Monster Drawing Rally V


Earlier in July I participated in the fifth annual Portland Monster Drawing Rally. The event is a smorgasbord of artists (75 in all) who donate their time to drawing live at the Portland Art Museum courtyard. As each piece of art is finished, it goes to the auction wall where bidding takes place by drawing straws (with a flat fee for the art).

Proceeds support free school and youth programs at the Museum. It’s a super family friendly event with a kids drawing area. In fact, most of my fun questions come from the 10-and-under crowd as they ogle the process in super-fast-forward speed (each artist gets 1 hour to complete their work).

I’ve done all five drawing rally events that PAM has organized, and each year is different. I’ve tried detailed micron pen illustrations 2 years in a row (hard to finish in an hour, and difficult if you sit next to another artist who is a “vigorous eraser”), black & white magical box contents, and paper pennants with fun lettered sayings.

The boxes seemed to be the most popular so I decided to revisit that form factor this year with a new set of markers – POSCAS! I’m just starting to get the hang of these markers and they were well suited for this purpose. The main challenge of this year were letting various colors dry in between applying new ones, while always switching between multiple boxes. I generally stuck with a theme of “landscapes” but after these few experiments would like to work more on this idea.

Thanks to my brother-in-law, Dan, who made me the wooden boxes!

Slow Down Series


Five illustrations in a rudimentary style of: lemons and leaves, eggs in a nest, woman diving into water, flowers in a mid-century vase, and fireworks in a night sky.

Inspired/triggered by a contest on Instagram, I used some extra time one day to experiment in a new style on the theme slow down. Some of my work is precisely executed (here, here, here and here) so this was good practice in trying to work in a looser, less calculated way while still creating a systematic style for the illustration series. Below you can see the two sketch rounds before working in Adobe Illustrator to make the artwork above: lemonade, bird’s nest, summer swim, fresh bouquet, night fireworks.

Sketches determining basic color and elements for the Slow Down series. Created on an iPadPro in Adobe Sketch.

Old Brands New – Vaseline / Mister Slippy’s


IpadPro artwork of pencil and pastel drawing - reworking the classic Vaseline jar into a new packaging design.

Practicing some more on my iPadPro with different brushes, this time creating a new name and label for an oldie but goodie – Vaseline. The short development history of this product on Wikipedia is pretty interesting in it’s simplicity. Vaseline is one of many products which brand name has become genericized – instead of Vaseline being a specific brand of petroleum jelly, the name is used to describe all petroleum jelly products (more about all that here).

Friday and Company Branding


Every once in a while a project comes along where your intuition lines up just right with the vision of the client, so the creative negotiation that is usually a part of the creative process is….gone. This project was like that, and I think I entered something of a “design flow state” while working on it.

Having roots in Scandinavia means I often veer naturally to the side of simplicity and minimalism (side note: Real Danes might look at this branding and exclaim “oh my! how quaint and busy!”). This turned out to be the perfect match for Friday and Company – a real estate and interior design duo of native Swede Calle Holmgren and American Nicole Wear who has a hard streak of Scandinavian style in her interior design work.

Friday and Company logo with text styled buttons, font selections, and a series of small icons including a dala horse "real simple real estate" badge.

A chunky, friendly logo conveys both the fun Calle and Nicole have at their jobs, but also their approach to working together and directly with their clients. This look also stands out quite a bit in the real estate sector – especially in the real estate signs (below) which are visible from a mile away (possibly even space). To sum up their brand, a series of spreads was created to show the brand from straight-laced to fun-filled in the span of just a few pages.

Online we created a site that was to-the-point and lifestyle oriented, with user flows for selling, buying and design. All roads lead to working with Calle and Nicole, so extra attention was paid to about page and a Q&A section getting to know them (apparently they are very taco motivated). In addition to the site, Friday and Company also has a well-trafficked Instagram feed.

Friday and Company website design for homepage and seller flow page. Staging houses for a sale makes a huge difference in time on the market and buyer impression.
Friday and Company website - House + Hemma. Taking a holistic approach, design and staging is integrated into their realty business.
Working directly with clients is one of their main differentiators and why they keep their business small and personal.

Working with Ryan Galloway on writing and Jessica Berardi on web development was also a real pleasure. Creating a voice, both written and visual, and then having it executed just as imagined is such gift. The print collateral was produced at both Brown Printing and Anders Printing in Portland.

Business cards for the duo reflect their Swedish ties.
Standing out in the market with a bold sign allows for visual recognition even for a small company.

Promotional brochures for each house take on an editorial feel, catering the content of each sales piece to the house it is representing. For this modern house listing I even got to work in this Winston Churchill quote: “We shape our buildings, thereafter they shape us”.

Marketing materials and takeaway items that are on-brand reinforce Friday and Company's high professionalism and personal touch.

A series of simplistic blocky icons were created to supplement the other brand elements – namely pink, and two nearly mono-line fonts (Campton and School Script (yes, School Script!)). Between these few simple ingredients, a variety of mixing them up allows the brand to be straightforward and serious or offbeat and fun, depending on the needs of the message and medium.

A series of simple and bold icons were created to add flair to an otherwise minimal brand look.

Check out Calle and Nicole online at www.fridayandcompany.com or on Instagram.

Icebreaker Book Diagrams


ICEBREAKERS - icons for the four types of activities

A few years ago I worked on the Icebreakers book – an activity book that combines movement and song to get large choral groups warmed up in a fun way. Developed by a Danish high school classmate and his modern a cappella group Postyr, the book is for sale at Break the Ice.dk.

This spring they published a second edition of the book, so I worked on a new series of diagrams to support the directions for each activity. The style of the illustrations was intentionally loose to allow for easily shaping the characters to various poses and configurations, which focused more on the action of the activity rather than the details of the characters.

Rainbow World Series Part 2


Series of hand drawn illustrations in rainbow colors: a watering can splashing droplets of water, a girl running through a flower heart flurry, a girl with pigtails holding a bouquet, and a happy flower face.

Last year I did a short series called Rainbow World, which explored using my daughter’s drawings as inspiration and subsequent re-inspiration. Here is another set of illustrations continuing in this style, this time influenced by an evening in the backyard watering plants. Below is the back and forth we’ve had copying each other…I am curious how long this thread will go.

Drawings showing the back and forth between my five year old daughter and my rip-off skills on each other's "Rainbow World" drawings.

Hire an Esquire Iconography


Earlier this year I worked on brand explorations for Hire an Esquire, an online service for finding the right legal consultant for a project. The illustrations and icons – set on making the legal profession and process of hiring a lawyer seem approachable, easy and fun – helped the internal team decide the overall direction their rebrand should take.

Hire an Esquire - choosing the right lawyer is easy. A lawyer for hire jumping out of a tablet, ready to work on freelance projects.

A blocky bold style was used with the companies selected teal and orange palette. With such strong colors, the rest of the elements were kept very simple and used knockouts of white.

Series of icons for law firm including quill pen signing, light bulb, search function, smart glasses, signature bubble, conversation and thought bubble.

Stand-alone icon style was also explored to show how small visual accents could strengthen the brand presence when used consistently throughout their new site. While the final brand look ended up being a little more serious and traditional, the exploration process was key in helping decide how far to push the needle in their field.

Icon set for Hire an Esquire - network, briefcase, selecting a lawyer, top notch, searching resumes, paying/payment, requirement fulfillment, checklist/clipboard, lawyer profile, checklist, signing a document, connecting the dots.

Code/Art Shirt and Event Materials


For the 4th annual Code/Art Miami event, non-profit client Code/Art wanted a new design for their participant and volunteer shirts. Previously I had made a series of pins and stickers using small icons, but for this project we created a larger Code/Art constellation design in 3-colors that could easily be printed on two different t-shirt colors (purple for participants, teal for volunteers).

Code/Art t-shirt design with a girl throwing code snippets into the sky to form a Code/Art constellation.

The t-shirt features a girl throwing code snippets into the sky to form a Code/Art constellation. Printed at Custom Ink, the design was arranged so that each color on the purple shirt translated directly to a color on the teal shirt to keep costs low on printing materials and time.

Code/Art participant shirt in lilac.

Over the last two years I had designed a series of enamel pins and decals/stickers that were given out to participants. These assets were leveraged internally to create a cohesive look for their events – a strong example of how using a few elements consistently can go a long way in creating a recognizable brand look.

Code/Art event participants and teachers.

Because I still love me a good enamel pin collection, here is a repost of the series of enamel pins and stickers created over the course of a few mini-projects. These were designed for Code/Art participants – girls in their tweens and teens who explore code through art & creativity in guided Code/Art workshops. Read more about Code/Art on their website.

Enamel pin trio: 01100111010111 code sunglasses (cool shades), a </> heart, and code girl banner.” class=”wp-image-8341″/></figure>



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Code/Art donor pin inspired by participant art - featuring a constellation portrait of a young girl.
Girls in STEAM - Code/Art participants and teachers work on projects and take pictures in front of their photo booth.