Friday, October 30, 2009

Star Calendar

Humans have used turned to the sky at night and marveled at the stars since the very beginning. Every culture has names for them and stories about them. It is from the very movements of the heavens themselves that we derived our sense of time.

These cosmic thoughts were swirling through my mind as I designed this 2010 calendar.

It's a 365-day calendar book. Each page features not only the date and a space to write your notes and to-do lists and reminders and important dates, but a glimpse at what the stars for that evening will be. Thus, the calendar is also a 365-page flipbook that reveals the celestial movements.

I'd love to show off the one I printed and bound, but I need to get it back from my teacher first.

In the mean time, here's some sample pages.

That's it for now. Updates to come?

Thursday, October 22, 2009


Hey, so that astronaut I was working on ages ago is more or less done. I turned it in for my school's all school space-time themed project, but I actually intend for it to be the cover of a 2-4 page comic I want to write about an astronaut butler/astronaut valet.

Still, here's the illustration:

Whaddyall think?

Sunday, October 4, 2009

New Site

I've worked up a new portfolio website. I still need to purchase a domain for it, but until then, you can see it at

Friday, July 24, 2009

Teaser Post

Just a little peek at a WIP I've been putting time into.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Science Museum Excitement (sort of...)

Holy lack of progress, Batman! There've been no updates since the end of the semester!! Why, it's almost as if I haven't done any work since then...

The main reason for this, of course, is my awesome full-time job! I teach children's technology classes at the Learning Technology Center, part of the education department at the Science Museum of Minnesota.

We use several simple kid-friendly technologies from the MIT Media Lab, primarily PicoBlocks, and above all, Scratch. Scratch is a beautifully simple programming environment that uses visual code to build programs. LEGO-like blocks of different colors and shapes snap together to form scripts. It's deceivingly powerful for something so simple to use.

Recently, Lego introduced a product called the WeDo... and it works with Scratch! Now, a simple tilt sensor, distance sensor, and motor can be plugged into the USB port of any computer and used with Scratch to make amazing things!

Of course, I simply HAD to play with it. I checked one out, and built a silly little driving simulation with it. Silly chunky graphics and no challenge whatsoever. It's not a game, it's a simulation!

Keith Braafladt, head of the LTC, MCAD alumnus, and the person who taught me all about Scratch and PicoCrickets while I was at MCAD; thought it was great! It was just a bit of fun for me to make it, but he took it really seriously. He documented it and sent it on to the Scratch developers! Wow!

Here's Keith's blog post about my silly, stupid, fun little driving simulation.

Check it out! (end of self-indulgent ranting)

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Making a splash

I finished up my typography final just a few minutes ago. I'm really pleased with the way it turned out, it's much, much, MUCH better than what I was originally going to do for my final design solution... and I'm very glad that I put in the effort to really push this assignment. (Now I just hope that my instructor feels the same way)

Here's a little bit of process documentation, for anyone who might be interested.
*process notes below - skip to the bottom to see the final outcome if design talk bores you*

The whole piece took only about 10 hours to design, probably a little more, but the process was a long and tedious one. Each of the three (well, four, but I only used the big one once) "water" masks had to be individually designed, since InDesign doesn't scale content when you scale the frame (that I could figure out). In addition, the stroke weight didn't scale the way I'd have liked it to when I did size up the content, so in addition to re-weighting them, I'd often have to alter the scale of a ring or two and play with the positioning in order to make sure the rings cut through significant parts of the letterform, otherwise they'd be entirely unreadable.

The worst part was when I first laid out the composition: I had just finished stacking hundreds and hundreds of the typographic masks, took a step back, and realized that I should flip the composition... only I couldn't just flip it, since that would reverse all the letters. An hour or two I had shifted the rough composition over, but it would be several more hours of tweaks before I could drop in the lotus or the text.

So, without further rambling - the final design.
Only thing left now is to figure out what sort of stock to print it out on.

Special thanks on this one to Hannah Blumenreich, Anna Bongiovanni, Josh Engen, Sean Hartman, Jan Jancourt, and Ruthie Sauvageau for their help and insights.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Getting Zen with Typography

For my Type II (Typography: Heirarchy and Expression (now doesn't that just sound FANCY?)) class, we had to format a selection of text that we chose ourselves. We had to come up with a final output in whatever form, format, and medium we wanted, so long as we processed the type in an interesting and meaningful way. The CATCH, however, was that we were supposed to NOT work from concept, but rather, build a typographic and visual vocabulary around our text, chunking and formatting, looking for visual opportunities, and letting the eye inform the mind, rather than the other way around. If you're confused, congratulations, you're now about where my entire class was when the teacher explained it. It's a little mind-boggling, and a lot frustrating, but the point is to push our ideation and development skills, and to force us to expand our personal library of typographically expressive methods.

*deep breath*

The phrase I chose is "Water surrounds the lotus flower, but does not wet its petals."

If you think it sounds pretty deep, you're right! It's from one of the deepest fellas I know of, Siddhartha Gautama, Shakyamuni Buddha himself. It's a description and example of following the middle path. Just as the lotus flower needs the water to grow, but cannot succumb to it, or it will drown, so must a properly practicing buddhist be surrounded by the world. To divorce yourself from it while harboring desires would be to live a life full of regret and unfulfilled wants, far from a meaningful life. Yet, to succumb to the worldly pleasures of life would be to drown... metaphorically speaking.

Now, I'm not a buddhist, but I think that's pretty dang neat! Not to mention, the phrase sounds badass as all get-out.

So! Here's some images that will probably never make it into my final output at all, but by virtue of being part of the process, I guess you could say they served an integral and indespensible role in the shaping of my final poster (since that's what I'm making). Woo.

ps I still really like that last one.