Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Numbers book

So it has been pretty much impossible for me to start on my number 4 daily resolution, "Just start on it". Meaning, just start a personal project, any project. Stream of consciousness writing is nice and all and good for getting chops, but it is not an end goal. Common Core may be fraught with tremendous issues but I'll agree with it on that point.

Long story.

But here is something I hope to work on, with the impetus of one of my best friend's impending (or arrived??) baby girl.

The first "books" for infants are simply high contrast shapes, that you point to again and again and repeat what they are. It is intensely boring. So I've been thinking for a long time about a numbers book that has writing for adults within it. I got so exhausted trying to talk to August as a baby while showing him a book. Sleep deprivation is a murderer of imagination, an executioner in full mask and leather body suit.

At first I imagined it with classic text in it: maybe some Jane Austen, maybe some Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. But now I think it should be funny. The number one is easy and I'm not sure about the flow of the others, but I know by 7 one should be allowed to bemoan how boring reading to a baby can be.

I hope I can continue and not get frustrated and give it up. I don't want to be that. I wish I were a genius who could do naught but express/enable/pass on what comes through my mind. There's a better word. Something midwives do...

Sometimes design makes me sad

I don't know where this image came from, sadly sometimes the internet does not provide an original creator (tumblr makes me very mad). But it is a powerful message.

But. Sometimes, people may believe in themselves and believe in their design, and this is what comes out:

This is for a brand new café opening in my neighborhood. There have been posters covering the construction plywood, with this logo, which I prayed was just temporary. It wasn't.

You can say "Bless their heart..." But that would hurt them. And this design will hurt their business. And I am truly sad for them as it is still a struggling edge to the neighborhood and this will be the third café/bar in that location in four years. All using terrible fonts.

It hurts my heart.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Playing around

It's been so long since I used gouache that my old ones dried out. Brand new gorgeous little tubes of Holbein. Let the painting games begin.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Happy Lunar New Year!

It is the year of the yang—which in some roman languages is translated as goat, and in some as sheep. There is a great debate over this, with westerners wrassling over the connotations! Cuddly! Voracious! Poofy! Head-butting! And some approaches of course get downright silly.

But in China much of this debate is relegated to simply scratching-of-the-head status, since the word "yang" in mandarin means both sheep and goat. And you know why? Because it is not just between cute vs eats-anything-including-cans. Because many of these creatures look like THIS:

The badass bighorn sheep. Which I have been lucky enough to see in the wild once, albeit it from such a distance that it was mostly a climbing leaping dot on the side of a mountain far away, where for two minutes I had to say, "Is that one? Is it?? Yes it is! No wait... No, yes!!"

A dear friend of my mother's, Marilyn Wagner, makes Chinese zodiac magnets every year to celebrate the lunar new year. I seem to have lost my yang one (or rather my toddler did as he loves them). But here is a photo of my favorite by her, year of the rat. I'm partial to it as it is both my year and my mother's:

So now. Now, it is the year of the bighorn sheep. Lower your horns and get ready to charge.

Top photo from, taken by Credit Philippe Lopez/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
Bottom photo from, no photographer credited (bad form)

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Together Forever (temporarily)

Want a really unique way to say "I love you shmoopy bear" this Valentine's Day? Check out these free printable temporary tattoos I created for A Practical Wedding! You can customize them with your honey's name, print them backwards on temporary tattoo paper (printing backwards is easy, it's a part of any printer's settings), cut 'em out and adhere. 

 This Valentine’s Day printable was inspired by a total anti-Valentine story. A friend of mine once had a crush, a SERIOUS crush, and the object of her crush turned out to be a serious jerk. So to thumb her nose at her my friend played crazy stalker and said, “Guess what—I got a tattoo of your name,” and lifted up her shirt. Across her belly she had written, “Goodbye” and walked off. This is the positive version of that. But still worth a laugh and a high five.

See the post on A Practical Wedding here, or download directly here!