Last night I went to an improv creator’s night called SHARE. The format of the event involves bringing together a group of creatives, giving them a one-word prompt, and then seeing what they make over the course of 2 hours that is related to the word. At the end, each person shares what they have made.
I had attended several years before and made some felt collages. This time I decided to use the evening as an exercise in practicing a certain style of illustration. The only materials I brought with me were pencils & pens, and a light table.
The prompt: FIRE.
I immediately thought of some music quotes that used the word fire, and wanted to make a typographic illustration. After some sketching it became clear that two hours wasn’t enough time to complete this idea, so I switched to doodling instead. The doodles felt a bit like typography in their rhythmic nature, so I decided to make a representation of fire that felt typographic.
I spent about 15 minutes pre-snacking, 45 minutes sketching, a 5 minute snack break, 45 minutes illustrating, and 10 minutes staring out the window. While illustrating, I kept track of how long each panel took, so I would be sure I could finish in time. This is also where the motto “when in doubt, stipple” was put into practice. Here is the finished illustration created from the prompt FIRE.
While drawing, I had a snack that reminded me of airplane trips. When I was done, I took additional advantage of the snack table and looked out the very tall windows and doortop plant arrangement.
SHARE #23 participants included:
Dave Benz, artist
Brad Cohen, writer
Alex Harris, designer
Kathleen Lane, writer
Katherine McDowell, visual artist
Leann O’Rourke, photographer
Alyson Osborn, actor
Jennifer Rabin, conceptual artist/writer
Mette Hornung Rankin, designer/illustrator
Liz Scott, writer
Toni Tabora-Roberts, multi
Cara Ungar, thinker
Bill Wadhams, musician
Gary Wiseman, artist
SHARE is organized by Margaret Malone and Kathleen Lane.
Since Portland is so hip, I thought it might appreciate its own series of flags featuring the caricature building traits that garner it a TV show all its own. Definitely not comprehensive, I could see some of these flying proudly on poles around Portland. What would your perfectly personalized Portland flag look like?
Each year I usually tackle one side project that takes me off the beaten path of my typical work-for-hire jobs. This is how the Goodie Monster was born, I manned a lemonade stand in Copenhagen, and made a fuzzy printed poster about moose falling in love. This year, I painted a piano. It is now out in the world for anybody to play thanks to the group Piano! Push Play!
Piano! Push Play! partnered with the Portland Art Museum and Portland Parks & Rec to create an installation of 10 designer pianos, which were featured in a concert on June 26th at the Museum. From there, the pianos move to various sidewalk and park locations to be played by passers-by for a few weeks before they are donated to schools, community centers and other organizations unable to purchase pianos on their own.
For my piano design, a glossy white enamel paint coat topped with black illustration was a simple way to stay true to the piano’s form and accentuate the features of the instrument as an individual. Patterning and texture were used to mimic the variety and nuance that pianos are capable of and to show the feeling of how it is when you play.
Here is a quick sneak peek of what I’m working on right now, along with an invite to come see it in action. The Portland Art Museum is partnering with Piano! Push Play! to create an installation of 10 designer pianos, which will be featured in a concert on June 26th at the Museum. From there, the pianos move to various sidewalk and park locations to be played by passers-by for a few weeks before they are donated to schools, community centers and other organizations unable to purchase pianos on their own.
That’s right, I’m painting an entire piano for anybody to play.
Piano! Push Play! Concert
Friday, June 26th at 7:00pm
Portland Art Museum
1219 SW Park Ave, Portland, Oregon 97205
FREE to the public!
Check out the event on Facebook for more details.
As a native Oregonian who grew up on the east side where tumbleweeds blow and it took an hour to drive to the “local” movie theater, Portland was the mecca of civilization. Malls, stoplights, and my grandma’s house were all big city attractions that wowed me during childhood visits in the 80s and 90s. As an adult I moved to Portland after getting degreed to chase the creative dream. So far so good.
After a solid stretch in Portland, I moved to Copenhagen Denmark for a few years. When I returned to Portland, my memory of the up-and-coming town was forced to reconcile with all the changes that had occurred while away. Now, Portland was…hip. So, so hip. It was no longer just a simple place to be, but self aware.
So here’s a typographic ode to my burg that has changed so much over the last 3 decades for good and for bad. I still love you Portland, just please don’t get too big for your britches.
“B is for Black Hole” is part of an on-going alphabet series for kids using math, science and geography vocabulary. Have an idea for a good word? Send it my way!
Here is a third test in drawing animals in a ‘teardrop’ style. Previously I tried out various birds, plus a rabbit, skunk and porcupine. I’m not sure if llamas can actually lay eggs. Maybe they just guard them for birds who are on a trip to the worm store. But somebody is bound to get a talking to when the creature in charge gets home.
I’ve done many projects with Umpqua Bank, from the buttoned-up online identity for their Private Bank to a giant mural of a birds nest for a new store opening. Our latest collaboration was no less ambitious in the greatest direct mail piece I’ve ever seen. Yes, I have designed my first ever direct mail piece, and I’m proud of it!
Just the phrase “direct mail” sends shivers down my spine, so one goal while working on the piece was to make it as personal and relevant as possible. Sewn binding on the book and having a precisely fit clear sleeve presented it well from the outside. Inside, working with a great photo library was a boon – nary a stock image was used! Professional architectural photos of Umpqua as well as brand images from Mazama Wares created a cohesive visual narrative. A diminutive format (the magazine fits easily in your hand) and 32 pages of editorial and lifestyle centered content made it both useful and interesting.
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“L is for Luminosity” is part of an on-going alphabet series for kids using math, science and geography vocabulary. Have an idea for a good word? Send it my way!