Nikoel & Terry’s Wedding Website

Nikoel and Terry’s wedding website, with custom illustrations of the lovely pair. This website was a lot of fun to put together, plus I learned a bit more about css and javascript. Not bad, not bad.

splash screen

website main page

The all of the illustrated elements from the website were custom drawn for this project (though I’ll probably recycle that wooden frame for other projects down the line), the Stargazer lilies are actually the same illustration repeated, resized, and rotated to look like a cluster. can you tell? I drew it last fall for her save-the-dates.

Stevens-Jouper Family Portrait

I used ink and watercolor for everything, and added a graphite shadow to keep the figures grounded on the screen. I drew all the elements separately, removed the solid backgrounds in photoshop, and then digitally stitched it together in illustrator, so this composition is actually a digital collage.

Brooklyn Roofdeck

The weather in Brooklyn has been awesome these past few days. 70F days with full sunshine. My gardening brother-in-law has graciously donated the containers from his old roof garden to my new roof garden, because he now has a house with a yard and can plant into the actual ground. He also gave me some raspberry bush clippings, some potting mix, and a trowel. I went to work last sunday planting some spinach, mesclun mix, and pea plants. I also put the raspberry cuttings into soil. I noticed some of the mesclun greens are sprouting, and the raspberry bush is growing new leaves, so it looks like things are under way out there. As for my baby seedlings, I have at least one specimen of everything I’ve planted, except for the Tabasco peppers. Some of the seedlings have bent stems or look otherwise wimpy and sad… but a few of the babies are looking very good! I took some time today to put more seeds into the pods that aren’t sprouting. We’ll see what happens next. Admittedly, I’m a bit over-obsessive about these seedlings. I peep and poke at them every chance I get, which is a lot because I work from home. If these seedlings were people, they’d end up like Buster Bluth.

Buster Bluth

I’m going home to Seattle to visit my family and some friends this week. My friend is going to be garden-sitting while I’m gone. Maybe the plants will flourish in the absence of my smothering and obsessive greenthumby hands. Let’s keep those fingers crossed.


A seed grows in Brooklyn.

Grow my delicious little seedlings! I want to make salsa fresca!

Well, hopefully seeds will grow. After having lived in Brooklyn for five and a half years, I am finally about to put down some roots. Literally. I got myself a seed starter kit and a lot of seeds. I have to sprout some of the seeds indoors for 6-8 weeks before I can plant them in the ground, and it came time to get my hands dirty. Today I sowed the seeds for 4 varieties of heirloom tomatoes (Cherokee Purple, Mr. Stripey, Brandywine Red, Green Zebra), 4 varieties of hot peppers (jalapeno, habanero, chili, and tabasco), and eggplant (Black Beauty). I also want to do some peas, spinach, mesclun greens, and strawberries. These are things I can plant directly outside. I also want to have a good fresh herb garden that I can keep indoors all year round. Perhaps some flowers… I want variety, but I also don’t want to be overwhelmed. I’ve never gardened and am notoriously bad at keeping houseplants.

The Magical Tammybeast turns 30

In other powkang news, my dear friend Tammy is turning 30 in two weeks. Marci and I have organized a party, which consists of an intimate dinner and a night out drinking. Part of the procedure was making a little party flier. The image of Tammy with antlers made more sense when the venue for this soiree was Northeast Kingdom in Bushwick. However, that location was vetoed for being far away from everyone invited (except for Tammy and I). I was going to remove the antlers, but the antlers are what makes the drawing, I think. So the antlers stayed. I’m happy with how it looks, especially on the scanned piece of wood.

crapyrus FAIL! “The official typeface of Outer Space”

From the signage of the Thai restaurants in suburban strip malls across America.

Film logo in a customized font, based on papyrus, in 5 easy photoshop steps!

Yeah, well I always thought Papyrus was forbidden, too.

Just to get it out of the way, and lest I appear ungrateful for all the hard work and groundbreaking innovation of director James Cameron, Avatar is truly an awesome spectacle, definitely worth shelling out the cash to see it in the theater, and in 3-D. I didn’t watch it in IMAX, but I was sitting in the 2nd row, if that can be considered a comparably intense experience. This is definitely not a movie to watch later on DVD. Once it leaves the theater, I don’t think there is really any point to seeing it at all. The story and dialogue were incredibly corny. Make no mistake about it, Cameron doesn’t want anything to take the spotlight away from the special effects he’s developed.

But when it comes to scrimping in other areas, the results can be downright distracting. The glaring example of which was the use of Papyrus in the credits, on the film’s Logo (a bastardized form of it, but still), and all through the film itself as the Na’vi to English subtitles.

Na'vi blue hippie cat people.

Na'vi are GO!

Battlefield Pandora

Na'vi native dress, translated into Burning Man style.

poor hair decisions of the past turned mystical plot device

Another element I found distracting within the film was the character design and the styling of the CGI Na’vi people. Though the figures were rendered beautifully and moved gracefully and elegantly, they looked… well… I’d describe it as “Thundercats go to a Psychlo hairstylist (from Battlefield Earth) and then get (un)dressed for Burning Man”. And while I am all for the idea of neuron tentacles intertwining with one another to form a telepathic and spiritual communion amongst the flora and fauna of the planet, why does it have to occur in a giant braided Rat Tail?

I should take a moment here to mention that my problems with the production design of the film did not extend to the design and landscape of Pandora’s jungle and mountain range. They were beautifully realized, lush and fantastic. Again, definitely worth the trip to the theater to experience it in 3D. During an early scene’s reconnaissance trek through the jungle, I kept hoping the characters put on some kind of insect repellant. I bet those bugbites would itch like a bitch.

*sigh*, c'mon Joss.

James Cameron isn’t the only director to see the wilds of outer space personified in the typeface Papyrus. Joss Whedon (one of my TV-making heroes) used it for the film logo for Serenity. Sure, I was disappointed, but my disappointment with Whedon was more of the sad variety, whereas my disappointment with Cameron was more of the annoyed. I mean, Avatar‘s budget was at least $200,000,000 larger than that of Serenity‘s. Surely some of that could have gone towards production design? And maybe a slightly better screenplay? Whedon’s film was largely unwatched by anyone who wasn’t already a Joss Whedon’s fan, so I was willing to overlook the typeface choice, but I figured it was worth mentioning now that it’s all over Avatar.

Still, though. Go see it. It’s pretty cool.

[some images from Papyrus Watch on Flickr and Jessie Stankey on]

“Peeping Thomas has a very nice view, across the street at the Exhibitionist”

Peeping Thomas

In a Chemical World, it is very cheap.

The Illustration Friday theme this week is “Blur”. I’m posting a little drawing I did last week for this topic, as the title was taken from a line from a Blur song (“Chemical World”). Maybe this is a stretch, but I believe my previous 2 Illustration Friday entries were also a stretch. If I get around to doing another, more spot-on interpretation, I’ll post that before the week’s end. How’s that?

I wish I had thought to use green for the girl’s wallpaper, rather than the bright pink I used. It would have really popped. There even were some green colored pencils around, but I just didn’t think to use them because I didn’t have my blender. Oh well. I didn’t do this at home, and my supplies were limited.

Illustration Friday Button




And now for a quick plug, this drawing was done in The Storyboard Book, which is a great little product made from a friend of mine. I post about it in my my previous post. Take a look, order a few, have some fun.

And now, as a special treat, the video for “Chemical World” by Blur.

storyboard books

My friend, the lovely Corin, hosts a friendly Project Night on Wednesdays during the non-summer seasons. This is a great event if you have projects that need work but can be done on autopilot (for instance, I have a bag of yarn that needs to be balled in anticipation of being knit, among many other things).

The Storyboard Book

Just one of 5,386,290,589 uses for these little notebooks.

Corin is also half the brainchild of The Storyboard Book. The other half of the is design wunderkind Salah. The Storyboard Book is a great little notebook, 35 pages, with gridded pages and an inset frame at a 16:9 ratio, perfect for storyboarding projects. These are very handy little notebooks, highly portable, and perfect for planning your projects and passing them off to your collaborators, peers, and partners. At last week’s Project Night, Corin asked all of us in attendance to fill up a 2-page spread in one of the books so she could photograph them as examples of uses of the books. Then she gifted us with the books we worked in.

Since the title of this little drawing is directly lifted from a Blur Song (“Chemical World”), can/should I submit it as this week’s Illustration Friday entry? The theme this week is “Blur”. Or is that cheating and/or too much of a stretch?

The Storyboard Book
Corin’s Blog
Salah’s Blog

Autumn In New York

Things have been fairly dull and slow on the creative front around the International House of Powkang these past couple of months, but I do have 2 things I want to share. In both instances, the clients have been very good friends of mine and great to work with.

Save The Date postcard, Front

Stargazer Lily

Save The Date postcard, Back

Event Information

Nikoel, one of my BFFs, is getting hitched next summer to her soul mate Terry. They are on a tight budget, so I offered to do design work for the event pro bono. This began with the save-the-dates. After some problems with the originally chosen image (low resolution) and dissatisfaction with all the other photographs we found, I finally offered to either go to the flower district, pick out a stargazer lily and photograph it myself, or just draw the flower. We went the illustration route. This not only solved the image resolution problem, but also laid to rest any issues we’d have with images that might be copyrighted. Then I put together the event information on the back using the colors she chose. The typeface I used was Chalet by House Industries. I showed this typeface to her about 2 years ago, and she told me she wanted to use them on her future wedding invitations. Yes, my Rain Man-esque memory really remembers this sort of thing.

More design elements from her wedding to come.

In other news, I was commissioned to make a title banner for my good friend’s blog. She has been chronicling her thoughts of and life with Multiple Sclerosis at Tingly Feeling. She is a wonderful writer, and her blog is informative for people like me who are ignorant of this disease, and provides support for herself and others who suffer from it. I also learned a bit about her condition during the creative process, as I did some research for reference. She wanted an illustrated nerve strand with damaged myelin sheaths. I know, right? Huh?

Damaged Myelin Sheath

Nerve Strand, Ink and Watercolor

The finished banner can be found on the blog itself, and just because I’m vain I will link to the post where she praises my work and includes a picture of me.

fat seagull

"don't call me fat."

"don't call me fat."

His feet were not chopped off. he was standing behind a little sand mound. Then he flew away.