Author: apb

Doodler. Drag King. Classical music groupie.

Dandycat!

I had some illustration fun lately transforming the Internet’s famed Keyboard Cat, into the serious and adorable Dandycat, complete with  powdered wig and cravat! You just know Dandycat is playing that keyboard on the harpsichord setting. I created the image in Illustrator, using my wacom tablet.

 

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Infographic

I love a good infographic – they’re the perfect example of what design is really about: using form to enhance function. As a visual learner, I also really appreciate seeing how a thing works. They’re tricky business, because it’s not just about making information pleasing to the eye, but organizing it – deciding which information should be highlighted so it can be presented in a succinct way that provides insight for the viewer.

I made this infographic for Cor Flammae’s fundraising campaign. The arts are notoriously under-funded, but we wanted to show the specifics of how under-funded professional choral music is, by highlighting what goes in to producing a show. It is meant to be useful to other choirs as well, and it was an interesting process of research and collaboration, whittling down the information into something that does justice to an experience shared by many groups and then deciding how best to present it in an easily-readable form that fit in a browser window or on a small poster.

 

The Care and Feeding of your Professional Chamber Choir

 

 

 

Opus Art Supplies is Having a Sale

I have the great pleasure/extreme temptation of working very close to Opus Art Supplies. Last year, they moved their North Shore location to a building just behind Capilano Mall, and I have, for very good reason, not visited them until now. Opus Art Supplies is the most beautiful and extensive collection of everything you could ever want for making art. Everything there is sexy, and I know I will inevitably walk out with something. On top of that, my goose was double cooked, as they are in the middle of a sale. And so, with great elation and no regrets I brought home this gorgeous creature:

Garibaldi Sketchbox Easel

Right now I don’t have a lot of space for a studio – and this has been fine so far as my work is mostly digital – but I want to hone my handmade skills and bring more of those elements into my designs. Enter my dream easel: it folds down, has space to store my supplies, and is made of beautiful beech wood with shiny brass hardware, a leather handle and canvas strap, so you can take it everywhere. Everywhere will be my studio!

The sale runs from May 1st to June 19th, and Opus has several locations, the famous Granville Island shop (1360 Johnston Street, Vancouver) and the accessible downtown store (W Hastings Street, Vancouver) being the easiest to get to for Vancouverites. They also have shops in North Vancouver, Langley and Kelowna, so if you’re near any of those places and you need some new beautiful things to make new beautiful art with, check them out (www.opusartsupplies.com)!

 

 

Logopalooza

I’m doing the print design for a very exciting new project that’s in the works. Cor Flammae is Vancouver’s budding classical music chorus of queer singers performing queer content. The goal is to shed light on the often obscured histories of LGBT musicians, bringing their music to life in context with their stories, and linking them to the living tradition of contemporary queer composers.

So. How do you say that in a logo? The logo uses the repeat sign from music notation as the symbolic element – Cor Flammae looks at the past while moving forward. I chose to use a mixture of serif and sans-serif fonts to give both a historical and contemporary feel to the image. Since the choir aims to present historical works as immediately relevant, I wanted to create a cohesive mixture of visual elements that aligns with this vision.

From a technical perspective, it’s important to create a logo to work vertically and horizontally, small and large, and in dark and light, so I’ve created versions that keep the visual consistency, but can work in multiple scenarios. It’s been used all over Facebook and Twitter, YouTube, posters, flyers and even a hand stamp, translating easily from medium to medium. I’m pretty happy with the outcome.

 

O Fortuna!

My latest piece for the North Shore Chorus promoted their end-of-season concert featuring selections from that quintessentially epic composition, Carmina Burana.  Carmina is a delightful anachronism, being a 20th century composition set to a collection of poems from the 11th to 13th centuries.  For me, it is less about re-creating something authentic from the past, than seeking to present its truth by using the immediacy of contemporary terms.   That being said, there is also a tradition of images associated with it, and I decided to go with the ever popular wheel of fortune, an adaptation from the original 1936 score – and the original Codex Burana manuscript in turn.  I decided to play around with some texture as well, to enhance the aged feel, as well as a rich red to play off the visceral sensuality (plus, there’s a play on words with “carmina” [songs] and “carmine” [red] somewhere in there).

Image

 

 

Inspiration all over!

The mosaic treble clef from this recruitment poster for the North Shore Chorus was one of my favourite projects. My challenge was to create an image that somehow represented a choir – music notation was a basic starting point, but the idea of different elements coming together harmoniously was what I really wanted to get at.  Illustrating the concept with colour made the poster fun and eye-catching, as well as sunny and inviting! Achieved!

NSC Recruitment Poster

Font Squirrel + Fontspring

So, on the topic of how much I love fonts, did I mention how much I love fonts?  Specifically, how much I love free fonts licensed for commercial-use that are beautiful and fun to use?

The internet is awash with shareware/open-source fonts from people experimenting with typeface design, and it can be a bit daunting to comb through them all for that perfect, inspiring, professional-looking font.  It is also super-expensive to buy professional font families from the usual distributors.  That’s why I was so happy to find www.fontsquirrel.com which is a curated website full of gorgeous free fonts with licences for commercial use.

It’s nicely laid out and easy to navigate so you can get a quick preview of the font before you click on it for more detail, or you can just download it right away if the preview convinces you immediately (sometimes I find with free font websites you have to navigate through several pages to even see if you like the font, and then decide which download link is the real one and which one will give you a hard drive-eating virus).  If you want to purchase a font family, their sister site, www.fontspring.com, is chock-a-block full of tasty, reasonably priced fonts.

Time for a font-spree!

Exposed! Pieces from the David R. Carlin Collection

The David R. Carlin Collection recently had a show at the Gallery of BC Ceramics on Granville Island, highlighting the vintage works of little-known BC ceramics artists.  When I was contacted to do the invitation design it was a huge honor and a fun chance to work on a new project.

I’ve done a lot of flyers where the important thing is to organize as much information as possible into a small space in a way that will communicate the pertinent details best.  The invitation for this show  was a post-card, something I’ve been itching to do, and it gave me the opportunity to work with space.  It needed to be clean and elegant – professional yet inviting – and reflect the slightly cheeky sincerity of the show.  This gave me a chance to play with the clean aesthetics that I aspire to, and promoting artistic ventures has always been very near and dear to my heart, so, all in all, it was a very satisfying piece to do.

The Carlin Collection

The Whole Enchilada

I recently had the great pleasure of designing the print campaign for Genderfest.  This involved a poster, several ads for the Pride Guide, as well as a flyer.

As it was a multi-day event with lots of information I really needed to use the flyer’s real-estate to it’s fullest.  Instead of just advertising the festival as a whole, I wanted to have the relevant “who”, “what”, “when”, and “where” fully available for all of the festivities – essentially for the flyer to be something people would pick up and keep like an event guide.  Genderfest already had a website, and the layered colour scheme was their background image – it was the perfect visual element I could lend to structuring  information.  Rotating the image created some visual interest for the poster, which needed a different kind of structure to keep the test bold and visible from a distance.

Working with the Genderfest team was a joy and I’m so excited for next year!  Check out the awesome work they do at www.genderfest.ca

Genderfest Campaign