Sep 27, 2011

Voting Time

I'm a firm believer in the phrase "If it's not broke, don't fix it."

My blog's design has served me well for over 4 years now, thanks to the incomparable Lynette, my awesome sister-in-law.

But, since I am a designer, or at least trying to become one, I feel the need/desire to have a blog of my own design.

Adding into the equation the fact that Blogger has released a myriad of new blog templates, I feel the urge to design my own header and blog growing stronger.

But, contrary to popular opinion, I don't just blog for myself. Therefore what's your opinion on the blog? Is it time to make a new one, or should I keep what I've got that's worked fine and served me well throughout my blogging history?

Let me know and I might just listen to you.

Portfolio Preparation

The Deadline for submitting your portfolio in order to be accepted into the B.F.A. (Bachelor of Fine Arts, doncha know) Program is in two weeks, October 14.

I don't necessarily think I'm going to be accepted, but it's one of those things that I know I'll always regret if I don't at least try.

In effort however to be accepted, I have arranged a meeting with my Academic counselor to go over what they're looking for and what I can do to improve my chances of getting accepted. (Chocolate bribes notwithstanding). We apparently have to write an essay or letter or something (letter of intent, I think it is) as well. That's due next Friday. Other than write 'something,' I have no idea what to include or not include in the letter of intent. Fun.
In addition to that, I've arranged a meeting with one of my favorite design teachers (his opinion of me is still under review) to examine the portfolio and see what I can improve, what I should leave out, general feelings about it I guess and if I should just start from scratch and make a new 20 designs in 2 weeks.

It's a bit of an emotional rollercoaster (I'm not sure why people say emotional rollercoaster. I think it's understood that I'm not literally riding a rollercoaster, as that would actually be fun, rather than exciting and terrifying.) as at some points I feel the portfolio is High Art meets Graphic Design and the greatest experience my teachers will ever behold, causing them to cheer and weep. Other times I worry they'll just spend their time trying to find one nice thing to say about it. "I really like the, um, paper you used." "It's digital." "Exactly."
I'm currently feeling the latter.

I had to miss an important meeting for Graphic Design students at school tonight because I'm scheduled to work, which brings back the "torn in two directions and only being mediocre in each one" feeling I have. Work is keeping me from being a better design student, and school is keeping me from excelling/promotions at work. I should say I'm grateful to both, especially work, for how flexible and awesome they are in spite of the fact I have the schedule from Hell. So I will.

Still, I feel a bit of wasted potential and kind of crappy that I'm forced to choose, I need money and all that, but I think my priorities are mostly in the right place, Family First, Everything Else second.

Once I'm ready to submit it I'll either have jpegs of it for your perusal or just link my website

Stay tuned you lucky people, and don't feel against sending me any positive encouragement you have lying around, thanks.

*that's not me, in case you were over-confident in my abilities. It's from the famous (to me) and wealthy (to Switzerland) Designer and Letterer and awesome speaker extraordinaire, Jessica Hische.

Sep 26, 2011

Why You Shouldn't Stay Up past 2 am Working On Design

because everything you do, no matter how stupid, appears brilliant.

Sep 21, 2011

East of Eden

Special thanks to the fine printers at McNeil Printing for printing this for me. It was quite a process but I am glad to have it done, now on to the next project! I don't know what it is for Typography, but in Interactive Design I'll be making a Kinetic Typography assignment, for Art History I'm working on a Theoretical Museum Exhibit (it actually is a lot cooler than it sounds), Color Theory we're doing a self portrait in the style of Chuck Close, and for AVC Lectures I'm getting psyched to see Jessica Hische. Here's hoping she doesn't just spend the time trying to sell something like other visiting lecturers in the past.

Jessica Hische is something of a celebrity to graphic designers. Meeting her must be how Catholics feel when they meet the pope, or how Jews feel when they meet Jon Stewart.

There's what I'm up to in school, in case you were curious.

Let me know what you think, but it's printed and on my book now so I can't change anything.

Sep 18, 2011

book cover decisions

As I get further into Graphic Design, I'm expecting that it may take over this blog completely, which may not be too big a deal to the three of you that still read this, but for my own records and for the future, here are new covers I've been working on after critique:

Sep 14, 2011


The Pigasus was used by John Steinbeck as a personal stamp with the Latin motto Ad astra per alia porci (to the stars on the wings of a pig).

The pigasus was supposed to symbolize Steinbeck as “earthbound but aspiring....
A lumbering soul but trying to fly...(with)...not enough wingspread but plenty of intention.”

So our group is designing a series of Steinbeck novels and it was my task to design the logo. Liking the Penguin logo, I made one of Pigasus, tell me what you think!

East of Eden- Work in Progress

We have roughs for my first Typography assignment tomorrow. We're to design a book cover for a specific artist, I'm in a group doing John Steinbeck. My book cover is East of Eden, and it was my job to create a logo for all the books.

Here's my first computer draft of the book cover. The logo I've decided deserves it's own post, so I don't have to write as much but get more blog entries.

Sep 12, 2011

Oh Remember, Remember

The Eleventh of September.

I was at the mechanic waiting on getting my mom's car fixed. It was a couple weeks before my mission and I was doing my best to prepare for it, by reading an e.e. cummings biography. Like many 19 year-olds who thought themselves more mature than they were and therefore disillusioned with American media, I remember seeing reporters blabbing on the television about how America will never be the same and this would be a day to remember. I scoffed at the journalist going for hyperbole simply to get ratings, when my mom called and explained exactly what was going on.

It was shocking and (though I hate to use the word) surreal. I felt personally violated and threatened. All I remember for the rest of that day was watching the footage again and again.

Because of that day I witnessed the greatness and charity of humanity in the courageous firefighters and the evil and insanity of which humanity is capable in the terrorist attackers.

I now know the journalist I scoffed at was correct and America very well may never be the same.

Sep 6, 2011

Edible Typography

Since I've stayed up until 3:19 on this assignment, I might as well post about it.

The assignment was to freehand the word "hamburger" in a famous typeface such as Times New Roman. (hamburger in honor of all the barbecues this labor day weekend.) Then we were supposed to write something that goes with a hamburger that looks like that object, and finally actually make something that goes with hamburgers. My results are below, (onions and fries) but I must ask: what would you have done if it was your assignment?

Sep 2, 2011

First Week of Penultimate Fall Semester- Done

I had my last class of the week, and for my sake, for posterity's sake, the sake of anyone caring or bored enough to know, here's my feelings about it.

Art History has always been one of my favorite subjects, and I can tell I am going to like this teacher a lot. She really knows her stuff and though I disagree with at least one thing with her so far, she's fun and smart and I am really enjoying the class while doing my best not to usurp all the class comments for myself.

Color Theory is not what I had expected, so far we've painted a color wheel like we're in Elementary school and what's worse, the teacher I thought would be teaching it won't be for a few more weeks. The later assignments look like they may be fun, but right now they're teaching us about mixing paints, something I learned about 12 years ago.

Interactive Design 2 is not more web programming, it's an After Effects class. So far we've animated a circle and square. The teacher is a lot of fun, possibly my favorite so far, and it may be a pretty fun class. Plus I have the most friends in it from previous classes, so that helps too.

Typography 2 has been good, I really do like Typography even though I'm no typographer, the teacher seems good and our first assignment is to create a type style with an object, I'm going to use an onion, pictures forthcoming once I do it. I'm also brainstorming for the next assignment: a book cover.

Finally Art Lectures, the one hour class of either excitement or boredom, it's never anywhere in between. The bad news is I'm watching it with about 100 other students off campus on a projector, the good news is we don't have to write any response papers, attendance is 100% of the grade. I've never heard of any of the speakers this semester except one, Jessica Hische. Whether you're into typography or not, she's awesome.

On non-school related news but just news of this week, I interviewed for a job in the Operations/IT Department at my company and did not get it, they cited my school schedule as a chief reason why I didn't get it, I just think they couldn't handle the unbridled awesomeness of Austin, and they said yes, that was also a factor. Apparently some of them didn't like my resume either.
It was good to interview for it though it will be a long time before I choose to be interviewed again unless of course I get fired. But as my manager has said more than once, if I haven't been fired yet, I'll probably never get fired here. That's comforting.

Tracie and Morgan have been sick for the past several days, I've been borderline sick but never quite crossed it, now it looks like it's going away.

I've redecorated my desk at work, it's been completely bare since we've moved to the new building.

It's Friday, what more need be said? Hope your week went well as well and your weekend is safe and three-days like mine.

Lake Arrowhead 2011

Since it's been nearly two weeks since we've been back, I wanted to post on our trip to Lake Arrowhead with a percentage of the Valantine clan. All my mother's family were represented, her parents, her two brothers, her sisters children, her eldest brothers children and spouse, and us. A total of 12 people stayed in 2 cabins at the beautiful Lake Arrowhead Chalets. It was a wonderful trip, despite the few bumps and bruises we learned that Morgan does not like sleeping not at home.

We decided to take our trip there over 2 days as it's about an 11 hour drive and the longest car ride Morgan has gone on before that was about 2 hours. We drove to Mesquite our first day and made excellent time. We had packed plenty of road snacks and energy drinks and of course music. I think every road trip Tracie and I have gone one we've listened to the Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat soundtrack and Phantom of the Opera. Making excellent time to Mesquite, we had time to go to dinner and unpack our overnight things in our room before the sun set. It was a relaxing evening, we had calzones the size of footballs and watched some tv in our hotel bed.

Unfortunately, that's when things took a turn for the worse. We had bought a cot for Morgan to sleep on, and were skeptical he'd like this. Our skepticism proved wise. He and Tracie were up all night, I didn't sleep well but I did sleep since I was the designated driver (you know my family and their drinking).

Our next day started all right until I realized we were 20 miles out of Mesquite and nearly out of gas, so I turned back and got gas, which probably affected the rest of our trip. Once we got in Vegas it was stop and go traffic nearly all the way to the state line, and then we were stuck in fruit inspection hell. It ended up making our drive nearly 3 hours longer and all three of us significantly grouchier. One of the pros was we had excellent air conditioning to combat the 120° + temperatures outside.We finally arrived in Arrowhead to loving family members lovingly telling us how foolish we were to drive to California through Las Vegas on a Sunday Afternoon, not realizing perhaps I have NEVER driven to California through Las Vegas on a Sunday afternoon, but then, never would again either.

Most of the trip can be summed up as sleeping in, playing games with family like Michigan Rummy, Shanghai, Shoot the Moon, Pinochle, Super Mario Brothers Wii, Rainbow Six, Age of Empires, Acquire, that's all I can think of, and going to Lake Arrowhead village to shop and browse. Though every night was a struggle to get Morgan to sleep, it was possible and one of the best vacations ever. This was the first family vacation we've gone on with Morgan, and probably the last one at least until he gets a little older. It was such a treat to visit and just be with family, not to rub it in to those that didn't go, but a treat nonetheless. (Maybe rub it in a little.)

Thank you thank you to my dear grandparents for making this possible and basically paying for everything for us, we love you. It was such a treat to be with loving family in the distant mountains and not have to worry about a thing. Good times.

And now back to work.