Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Mirror Monster! Rar! Green!


Oh man, this dude's miffed. Also: irked.

Another upcycled/altered mirror. We stained this guy green so you can still see the wood grain. Etched some pointy fangs, and painted on some furrowed eyeballs. Poof! Rar!

2009 calendar. Naked. Almost.


Just finished posting my minimalist design calendar for 2009 as a printable PDF template. Once you purchase the listing, we email you the PDF file, and you can print out as many as you like. I set them up so that two months are on a single letter-sized page, so you just have to print on cardstock and cut them in half. Give them as gifts, or keep for yourself, or both. Print out on a nice textured cardstock, punch a hole in each one and tie with a ribbon and you've got sweet presents for like, wicked cheap.

Design-wise, each month has a corresponding color stripe that themes with that month's season, and each month the stripe moves one slot to the right. So January is far left, and December is far right.

I hope you like them, I certainly had fun designing them.

More pics on my Flickr .



My good friend Mike just pointed out the "Follower" tool on blogspot, so now you can have our updates sent right to your blogger dashboard! Just click on "follow this blog" in the righthand column.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Bananatee Experiment

Earlier today I was envying Jenn Ski's alphabet prints, and given my long-standing obsession with manatees, Nathan thought "You should do something like that, only every letter has to do with manatees instead of different animals." So, naturally, I was saying 'bananatee!!' all afternoon.

Tonight I tried to practice bringing my Illlustrator drawings into Photoshop to give them texture. Seems like just about everyone and their mother already does this, usually with great results, so I'm a little tardy to the party, but what the hey..

DIY Totoro cards.


We've been on a Totoro kick lately, and the latest installment is this set of 4 printable Totoro holiday cards. They're up in our Etsy shop. Once you purchase the PDF, you can print as many as you like! Keep them for yourself, or give out to friends, or print up a set of 10 for a great gift. There are four different colors included, so you can mix and match. Each card template even has lots of helpful tips for the DIYer, like, "CUT HERE" and "FOLD HERE." And just a tip, folding works best if you either crease or score the fold line a bit. Makes for a much cleaner fold. 

They measure 5.5 x 4" and should fit most medium envelopes (not included).


I'm finishing up some linocut prints of the same illustration. Except these are limited edition, hand-carved and hand-printed cards. I only have the hats to print and then I'll post pics. I really like how they came out, the ink has a mind of its own. Pretty much the opposite of computer-drawn work. Except it started on the computer. Which makes me like it even more. I'm big on that whole computer/handmade/mush-em-all-together thing, if you haven't noticed.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Great Etsy Newbie guide

Short post, I just saw this great thread on the Etsy forums compiling an enormous amount of information and resources. Enjoy:

Also,  some supply secrets:

Mirror Monster! Rar!


Last night Mona finished working on our first Mirror Monster . We got some small blank mirrors from the IKEA place, and Mona etched some fangs into the glass, and then hand painted some eyes (with only a little touchup help from me). They look black but they're actually Paynes Gray, which is more interesting and better than black. Mona's quite proud of her creation.


I like how such small, subtle details can completely change the character of an object. What is ostensibly a pair of triangles and circles, now becomes a cute and super-fierce monster face rar.

We debated back and forth about whether or not we should stain him. Mona really liked the bare-wood naked look, and so do I, but I also wanted to try staining him with this transparent green stain we have. Then we remembered we have like four of these mirrors, so the next one will be green.


To finish up, I stamped the back with our Etsy store address and a little fly stamp I carved. The mirror has some screw-hooks for hanging, but we decided to not install them and let the new owner decide how to display him.


Tuesday, November 11, 2008

My first stamp!

I finally decided to try carving my very own stamp last night. Since Nathan keeps churning out awesome stamp after awesome stamp, how hard could it be? Turns out, it's kind of a pain in the ass at first, but so worth it once you get the hang of it.

As an illustrator who works almost exclusively on the computer, whether using the dreaded pen tool in Adobe Illustrator or drawing on my Wacom tablet in Corel Painter, kickin' it old school and actually making something by hand was a challenge for me. You see, linocutters do not have an "undo" command. So when you carve a chunk out of your line art on a stamp, it stays carved. Ugh! This means I had to work slower and more patiently than usual. Nathan was a big help and showed me some techniques like... carving in narrow, shallow strokes instead of deep gouging ruts (maybe I need a better outlet for my pent-up energy?) Also, in the real world, there's no "zoom" tool. Some of the details are so tiny, I felt like my eyes were going to cross and stay that way.

Gripes aside, working with physical tools and materials that don't always behave how you want them to was actually kind of theraputic for me, like putting Elmer's glue on your hands and slowly peeling it off.

Nate and I both worked on the same stamp design (a little Totoro) so I could compare my shaky job with his rockin' one. It was hard work, but once I saw my finished stamp, it made me want to make more.

Yay Beer! Coasters!


Just finished up our first sets of coasters: Sacred Beer and Chartreuse Woodgrain. The top image is Mona's original illustration of a sacred beer tattoo that I carved for a three-color print. So that's three separate stamps, which then had to be registered by eye for printing. Of course she had to hand draw an old-timey seriffed font [edit: I thought it was a real font, but Mona just scolded me and told me she drew the text by hand, so I'm editing], which is not exactly easy to carve, but it came out better than I expected. I tweaked the design to allow for things to not have to line up perfectly, and I love how they came out. You can see more pics in my Flickr set. (If you look closely, you can see the etched leaves glass)

We're trying to think of more "useful" items for the shop, rather than just "luxury" collectibles. So into the housewares venue we go. I'm working on some wall paintings of illustrations of mine. I'll post them when I get them finished. I'm painting in oils for the first time, I've never really had the space or ventilation before in our shoebox of a NYC apartment, but now that I do: mmm, colors.


Also in the pipe are some ACEOs of a holiday Totoro from Mona's illustration. I think it's pretty freaking sweet and can't wait to finish it. I wanted to make some prints larger than the typical rubber stamp can handle, and since we aren't in our own house yet and don't have the space for silkscreening, I though linocut prints would be the next logical step. Ouch. Whole different animal. I did a small test on a 2x2 lino block of soot sprites, and so far the results aren't quite what I expected. I think I need to measure my ink distribution and adjust the depth of my detail cuts. I'll keep at it though and post more when I've gotten a bit further along.

Sunday, November 9, 2008


I'm trying to get back into the habit of drawing outside of work, so I decided to make a few illustrations inspired by one of my favorite movies, My Neighbor Totoro by Hayao Miyazaki. I also might have gotten a little distracted from drawing by all the cute Totoro merchandise for sale on the web.