September Adventures and Geometry

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What happened to September?


I’m still in a state of shock by how fast September went.  It was a busy month for a few reasons.  First, I went on an exciting trip to Hartford, CT for an Aaron Draplin workshop and talk.  Second, my classes this semester really kept me on edge.  Last, Piper started kindergarten, and getting use to being a ballet and Girl Scout dad takes a little time. There is a lot to cover in this post, so lets dive in.

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I traveled down to Hartford a few weeks ago for a workshop and talk with Aaron Draplin.  Most of you might not know who he is, a few of you definitely do.  He’s a graphic designer with personality, and he’s really good. He has an eye for older industrial design.  He likes to call it junk, but he’s really bringing some of these lost treasures back to life.  I learned a lot during the workshop about workflow, keeping files clean, and working with customers. The most important thing I learned was to keep creating and making “stuff”.  Don’t stop, and most of all say “YES”.   Do everything that comes my way even if it doesn’t pay a dime.  He’s a great speaker and a true inspiration.  I picked up some of his merchandise while I was there.  Best part, he gave a book away at the end and I won it!

See his work here: www.Draplin.com.

Geometry!

I’ve been working on creating geometric shapes with Illustrator.  It’s a lot of fun and geometric shapes and patterns have been a love of mine since my “mind expanding” days.  It was nice to sit down and just create shapes and patterns in Illustrator that can be used in the future.  I’ve been trying to build a database of sorts.  These are just basic ideas that can be easily incorporated into any design.  It becomes a timesaver.

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EPUB 3

Last, school is wearing me down.  I only have four more rounds of classes left, so I’m starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel.  This semester was Digital Publishing  and Introduction to Marketing.  I actually enjoyed the digital publishing class a lot.  EPUB3 has it issues, but in the near future it’s going to make reading digital publications pretty exciting.  The magazine I created is a photography magazine called Aperture.  It has a monthly theme that photographers from around the world can contribute too.  This project was more about adding in EPUB3 functions like video, audio, external links, and formatting digital publications.  Below are screenshots of the magazine.  The EPUB has videos, a podcast that you can listen to right from the magazine, and a scrollable photo gallery.

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Cover

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All the titles on the TOC page are links to the articles, and the Nikon ad is a video that plays.

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The blank space under the smaller mountain scape image is an audio player for the podcast

So there you have it.  September was a little crazy, but I feel like I accomplished a lot. Coming up:I’m working on redesigning my website.  That’s another post all together.  More stickers, and hopefully a set of holiday cards.  Yes I said it, HOLIDAY cards.

The Metatron’s Cube (orange geometric above) got turned into a sticker.  They are beautiful!  I now have two stickers ( the Bee and the Metatron Cube ) and a poster to offer, and I started a Paypal account if anyone is interested.  The Metatron’s Cube looks pretty cool when you create a pattern with them!  $3.oo each.

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Make a pattern with a few of them for a really cool effect!

 

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7 Species of bees where put on the endangered species list this month



 

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Final Days of Summer

As the long days of summer start to slowly end up here in Vermont I wanted to share some pictures from my trip to the Outer Banks and Virginia (and one from home to prove a point).  When I travel I find it a little harder to see the finer details of the space I’m in.  At home I wonder the yard daily, or I visit the same spots over and over, so it’s easy to discover the little things that make photography so fun.  This trip I tried to slow down and focus on those little things, but it didn’t really work out.  My two kids were running wild and I found very little time to pull out the camera.  I did get to photograph a sunset on the sound side of the island.  Sunsets speak for themselves, but it was nice to have some people throwing nets and fishing to add some narrative to the images.

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I did find a cool moth on the hood of our car which sat still long enough for me to take a few pictures while we were in Virginia.  There is a certain level of skill involved in photographing bugs.  You have to be calm and slow so you don’t scare them off.  My last photo is of a frog Piper and I found on the shore here in Colchester, VT.  This shows how when I travel I tend to take pictures of the landscape, and when at home I tend to focus on the little things.

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I look forward to the fall, one of my four favorite seasons.  The photography will continue, but my focus will be more on illustration and graphic design.  I invite you to checkout and like my Instagram page and my Behance portfolio.  Instagram is more of a daily visual blog of sorts, and Behance is more of an in-depth look into my work.

See you soon!

Dave

Click her for my Behance page!

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July Photography

As July quickly passes me by I have found very little time to focus on any art projects. Summers are busy with travel, work, and school.  Quick tip, never take a statistics class in the summer, it sucks.  So, I decided to break out the camera that I have been neglecting, and went on an evening walk after a round of intense thunderstorms blew through.  Here are a few pictures I took on my walk.  I worked on a few things during this photo adventure.  First, I wanted to move closer to my subject.  I often find that I take a picture from more of a distance and crop the image later.  Next, I wanted to take the picture as close to my mental image as possible.  This means I really wanted to do as little editing in Lightroom and Photoshop as possible, so I used the settings on my camera to create the feel I wanted.  For the most part it worked out, but I still had to do some adjustments in Lightroom.

I did continue my merchandise journey.  I got a round of stickers printed of my “Little Bee” drawing (found in my last blog post).  I’m going to redesign my site this fall, and add in a store where you can easily purchase any of the pictures I’ve take, posters I’ve created, or stickers I’ve made.

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Little Bee Illustration

 

doublebeeI’ve been going to school for three years, and since I started I have done very little personal drawing.  Most of my work has been projects for class, although it’s taught me a lot, I really do miss sitting down with a pencil and drawing little things (doodles).  For the last week I have been trying to do a “doodle a day”.  You can see some of my progress on my Instagram account.  Below is a little doodle of a bee that I drew.  I decided to take it a step further and bring it into Illustrator for some touch ups.

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I used the app Adobe Capture to turn this into a vector drawing, and then brought it into Illustrator to add coloring and more detail.  I utilized my Wacom Tablet, and was able to create a new custom brush.

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It learned a lot from the process.  First, I’m going to take the drawings in my sketchbook further when it comes to detail.  Second, I’m going to focus on my line work, so when I do bring it into the computer the drawing is cleaner.  I do like the fuzzy messy look of this, but I would like to be just a little cleaner.

 

Traveling to Washington D.C.

Traveling to Washington D.C. is always a great opportunity to take some pictures of great architecture, sculptures, and my kids.  I took a couple hundred pictures, but most of them were on the move.  So, it’s going to take a little work to find any images with potential.  Here is a small collection of architecture pictures I took while walking along the National Mall.  Here I’m trying to create a small collection of work that have similar settings.  All these pictures were edited from the RAW files in Adobe Lightroom.

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Updating Older Photos

In an attempt to update my portfolio I have begun to go back through some of my older photos and rework them in Photoshop.  I’ve been concentrating on editing my photos so they are nondestructive.  Utilizing smart objects and layers in Photoshop is a process that I have to master, and make routine, for any future work.

This first image is a photo taken at Magnaball.  A Phish festival in New York last summer. I boosted the colors a little and I added the stars.  I created my own brushes for the stars and the space clouds.

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This photo was taken at a steam train yard in Connecticut.  I blurred the background and added a sepia tone.  I sharpen the train using the HDR layer technique.  In doing so I was able to sharpen the train number on the front of the train making it a focal point of the image.  This image is a little over processed, but practice makes perfect.

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Photoshop is a huge program that will take a long time to really master.  I feel pretty confident with the program now, but I also understand there is still a lot to learn.  I’m going to focus on creating images that I feel represent me as a designer and artist.  In doing so I will end up having a list of techniques that will become the building blocks for my future work.