Sacred Nature

I recently took on a series of projects - the design and illustration of 4 of LILIPOH Magazine's covers over the coming months.  For this first one, the Fall 2016 edition, the editor sent me the issue's article titles as inspiration for the cover and gave me the freedom to choose which direction to take it in.  Fall is my favorite season, and I feel strongly that magazine covers should be quick-read images that are colorful or bold in some way.  To illustrate the spiritual and structural message of "Sacred Nature, Sacred Structure", I wanted to make sure that the image showed both the intricate veins of the leaves (physical), and the subtle 'aura' or peacefulness of the tree (spiritual).    

I'm happy with this final moody & atmospheric seasonal image!

Kid Dreamer album cover

Here's some of my latest work for Kid Dreamer, a new California based punk band.  Some time ago they had me design their logo and they liked it so much they hit me up to design the album cover for their debut album "Growing".  The album is very much an examination into the heart wrenching, gut turning, undefined slow-motion quality of breaking up, so I figured the best way to describe that would be the distance that grows between people who sleep in the same bed.  The bed sheet design explores some of the unsettling turmoil that drives the wedge between these two people.

Kid Dreamer's 'Growing' is available on the iTunes store.

Kid Dreamer's 'Growing' is available on the iTunes store.

Kid Dreamer

A few months back I was contacted by a band out of California just getting their start, and naturally they wanted to get right on their logo design. They found me while google image searching and were stoked to stumble upon one of my other lettering projects that they thought complimented their style.  

I was more than happy to oblige and started by listening to some of the unpublished audio samples of the band's work.  Kid Dreamer has a really strong punk sound, so I knew it would have to be a logo that would be both rough and bold at the same time.  I also knew it would need to look spirited and spunky enough for it to stand out among other band logos that they might be placed with.  They liked my hand lettering style which is a little wobbly and intentionally rough, so I started by giving them a few pages of different logo arrangements using some script, some lowercase and some capital letter sketches.

After some back and forth with the sketches, I moved on to refining the design they liked best. I gave them 3 versions.  One solid black and two texture versions to be used depending on what the logo placement needed.  Of course, color treatments for the logo are a whole other can of worms but I'm pleased with how this project turned out!

 

Urban Homesteading

Last month I was tapped to illustrate the Dispatch article in this Febrary's Grid magazine.  This one focused on making the best use of one's urban outdoor space, the piece having been written by a couple doing their best to grow as much food as possible using their own compost and grey water to tend the plants.  You can read it here (last page)

I came up with several sketches, the following 2 are my favorites:

The art director enjoyed my take on American Gothic, and chose to go with that one for the final. I kind of envisioned that this couple was likely to be a 30something green-minded hipster-ish Philadelphia couple.  But when the art director suggested I use reference of the actual couple I was surprised to find that it was 2 ladies, making the American Gothic re-boot even less traditional than anticipated!

Love conquers all

Here's an illustration I did for LILIPOH magazine's Spring 2014 issue.  The article was about the power of love/gratitude and its ability to change the world (if only we would let them, I suppose).  You can read the whole article here.  I enjoyed the somewhat abstract elements of creating this piece, and the light effervescent pink against a dark lead-like grey is one of my favorite color contrasts.  

 

These particular points from the article really resonated with me:

Four ways to cultivate your sacred harmonic heart, and share the “power of the positives”:

1.) Express genuine gratitude from your core! The vibration emitted by heart-felt gratitude promotes resonance, which, in turn, supports coherence. New and positive brain patterns subsequently develop, which our brains seek to match, thus reinforcing additional positive brain patterns to emerge, therefore “increasing the probability of having an optimistic outlook and maintaining emotional stability, even during challenging situations” (McCraty and Childre 2002).

2.) Intentionally cultivate love and compassion! Igniting these emotions within your heart center allows them to spark and spread, thus providing “improved cognitive performance, increased emotional stability, enhanced psychosocial functioning, increased peace [and] self-security, and sustained positive emotions” (McCraty and Childre 2002).

3.) Be wholly present! Do not let daily burdens take you away from the moment-to-moment brilliance that IS your blessed life. With each step, notice your complete, unique, and wonderfully profound self, and fill each second with your sacred breath and personal energy.

4.) Know that the voice of your heart echoes through the universe! What does your heart say, and how does it say it? Be ever mindful of the intentions that you channel through your heart, as their waves are conveyed far and wide. To make our world a more loving, peaceful, and verdant place, this transformation must first resound from deep inside your core. Nurture your own heart, and you will create a bright pathway of love which nourishes the hearts of others.

Philadelphia Magazine Wedding Issue

Late last year I was commissioned to do an illustration for Philadelphia Magazine's bi-annual wedding issue.  The drawing shows up on the last page of the Spring/Summer 2014 edition.  

The article outlines a woman's second mairrage to the same man, and rather than do a traditional rectangular piece I decided on a vignette that could open the page up a little.  

I chose to focus on my guess at the couple's wedding shoes from 1988 and 2013 (a lot has happened style-wise in that time!), and the dance steps tangled in among eachother to show how they had kept involved in eachothers lives despite their split.

Occupy Floats

I created this illustration for an article to appear in the forthcoming Fall 2013 edition of LILIPOH Magazine.  The article, called "Why Occupy is Unstoppable"  made me think about how attachment to material posessions seem to frequently be the cause of our suffering and consternation.  If you have no, or very little, attachment to your material posessions and persona perhaps you are more free than you know?  Its a way of being that's easier said than done.

 

Begin Again

Being published soon, is a book by Crossroads Publishing Begin Again featuring 2 maps I was commissioned to do. Both feature Italy as it was in 1815.  These were more detailed/exacting than my usual project, but a challenge is always good.  I'm pretty happy with the outcome, as I tried to retain the look and feel of an older style map.

Back from Winter Hibernation

These past several months I've been off the radar since my son was born in December.  After getting used to motherhood and battling a severe case of cabin fever through January & February, it's pretty nice to get back to drawing & to creativity in general.

I got called up at the end of last month to create a piece for Grid Magazine's May edtion. Fittingly, it's about passing local heirloom seeds down to continue living and propigating in this season's gardens.  As I sit and look at my seedlings on the kitchen table unfurling their leaves, and my 4 month old baby figuring out new tricks and outgrowing his first round of baby clothes, growth is a fitting theme for me these days.  

I got the idea to create an illustration in the style of old Pennsylvania Dutch folk art since the heirloom seeds mentioned will be grown this year at Kutztown University as a fully operational 1860's Pennsylvania Dutch kitchen garden.  Also, I enjoy the bold colors and decorative flat pattern-like quality of PA dutch art.  

Read the full article here! (Flip to the last page)

Grid December 2012 Edition

Check out the final edition of Philadelphia's Grid Magazine for 2012 featuring my illustration on page 30 (last page).  It was a challenge to meet the deadline for this piece since I received the assignment just before Hurricane Sandy was due to hit our area and both a loss of power and an inability to get to my studio slowed things down a bit.  But in today's digital age, lightning quick communication and media allowed me to get it to them in time.

I always jump at the chance to draw tree stumps... they're just provocative somehow.

Grid September 2012 edition

This project was another short-deadline piece for Grid Magazine's September 2012 edition.  I used the dot-matrix pattern to give the finished work a more game like feel, and pumped up the color to emphasize the desire factor that's inherent in our collective spending habits.  

Read the article online (very last page of the magazine).

How does one avoid spending money?  It seems that the daily circumstances that befall us can force us into spending more than we want, but like the author of this article muses, it's more the habit of daily spending most of us are ingrained with that causes the constant seemingly benign outflow.  Over time, so much spending gets out of control and we wonder if we do, in fact, have any control over it.

Could you go a weekend without spending any money?

Summer 2012 Lilipoh illustrations

Here's a few illustrations in spreads I recently did for Lilipoh Magazine.  They always give me lots of freedom to interpret the articles, so I enjoy creating pieces that I hope helps to draw potential readers into the pieces.  The challenge is always fun too!

I've been experimenting a lot more with texture these days, with some pastel and watercolor effects that I think bring a little more directness to work that may otherwise seem too 'flat'.  Materials and media are always a work in progress for me.  

Life, Unplugged

I did this illustration for Philadelphia's Grid Magazine on the fly last week for their back page article.  The concept is about a family finding one night a week to completely disconnect from their cell phones, video games, computers and texts in exchange for an uninterrupted dinner with each other followed by games, and music, etc.

This is actually one of the simpler concepts I gave the art director and I worked up the finish that day in a matter of a few hours using gouache on watercolor paper to start with and pen and ink lines for the family.  Brought the whole thing into the computer to play with the color saturation and clarity, and voila!

To read the article that accompanies this illustration click here and flip to the last page of the issue.

 

The UArts Alumni Project

This week the seniors at the University of the Arts graduated (just as I did 8 years ago) and each one of them received this UArts Alumni booklet I designed and illustrated.

Back in March and April I spent some enjoyable hours putting together the 12 page booklet for the Uarts Alumni department, featuring all the info ex-students will need to keep in touch with Uarts, help them get gigs, discounts and other stuff.  I was given A LOT of creative freedom with this project, and I gave it the free spirited treatment -  using lots of textures, a lively color palette and an open layout incorporating as many majors as possible.  The cover name "Up and Coming" was a title I came up with since it seemed more optimistic and powerful.  Previously it was named "Welcome".