Who Wants To See Some Work In Progress?

Screen Shot 2013-03-23 at 9.10.31 AMWell, too bad. You’re going to anyway. So we got a new assignment last week to create a beverage package. It’s expanded to “things in glass bottles” because olive oil and hot sauce are now included. But I knew what I wanted to do a wine label. Normally when I get an assignment I think, “Oh crap. There is no way I am going to be able to come up with an idea for this,” but this is the one time I actually had an idea going in.

A few months ago I was chatting with some people about a line of low calorie booze that isn’t exactly tasty and has an emaciated looking woman as their logo. Really, if you are drinking that much that you have to worry about the calories adding up, there are some steps you can take to remedy the situation. Twelve of them, to be exact. We started joking around that we were going to create a liquor line called  Chunky Butts with twice the calories of regular alcohol and it would come in flavors like carrot cake, tiramisu, and baklava. Stop looking at me like that- it was hilarious at the time.

When this project came around, I knew I couldn’t actually call my winery Chunky Butts (although, I’m sure Sir Mix-a-Lot would make an excellent spokesman and lord knows what kind of hits this blog is going to get having the words “chunky butts” used repeatedly). So I went a little high brow and changed the name to Hourglass. The initial idea was to have just the silhouette of a curvy woman against the word “Hourglass”. But I realized something extremely important- I suck at drawing- and even tracing- people. I couldn’t get her expression right and a featureless face seemed wrong for the kind of light-hearted sexiness I wanted in my label.

You would think that I would realize that hours and hours of frustation mean that I am going in the wrong direction, but I am not always smart. After what seemed like my one millionth google search for inspiration, a picture of a corset popped up. “Hm…corsets can give everyone an hourglass figure,” I thought. The corset image came together in about a half hour.

It’s still in progress. I’m not sure about the placement of the bow,  if all the lacing is necessary, or if the type is right. Plus it will probably be reduced a little bit because there is more copy that needs to be added. We’ve got a midpoint critique a week from Monday and I’ll see what my classmates and teacher have to say, but I really like the direction this is headed. The label is going to be printed and added to an actual bottle of wine, so there will also be product photos forthcoming! Try and contain your excitement.

But for now Spring Break! Even though it’s just started, I think this clip sums up my break:

I’m always the Milhouse.


Coincidentally “I’m Out There!”

owlMy internship search rages on. I keep finding great internships…for other people. Every other listing I think, “Wow! This would be perfect for….” Then there was the one that sounded great for me, I applied and got an error message after I hit submit. I submitted again only to get another error message that I had already applied. Um, okay. At least I know it’s not because they don’t like my work that I won’t get it, but because I’m a tool. So the search goes on.

A few months ago I was talking with one of my teachers and he said, “You have to let people know you. Put yourself out there.”  In a way that was not at all like George Costanza (it was), I replied, “I’ve got a Behance page, a Flickr page, two Tumblrs, a Twitter, and a WordPress blog. I’m out there!”

More calmly then I would have, he said, “No, get out there and meet people who can do things for you.”

“Oh. I don’t think I know those people.” After the last few weeks, I am certain I don’t know those people.

It has me thinking a lot about wanting what we think is best for us versus what the Universe (or God or fate or The Great Spirit or whatever you want to call it) knows is best. Like maybe I am trying to force my own agenda instead of relaxing, relinquishing control and letting whatever is in store for me unfold?  Looking back through the last few years I can see how one thing led to another led to another and so on. If even one step hadn’t happened, the whole thing would have fallen apart. So maybe things are gearing up to happen in their own way instead of the way I have imagined? Or maybe I am just sucky at cover letters, internship searches and read too much into stuff?

Anyone who knows me in real life knows that I live for coincidence. Years ago I was talking to a friend about our birthdays. She said hers was February 15. I said, “Wow. That’s weird. That’s my dad’s birthday. Mine is August 1.” She started laughing and said, “You probably won’t believe me, but that is my dad’s birthday.” Oh my God. I told that story to everyone for like 5 days straight. Anyway, just now as I was writing this post (procrastinating), I saw this:

I’ve started to realize that waiting is an art, that waiting achieves things. Waiting can be very, very powerful. Time is a valuable thing. If you can wait two years, you can sometimes achieve something that you could not achieve today, however hard you worked, however much money you threw up in the air, however many times you banged your head against the wall. . .

Interesting, considering what I was in the middle of writing about. I googled, because it was unattributed and that led me to this post on another blog- coincidentally posted a year ago today.  This sentence stood out to me:

We can trust that all is on schedule. Waiting time is not wasted time. Something is being worked out – in us, in someone else, in the Universe.

So maybe I am sucky at cover letters, internship searches and read too much into stuff, but I’m going to trust that to everything there is a purpose and it will all work out in the end.

Have a great week!


Very Bad Pets

Very Bad PetsGood morning, lovelies! I’ve got another project for you this week- “Very Bad Pets.” The assignment was to create an accordion fold booklet sent out as a self-promotional piece. Oh, and it had to be narrative or conceptual. Every time I get an assignment at school I think, “Yep, this is it- the one that is going to break me. No way I’m going to be able to do this.”

So, after the initial panic subsided, I was driving home from school and heard a radio commercial. I was only half listening, but they said a line about having a weird animal for a pet. That made me think of this episode of The Simpson’s where Moe the Bartender gets attacked by and eagle . That made me think what a crappy pet an eagle would make. Viola! I had an idea for the project.

I wrote the copy first. Then came the whole issue of how to execute it. For some reason I had this idea I should draw the whole thing. When I told my teacher this she looked…um…concerned. She said, “Why do you want to do that? Because you want to stretch yourself or because you think you should draw?” I think this was her polite way of saying, “God, don’t do THAT!!!” After a brainstorming session with a classmate (in another class where we were supposed to be working on another project) I abandoned the idea of drawing and instead went with the idea of using vintage graphics. Since this was supposed to be a self-promotional piece I thought that would be more “me” anyway. During critique a classmates said, “On the surface, it looks really nice and fancy. But once you really look at it, it’s silly and a little bit biting.” Hmm…sounds like a certain blogger I know.

The little frames or brackets around the copy were created in Adobe Illustrator, the swirly font is called Chopin Script  and the serif font is Baskerville. The graphics came from Vintage Printable and everything was put together in Photoshop. The final printed dimensions are 38″ x 6″. Oh, and that weird little guy on the cover I thought was a bush baby, but it’s actually a tarsier from the Philippines. They’re sort of cute in a weird, unnerving sort of way.  Without further ado, Very Bad Pets!


Clicking any picture takes you to the full sized version at my Behance page

Bad Pets Cover


Bad Badgersbpcobrasbpeaglesbpbackcover


I’m also searching for a summer internship, which is a lot harder then I had anticipated. If you’re in the Chicago area and need a summer graphic design intern who works hard and is super cute, please let me know!

Paper Cuts!


My first successful attempt at a paper cut

For a while I’ve been wanting to try paper cutting. Not the slicing my finger while opening the bills kind of paper cutting, but the intentional kind.  I kept seeing these intricate and stunningly beautiful cut paper come across my Tumblr feed. They are really beautiful and delicate works of art that require amazing patience and skill. Even though I know I’ve got neither of those things, I really wanted to try my hand at paper cutting. So much of what I do is virtual and never makes it out of a hard drive that it’s very satisfying to create something with my hands.

So a few a months ago, I made a template and gave it a try. And it was a miserable failure. Let’s not ever speak of it again.

BUT I was undeterred and on Wednesday gave it another try. What I really threw me were there were so many great intricate designs out there, but people don’t go from no experience to master level paper cutter in one project. I did some hard hitting investigating (a google search) to try to see if there were any beginner level paper cutting templates out there. I finally found this site with tons of free templates. I figure once I get the basics down I can create my own, but starting out it’s probably better to stick to ones created by the pros.

In retrospect, I should have taken photos of the progress. But, honestly, I didn’t think it was going to turn out as well as it did, that’s how bad my first try was. It didn’t even take as long as I thought- slightly less then 2 hours from setting up my mat to the final photos. My google search didn’t really find any instructions for paper cutting, so I kinda had to wing it. Even though I’m new at it, I wanted to share what I know, in case anyone else feels inspired.

1- Tape everything down. Get a roll of art tape. It’s like painter’s tape, but for paper and a roll will last you approximately 75 years. Tape down your cutting mat, your paper, your template- everything but your knife. Your knife is less likely to slip this way.

2- Use paper that isn’t too thick. Some anonymous dumb ass (who lives in my house, wears my clothes and name rhymes with Keth Krousil) first tried to paper cut bristol board. So completely stupid! I used drawing paper on the one above and really liked it. It’s heavier then regular paper, but not so thick that it’s hard to work with.

3- Go slowly and don’t press too hard. I can’t state that enough. Last year I had a 3D design class that involved a lot of cutting things out of foam core board with the Exact-O and the principles are the same. You’ll have more precise lines if you make several passes of the knife going deeper and deeper each time then one very hard pass. Also, look slightly ahead, just a few centimeters, while cutting. I’ve found that makes my line a little more accurate.

4- It doesn’t have to be perfect. It’s not going to hang in the Guggenheim, so be easy on yourself. Plus, when people know that you’ve made it by hand, they’re really forgiving of your “mistakes”. If it’s something you want to do, the only mistake you can make is not trying.

5- Cut on the side that will not show. Like if you are making a card, cut on the inside. For some reason the side you are cutting ends up looking like ass, especially if your blade starts to dull. If you’re starting to get a lot of dragging or jagged edges, change your blade. They’re super cheap and it’s only going to make the end result look that much better if your blade is nice and sharp.

Oh and something else fun about paper cutting? It gives you the opportunity for some cool pictures. In addition to the opening one, I took this one:

elephant 1I’m going to make more paper cuts, if for no other reason then to take some cool pictures. This one is on it’s way to be a greeting card (so if the recipient happens to be reading, pretend like you are surprised and delighted when you open it) and I’m going to do another one ASAP. My relationship with the Exact-O knife is destined for tragedy (I’m super clumsy), but I’m going to enjoy it while it lasts. In the mean time, here are some inspirational paper cutting sites:

Folk Art Paper Cuts by Suzy Taylor  – She is a master. Unbelievable work.

Beautiful and Creative Art of Paper Cutting– A variety of artists work for some inspiration.

Scherenschnitte– Tons of free templates to get you started, if you want to give it a go.

Stock up on band aids and have a great week!