Sunday, July 24, 2016

one can loose one's self in lettering

It was designed for a personal tee shirt. It sure is a beautifully frustrating hobby....letters! It is like drawing a face, it either works or it stinks. You can tweak it and tweak it and tweak it. It never seems done. It never really feels perfect.

Friday, July 15, 2016

tarpon sign for pine island, florida... i love old barn wood

I have been unable to confirm or deny my neighbor's claim that the boards I have used on my tarpon signs are old silo boards. Either way, they are relatively light weight and awesome. The roughness can't be faked. They are just plain OLD! At 1 3/4 inches thick, they can stand alone and command attention. The boards don't need some rectangular or oval base to show off their dimension. 

I am running low on the boards and once these last few are gone, I believe I may never find anything like them again. This is why I have taken great care on the shape of the tarpon and placement of all the blemishes. I did multiple experiments on my scraps to achieve the right balance of color to natural wood. I also ran the boards horizontally to achieve more of a true sign look that one might find fifty or sixty years ago when driving through old Matlacha and Pine Island.

I previously did a large wooden tarpon out of the same material for my brother's large wall space, Capt. Gregg McKee of WildFly Charters

My hope is that this can find a home in the terrific spot of Pine Island, Fl. With nearby islands like Sanibel and it's amazing beaches close by, Pine Island struggles to get recognized by some visitors to S.W. Florida as an awesome place to vacation and/or live year round.

At 73" wide and 28" high, it would look great in a living room or large entrance way. Poolside might be cool as well. I don't plan on shipping it, but I will be trucking it to Florida next summer along with some painted furniture by my wife Ashley.

She has a new blog as well: ashcan works. Check it out!!!!

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

local font find # 28

Just up the road from our home is a fantastic sign welcoming folks to the Fairview Cemetery in Osceola, Pa. The all-caps have a stately look. The arms of the E's and ends of C's are chopped at slight angels giving them a bit more character (see below). The RUST!...oh the RUST!!!! Rarely does rust take away from my visual joy (at some point the rust will overtake the entire sign, but I still love it). The dates are set very close to the title and it makes the large space in the center of the sign feel even greater. Due to that space not being centered and the ornamental piece above it, the sign does feel a bit awkward but not to the point that it repells the viewer. 

The blocky numbers fit fantastically with the lettering. The 2 feels as though it may fall due to the cut in the bottom left of the number....oh well!

The only issue with this quality sign is that it is very close to the road and is difficult to take in as you drive past. I sure do love it!!!

Thursday, May 19, 2016

angry strongo #48 mother's day 2016

Sorry about this being a time to scan. Busy beyond belief. This is kinda late as well.... I'm not into all these holidays anyhow....they just keep coming and coming....yikes!

Sunday, March 20, 2016

local font find # 27

My daughter went to Mansfield to get her long hair chopped down to just below her ears. She was very excited so it called for the whole family to attend. My daughter sat in the high chair. My son and I sat down in an adjacent space. I began to sketch. He began to read some Calvin and Hobbes. I looked up and saw a terrific bit of hand painted script. 

The pencil lines are still visible. The imperfections are obvious. The drawing skill level apparent as we look at the face. It all seems to point to the popular handy work of someone who learned typography at home through a mail order system many moons ago. They learned very well indeed! Regardless of the light blue type, "Beauty" is awesome! I am drawn toward the great finish to the "y" and the capital "B" beams with pride. This, if I had the good fortune of owning it, would proudly stand on a wall of my home...a high traffic wall of my humble home.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

great artwork you don't see in art history textbooks #4

The work of Ernesto Garcia Cabral (El Chango) is odd. Many of his graphic designs are very comic and purposely over the top. Some, like the one above and below, are so refined, so intriguing and so full of great decisions that I find myself drawn to them way more than 90% of the work found in the Art History books of my past education. The composition has great positive and negative space. Great balance is achieved in a heavy handed rule of thirds layout. Complementary colors. The lines that define the woman's elongated form are nothing less than timeless. We are made aware of the wind direction which tightens up her lines. Her snake-like bend is dissected by harsh diagonals created by her belongings and her arms. These objects push your eyes left and right making her feel even more snake-like. This is one of the most beautiful pieces of graphic design that I have ever seen. Period!

Posters should be more easily obtained!!!!!

Yet another dynamic composition. Also great positive and negative space. The arm position is terrific. What a talented man.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

local font find #26

Though more than a century ago, this lettering glows with cool! It was from a box of amazing vintage items that belong to Cheryl Edgcomb (her book cover was posted below). Wow!!!


my good friend jonathan miller attempts yet another feat of strength

My wife was asked to draw a cartoon of my friend Jonathan Miller to celebrate an upcoming milestone. In our research for the comic, we have had to watch this video many times. Jonathan's sense of humor as he endures the effects of his stroke is truly remarkable. Give this thing a view and see how you might be handling the tougher things in your life. I know I need to keep things in much better perspective....thanks Jonathan!

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

a new book cover project

A few months ago I was approached to do some artwork for a local woman, Cheryl Edgcomb. Mrs. Edgcomb has lead an amazing life around Tioga county and it seems that she was continuously surrounded by stamps and the people that used and loved them. Coming from a family that worked for the U.S. Postal Service, she has not fallen far from the tree. Her personality and kindness make her one of those people you struggle to say "no" to. After a short conversation, I found myself neck-deep in beautiful examples of historical documents from the area, vintage postal ephemera, and all sorts of interesting objects and envelopes that were hard to put down. 

Mrs. Edgcomb was in the process of writing a book about the people she has met and the amazing tales that her travels found her a part of. She needed a book cover. Though not sure of what we could do for a cover, I was honored to attempt to make something concise out of all the mayhem. She had her title and tagline and the rest was on me. I brainstormed quite a bit. Her story lacked an isolated image that could stand as a cover image. I thought about creating some unique text but that seemed a bit vain on my part for this kind of story. As she started getting her collection out of the many boxes around my dining room table, the pile of stuff looked cool. I said that these things say it all. Like the countless stories, each of the thousands of items are a part of her and her history. I assume that all that know her, and that seems like every resident within 150 miles, would agree that the cluster of objects fits with her spirit....a myriad of stories that all lead into each other. For the cover photo, she picked out the items that were tied to a story within the text and other items that were close to her heart. 

She has a passion for life. An obvious one. She liked the idea as well as the final image. I used Styrofoam to ink some letters for the "stamped" look. Scanned them in and did some manipulation and color overlay. I hand drew the tagline that was inspired by her own handwriting. That's that.

Anxious to see the final book! She has put a pile of work into the project.

Monday, February 8, 2016

large pencil rendering of wellsboro, pa - 3' x 9'

While attempting to locate a much smaller piece of artwork, I bumped into this rolled up drawing in the corner of the closet. It is a large pencil drawing of downtown Wellsboro. Wellsboro, Pa. has a beautiful downtown/business district. Traditional gas lights run the length of town in the median. If you are heading to the Pennsylvania Grand Canyon any time soon, stop in town and walk the 4 or 5 blocks. Anyway, I was teaching one point perspective to my 5th grade classes about 4 years ago. To get the point across, and also to show what some hard work can produce, I chose the scenic downtown as my subject due to the interesting depth created by the many buildings and the trees. 

I walked (jaywalked) across the street, stood in the middle, snapped three side-by-side shots and continued on to the other side. After combining the images in Photoshop and tacking up some rolled paper on a large bulletin board, I set into the drawing. After about 30 hours spent on the work, I had achieved my point which was to inspire the youngsters into pushing hard on their own work. 

I do have a few regrets though. Mostly, I regret not using a quality piece of drawing paper so that the drawing may have some value (not monetary) to maybe a business in Wellsboro. I guess it would not have been as sketchy if I used good paper and would have doubled my hours just to reach this unfinished stage. I would definitely finish it if it were on better paper, for sure. The tape on the back doesn't bother me due to the lousy rolled paper used. Oh....drawing trees without leaves takes many more hours than some made up leaf formations. More building visible though!

Vanishing point had a red sticker placed on it (light spot back there where the street disappears) to help the passersby while it was under construction.