Coming to terms with my love of digital bling

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If artistic taste has even a shred of DNA contribution than I know just who to blame for my love of a little extra embellishment. It’s not generally considered an upper-class attribute… I came to terms with this in my personal life a long time ago but found myself wrestling with it again in the studio this past week. Not from a point of acceptance but more one of communication.

The Alchemy of Digital Gold

You see digital gold foil effects are created by mimicking metallics with pixels. All is well and good if the pixels never leave the screen. When you print them, they don’t look bad; they’re just not actually metallic. Nothing is reflective nor does it catch the light. The real problem is that even a photograph of the “real” false gold ends up looking real because it’s back to being pixels again. So I initially decided not to use it on the new products I’m working on. So that nobody would be disappointed and I wouldn’t have to try to explain what to expect. I did okay for a bit. But then it was like trying to hide my true self. It didn’t feel authentic.

Embracing the Gold

So I gave in. And I LOVE these designs. I crafted a rubber stamp disclaimer (which nobody will probably read). Now I feel all happy when I hit that final click and the black placeholders turn to gold (or silver). The design comes to life. My ancestors are pleased. At least the ones that gave me the glitter gene. The sober ones from Vermont can’t get a word in…

The next chapter


I’ve spent the last six months seriously exploring pattern, surface design and related tools and techniques. Sitting down in January to do taxes means a hard look at what has made money and what hasn’t. It’s now time to get serious (but still play!)

So in that vein and knowing that some good things can’t be rushed. I’m working hard on the business end of things - really focusing on getting rid of those limiting thoughts and pushing through the noise of the Internet. I’ll be moving some things around and also really zooming in on my strengths - making more designs like the one above that combine my love or gardening with folk art. It’s simple, it’s abstract, and yet it was drawn from real life - a snowdrop picked just yesterday. Art is certainly subjective and yet there are ways to add value and not just more choices - that’s important too for this next phase of entrepreneurial greatness…

Introducing Uncle Henry

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My Uncle Henry was a character. A veteran of the Spanish-American War and World War I he claimed to have taught Roosevelt how to use a machine gun (possible and feasible but not verified) and later as a telegrapher in Chicago to have been the one to broadcast the famous moment when Babe Ruth pointed and hit - also not verified, but with the wonderfully plausible cover that he was the one reporting it because nobody else in the press box was paying attention! He went on to become a union organizer and took great pride in getting equal pay for women telegraphers.

He also took great pride in his handwriting, carefully lining even envelopes before writing out the address. This font is based on that handwriting with some modifications to make it work in the modern world.  Most of it is based on a 2-page letter he sent me when I was fifteen and he was in his nineties entitled "Research on Embalmed Mummies".  That pretty much sums up Uncle Henry!

Uncle Henry, the font, will be going on sale next week. I've no idea if it has commercial appeal, but as a labor of love I'm convinced it will find its place, even if its just on family Christmas cards.

Christmas Glitter


For no particular reason, I've been working on holiday designs these last few weeks. It's just fun to make sparkly, pretty things. I'm not sure what the market is for this right now but perhaps if I put it all on a mermaid...

It's interesting to see what trends are forecasted and how people respond to them in real-life. While I'm not much of a study the trend first and then create, it can be fun to experiment. I did this recently with a small design that was created from an accident and started in black and white. When it came time to apply color I didn't have any strong preferences so went with the current hot color for summer - bright orange. It's proving to be more popular than I expected. I'm not however, going to recolor my entire portfolio into tangerine! Not today, anyway.

Dahlia Delights

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Ever since the 'beaujolais' dahlias began blooming I've been thinking about using that color palette for designs. So this week I sat down and played with the pinky apricot shades with some hints of lime green. I'm pretty pleased with the results although the main design also represents my computer's limits with Illustrator - just too much shading for it to handle. But they say that constraints are what makes for great design, right?

Since the whole point was the color palette I've only done this in a couple of variations switching out the background color. While it would probably look fabulous in a blue/green variation I don't think the computer is going to cooperate so we'll save that for a pared down variation at some point in the future - or possibly try recoloring in Photoshop...

Back to School fun

For no particular reason I started playing with some office & school supply designs today - namely paperclips. So much fun! Who doesn't love office supplies? And unlike the real thing, playing with digital paperclip chains doesn't mean someone has to undo them before they're useful. Here are a couple of the highlights:


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