Sabtu, 30 Juni 2012


BLOCK HEADS - Happy, UnHappy and Grimace.

BLOCK HEAD is an attitude. BLOCK HEAD doesn't cause chaffing. BLOCK HEAD is good for wooing women. BLOCK HEAD can gird your loins.

Popular with clones.


- BLOCK HEAD (Happy)
- BLOCK HEAD (UnHappy)
- BLOCK HEAD (Grimace)

Copyright © 2008 Essential Nonsense Ltd.

Selasa, 26 Juni 2012

Illustrative Design Session.

Nervous in front of 900+ people.

My extensive one hour session from the HOW Design Conference is now online. It will walk you through the entire creative process for creating inspiring and effective "Illustrative Design" solutions.

A screen grab from my session presentation.

Have you ever thought of a unique concept, but then wasn’t sure you could pull it off because it required a good amount of illustrative work and frankly speaking that intimidated you? Or your budget was such that you couldn’t hire it out either? So, instead you just pursued another design direction?

Quick reference sheet included in download.

Well, fear no more my fellow creatives! This session will walk you through systematic illustrative design methods you’ll be able to integrate into your own creative process. In the end you’ll be better equipped to pursue those design ideas that require an illustrative touch far more effectively, thus expanding your overall creative potential and skill set as a graphic designer.

For more information and to download the "Illustrative Design Session" or other helpful step by step tutorials click here.

Included in this download: The entire “Illustrative Design” session from the HOW Design Conference, Exhaustive notes regarding each step of the process, Quick reference sheet to help you remember each step, MP3 audio file of entire session so you can listen while you go through it yourself and Instructions on how to use everything on a MAC or PC.

Minggu, 24 Juni 2012

What will design be like in 2025?

'Beware of the "Monkey Do" Virus!'

That was the question posed by HOW Design Magazine. I gave it some thought and came up with the following prediction. HOW Design Magazine published my opinion regarding the future of design in their August edition.

"Apple will release its first neural implant for controlling GUI content on the MAC platform. Branded "iThink", it will make the keyboard, mouse and tablet/pen obsolete over night.

Microsoft will follow suit about a year later with it's own neural implant for controlling GUI content on Windows Universe Pro Edition. It'll look just like Apple's and be branded "iDea." Three days after it's release to the public, however, a temporal worm virus called "Monkey Do" will infect users' brains so they start acting like chimps, throwing poo on anyone that comes near."

That's right, I got "Chimps throwing poo!" published in a national magazine. How cool is that. LOL

Sabtu, 23 Juni 2012

Georgia on my mind.

'Fellow art buddies Rob McClurkan, Tom Cox and Scott Thigpen'

I just got back from the HOW Design Conference in Atlanta Georgia. It was a lot of fun and I had a blast doing the book signing for my texture book. But the best part about attending these types of events is getting to meet up with friends.

I got to do just that and was able to hang with fellow creatives Rob McClurkan, , Tom Cox, and Scott Thigpen.

I grew up in the Pacific NW where we say "You guys." But here in the south it's properly pronounced "Ya'll." All three of these guys live in or around Atlanta and were nice enough to show this yankee around town.

'A hole in the wall cafe called Carver's.'

One day we were all trying to figure out where to eat for lunch. Tom suggested a place called 'Carver's'. He said it was a little run down but the food was incredible. Tom use to work as a designer for Coca Cola and someone had introduced him to this cafe years ago. So we jumped into his car and took off.

When we pulled up to the place I have to admit I felt like I was about to become part of a cops episode. The location was well off the beaten path but Tom insisted it was worth it. Seeing all the cars parked on the side of the road around this place should have given me a clue as to what I'd find once inside.

'If you cook it they will come.'

We walked through the doors and the place was packed. I couldn't believe how many people were in this small dining area. Apparently the wife of the owner wakes up at 4am every morning and starts cooking. You never know what the menu will have or if they'll be open they just kind of wing it but that doesn't hurt their business because this food is good old fashioned southern cookin'. Tom was right, it was incredible food and the environment just added to the overall experience. Very cool, something you'd never find without local intel.

'Side order of texture at Carver's.'

I never know when I am going to be inspired and sometimes the source can be mundane or just unexpected. When I sat down to eat I noticed the old linoleum floor of this cafe. You could see the worn layers from many years of use and what most people would have just ignored or cringed at, I thought would make a great texture to use in design or illustration. So of course I bent down and took a few pictures of the floor.

Doing this tends to cause others to look at you like your weird but I don't think any of the other guys gave it a second though? It makes sense for an artist and you've got to admit it does look cool.

'Refining the image for it's final digital form.'

I guess I call this bent in my nature 'Creative Curiosity'. I love textures and this was a perfect example of life inspiring art. You never know where you'll find them but if you're prepared you can capture and use them in your own projects. Actually that is what my texture book is all about.

FREE Southern Texture
I've created a special set of '5' textures all derived from my travels in Georgia the past few weeks. You can download the entire set using the link below. The following is a brief description on each texture included in the download. For more technical information regarding the size and resolution of this 'Southern Texture' set just visit They have been created using the exact same specs as those offered with the book.

1. Antebellum Thrash: Taken from painted wood siding on an old antebellum home in Savannah.
2. Carvers Floor: Taken from the floor of 'Carvers' cafe in Atlanta.
3. Paula Deen1: Taken from a support beam outside 'Lady and Sons' Restaurant in Savannah.
4. Paula Deen2: Taken from the floor inside 'Lady and Sons' Restaurant in Savannah.
5. Pirates Port: Taken from Savannah waterfront where Pirates use to tread.


Stereotypical Icons.

New icon concepts for All State Insurance.

A few years back All State Insurance hired me to create a few sets of icons they could use within their print marketing material. Most of the icons represented the various policies and coverage they offer. Some of the topic matters are a little tricky to define as a simplistic icon so it can be a challenge.

The most recent request for icons were for the themes:
- Stolen/Forged Checks
- Stolen Credit Card
- Wind Storm
- Hail

The style had to match the previous batch shown below. So for the new nefarious deeds of stealing checks and credit cards I decided my stereotypical villain should reprise his role in this grouping of icons.

Icons depend upon stereotypes to relay common themes and messages. But within todays PC mindset the word "Stereotype" tends to be frowned upon. Like anything there is both good and bad stereotypes and what I'll point out in this post is a few good classics.

Villain Stereotype: Sporting a newsboy cap, face mask (Think Robin), dark clothes, flash light, loot bag and if smart gloves. Has anyone ever seen a criminal like this in real life? Of course not it's a well established stereotype to relay the idea of a "Bad Guy." It just works.

If you had to create an icon for the topic of "Serial Killer" you wouldn't draw "Ted Bundy." Technically you'd be accurate but because he looks too normal, no one would get it. All be it an extreme example my point is it's not always easy to bake a topic down into a simplistic and iconic form. It's both an art and science of sorts.

Wind Stereotype: When was the last time you saw linear lines making curly cues in the sky without a plane being involved? It's a balance of figurative, metaphorical and literal when it comes to iconic artwork. You can't see the wind but everyone has experienced the wind and that is what the icon is drawing upon. (Pun intended)

Previous set of All State Insurance icons.

One thing I learned while working on these icons is that an insurance company has policies for nearly any type of situation. Here is the list of what the icons shown above represented. (I am too lazy to double check this information from my archive so I am doing it from memory the best I can remember)

Icon Definitions

Legal Expense: I suppose this is more common place now that we live in a sue happy society?

Falling Objects: Like meteorites or planes I was told. (They didn't want a plane)

Damage from Neighbors Property: Oops, your neighbor was playing Paul Bunyan.

Armed Robbery: Give me your wallet or I'll give you some lead!

Frozen Water Pipes: Stereotypical snowflake says "It's cold."

Broken Water Pipe: Yeah, so I used the same pipe art. So what?

Home Fire: Duh.

Accidental Property Damage: That's what you get for not using a bag.

Identity Theft: Our stereotypical villain has stolen Mr. Fisher Prices identity.

Selasa, 19 Juni 2012

Old World Texture Set.

"Old World Texture Set" 30 Royalty-Free Textures.

In February I traveled to Europe, Israel and Jordan. While there I took over 2,000 pictures. This texture set consists of "30" real-world surface textures derived from actual on site locations I visited. While many were looking at famous historical landmarks I was looking at the nice textures embracing such locations and capturing them to create this set.

Each texture comes with the full-color source photo.

This set is royalty-free. Just buy it, download it and you can use these textures on any personal or professional illustration or design project you want.

All "30" Textures in set.

Source File Specifications.
Each Texture Includes the following formats for each of the "30" textures.

- Source Photo (Hi-Resolution RGB jpeg, 10x15 inches @ 315 ppi)
- Layered Grayscale PSD File (Hi-Resolution, 10x15 inches @ 315 ppi)
- Bitmap Tiff Image (Hi-Resolution, 10x15 inches @ 300 ppi)

Try it before you buy it!
You can download a sample texture including all the formats listed above and take them for a test drive here.

No-Brainer Ordering and Download.
The entire set is just $9.95. Order using the Paypal button below. Once you click through Paypal you'll be automatically forwarded to a download page. If you have any questions just post them in the comments below and I'll respond to each accordingly.

You can see other textures of mine at

Senin, 18 Juni 2012

Finishing Strong!

"Chicken Club" Sticker design.'

The downside of being a creative hired gun is not having the satisfaction of seeing my work in it's final context more times than not. Most of the clients I work with move on to new projects and rarely send along samples of how my work was used in the final context. This is understandable in a large, fast paced agency where a team usually handles a client rather then one or two people.

Clever visual twist icons for each of the food varieties.

It is a nice surprise however when an agency does take the time to share with me how the final product came out. RETHINK is the agency who handled the rebranding for "Kolachy Co." and the images shown in this post reflect how they used the icon art I developed for them.

The creative director on this project was Jeff Harrison at RETHINK.

Piping hot fresh brewed branding.

I love how RETHINK has integrated the iconic art through out all the various components of the new branding. Clean, sophisticated yet fun.

Nice coherent brand environment.

This new rebranding can be seen in the recent edition of Canada's premier magazine for visual communications "Applied Arts." Thank you RETHINK for sharing the final result, it's good to see it finish strong!

Jumat, 15 Juni 2012

Head in the clouds.

"Giraffe character."

Sometimes I get the itch to illustrate something for no other reason than to illustrate something. At first I was going to put the Giraffe in high heels but after sketching it out I changed my mind.

What can I say, I am pragmatic. Common sense told me I could repurpose this art in the future and I figured no one would want a sexy Giraffe.

Kamis, 14 Juni 2012

Tutorial: Fine Art Illustration.

"Temporal Infestation" gallery artwork.

I've posted a new tutorial at called "Fine Art Illustration."

It walks through the entire process I used to create gallery quality reproductions of my illustration artwork for a recent showing here locally.

Eastern Beauty.

"Eastern Beauty" Artwork. Click image to view larger preview.

Lately it seems like clients have been giving me specific directions to take my art and once I get there they change their mind and than move me in another direction. It's all part of the creative process when working with an agency but it's still a little disappointing when you feel like you delivered on target. (Cue Hindemith's solo violin sonata no. 2, Op. 31.)

"Eastern Beauty" T-shirt.

But I am not too bummed. (Sniff) After all they are still paying me for creating the art and I get the benefit of using it however I see fit. (That's right!) And I see fit to take this rejected art and apply it to all manner of consumer goods so you my faithful blog reader can spend your stimulus check and help facilitate a healthy creative commerce. So gird your loins with my art here.

Some of my best artwork have been complete failures and this is what I'd consider one of my best. Artwork that is, not the failure part. (Geesh.)

Senin, 11 Juni 2012


"Black & White Freedrawing" book by Zeptonn

I love participating in artistic collaboration. This being the internet age I am no longer limited by geographical location so when Zeptonn invited me to take part in a new book venture he was heading up called "Black & White Freedrawing" I eagerly jumped on it.

I won't bother trying to explain the concept behind the book in detail I'll let you source out that information yourself at the books official web site.

Simple tools, simple method.

How it's done: Zeptonn starts off by drawing a little bit than gives it to me. I draw on to it more than hand it back to Zeptonn etc. This goes on until we have a full page filled. There is no underline concept, not theme, no purpose were just free drawing what ever comes to mind or tickles our fancy at the given moment. Hence the name "Freedrawing."

Sure it's a somewhat twisted, weird and risque but fun none the less. I think it would be interesting to have a psychologist look at this art and comment on it's possible meaning. ;-P

All six stages as the "Freedrawing" progressed.

How long did it take: We did a total of six rounds. But there are no set rules to how long or short it can go. You're just trying to fill the page. All though I'd say you want to do at least four rounds. The fun part is playing off what the other had drawn. You can see a larger version of the final art here.

Another interior page of mine in the book.

I have to admit I somewhat cheated on this one. Meaning I took an old doodle and just drew more onto it and called it good. So it's half freedrawing and half recycled freedrawing. Why did I do this? Because I was buried in work at the time and because I get lazy like anyone else. So deal with it.

If you'd like to see other contributors to the book you can view sample spreads at the books official web site it's sure to draw your attention! What? That was punny!

Thanks Zeptonn for the opportunity!

Kamis, 07 Juni 2012

Thank You Ray!

Lounja Logo

Have you ever had a client that requested everything but the kitchen sink in their logo? Well that was the specific challenge I faced with this project. Lounja is a new start up venture that will have a variety of key attributes related to it's business model.

- Smoothies
- Food
- Global Conscience
- Environmental / Organic
- Spiritual
- Health
- Passion

Some how I had to work all of these attributes into the mark, at least that was the clients request after they shot down my first round of ideas. So how do you pull that off? Easy! You just revert to Hindu lore and use the "Kali Method."

Scene from "The Golden Voyage of Sinbad"

My logo solution spins off of the Hindu goddess "Kali" who had six arms. I remember first seeing this character when I was a kid attending a Saturday matinee of "The Golden Voyage of Sinbad." Prior to CGI the end all when it came to special effects was the legendary Ray Harryhausen and the Sinbad movies were his magnum opus!

Kali came to life on the big screen as I watched in delight eating Hot Tamales and visually absorbing the six armed creature before me. Little did I know this brief interlude from my childhood would help me 30+ years later.

Lounja business card design.

So having six arms allowed me to easily work into the mark the laundry list of attributes the client requested without it becoming a design killer.

I always like to work die cuts into my identity work. This helps to move them away from the standard shape context they'll compete with in the marketplace. The background element proved to be a very useful motif I could exploit for this application of the mark.

You never know where inspiration will ultimately come from or how long it'll take to

Selasa, 05 Juni 2012

Marketing: Serial Design Killers

'Body Odor Card'

I was stoked a company hired me to create a set of '24' gross-out theme trading cards for kids. Such topics as Poop, Toe Jam, Ear Wax, Rotten Fish, Rotten Eggs, Body Odor etc. If that wasn't fun enough these cards would be scratch-n-sniff too! I grew up on Wacky Packs and loved the gross themes but being able to actually smell them is just icing on the cake for a kid.

'Toe Jam Card'

Over about a two week period I worked on the whole set and the scratch-n-sniff logo that would appear on the card as well. I finished off all the art and sent it off to the client to review and they loved the art. I had already thoroughly tested it on my own two daughters, their friends and a bunch of neighborhood kids as well and all of them laughed at the art and made faces saying "Yuuuuck!" but when I told them it would also be scratch-n-sniff they would smile and get excited. Like I said it was icing on the cake, a sure thing if you will right? Well, maybe not.

'Rotten Fish Card'

I had done everything an artist in my position could. Quoted the job, won the project, signed the paper work, ran sketches of my art by them for initial approval, got green lighted to produce the final artwork and invested a lot of time dialing in each card so a kid would enjoy the art and find it humorous. I delivered the final art for review, I expected to hear back regarding any art changes needed, I'd modify what was asked for and then send off the final production files ready for pre-press.

'Ear Wax Card'

Well that isn't the feedback I get. Instead I hear "Everything is being put on hold while marketing evaluates the market place."

What?! They approve a budget, green light the art and yet they say now after the fact they are not sure if there is a market place for it?

It's really simple folks, Kids like gross stuff, they think poop is funny, they like talking about farts, they find it fascinating when something smells bad or causes them to make faces because it's so disgusting, hence the market place you knobs.

'Poop Card'

Another thing pointed out was "There is some discussion being had on the poop and the dog. They are debating if the drawing really needs to show the dog in progress of pooping or not." What the? It's OK to have an XBox Video game where you can rip the head off a human opponent while fighting and see his spine dangle below spurting out blood and gore but God forbid you show a flea bitten mutt taking a dump? This however is marketing logic 101.

I remember stabbing a piece of dog poop with a stick as a kid and flinging it at a neighbor girl hitting her in the head as she ran off screaming. It was a lot of fun for about 30 minutes until she called our house and my Mom picked up the phone and I had to walk over and apologize which ironically scared the crap out of me. (OK, so that has nothing to do with scratch-n-sniff cards so I'll get back on topic.)

'Rotten Egg Card'

When I worked for an in house art department years ago we ran into this same mentality nearly every day in regards to marketing people playing kill joy with good ideas and unique products. Everything seems to get dumbed down to the lowest common denominator. Of course when something failed it was because the design wasn't up to par, if it succeeded credit would be kidnapped by marketing. They are in my opinion some of the most self-serving, unoriginal thinking, self proclaimed art directors I've ever met.

This is why I refer to them as 'Serial Design Killers'. It's proven to be a very accurate term.

Not all hope is lost however. The set still has a chance to be produced. But will it survive the clutch of marketing in it's current form or be baked down into a bland non-offensive visual glop for namby pamby kids to consume? The latest victim of the 'Serial Design Killers'? Time will tell.

Thus endeth my rant.