venomous lizards, one of two venomous lizards that live in the region. They are not super interested in biting humans. In fact, The Man and I once attended a lecture about venomous reptiles of the Sonoran Desert, and the herpetologist delivering it asserted that there is a profile of the sort of person who gets bit by a Gila monster, and that nobody who doesn’t fit this profile ever turns up at the ER looking for help for Gila monster bites. The profile is thus: a young man, between the ages of 20 and 40, heavily tattooed, under the influence of alcohol. This tells you a lot about how dangerous Gila monsters are: not at all, unless you are the kind of idiot who gets drunk and harasses native fauna.
They literally have “monster” in the name. Why would you pick it up?
At any rate, their bite is only mildly neurotoxic and there are no recorded cases of death by Gila monster, although I gather it’s not exactly a fun experience either. I’ve lived here 17 years and never seen one in the wild.
Happy Birthday, Sissy!
Today is my little sister’s birthday! I usually think about sending her something at the beginning of the month, and then don’t think about it again until it’s too late (she doesn’t live in the States so I have to plan ahead to get it there on time), but this time I remembered at the exact right moment. Well, a bit late. But I had a few moments, and some collaged bits, and I used the materials at hand to make something new.
Not sure why I chose to photograph it when it was still wet. It was dry when I mailed it but I didn’t take more photos. Also there’s a couple lines missing, which I forgot to ink. Anyway, on the inside it says, “I hope your birthday will BEE SWEET,” because my sister seems really obsessed with animal puns these days.
I hope she likes it. Or at least appreciates the effort.
Color Logo for Sound
Well, I know nothing whatsoever about live sound engineering, but I do know how to draw things that people describe to me, especially if, like this client, they very helpfully say things like, “Make the logo look like this Velvet Underground album cover,” and then also send me a picture of the album cover. But I didn’t make it look too much like the album cover to avoid a repeat of the time I got a DMCA takedown notice for a design in which one of my original characters cosplays as Billy Gibbons from ZZ Top. I thought that was very unfair. Anyone can wear a knit hat and sunglasses and a very, very long beard and the comic was quite specific in identifying it as NOT Billy Gibbons from ZZ Top, but as someone simply dressing like him (against their will, even; the comic ends with the character deciding to shave), plus parody is protected speech.
However, as I point out in this comic, Fair Use only applies to people who can afford copyright lawyers, and even though I’m pretty sure I was in the right, I am not one of those people. So for this project I drew a totally different VU meter than the one on the Velvet Underground album. The client requested “an amber glow,” and I wasn’t 100 percent sure what that meant until I started looking at images of VU meters and saw one with an amber glow. I mentioned it to The Man and he explained that amber glow was a retro aesthetic that would fill tech nerds with nostalgia for old analog equipment. He knew what I was talking about without the visual (because he is a tech nerd). Creating the amber glow was fun, and very simple in Photoshop.
Amber Glow would be a good name for a pop star.
Another problem I had to solve was the font, which the client wanted to look similar to the album cover as well. Now, I know at least one word nerd who probably can identify fonts just by looking at them, and I was about to message them, but then I thought, “Hey, it’s 2022; surely there’s an app for that.” And there is. There are many apps for that. And then I said, “Well, if there’s an app for it surely there’s a website for it.” And there are many of those as well. It was easy to upload the image and find the name of the font.
The website I used also helpfully offered to sell me the font for $26, which is a RIDICULOUS price for a font, in my opinion, and to sell me the entire font family for $86, which is laughable. It turned out that I already owned some of the fonts in that family (Century Schoolbook) and while I didn’t own the specific one, I think I got pretty close.
The client wanted to use this logo for a few things, but since they specifically wanted to make T-shirts, I used my T-shirt template, which is…large. So this is a big, sharp file, but it should print out well in full size. I think it’s a stunning marketing tool. This guy has been in the business for a couple decades. You should definitely hire him for live sound engineering.
And I just got another logo commission! But first I have another, potentially high profile commission that I’m not sure if I’m supposed to talk about. But I’m very excited about both of them.
They gave me another bulletin board so I made this monach butterfly, which is a good choice for autumn in the desert. The monarchs breed here, especially if there is enough rain, and they are also thematically appropriate for Dia de los Muertos. There are people who attend the All Souls’ Procession dressed as monarchs, or in costumes covered with hundreds of (replica) monarchs.
I couldn’t think of a good tag or phrase or anything. Kept meaning to come back to it but I’ve moved on and I guess it’s fine by itself.
If you know me, you might know that I have a psychologically difficult time with the autumn in general. It’s nice to hold on to symbols like this.
Around the time I made this butterfly, some guy who didn’t know anything about seeking asylum in the US but felt compelled to make some ridiculous marks about it nonetheless boxed himself into a corner during an online discussion about the subject and, unable to make a cogent argument, resorted to looking at my profile and then, I guess, attempting to insult me personally. One of his remarks was, “I work for a living,” presumably meaning that art is not work. Even though I spend between 4 and 17 hours on every single on of these ephemeral paper works, and my back and hands hurt when I am done, and I have to take breaks due to the sheer amount of pain I’m in.
It’s odd that someone thinks “I work for a living” is a flex. When I hear that comment, my thought is, “You’ve a slave to capitalism and you’re proud of it.” Nobody I know thinks that working is a flex; everyone I know would prefer not to work, or, at least, not to work under the fist of capitalism.
How much nicer would the world be if we divided all tasks into “essential” and “voluntary,” and then EVERYONE did SOME of the essential tasks. It’s not right that there are people who do nothing, or who only work for their own enrichment without contributing anything of value to the world, and then there are people who carry the whole weight and are barely compensated. It makes no sense, for example, that schoolteachers work full time, plus many unpaid hours, with little support, for little money. Nobody should have a classroom of 30 kids they have to manage by themselves 5 days a week. Everyone with the inclination and skills should participate in educating kids; this is one of the most important jobs there are. Nobody should work 40+ hours a week in a factory, or a fast food restaurant, or as a plumber (unless they really, really want to). We should all share the crappy jobs, and then we should all have ample time for the fun ones. Nobody should get rich playing football or designing couture gowns, but everyone should have the opportunity to play football or design couture gowns, in the hours that they’re not doing essential jobs. That should be what civilization is about.
It’s true that I don’t get paid a lot. But I do work. I work harder than a lot of people. And I make the world a nicer place for a lot of them. But I guess I make it a less nice place for certain unbearable people.
I’ve designed a number of logos here and there, mostly for myself and occasionally for friends, but this is a commission from someone who doesn’t even know me, which is always lovely. I enjoyed creating a new design for a new company, DB Media. I didn’t know what they did when I took the gig, but it turns out they create these really stunning FPV drone videos. You can check some of these videos out on their YouTube channel. My favorite is the Crested Butte video. You can also find them on Instagram at @FPVGroove.
If you’re near Denver, I think this company would be a splendid choice to document things like fancy weddings or, if you’re, say, a realtor selling big estates, it would be a spectacular marketing tool. This medium has its own unique artistry (based on its own unique technical skills).
After dabbling with a handmade font based on the client’s signature, the fonts we eventualy settled on are Brush Script Standard Medium for the letters “DB” and Century Schoolbook Bold for the word “Media.” The design is based on Colorado’s Flatiron Mountains, rendered in 2 shades of gray, so it sits nicely behind the text without fading into obscurity.