Monday, September 21, 2009

CAT 118 - Potato Heads

I just started a new class. CAT 118 is called Vector Illustration and Design. Basically it's all about Adobe Illustrator. Our first project was to play with Mr. Potato Head. I'm still having a little trouble controlling the mouse, courtesy of wrist tendinitis, but it was still a fun, if goofy, project.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

CAT 113: Game Project

Here are the beginnings of the game project for CAT 113 - Graphic Design 1: Fundamentals. We had to first find a photo, draw it, refine the drawing, and then convert it into an Illustrator file. This is as far as I've gotten.

Once I got the first 4 done, I got some feed back from both the class and my professor. I went back and redid the drawing to incorporate more of the original photo. I also further refined it. As you can see, it came out much better.

Once I placed the file into Adobe Illustrator, I used Live Trace to come up with a vector art piece.
I'll post again once the project is completed, but the most difficult part, for me, is done.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Art Nouveau Project

To view this full-size, there is a toggle screen button on the upper right of the pdf window.
Art Nouveau

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

My First Mashup

I did it! I finished my first mashup. Hmm...that sounds like it could be a new book. "Baby's First Mashup"

Never mind. That sounds more like sweet potatoes than what it really is.

This was the project that scared me the most, out of everything we've done in CAT111. I don't know why, but Premiere Pro and the thought of dealing with audio and video files made me quake. I have survived and it wasn't as bad as I thought. I'm even half pleased with the result.

All files came from, including the music.

Saturday, August 22, 2009


My daughter sent me this site a couple weeks ago, when I was asking her if she knew how to do MLA bibliography citations. It's called EasyBib. It will do MLA6 and MLA7 citations for free. If you need APA or Chicago/Turabian style citations, MyBib Pro runs from $4.99/month up to $14.99 for an entire year. You can also get a free 1 week trial to MyBib Pro to see if it's something you really need.

Another thing that you can do automatically with MyBib Pro does is set up your footnote and parenthetical citations. If you are writing a master's or doctoral thesis, imagine how much time this could save.

The biggest time-saver, in my opinion, is the ability to auto-cite using a book's ISBN. This does not work with all books, but for those which it does, it is, to be cliche, the best thing since sliced bread.


I added Deke McClelland's site to the blog roll on the side. I don't know why it didn't occur to me to do it before, but let me tell you, this man is THE man when it comes to Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign. From what I gather, he bugs some people, but I like him. He is incredibly knowledgeable and he's funny.

I have learned so much from his podcasts that I went ahead and bought his book Adobe InDesign CS4 One-on-One. I've got his channels and mask book on my Amazon wish list and will be buying his Illustrator book as soon as it's released - which, unfortunately, isn't scheduled until May 2010.

So anyway, check Deke out. His podcasts are free, as are a bunch of other videos. You'll laugh and you might even learn something useful.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Project 4 - SketchUp

What? An actual, completed project? Why yes, indeedy. These are some screen shots of the house that I built in Google SketchUp, a program you can get for free here. There is a pro version available, but unless you are doing some serious architectural rendering, you don't need it. You can build just about anything 3-D through SketchUp.

The first shot is of the whole house, taken at an angle from the front.
This shows one side and part of the back. Note the bay window up near the front corner.
Here is a close-up of the dormers.
A closer look at the back of the house, including the sliding glass door.
And lastly, an overall look at the rear of the house.
I'm fairly pleased with the over all looks. Some day I would like to go back and flush out the interior, but that was beyond the scope of the assignment and would have taken far longer than the allotted time frame.

SketchUp is quite easy to learn when it comes to the basics. It's also a lot of fun to play around with. If you decide to get into it, check out the video tutorials, both at the download site and on YouTube.

Monday, July 13, 2009

What I Did For My Birthday

Hi people out there in blogland. I know my birthday was a few months ago, but I haven't written about this yet. I treated myself to a class on using Copic Markers and received my certification. I am authorized to have that handy-dandy little button on the side that says so.

If you aren't familiar with Copics, they are the most awesome markers on the planet. You can do pretty much anything with them. They are alcohol-based and acid free on most surfaces. They are refillable, with replacable tips. As such, they last forever.

My favourite blog for tips and other copic information is I Like Markers. You can learn anything and everything about them there. Marianne, the site's author, writes tutorials on shading, blending, doodling, paper choices, etc. She works for the company, so if she doesn't know it, she can certainly find out. Her site is also the place to go to find out when and where the next certification classes will be held.

As a Certified Copic Designer, I am able to teach classes on how to use Copics, but I can not certify anyone else.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Typography Blog

I found a new blog to love. It was posted to a completely unrelated email list that I've belonged to for several years. It's called I love Typography. How can you not love a blog with an article entitled "Who shot the serif?" If you are into fonts and lettering at all, go. Read. Love.

CAT 113 tutorials

Here are 3 tutorials from the book Visual Design Fundamentals, our text for Intro to Graphic Design. These are from Chapters 5 and 6. I will agree that they do not look like much. All were done in Adobe Illustrator. Oh, and yes, I just noticed a slight error on the second one. Illustrator is going to be the death of me.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Abstraction Project

My first project for CAT 111 is done and posted to our class website. I'm trying to upload it here and having difficulties. I'm not sure if I need to post the Illustrator file, so will need to double check with my professor. In the meantime, I do have the jpg.

For this assignment, we started with drawing an object from several different views. We were to trace the drawings, scan the tracings and then turn them into what you see below. I think, perhaps, that I should have changed the orientation of one of the blocks on the ends, but I'm happy with the interplay between positive and negative space.


I was so close to just posting the original assignment from last semester, which I didn't want to do, because I knew I could do better than that, but I could not for the life of me remember how I'd done it!

Folks, this is why you should practice rather than getting it done once and calling it good.

I kept plugging away and, by Jove, I do believe I've got it!! I cleaned up the drawings from last time, so they look a lot better, in my opinion. I'd been almost there without rereading everything, but there was this one little spot that was tripping me up. I think I need to make myself a little index card with the steps on it and then just sit here and do a bunch of these until I have it fully memorized.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Welcome to the new blog

Hello everyone. This is just a quick hello before I go fall into bed. I've been sitting with a heating pad, trying not to dry heave - I know, such a lovely visual. Please accept my apologies for that one. It's been such a wonderful week. DD#3 has been running a temp of 101.3 since yesterday. Her stomach is worse than mine. At least she's keeping some food down now.

So, this is my school blog. It's a requirement for CAT 111. That is the class that kicked my hind end last semester. I seem to have some kind of mental block going this semester. I'll make it. Somehow. I may not see any of my friends or get anything done around the house, but I'll get through it.

I do kind of wish that Adobe hadn't upgraded the Creative Suite products, though. I'd just gotten Photoshop and Illustrator CS3 mostly figured out and now I've got to learn CS4. Photoshop isn't giving me any trouble, but Illustrator is going to be the death of me. I'm doing something wrong again and I'm just not sure what. More hours of work ahead of me.

Wish me luck. I'm gonna need it.