LA [July 2017]

Quintessential Los Angeles -- couldn't resist this dreamy shot before I left for the airport :)

Palm Springs [July 2017]

I spent a few days in beautiful (and hot.... 120º hot) Palm Springs in early July to celebrate a friend's upcoming wedding. Not only is the landscape it's own kind of stark beauty, but the architecture is it's own attraction. The sleek, minimalist, mid-century modern homes were captivating and amazing to tour.

 

Minneapolis [May 2017]

I had a great time exploring Minneapolis this past weekend. These photos are some of my favorites from the 4 days I was there. It was pretty grey/rainy the whole weekend, but that didn't stop us from exploring and checking out tons of local restaurants and outdoor spaces.

Highlights featured in these photos: (1,2,3) Walker Art Center; (4,5) Views from the Guthrie Theater; (6) Mill Ruins Park

From the Archives, vol. 5: iPhone photos

I was looking through some old files...

Every few months (or when I remember to), I wipe the photos off the phone and back them up on an external hard drive. I always enjoy reliving the last few months and finding an image and remembering why I snapped a picture in the first place.

Above, from L-R: subway texture in NYC (July 2016) // Schuylkill River in the late afternoon (November 2016) // Tioga County Rest Stop on PA Rt. 287 (January 2017)

Process: Social Media post for Rain Check

Part of my current job involves these mini "campaigns" promoting the Philadelphia Water Department's residential improvement program, Rain Check. The fall/winter is usually a slower time for the program and we have been doing small social media pushes for sign-ups aligning with various holidays/motifs over the last 6 months or so (Halloween, Thanksgiving, etc.)

This is one of my favorites we have done - a fake personal ad from a rain garden to a resident. I personally enjoy how tongue-in-cheek and specific it is - but I had a blast making this particular graphic.

Here's a break down of what the process was:

 

Starting from the left:

  1. In order to get the right sense of bundled up and layered newspaper, the quickest way to execute this was to actually bundle and clip together real newspapers. 
  2. After scanning the newspapers in, I Photoshopped out the text to give me a base for creating the faux personal ad.
  3. I got the content in place, trying to make it seem like something that would legitimately appear in the back of a newspaper.
  4. To emulate the way someone would circle an ad (in this case, with a heart), I tried out some different strategies, and found that a highlighter on white paper produced the best results. 
  5. With some Photoshop assistance (changing color, blending), the final piece came together.

Port Authority Abstraction

I saw these boards in the vestibule where the elevators & payment info are in the Port Authority. I have no idea what they are, or what message/information they are communicating (or who for) - but I was struck by the abstract minimalism and variance in composition and execution. 

They all remind me of some of Cy Twombly's work... 

I guess you never know where inspiration will strike – like the 5th floor of the massive and complicated maze that is Port Authority.

FROM THE ARCHIVES, VOL. 4: ALASKA 2013

I was looking through some old files...

In August of 2013, my family and I went on a cruise to Alaska. It was, without a doubt, a trip i will never forget for many reasons - especially the train ride we took from the Yukon Territory along Bennett Lake to Skagway, AK. These are some (mostly) unedited photos from along the lake. I only tweaked the color and contrast, but all of the natural perfect reflections and immense beauty is representative of the incredible trip we took.

2016 Books: A–Z

Chris suggested late in 2015 that I challenge myself to read a book starting with every letter of the alphabet in 2016 (eliminating some small article words, like 'the' 'a' etc). I wanted to try some new authors, topics, points of views, and types of books in the process. I did not read the books in any order - just kind of started somewhere and found my way through the alphabet.

Some favorites/thoughts:

  • Favorite Overall Read: Intimacy Idiot by Isaac Oliver
  • Favorite Book Cover: The Girls by Emma Cline (or) Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald by Therese Anne Fowler
  • First Book Read: Room by Emma Donoghue
  • Last Book Read: Wolf in White Van by John Darnielle
  • Books read on Audible.com: 2
  • Books read on Kindle: 4
  • Books borrowed from the library: 18
  • Book most outside of my comfort zone / from a genre I don't usually read: Sleeping Giants by Sylvain Neuvel (Science Fiction / Fantasy)

Below, take a look at a more detailed slideshow of the books/process. 

Onto 2017 - I'm not setting any rules for my reading, aside from to keep reading books that excite me and from a diverse pool of tremendously talented authors.

Chicken 101

Testing out a new illustration style + some fun food instructions.

Designer Spotlight

I forget exactly how I first came across Mike McQuade's work, but I was instantly drawn to it. I love his frenetic collage/compositions and the way the finished pieces end up looking both chaotic and resolved. Most of his work is editorial and must function within a layout in print or on the web. Mike's use of structure, composition, and detail make his pieces really stand out and act as phenomenal companions to the written piece. 


Saul Bass

Saul Bass produced an incredible amount if truly timeless design. From his huge repertoire of logos (so simple and iconic) to his famous work with the film industry (credit sequences, poster design, etc.) His expressive illustration style - geometric and awkward and "off" - is so iconic and it speaks so much to the design around the world at that time. Bass' typography is modern and helps to truly create a "mood" for each poster. Many designers have interpreted Bass' work over the year - and his influenced is still seen every day. I'm a huge fan of Saul Bass' work and still think fondly of the paper I wrote on him for my history of Graphic Design course during my time as a student. 

Destination: Philadelphia

Overall, I think the Visit Philadelphia site does a great job of presenting pertinent and exciting information to potential visitors to Philadelphia. The carousel of images on the homepage immediately familiarize the visitor with some well-known Philly landmarks (Liberty Bell, the Zoo, etc.) The overall design of the site is clean, pretty user-friendly, and simple, but exciting.

On some of the subsequent pages, the content has clear hierarchy and is reinforced through type size and placement. One of my favorite elements on the site is the semi-branded neighborhood pages. Each neighborhood feels special, and presents the feel/vibe of the neighborhood to a potential first-time visitor, through photographs, maps, and the mini badges/logos that place the neighborhood on the map.

Best of 2016

Best of 2016

Album Art
It's no surprise that Bon Iver's 22, A Million is appearing in this collection... It's probably my favorite record of the year and the album artwork and promotional graphics are intricate and offbeat. I'm drawn to the severe color palette and the intricate (and weird) illustrations/doodles that designer Eric Timothy Carlson created in partnership with Bon Iver. 

Book Covers
Year after year, I am still most excited to dig through some of the year's best book covers. Here are three that I think represent innovative, exciting, and well-thought out work. I think I am most drawn to the typography in the Version Control cover, hinting at it's science-fiction plot. The background illustration is vague and perfectly obscured.

Movie Posters
Not only is Moonlight my favorite movie of the year, but the movie poster is just as evocative, moving, and beautiful as the movie. The three actors who play Chiron during three distinct periods in his life. The poster breaks and re-configures Chiron's face to reflect his growth through his childhood, adolescence and adulthood. Plus – the coloring and lighting is moody and beautiful, just like the entire film. 

Grid Magazine Illustration

I have been toying with the idea of pushing myself and trying some editorial illustration. After getting in touch with a friend who works at the good & great Grid Magazine, I decided to submit a packet of illustration samples and figured "what's the worst thing that could happen?"

While I was still processing the recent election results, I was delighted to find an email in my inbox from Grid, asking if I was interested in creating an illustration for an article. I read through the article, in which the author processes how to keep the momentum and drive going from the election, after Hillary Rodham Clinton's loss. The author chooses to focus on  finding causes and opportunities at a local level to support and that she could get involved with.

I was excited to have this opportunity, and to feel like I was helping in some way - to feel like I could do something as small as provide an illustration to help the community at large process the election results. 

The very first thing I sketched was a cropped view of the campaign office mentioned in the article. I kept sketching and pushing myself to come up with more inventive and abstract solutions for the illustration. 

First thumbnail sketch

First thumbnail sketch

After presenting three concepts to the designer I was in touch with at Grid, we pursued this option. After rendering it in Illustrator, trying to capture the defeated, empty, and left-behind campaign office, and adding in some finishing touches, I was so thrilled to see it finally in print:

Final illustration, in print

Final illustration

Final illustration

Morris Arboretum, November 2016

Spent a few hours walking and rambling around the incredibly beautiful grounds of Morris Arboretum on a bright sunny Saturday. It was a true feast for the eyes, as the foliage was at it's peak and most colorful. The parking lot was packed, but somehow the grounds felt incredibly sparse and personal.

IMG_6503.jpg
Possibly one of my favorite photographs i've taken.

I think my favorite part of the entire trip was the Fernery, which was both lush with life and startling in it's emptiness. 

I cannot recommend disconnecting and finding some solitude in the expansive 175 acres of the arboretum enough. Go out and enjoy!

FROM THE ARCHIVES, VOL. 3: CAR, BROOKLYN

I was looking through some old files...

*heart eyes emoji*

*heart eyes emoji*

Again, digging through some random files in the depths of an external, and I found this beauty. Brooklyn, October 2015.

From the Archives, vol. 2: Monoweight Sketch

I was looking through some old files...

I have this tiny 3"x5" sketchbook that I have filled pages and pages with sketches like this. I finally decided to take one of those sketches and translate it into a surreal monoweight fever dream of an iillustration. It's not a 100% duplicate of my original sketch, but it's a fun take on the mindless/mindful sketching I sometimes do.


Original sketch - June 2014

borrow the body

text, 2016 || photo, Muir Woods, June 2014

Utility

A Wednesday night doodle...

Random images shot on my iPhone over the last year + some custom type I accidentally started playing with today in the corner of some work notes. 

Random images shot on my iPhone over the last year + some custom type I accidentally started playing with today in the corner of some work notes. 

From the Archives, vol. 1: Birds

I was looking through some old files...

And found this. It wasn't created for anything specific - more an exploration of style/execution for myself than anything else. I wanted to include color variations (solid, subtle gradients, stroke, etc.)

Part of what I really enjoy about how this came out is also the composition of the page. It almost feels like a production/registration sheet - too formal to be a quick Illustrator doodle.

A Wolf in Tile's Clothing

You sometimes find inspiration in the most random places, right? I came across a chip/crack in the linoleum tile flooring in my apartment building. I would walk past it a few times a day, on my way in and out of the building, to take the trash out, or to get the Thai food I ordered for dinner. I always found myself going "Oh look, a wolf!" as I would walk past it - finding it impossible to un-see the animal shape within. 

So, I decided to do a fun little illustration of a wolf/fox/animal – using the negative space of the tile as my inspiration and guideline. I tried to use geometric and minimal lines to create the shapes that would form the animal. Subtle and interesting gradients add a light, but graphic touch, which I think brings the whole thing together.

See the process below: