Huainan education appeals

I designed a holiday card for the Love Without Boundaries Believe In Me school in Huainan.

This holiday season, you can share your good wishes for the children and staff at our Believe in Me Huainan School with special holiday cards. Finding it challenging to purchase for that hard-to-buy-for person on your Christmas list, be it a favorite teacher, family member, or friend? Honor those special people with a tax deductible donation of $25 or more, and a beautiful, personalized card featuring the students of the Believe in Me Huainan School will be mailed to you for giving or to the recipient of your choice. Proceeds will help continue this essential program in 2013.

I also made a flyer for the school:

Zoe spent a year in the BIM preschool, and I believe it did her a world of wonder. We support the school's nutrition program monthly.

Mustache Christmas card

2012 Christmas card: 5x7

This is my first year to design a Christmas card from scratch. I’ve attempted it before and always get bogged down with the limitless design options.

This year, all my favorite designs featured either a mustache play on words or a chalkboard background. But all the best options would only work for a vertical photo and the pic of my posse was horizontal. So I made this.

I designed it as a 5x7, but I decided to order them on cardstock from VistaPrint, where the “5x7” is actually not quite those dimensions. Hence the two versions.

We 'stache you have a very Merry Christmas

Hatter keeps my Tumblr powered

Look, I know I already posted some of the graphics I've made that are Syfy Alice-related. But my goal is to keep this blog updated at least once a week and I don't really have anything else to post (yet). Aside from boring ad jobs, the only other thing I have been working on is fanmade images for Tumblr.

[I've made a few collages this year, but there might be another show in the works, so I want to keep those hidden for now. I designed our family Christmas card. I'll post that next month after I mail them out. Next month the Winter issue of Style will also be out.]

Until then, it's Syfy Alice or no post! (You know the deal; click image for full size.)

This creation has been reblogged the most (167 to date). It's a quote from actor Andrew Lee Potts about the audition process for his Hatter character.

[My other ALP quote/image juxtaposition was the first thing I'd posted to gain 100+ likes/reblogs, so I thought "I should make another one of those!"]

The material that stood out to me was this:

“And it’s funny because I went into the audition and played the role as I thought it appeared to me, and was more sarcastically comedic as well as a bit eccentric. Hatter is a hero of sorts in the story, and the casting lady suggested, ‘Maybe you should try being a little more sexy?’ and I [jokingly] said to her, ‘What do you mean? Am I not being sexy?’ So I tried that, and later on when I met Nick, he told me, ‘Your first reading of the role was perfect, but then you did something really strange and went all serious.’ So although I’m glad I did it both ways so that he could see either interpretation, I’m really pleased that my initial take was what Nick was looking for and that I eventually got the job.”

On one of my visits to Andrew Lee Potts' IMDb page (yes, there have been many), I noticed that his birthday was coming up. I decided to theme my next creation on that, with the self-imposed restriction to only use images from more recent projects (hence, no Hatter).

We've got an image from Stolen Light, Primeval New World, Dracula, The Morning After and Little Larry. (Had to get Hannah in there somehow!) Hatter is the secret sauce, though, for this one got far less mileage.

Most recently, we have the one about Hatter acting impetuously.

“I acted… impetuously – ”

“Selfishly. You acted selfishly.”

“Whatever word you want to… use. Let me make it up to you.”

When Hatter tries to sell Alice to Dodo for profit, he is being selfish, yes. But when he places himself between Alice and Dodo's gun? Rather impetuous. (As was breaking into the Hearts Casino and storming the posse on horseback...)

I enjoy making these. They are mini-exercises in visual storytelling. Pairing images, words. Theming. Framing the narrative. Oddly enough, very similar with what I do when putting the magazine together.

Fall 2012 issue of Gadsden Style

I'm putting together the winter issue of Gadsden Style, so now must be the time to blog about the fall issue! I liked the cover package the best.

My stories in the fall issue were for Blackstone Pub & Eatery and Janney Furnace.

Dare to Rise

Dare to Rise Up

Illustrated lyric from Ani DiFranco's "32 Flavors:"

And God help you if you a phoenix
And you dare to rise up from the ash
A thousand eyes will smolder with jealousy
While you are just flying

Love me some Ani.

Fandom offerings for Syfy Alice

In September, I watched Syfy's Alice on Netflix. Since then, I have been happily perusing the fandom's offerings. I have gotten so much joy doing so that I felt like I was mooching.  

But what can I give? I wondered. I am not an illustrator. I don't do videos or animate GIFs.

But I can do Google searches, Photoshop and fonts. I headed over to and looked to see if any fonts seemed Alice-ish to me.

Dutch & Harley and Orial reminded me of the branding tattoos that the "oysters" got.
"Only people from your world turn green when burnt by the light. It's the Suits' way of branding their catch. And they call you Oysters because of the shiny little pearls that you all carry inside."

– Hatter explaining the mark on Alice's arm to her

For the first image I made, I took a photo of Alice and of Hatter and a quote from each to compile this:

I grayscaled the images and flipped the one of Hatter so they would each be looking toward the center. When Alice meets Hatter, she asks "who are you?" He answers "a friend. I hope." The images are not from the scene where the dialogue is exchanged, but there is meta-meaning to be had.

The image of Alice is from when she first sees the refugees in the Great Library. At that point, she is still very much wondering who Hatter is, as well as Wonderland as a whole.

The image of Hatter is from after they leave the library. By this time, he's already placed his life on the line for Alice once and she has refused to leave him to be beaten. He has offered his help for real, not for profit. He does want to be a friend.

Next, I made this one:

My least favorite so far. I couldn't find the image I wanted of either her tattoo or his face when he says "sorry." Also, when the font size is reduced, you can hardly see the pattern in the letters anyway.

Next up is this one:

I really liked how Alice is like a buddy flick/road movie wrapped inside a fantasy world. There are boats, horses, some flying flamingoes. There is a little bit of flirting and a lot of arguing. A bunch of mortal peril and far too many instances of breaking in and out of the Hearts Casino.

It takes very little time for Alice and Hatter to form a 'we.' He first voices it when he suggests coming back with her to her world, but she shows it in actions... not leaving him to Dodo, disliking his plan to be Jabberwock bait. In touch with it or not, Alice likes there being a 'we.'

I don't have much in the way of favorite quotes from the mini, but I did love some stuff that the actor Andrew Lee Potts said about his character in an interview. So I paired that with a screencap of the scene in the Great Library... which is a pivotal point in Hatter's story arc.

Andrew Lee Potts quote on Syfy's Alice

This one took the least amount of artistry but was reblogged the fastest. Oh, you Pottsy fans!

Since I had a quote from ALP about Hatter, I wanted one from Caterina Scorsone about Alice. But argh, almost all of the interviews were videos! I need a cut and paste, people! So instead, I used an image of the actress and a quote about her loving genre films.

I'm not sure if I will make any more of these. If I do, they will show up on my Tumblr under the tag syfy alice.

Glencoe Jewelry

This ad is a redesign I did for Gadsden Style. It appears in the fall issue (on newsstands now). Below is the version of their ad from the summer issue:
It was too busy, the colors too garish. The editors asked if I could do a redesign that we could submit to the client. I pondered a little and decided that for the magazine, the most important selling points are that this store has a vast, in-town selection of bridal jewelry and that this is where Marvin Grier works now. (Grier Jewelers was a trusted, long-standing local business that closed a few years ago.)

This was the initial re-design we sent them. They liked it but wanted to use imagery of rings they actually have available.

Ad for J. Leonard Henry & Co.

Ad for the 2012 Pigskin Picks in the Times' Sports section.

Starburst business cards

Back in March, the Venture ladies needed a business card design for someone at GSCC. The client liked this image from the website:

They asked me if there was a way to use the starburst in the corner somehow. I was like "not really." But I figured if the lady liked the image, what she wanted was a bold business card. So I sent the above and asked if we could do a front and back since a black and white backside is usually free.

I never heard back, so either the lady hated this design or is handing out these cards!

Summer 2012 issue of Gadsden Style

It seems like I worked on the Summer issue of Style forever! Due in part to things that were held from the spring issue.

The cover story was on Sunny Mabrey, fellow SHS alum. When my editor said she hoped to have Sunny on a cover of an issue but didn’t know how to get in touch, I volunteered to reach out since Sunny had been one of my mom’s students.

But I purposefully did not volunteer to write the story because my articles tend to be shorter and I knew the cover story needed to be longer. Sunny agreed to be in the magazine, and Greg Bailey wrote the story.

We did not get the chance to shoot our own images of Sunny, but the ones she sent were great and I love how the package turned out.

When the time came for assignments, I saw that J&D Farms was to be in this issue. I volunteered for that one because Jana was one of my dad’s students and Danny was another of my mom’s students. Funny enough, that story turned out to be just as long as a cover story! So what do I know?

"Having a photographer's eye, along with a natural talent for gardening and landscape, my dad had created 40 acres of the most beautiful outdoor studio you can imagine.”

Things held from spring: I had solicited Liz to write the Contributor’s Essay, which was held for this issue. Natalie’s piece on botanical gardens was held, and I didn’t think the provided photos were up to par, so I tagged along when Kris had an appointment in Birmingham and snagged some more. Also, Gina Brown was originally planned for spring and I ran out of room to do her package justice.

At the last minute, one of the planned Five Foods fell through and the eds agreed to bump Mater’s up from the fall issue. I volunteered to do the story because at that point, I had already put the finishing touches on my J&D Farms package.

Mater's Pizza and Pasta Emporium occupies half a city block of downtown Gadsden. Shelby Cochran opened the family-oriented pizza parlor in 1978. Co-owner Michele Atkins joined in 1987. They added the Oyster Bar to give patrons two unique options in the same establishment.

The Moxie was also featured in this issue. Cyndi wanted to do a summer hair care piece, and not only is the Moxie right across the street, but they had advertised in the magazine and several people in Style are Moxie clients.

By the time this issue finally went to press, I was a bit over it. Looking back at it, I am pretty pleased with how it turned out. And now, time to start the fall issue!

A Portrait of Joe

Test shot

Serious face

A 3/4 length option

Black and white and a smile

Abraham Lincoln (faux) quote bookbag design

Slave to ignorance

Made forever ago for Jaimie's CafePress —

Roaring Like a Lion t-shirt design

Roaring like a lion

It's that time of year again for the Maryville FCM Church youth t-shirt design. This year, they went with the lyric from the Newsboys' song "God's Not Dead." (But I think some of the elders wanted to include verse references.)

To add intrigue to my upload, I overlaid the design on a textured background. I think the shirts will be orange this year.

Book clocks, health fairs and house painters

Jesse's book showed off the finished clock face best

Last week, I shot a photo gallery of the GPL Teen Zone's Book Clock project on Tuesday.

Nicole made the front page... defacing a book. Scandal!

On Wednesday, it was a health fair at Striplin.

I like her little arm tucked behind her back

Jordan and Kimory cuteness on A1

And Thursday was house painters. (It ran in the paper in black and white on A2, so no image of that.)

Dare you to move (Switchfoot song playing while they painted)

And this week I was back to being a magazine staffer.

Wordles for the boys

For the latest editions of Ben and Cash’s Blurb books, I made a “wordle” for the first page, using phrases oft-repeated by each boy. Above is Ben’s wordle.

And here is Cash’s:

This was the text I pasted into Wordle to create it:

BEEG~truck! BEEG~truck! BEEG~truck! BEEG~truck!
I~still~working~on~it I~still~working~on~it I~still~working~on~it
My~do~it My~do~it My~do~it
Brudder~Ben Brudder~Ben
Dat’s~enough Dat’s~enough
That~feel~better! That~feel~better!

I chose Print and the option to make it a PDF. Then I opened the PDF in Illustrator and did a little tweaking.

Create your own at

Ariel's wedding

The rings

One of my co-workers daughters was getting married and they asked if I could design the wedding and shower invitations based on something they liked online:

Why yes, of course!

Another coworker was supposed to be the photographer for the wedding, but he went and had another bike wreck. (Eric! Stop doing that!)

So I ended up shooting the nuptials, as well! Steven and Ariel had a beautiful wedding.

Ariel & Steven

Only have eyes for you

The wedding party

See more in this set on Flickr.