Saturday, April 30, 2011

Song of the Day (Keane)

Weekend Song of the Day 4/30/11
Somewhere Only We Know by Keane
Hear it here!

Friday, April 29, 2011

The Scene (Kid's Drawing)

Designs We've Seen (a lot) Series 4/29/11
The Scene (Drawing)

I've been moonlighting for the last two weeks scoring standardized science test. Some of the answers remind me of how I used to approach drawing--I knew what I was trying to represent, but I was saying/writing/creating it in an unrefined manner.

I used to draw everything as stylized lines and symbols, instead of looking at how the scenes actually appeared. The image below gives you a good idea of what I'm referring to. Trees looked like clouds, their trunks had a knot, birds always appear as squiggles, every house had a chimney, half-cut moons, mountains, rainbows, etc.

This is a homage...

Kid's Drawing

Song of the Day (Elliott Smith)

Song of the Day 4/29/11
Say Yes by Elliott Smith
Hear it here!

The Royal Wedding

Check back to the sketchpad for all your up-to-the-minute updates on the Royal Wedding. Oh yeah, I forgot, it's over.

I'm pretty sure I saw something the other day about how Prince William and Kate Middleton would look when they were older. You really don't need to look any further than his father Prince Charles. I found two miscellaneous images, superimposed them and was amazed at how exact their features were. Here is the image zombified. Obviously, you can see where I quickly spliced them.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Vintage Screen Printed T-Shirts

Designs We've Seen (a lot) Series 4/28/11

NEW Vintage Screenprinted Tee-Shirts only $9.99!

I have an Icee Bear T-shirt that reminded me of this. Everything is coming out as vintage T-shirts...Sesame Street, Coca-Cola and any other beverage, and the sketchpad?

President Obama's Official Birth Certificate

President Obama's Official Birth Certificate
All the news yesterday.

GET OVER IT! It doesn't matter how many official documents come out--people are still going to create absurd conspiracies. Let's put Donald Trump in the White House. Maybe he can spend tax payer money the same way he spends his own money--spending millions for trivial research on a United States citizen's birth certificate.

Well, to add fuel to the fire, I scanned this document in high-resolution, defined the details under ultraviolet/x-rays, and darkened secluded areas in Photoshop to reveal how this "official" document really appeared before an expert fraudulent document creator came in to clean up the job.

Obama's Birth Certificate

Song of the Day (Broken Bells)

Song of the Day 4/28/11
Citizen by Broken Bells
Hear it here!

Wall Doodles

Wall Doodles

Retro is the New Modern

Article 4/28/11
Retro is the New Modern

 Bought retro Trix from Target a few weeks ago, and have to say I love the packaging. No major shading, gradients, or 3-d designs. Just simple, straight-forward designing at its best. :) Today's Design We've Seen (a lot) series will sort of be geared towards the retro theme. Here's an article...

Why General Mills Retro Packaging Worked and Tropicanas Didn't

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Thanks for the Support!

Well, after ONLY A MONTH, the sketchpad is up to 5 total page views (3 of them being myself)!!! Thanks for all your support!

Goofy Acronyms

Designs We've Seen (a lot) Series 4/27/11

Companies seem to develop Acronyms like "S.T.A.R." or "L.I.F.E." and then make up some goofy phrase to fit the letters after the fact.

Song of the Day (Animal Collective)

Song of the Day 4/27/11
Take s a little bit of time to get to the song...
Summertime Clothes by Animal Collective
Hear it here!

Flintstones and Pepto

Mmmmm....Flintstone vitamins and Pepto-Bismol taste good...

Illustrator Letter Height Script

Design Tip/Trick of the Day:
Illustrator Letter Height Script

Sometimes it can be difficult to set your letter height in inches (withour making preference changes) instead of points in Illustrator, so this script will automatically do that for you. That means with the words "The Sketchpad" the "T" would be set to whatever letter height you enter. Give it a try!

DOWNLOAD Illustrator Letter Height Script and Instructions

Tuesday, April 26, 2011


Client told us, "I know my procrastination does not make it your emergency."

Best Kept Secret...

Designs We've Seen (a lot) Series 4/26/11

Best Kept Secret in Cincinnati...
Best Kept Secret in Ohio...
Best Kept Secret in Hamilton County...

Really, all we are saying is that no one knows about us besides a few locals, so we want your business. Please! Come on! The secret is out! If the advertisement works than they are probably no longer the best at anything, unless they have some incredible Mashed Potatoes (like I do.)

Song of the Day (Lovedrug)

Song of the Day 4/26/11
Thieving by Lovedrug
Hear it here!

I Don't Understand What You Do???

I Don't Understand What You Do???

It's amazing how many times I've heard this phrase. It's usually said in a condescending way that implies "I know what you do, but I don't see how you make a living doing what you do." I've had numerous people say something like, "I've created business cards or brochures and I never went to school." Furthermore, I've heard people ask what do graphic designers even do/what is out there for them?

I tell the doubters that there is a structure behind what we do;  just like an engineering mechanic knows how a car is assembled and a chef knows the ingredients to a complicated dish. Not everyone understands the mechanics behind design, but that doesn't mean it doesn't exist. There are rules, structure, and understanding that are achieved through exposure, experience and education (self-learning/institutional.)

I tell them to look at everything they interact with throughout the day...

The packaging of the breakfast cereal they eat, the morning newspaper they read, the road signs they obey, the billboards they pass, the businesses they interact with,  the restaurants they visit, the websites they surf, the products they buy, the apps they download, etc., etc., etc.

There is no shortage of examples of a designer's role in this world. Take a look around and try to relate everything back to an idea, sketch, or design. It really is amazing!

Monday, April 25, 2011

@ symbol

Designs We've Seen (a lot) Series 4/25/11
@ Symbol

Last week, I posted DWSal's Numbers in Letters Logo. It reminded me of another trend that has been prominent since email, technology and websites became big, and that's the use of the "@" symbol in logos. Designers love the way it looks, its an understood/relevant symbol, and is, therefore, widely used.

Song of the Day (Flickerstick)

Song of the Day 4/25/11
Beautiful (Live) by Flickerstick
Hear it here!

Hand Model Failure

Hand Model Failure

Some time back, I was at a photography studio for product packaging. The studio usually has hand models on call, but on that day they didn't anticipate the need for one.

For the last few shots they needed someone to hold/present the product. Since I was there they asked if I could do the favor. I was hesistant and told them my hands are not attractive. They look down. "Ughhhh." "Yeah, very ugly hands." "We'll just pass on these shots for now."

And so my dreams of becoming a hand model were crushed... All those nights of practicing hand gestures through shadows on the walls, pointless... My steady hands, wasted talent.... All the lotion, let's not go there...

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Lost Cities Article

Bookmarking this for tomorrow (for my own enjoyment...)
Lost Cities

Weekend Song of the Day (Adele)

Weekend Song of the Day 4/24/11
Rolling in the Deep by Adele
Hear it here!

Happy Easter

The day the easter bunny was born!!! ...and easter egg hunts, egg coloring, and baskets of candy!

This could very well be the Designs We've Seen (a lot) image of the day.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Chunk All Grown Up!

Designs We've Seen (a lot) Series 4/22/11
Chunk Norris

I had another DWSal image ready to publish, but I thought it was appropriate to create this one instead because of the video article about Chunk from the Goonies all grown up, which can be seen here Chunk is all Grown Up.

No one would have ever guessed the child actor who played him was Chuck Norris.

And that brings me to DWSal: designs, articles, sketches, spoofs, t-shirts, etc., etc. featuring Chuck Norris. He's a badass so I can't really blame people.



What the heck is a Snooki?

A Snooki on South Park


Song of the Day (Waking Ashland)

Song of the Day 4/22/11
October Skies by Waking Ashland
Hear it here!

Inspirational Imitation - Van Gogh 4/22/11

I posted an inspirational piece by Vincent Van Gogh the other week, Undergrowth With Two Figures. This is a copy I experimented with of his oil painting, Still Life With Four Jugs. On the left is my painting, on the right is my reference sheet. The color/depth was difficult to imitate because of the printout. I'm no painter!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

OVO | Cirque Du Soleil Link

Kind of scares the crap out me, but I'm sure kids love it...
Posted by the Cincinnati Museum Center
OVO | Cirque Du Soleil

the sketchpad Schedule

We are growing... Please keep us bookmarked at and check back for updates. There will be miscellaneous posts throughout the day besides our scheduled itinerary.

6:00 AM Article
11:00 AM Song of the Day
1:00 PM Designs We've Seen (a lot) Series

+links, articles, inspirations

Feel free to comment or email me to contribute...

QR Codes

My first blog article ever was QR Codes Will Rule The World

Just a follow up from another blogger...
Are People Using QR Codes Yet

Comic Sans & Papyrus

Designs We've Seen (a lot) Series: 04/21/11
Comic Sans & Papyrus

We want something that looks hand drawn. We really like this font called Papyrus.

Papyrus Font used for Salon & Spas
How about a fun, kid-friendly font like Comic Sans.

Rainbow Comic Sans used for Preschools & Daycares

Song of the Day 04/21/11 (Ben Kweller)

Run by Ben Kweller

Hear it here!

My Roots - Progression: Pringles/Torengos

My Roots
Progression: Pringles/Torengos 04/21/11

I should really just keep talking about birds and owls...

The article I presented last week about the sale of Pringles (Diamond Foods buying Pringles) reminded me of the time I spent interning at Deskey Branding. I remember spending some days preparing my first transitional pieces for the new Pringle's logo and witnessing some of my first brand style guides. It's interesting thinking back on how ignorant and immature of a young designer I was then and still can be. We truly never stop learning as artists.

During my time at Deskey, my coworkers really helped me get my act together through constructive criticism and field experience. I became a much better and smarter designer quicker.

At the time, Torengos Tortilla Chips were supposed to be the next big thing. They were like Pringles in the sense the tortialla chip came individually stacked in a pop-top can. I saw the argument for presenting such a product to the public (keeping the product fresh and intact), but I was also hesitant of its success in a highly saturated chip market (not trying to burn any bridges).

Back then, I wish I had a chance to see more of the case studies to give me more insight into the birth of the idea/implementation. Even though Torengos didn't pan out, they gave me an opportunity to see some of the behind-the-scenes work that went into a new product launch. I was given a chance to create some product and point-of-purchase renderings and ad slicks during my internship with the company. Now the images just give me nostalgia to my work roots.

Does anybody remember Torengos?

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Hooty's New Habitat

Hooty in natural environment

Grafitti Mustache

Designs We've Seen (a lot) Series: 04/20/11
Graffiti Mustache

More like graffiti we've seen a lot...

We love to draw goatees and mustaches on faces. We are ususally blindly "defacing" photos for fun, but Marcel Duchamp was trying to make an artisitc statement by "re-facing" the Mona Lisa in his work "L.H.O.O.Q."

Marcel Duchamp, Mona Lisa parody "LHOOQ" (1919), post card reproduction with added moustache, goatee and title in pencil (19.7 x 12.4 cm)

Song of the Day 04/20/11 (The Honorary Title)

Song of the Day 04/20/11 (The Honorary Title)
 No longer together, but seen them in concert several times.

Frame By Frame by The Honorary Title

Hear it here!

Jackson Pollock Bird

This is a continuation of my story yesterday about the bird that shits all over my car.

Starting tomorrow, back to our regularly designed program. I'll still mix in a few links or inspirations, as well as the daily Designs We've Seen and Song of the Day.

Bird building a nest outside window

And they feel they need to do this to my car everyday...
Action Painting

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

City Beat Article

Preservation Overhaul

Video sculpture is art you can watch, but how do you save it?

Optical Illusions

These are always on Yahoo! Still interesting...

Optical Illusions

Letters in Design

Designs We've Seen (a lot) Series: 04/19/11
Letters in Design

As I have said in the past the "DWSal" Series is not about bad art or uncreative ideas, but just a statement on design trends and usage. This posting is in relation to the new logo for Scream 4 promos. This is another example of using a number in place of a letter, which I think is a very creative approach. Look at the movie "Seven" title credits, and you'll see just how brilliantly it works.

Song of the Day 04/19/11 (Nada Surf)

Put on a hell of a 3-piece show at 20th Century...

What Is Your Secret by Nada Surf

Hear it here!

Design Tip of the Day

Design Tip of the Day 04/19/11

Have you ever wondered how large to make letters so they are readable from a distance? Print this chart for a quick reference when creating signs, banners, billboards and large format prints.

Monday, April 18, 2011

The Sketchpad Mobile

We should now be more enabled for mobile viewing. Please let us know if you have any difficulties viewing us on your phone.

The Thinker Stinker

The Thinker Stinker
Designs We've Seen (a lot) Series: 04/18/11

Rodin's The Thinker (The Poet) is depicted as a man in sober meditation battling with a powerful internal struggle.* But to many wise pranksters/artists he is The Stinker dealing with the internal struggle to push one out. After all, we do some of our most brilliant contemplation while on the toilet...

The Thinker Stinker. wdsiemer ii

*External source:

Da Vinci in the News

Da Vinci in the News

Every week on my news feed there seems to be a new secret discovery behind Leonardo da Vinci's "The Last Supper" or "Mona Lisa." I guess anything to keep art in the headlines...

Song of the Day 04/18/11 (Margot)

Seen these guys several times.

Skeleton Key by Margot and the Nuclear So and So's

Hear it here!

He's Here! Hooty the Owl: On My Porch

He's Here!

Hooty arrived on my doorstep Saturday morning! The doorbell rang and there he was--our new solar-panel operated, bobble-head owl. Let me digress.

I have always treated birds with the utmost respect. I've liked them since I was a kid. I feed them bread in my backyard garden, gave them two bird feeders, a bird bath and a birdhouse to sleep in. I have even included them in numerous pieces of my design work; soaring through the air, sitting on telephone wires, etc...

So why do they have to be so disrespectful to me?

They wake me up in the morning with loud annoying croaks--where are the song birds? One pooped on my head/shoulder through my car's sunroof when I was driving--probably digesting food I gave them! And now this! Outright harassment!

There's a bird that has taken a liking to our Ford Fusion. It is the only car in the neighborhood it will perch on. It is there everyday, every hour. Pooping, squawking, running its head into the side-view mirror, pooping more, smearing its poop all over the car with its feathers and feet. We only wash the car so the damn thing has more spots to soil.

Neighbors have stopped by to talk about the bird. People have offered their suggestions from putting a plastic bag on the mirror to the more extreme shooting it.

It's been about a month. We kind of put it on the back burner. That is until I'm told an owl is coming this weekend. A what? An owl.

And that brings us to now.

Hooty is here, and apparently is going on our car or something. Let's hope he can do more than all-the-things-we-haven't-tried-before-buying-a-fake-owl did.
Hooty, a new addition to our family.

Article: VW New Beetle 4/18/11

Volkwagen is set to show off their newly-designed nostalgic Beetle. Most car companies typically perform major design updates to their vehicle ever four years with minor improvements per model year. However, the VW New Beetle has pretty much stayed true to the model they introduced in 1998.

Ever since I did a project involving car development I have kept up on vehicle research and development, trends and car show highlights. So, I figured I'd share this story...

Volkswagen hopes to tap nostalgia with newest Beetle

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Friday, April 15, 2011

Thanks for the Support!

I will be taking the weekends off to write, design and collect new material. Will be back Monday. Thanks for your support!

During the weekend I will still be posting Song of the Day, but they will be more mainstream songs than you'll hear during the week.

New Nintendo Console

Nintendo Set to Reveal New Console

New console is backwards compatible with Wii software.

Vitruvian Everything

Designs We've Seen (a lot) Series: 04/15/11
Vitruvian Everything

How many different proportions of geometric forms can we come up with? Leonardo da Vinci's Vitruvian Man helps us find out...

Papa Smurf Proportions

Credit to Papa Smurf

One of the biggest influences on my career has been the wizardry of Papa Smurf.

Song of the Day 04/15/11

Okay, so I did a Jimmy Eat World song last weekend, but here's the thing. I play JEW's "Bleed American" from the beginning when I leave to jog from my house to the cemetary where my grandparents are buried. When I arrive at their gravesite, on queue, the emotional chorus of "Hear, You, Me" begins...

"May angels lead you in..."

Hear You Me by Jimmy Eat World

Hear it here!

Business Models For Online Games 04/15/11

Business Models For Online Games

When I graduated from high school I wasn’t sure exactly what my college career should be. I loved art, animation, psychology, engineering, math and landscaping. It took a little while for me to establish my direction.

I took my SATs and ACTs, and applied to the University of Cincinnati for Digital Design and Computer Science. I chose Computer Science with the impression that I could learn digital design on the side and learn to create code at school. I was thinking big—I wanted to create computer mini-games utilizing both skills. During my first two semesters I created a simple C++ game based on the swatting a fly with a flyswatter concept (it was code that was in a tutuorial which I created graphics for). I realized this wasn’t for me. I was too creative and was feeling restricted by writing code.

That is about as far as I advanced in my quest to create interactive games. Back then, mini-games weren't as popular as they are now. Now, on a daily basis, people are playing Farmville, Mafia Wars, Angry Birds, Bejeweled, PhotoHunt and thousands of different games on Facebook, websites, tablet apps and cell phones.

I finally found my path through training in Mechanical Engineering (AutoCAD/Drawing) and degrees in Computer Graphics and Graphic Design.

I have continued designing, creating 3-D models, and animating, but I'd like to revisit this early passion. When I find time inbetween work, freelancing, blogging, and home life, you may one day see a game demo pop up, but in the meantime I'll be reading how other people are getting rich off the concept...

How to make money with online games

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Presents... American Idol

Designs We've Seen (a lot) Series: 04/14/11
Presents... American Idol

A Special for American Idol Results Night...

Okay, I took this a step further (just not streamlined), but I have done print work for a few places that use their company presents... American Idol as a promotion for Karaoke Night.

Non-Design Tip of The Day :) ClipArt

 YEAH!!!!!!!!!!!!!! CLIPART!!!!!!!!!!! SALE!!!!!!!!!!!!!! WINNER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Since it is my pure intention to have ClipArt take over the design world, here is my contribution. Most people think they need to subscribe to a stock ClipArt site or have Microsoft Word, but you can just go to their website to collect some images to paste all over your company flyers!!!

Some of the illustrations really aren't that bad, they were done by professional illustrators, but aren't streamlined. ClipArt is just so widely used it's not good for brand identity.

Song of the Day 4/14/11

Sucker Punch by The Pale Pacific

Hear it here!

Cincinnati Design

Cincinnati Design

When I tell people I'm a Graphic Designer, one of the more immediate questions is, "Hmmm, I guess there's probably not a lot of job opportunities in Cincinnati are there?" I tell them they would be surprised. While we don't have the large market of places like New York, California and foreign agencies, Cincinnati is a huge player in the design field.

Procter & Gamble's roots in Cincinnati has to do with a large part of design firms' initial success in the Queen City. Now that the foundation has been built, Cincinnati design has continued to grow with major companies all over the globe. Not to mention, all the internal graphic design departments of local companies.

As I mentioned in my previous blog, Cincinnati is very rich in history & design, and we are starting to show it through improvements in the city's image. Cincinnati has an AIGA chapter, great design colleges, numerous design firms, "First Friday" gallery showings by local artists, and the Cincinnati / Contemporary Art Museum--all while maintining the friendly, Midwest persona.

In an email I sent off a few months ago to a prospective employee, I listed these following design firms in Cincinnati* (with the current additions of former colleague's companies)

1. LPK
2. Possible Worldwide, formerly Bridge Worldwide
3. Interbrand
4. Landor
5. Fisher Design
6. Deskey
7. Hyperquake
8. Strata-G Communications
9. Crush Republic
10. Traction


*Haven't double-checked accuracy of current companies or sites.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Yahoo! News Article 4/13/11 (Arizona State)

Fashion Break: Arizona State

State of Pringles

Okay, so my blogger hasn't been cooperating with me all day, but I'm finally back up.

Diamond Foods buying Pringles

The Creation of Creation

Designs We've Seen (a lot) Series: 04/13/11
The Creation of Creation

Michelangelo's fresco The Creation of Adam. William's The Creation of William. What spoof can you create?

Song of the Day 4/13/11

Great band!

The Sunshine Song by The Candle Thieves

Hear it here!

Design Tip/Trick of the Day (Finding Logos)

Design Tip/Trick of the Day

In the design field, the best place to get a vector/high-res logo is directly from the company or design agency. This will guarantee the logo is streamlined, uses the appropriate fonts/colors and a style guide will detail how to use the mark correctly.

However, design students may not have this luxury, and may need a company's logo for a school project. There are several things to try before attempting to recreate a logo freehand. As always, there are several ways to go about this. These aren't the only or best methods. You may have your own preferences.

1. See if you can get the logo from the company, an instructor or from the brand's official website. For example, Xavier University's logo is on their brand website...

2. Look on Wikipedia. Say I want the UPS logo. I search Wikipedia UPS on google. To the right on UPS' Wikipedia page, you'll see the UPS logo. Click on it. You see underneath the logo that it is called "UPS_logo.svg" (SVG file). Being a SVG file means you're probably in luck. Click on the logo or right click and select "Save Target As..." Save to your desktop or into a designated folder. Now, you can open the SVG file in Illustrator or right click and select "Open With...Adobe Illustrator" or another vector program. Volia! Vector UPS logo.

3. If a company has a corporate website with a search command, Search for "PDF," or "Annual Report." Say I want the AT&T logo. Go to In the Search box type "annual report." I clicked on the first link titled "AT&T Annual Reports | Investor Relations | AT&T." On the next page, I see "Complete 2010 AT&T Annual Report (3.4 MB)," so I right click, select "Save Target As..." and save the pdf on my desktop. Now all I need to do is open the correct page from the PDF in Illustrator and I have the vector AT&T sphere.

4. There are many sites that have user-submitted logos for free, one of the most popular being  Sometimes you'll have to check for inconsistencies in the logo. Since these are user submitted they can be incorrect logos.

5. Contact me. I have collected, recreated, accumulated, etc. over 5,000 logos.

6. Recreate it.

Please be respectable to the logos!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

March of Progress

Designs We've Seen (a lot) Series: 04/12/11
March of Progress

The iconic "March of Progress." I've seen so many takes on this, and usually they are pretty interesting. Just look at how design has evolved!

*vector from Wikipedia

Song of the Day 4/12/11

Tell It To The Volcano by Miniature Tigers  (Catchy Album)

Hear it here!

the sketchpad Schedule

We are growing... Please keep us bookmarked at and check back for updates. There will be miscellaneous posts throughout the day besides our scheduled itinerary.

6:00 AM Article
11:00 AM Song of the Day
1:00 PM Designs We've Seen (a lot) Series

Calling T-Shirt Printers in Cincinnati

I've done some freelance T-shirt printing in the past; however, I am looking for a well-respected, quality, affordable Screen Printing company to do outsourced business. I get frequent request, so if we can work out a referral contract please contact me at

I can provide the artwork and pick up/delivery if necessary. Please include vendor pricing, turn-around time, acceptable formats, and any other important company information.


I thought this was a relevant quote on the challenges of planning, success, business, and self-motivation.

From an episode ("Mosbius Designs") of How I Met Your Mother:


What if I don't think of the books?

There's this famous architecture story about this architect who designed this library. It was perfect, but every year the whole thing would sink a couple of inches into the ground.

Eventually, the building was condemned. He forgot to account for the weight of the books...

...By 30, I was going to be annoyingly successful, married to the perfect woman; maybe a kid on the way.

Instead, I'm just some guy sitting in an apartment having a staring contest with his phone and losing.

Monday, April 11, 2011

3-D Orb Logo

Designs We've Seen (a lot) Series: 04/11/11
3-D Orb Logo

As the Designs We've Seen (a lot) Series kicks off, I want to reiterate my intentions. This is purely for fun, and not to belittle any designer's creativity. Most designs and marketing campaigns do come from influences, trends and history. Today's DWSal is one I've used for a couple clients. I'll be posting weekdays at 1:00pm.

The first this week is the trendy 3-D orb logo and icon. For a while designs like this were merely buttons on web pages, but they have taken off in other places in design. They represent a modern, dimensional, high-tech appeal. After all, we do live in a world of futuristic, shiny, sleek gadgets, so why shouldn't our logos/icons be the same? They often do look pretty, but I don't know if I'm completely sold; maybe I'm just old school.

Song of the Day 4/11/11

Emily by Goldspot
Hear it here!

Why Song of the Day?

Music is Art.

You may be wondering why I include a "Song of the Day" feature on my design blog. Well, it's mainly because I love listening to and creating music, but it's also a chance for people to hear artists and songs they may not get to hear on the radio. There is such a hold on popular music radio stations that you are going to hear the same Top 40 songs everyday.

I love when people, especially my friend Nick, introduce me to new artists. Actually, a lot of the songs I list are ones that have been shared with me.

Give some of the artists/bands a listen to see if you enjoy them as much as I do...

If you have recommendations on new bands or bands you are in, please contact me at so I can give it a listen and post your song. I try to have a song by 11:00 AM every weekday. Thanks!

Completed Reading

Well, I just got finished with most of the exercises in my Learning Autodesk Maya 2010 book. It was a nice refresher course, but I have to say I wasn't entirely impressed with the format. Instead of offering variety with different projects, most of the designs were just continuations between chapters.

The authors have you create a scene from some Walt Disney Pictures feature film Roadside Romeo. For the most part, you add to this scene through the rest of the book. Sure it touches on modeling, texturing, lighting, character animations and the likes, but it really failed to keep me interested for its entirety.

I guess the only other issue is it's a 2010 edition, meaning I'm already behind.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Got Milk?

Designs We've Seen (a lot) Series: 04/08/11
Got Milk?

Introducing a brand new, exciting, fun series of overexposed designs brought to you by the makers of The Sketchpad. Okay, so I overhyped this segment a bit, but that's what this is all about. Check back every weekday at 3:00pm (Eastern Time) for a new "original" design. All in good spirit...

Today's Design:
got milk? get creative.

Guster "On the Ocean"

Song of the Day 4/8/11
On The Ocean, Guster

Hear it here!

I Make A Mean Mashed Potato

How long before Wendy is rebranded to be hip like Colonel Sanders? I guess being animated made her pretty cool. I like my red-headed sister the old-fashioned way she is.


"Wealth consists in not having great possessions, but in having few wants."
-Epicurus, Ancient Greek Phiolsopher

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Houschtaria Normal by wdsiemer

Houschtaria Normal by wdsiemer

Yahoo! Tech News

Obviously if you check out Yahoo! News you've probably seen these before, but here is today's posting.

People ask me all the time about Free Antivirus programs. I usually recommend Avast, Avira, or AVG, and Malwarebytes for malicious files. However, there are many out there. Here are some more recommendations...

Upgrade Your Life: Amazing free software

Song of the Day 4/7/11

Triple Spiral, Bright Eyes

Hear it here!

My Digital Existence

Created in under 2 minutes in Microsoft Paint
I don’t know if I foresaw the digital revolution of art coming, but I embraced it from a very early age. It’s only appropriate I would become a digital artist.
In grade school, before printers and computer screens were really colored, I was creating pixel art in a print shop program. It was essentially clipart. I would spend hours blocking in pixel-by-pixel until I had an image. Think NES Mario in black and white.
And, how cool was Mario Paint? Mario Paint was released for the Super Nintendo in 1992, and came bundled with a mouse.  I remember staying up late at night drawing freehand and composing musical scores. Apparently, the first Homestar Runner, a popular animation, was created using Mario Paint.
As computers became household items, so did Microsoft Paint. I used Paint to create cartoon characters, business cards for my fictitious company, web images, t-shirts and GIF animations. Looking back, the end results were pretty atrocious, but they were a beginning.
After high school, I was introduced to Adobe Photoshop. My first experience was overwhelming. I thought filters were the coolest technology. I began applying filters to every photo I could find. Scary!!
Eventually, I learned Illustrator, Freehand, CorelDraw, Director, Flash, QuarkXPress, InDesign, AutoCad, Maya and the list goes on.
Each one presented new challenges, but became invaluable tools of design. I am interested in seeing what digital innovations are heading our way.  Will we hit a standstill, or will there be a new must-have software program or feature?

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Tip For The Beginning Designer

If you can help it, in most cases you will not want to put a stroke or faux-bold on a font. It is not the same as "Bold." Bold fonts are designed specifically for their purpose. Strokes throw off the letter's ascenders and descenders, change the size, and would require tracking adjustments (the space in-between characters.) Most typefaces include bold as part of their family. See if you can use that. This is just a general rule of thumb in the design world, but there are special circumstances when you will "break the rules."

Note: These same applications are true: Shearing/Slanting is not the same as italic//Decreases the font size and faux "Small Caps" are not true Small Caps//Squishing the font is not the same as a Condensed font

Song of the Day 4/6/11

Death Cab For Cutie, Passenger Seat

Hear it here!

Scenario Flip

My graphic designer is difficult to work with.

Things to consider:
Punch them in the gullet, knee them in the stomach and call them squeamish.


You create what you feel is the ideal logo, but the client has other thoughts. They end up falling in love with a piece of ClipArt, a novelty font, or a photo they found on the web. All of a sudden your efforts seem wasted.

Things to consider:
You are there for the client. You should have a good idea going into the job, whether it is something you want to undertake or not. They came to you, are going to pay you, etc...

Do your best to present your case by explaining your thought and design process. Stay cool; don't be on the defensive.

I can be stubborn, but I try to find a way to keep the client happy. I'll find a middle ground that doesn't make me ignore my standards, and gives them the satisfaction of giving me input. After all, they're the ones who will be using the logos every day.

Also, if you think some of your designs are weak, don't present them. When I was starting out, I made that mistake. In one particular case, I had some really good concepts and a few bad ones. I wanted to show the client how many ideas I came up with, so they could see how much work I put in. Mistake!

It was a little pretentious of me, and overwhelming for them. It also left me explaining why they shouldn't use my design. I didn't like it. I showed it to them. They picked it. I had to use that design for the next part of the process. I was to blame.

Repeat, Stay professional! Your image and attitude are a part of your brand, so it's important to carry yourself as such. Networking works both ways. People will recommend you, but people can dissuade against you too.

If things aren't going to work out after several tries, as a last resort, peacefully part ways in a professional manner. Plug your words in here... "After thinking about,  I've decided maybe another designer would be a better fit for this particular job... I want to make sure you are probably presented...  I'll assist with any transition of the files...  I appreciate all the time and opportunity... Thanks... Sorry... Etc... Etc.."

I write that hastily because hopefully it will never come to it, but you'll know what to say if it does.
As far as ClipArt goes...
Explain to them ClipArt doesn't give them a strong identity. Thousands of people use the same art. Let them know you want to create a mark that is unique to their brand.
Novelty fonts...
First, not all novelty fonts are bad. My point is more along the lines of a client finding a poorly constructed, over-stylized font that is just wrong for their company. Font treatment is just as important to the overall design. It's not an afterthought--it's not something that can be thrown in.
Photos from the web...
I find small business owners failing to grab this concept a lot. I usually try to tell them the quality's not good enough or its copywrited because the truth is it just doesn't work as a logo. If they keep insisting, it's a good idea to try to use that photo as a starting point to created a stylized symbol that can act as their logo.

Monday, April 4, 2011

USA Today Article

Too real means too creepy in new Disney animation

Computer animation has a problem: When it gets too realistic, it starts creeping people out.


Cincinnati will never have a Times Square or Central Park, but the city's image and urban planning are improving drastically as highlighted by this Sunday's Cincinnati Enquirer. Cincinnati's downtown is once again becoming a place to shop, gather, eat, and enjoy the arts. This, in large part, is thanks to young, eager, charismatic business owners, artists, planners and architects.

It's nice to see the resurgence and additions of restaurants, condos, the Horseshoe Casino, Fountain Square and riverfront development, featuring The Banks. Time will dictate their successes, but things are definitely looking up.

Image is one thing--we must continue to improve racial/class relations, housing and employment. But, so does everywhere else. This is a fun and exciting to be a Cincinnatian.

Times Square is the happening place to be; Cincinnati is getting there.
(Image from my 2010 visit)