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Entries in Sketches (67)


Proj: Exhibition Moleskine Sketches (Pages 15-18)

Well, I've managed to get a few more spreads completed in my proj: exhibition sketchbook before the end of the year. It's a good feeling to keep the pages coming, now up to 18. I have only 12 more pages (6 spreads) to complete to reach my goal of 30 pages by January 15th. Maybe I can pull this off after all.

Following the format established with the previous scans, here are the 4 new pages for your review (click on an image to see a larger version):

Proj: Exhibition Pages 15-16

Page 15 : This page is somewhat unusual for the sketchbook, as this imaginary lanscape came from my mind and not from an actual object. I'm not entirely sure where the idea came from, but I'm happy with the results. It's certainly not a realistic landscape — more of a dream landscape from a distant, ancient land (with no trees).

Page 16 : Here is a much more concrete drawing of my new square-toed dress shoes. I won't spoil the comments on the page itself in the notes, other than to say my wife Gail has a good eye for shoes. :-)

Proj: Exhibition Pages 17-18

Page 17: Coffee seems to be a theme throughout the sketchbook, and page 17 is no exception. This sketch was made while sitting at a local cafe with my brother Steve on Christmas Eve day. Fort some reason the moka pot on pedestals caught my eye. Fortunately, I had my pen and Moleskine along.

Page 18: My Signs sketch was completed this morning while at the cafe. These highway signs which I see each Thursday morning caught my eye, making me aware of the visual noise I deal with each day.

An that's all for sketchtoons in 2004. I've been quite happy about comments from readers who are enjoying my 'toons as much as I enjoying creating them. Thanks for your encouraging words.

I wish you blessings, peace and prosperity for the year 2005. My heart goes out to the thousands effected by the asian tsunami. More than we fortunate ones, these people deserve God's extra portion of blessing, encouragement, hope and care in this difficult time.


Proj: Exhibition Moleskine Sketches (Pages 11-14)

Tonight I've completed another spread in my proj: exhibition sketchbook. Combined with a spread done a few days ago, I'm now on page 14 of the book. You may also view Pages 1 - 6 and Pages 7-10.

Below I've posted four more pages and related notes (click on an image to see a larger version):

Proj: Exhibition Pages 11-12

Page 11 : Here I've created a set of individual pages: the first drawn on Saturday, while visiting Mayfair mall with my family. I sketched several unrelated items just for fun. I made the gentleman writer accidentally look like a midget... proportional error strikes again! ;-)

Page 12 : This is a sketch of my son's stuffed Roger Ribbett, built at the Build-A-Bear Workshop on his birthday. Roger was a gift from Nathan's aunt Darlene.

Proj: Exhibition Pages 13-14

Page 13: I wanted to experiment a bit more on this spread, with minimalist sketches. Page 13 is a sketch of my blank Moleskine and G2 pen with comments about the blank page. Sometimes I fear the blank page, so the only cure is to shut the book or dive right in and draw or write. Lately I've chosen to dive in.

Page 14: This page started with a Lao-Tsu quote I love. I let the quote sit on the page a while, then added a bit of personal commentary on the lower right part of the page. I love this quote because it reminds me to remember the small things and take care of them now, rather than paying larger consequences later on. It's not always easy to do this, so the quote serves as a good challenge to my attitude.

Sketch Notes

Reader Rolf Gloor offered some excellent constructive criticism of my work so far, suggesting that I balance words and images and remember to leave some breathing space. It was excellent advice, which I'm gladly taking to heart.

I do hope you're enjoying the sketches. I'm hoping to get 30 pages completed by January 15th, so I have to keep moving here. Wish me luck! :-)


Proj: Exhibition Moleskine Sketches (Pages 7-10)

Wow, I'm really rolling on my proj: exhibition sketchbook! Last night and this morning I completed four more pages, and enjoyed every moment of it. If you haven't had a chance to see my first 6 pages, feel free to check them out. Four new pages and related notes are included below for your viewing pleasure (click on an image to see a larger version):

Proj: Exhibition Pages 7-8

Pages 7 & 8: Decided to try a full spread, discussing my old reliable PowerBook Duo 230, which sits on the right side of my office desk. This wonderful little laptop is a pivotal piece of technology in my life, as it helped me meet many good friends online and to land my position at MakaluMedia. It traveled to Germany and Sweden with me. Beyond sentimental value, my love of using a modular computing devices came from experiences with the Duo system.

Proj: Exhibition Pages 9-10

Pages 9 & 10: This was a new approach for a sketchtoon in this book — moving away from inanimate objects to people. This morning at my local café I sat and sketched the most interesting people I saw, making up commentary about each one. My biggest fear was being approached by one of the subjects to see my “scribbling” — fortunately none did.

Notes on Sketchtooning

Interestingly enough, I'm finding the act of diving in on a blank page of this notebook with a black gel pen a great challenge, because once I start sketching, I can't erase. This action requires a bit of confidence, and the ability to go with the flow of the drawing.

In fact, I'm intentionally avoiding planning out the page, letting it draw itself instead. Why? Because as a web and graphic designer I've been trained to organize and plan out my layouts. While this is fine for professional projects, I wanted to capture a more spontaneous look with these sketches — like a child draws as they feel — rather than following a well-organized plan. I've found the use of ink and non-planning of sketches very refreshing. :-)

Thanks to everyone who commented on the first 6 pages from the sketchbook, posted on Monday night! As with those sketches, I'd love to hear your comments.


Proj: Exhibition Moleskine Sketches

About a month ago, I participated in the Wandering Moleskine Project, adding one of my drawings to book number 3. Through that drawing, I was contacted by Patrick Ng, who runs the Moleskine Art website.

Patrick is hosting proj: exhibition, in his citysuper Hong Kong store (Times Square) in February and was looking for physical and digital pieces to show. He asked if I'd be willing to send a sketchbook with my sketchtoons to Hong Kong. Wow! I was flattered by the offer. After all, how often will I get the chance to display work in Hong Kong? :-)

Of course said yes to Patrick's kind proposal, then I bought a small Moleskine sketchbook. I've been sketching toward my mid-January deadline ever since. I have to tell you, I've found it a real blast doing this project! Patrick, thanks for the offer!!

As of today, I have 6 pages to share with you, my loyal weblog readers. I plan to have many more pages completed before the 15th of January (the day I must ship the book to Patrick). Still, this should give you an idea where I'm going.

Below are the 3 completed spreads, with some notes below each scan for some background on why I decided to draw and write about each subject (click the scan to see a larger version).

Project Exhibition Page 1

Page 1: This was the introductory page, something to introduce the viewer to Milwaukee, where I live. I sketched part of this page at the Milwaukee Christmas Parade, hence the light post and bandleader near the base of the page. I had a bit of fun pointing out some of the more unique bits of Milwaukee.

Page 2: Gail had the idea for “Milwaukee to Hong Kong”, which I completed on the right page. I found the two large Chinese characters on a poster, at a Linens and Things store. The small Chinese greeting was written by a friend of my friend Randy, who teaches at a local university. I thought it would be very cool to have a bit of Chinese in the book, since it will appear in Hong Kong. Funny thing is, I don't exactly know what the Chinese reads. :-)

Project Exhibition Page 1

Page 3: An introduction to my proj: exhibition sketchbook.

Page 4: My first page covers the popular and classic American baseball cap. The inspiration came from the beat up green cap which sits on my bedroom dresser.

Project Exhibition Page 1

Page 5: My ultra-large Starbucks mug, given to me by Andy Bauer was the subject on this page. I'd just finished a tasty home-made, sugar-free hot chocolate, when the idea hit me to sketch the cup and tell its story. Now I'm hankerin' for some hot chocolate — go figure! ;-)

Page 6: I didn't want my Ultra Mug story sit alone on the spread, so I finished with a sketch of my beat up but trustworthy MiGo stainless steel coffee mug. I drink my hot coffee from it every day, so it seemed natural to memorialize it in the sketchbook next to my Mega Mug.

That's all for now, but more will come. I may not post scans until after the book has been shipped, because there's only a month left and many pages to go. We'll see.

I'd love to hear your comments, so feel free to leave yours here.


MailDrop 2.0 Icon Story

MailDrop 2.0 IconOkay everyone, time for a little horn-tooting PR for a “design the icon” contest I won on November 18th. I think the busyness of the season and Thanksgiving holiday threw me off, because I'd intended to mention this sooner. :-)

Anyway, Matt Henderson, the owner of MakaluMedia (the company I'm design director for), alerted me of an icon contest being offered at Erik Barzeski's NSLog weblog. Erik runs Freshly Squeezed Software, makers of various Mac OS X applications, including a Mail Merge app called MailDrop. It turns out that MailDrop is being updated to 2.0 and was in need of a new icon.

Well, I figured what the heck. While I have 15-some years of graphic design experience, I've never done a Mac OS X icon before. I thought this project could be fun, challenging and educational. Better yet, the icon concept they were looking for was somewhat cartoony, and hey, I love cartooning. So I took on the project.

Erik liked the direction in my sketches and rough icon ideas, so I proceeded with the icon project and ended up winning the contest. The final set of application icons are posted with this article. We're still in the process of finalizing the app's document icon.

My icon building process took a little time to sort out at first. I ended up working in Macromedia Fireworks, because I could use vector art, yet see immediately how my changes would appear in pixels. I also experimented with Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop, but because of my daily use of Fireworks and its vector/pixel feature, it just suited me best.

Once I had a final icon, I exported a master PNG file with transparency. Then I opened the file with Photoshop 7 for conversion into icons using a handy Photoshop plugin from IconFactory, called IconBuilder. At $69 It's not cheap, however, for the time it saves doing icons, I can see its value. I love that IconBuilder has no use restrictions (other than a nag screen which appears after multiple uses), because this allowed me to fully test it out before we decide to purchase it.

If IconBuilder is a little too high for your budget, there are other free and shareware tools out there, like Icon Composer (included with the Xcode Tools on the OS X developer CD) or the $15 shareware tool, Iconographer.

Should an icon for OS X be in your future, check out these helpful Apple documents: Icon Genres and Families, Suggested Process for Creating Aqua Icons, and Tips for Designing Aqua Icons. Here's another useful reference: OS X Icon Tutorial from O'Reilly's MacDevCenter.

Overall, it was a great challenge, and indeed, very educational. In fact, it felt very good to dive into something I'd never done before!

Ok, here's my final PR spiel for this Friday: If you happen to need a little icon work or any other type of design work (web or print), please feel free to drop me a line. :-)

Have a great weekend!