Archive | June, 2011

Mikey Burton

30 Jun

Mikey Burton is a beard-growing, bear-obsessed graphic designer, illustrator, and letterpress enthusiast based in Philadelphia, PA. His style varies quite a bit; from ultra clean illustrations and crisp type to wonderfully gritty, letterpress pieces.

Mikey has done work for The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Wired Magazine, Arnold Worldwide, House of Blues, MTV2, Comedy Central, and Yahoo just to name a few. His impressive body of work shows how versatile he is and show’s that he can do pretty much everything. An illustrated glass-top table for Facebook’s f8 conference? Sure! Awesome posters for Wilco? No problem. How about an incredibly smart and (I’d think) inexpensive brand identity for a creative and strategic brand studio? Yup.

Mikey recently started a side-project of sorts called Freelance Ain’t Free. Maybe side-project isn’t the correct word. More like mantra, a movement, or a way of life for designers (hell, anyone for that matter).

Oh, and he also likes bears…a lot. He says they are “so cute and lovable, but probably the most dangerous animals ever.” Check out his Beasts of Burton collection. It’s kickass.

friday blinks – 6/24/11

24 Jun

Here is a list of sites I’ve come across throughout the week that I think are worth sharing. I call it friday blinks:

Beasts of Burton: Mikey Burton’s collection of illustrated bears awesome!
(via Mikey Burton/twitter)

Freelance Ain’t Free: Another Mikey Burton production I really want one of these shirts.
(via Mikey Burton/twitter)

Nutmegger Workshop: hand-painted signs by Peter Vogel these are absolutely beautiful.
(via Dana Tanamachi/twitter)

Matt Stevens’ Max100: The Book Project on Kickstarter you should back this!
(via Matt Stevens/twitter)

Woodtype Revival: converting rare historic wood type into digital fonts yes!
(via John Passafiume/twitter)

Father’s Day gift

23 Jun

I started reading An Illustrated Life: Drawing Inspiration from the Private Sketchbooks of Artists, Illustrators and Designers while on vacation last week and got to thinking. My 2-year-old son, Benji, has shown a pretty strong interest in drawing. So much so, he started wanting to draw in my sketchbook. Like any other father who wants his kid to be creative and have a supportive upbringing, I let him draw in my sketchbook, carefully guiding him to draw on the blank pages. I may be partial since Benji is my first-born child, but I was pretty impressed with what he was drawing. Sure some of it looked like your typical 2-year old kid scribbles all over the page, but his happy faces, spiders, and bananas/hot dogs are pretty convincing. I’m fairly certain that his face-drawing skills are strongly influenced by the Mii Channel on the Wii, which he calls “Guys.”

So, a few days before Father’s Day, I decided I wanted to buy Benji a sketchbook of his own. This would be a gift from me to him, which in turn, would be a gift to me. I love watching him learn, grow, and try new things. Why not give him something to help him draw, create, and dream? Plus, I thought it would be great for me and my wife to look back at his drawings and see how much he has changed through his sketches. I hope that he continues to draw and sketch so we can have a little library of his sketchbooks starting at 2 years old. I also wanted to draw with him so it was force me to sketch more often. Now, I have to say, I’m not pushing any of this on him. If that ever changes, I will not force Benji to draw in it, but will always encourage him to keep doing something to challenge himself and keep his mind sharp.

The sketchbook is a standard 8.5″ x 11″ black, hard-bound blank-paged book. I put a label on it with his name so it wouldn’t get mixed up with my completed sketchbooks and told him that this is his special book that he can do whatever he want’s with it. Above are some of his sketches; the top was done before he got the book, and the second one was done today. After I ask him if he’s done with the page, I asked him what he drew so I can note it on the side of the page along with the date.

I plan on keeping a digital record of his sketchbook, to share his progress. I’ll set up a set in flickr and be sure to update this posting with the link.

I wonder if anyone else has done this, and documented it. If you or anyone else has done this, please share!

Vacation Blinks 6/13-17/11

14 Jun

I’m taking a much-needed break and am on vacation for the week of June 13 through the 17. See you next week, internets.

friday blinks – 6/10/11

10 Jun

Here is a list of sites I’ve come across throughout the week that I think are worth sharing. I call it friday blinks:

Cheers!: Here’s to you, Dad, Cartoon dads as beers prints by Moxy Creative House
(via The Creative Finder/twitter)

Designers Ross Brugink and Jessica Keintz’s wedding website
(via Lost Type Co-op/twitter)

Bacon Ipsum Generator
Under Consideration/twitter)

Always With Honor’s new site
(via Richard Perez/twitter)

Mid-Century Modern Typefaces Identified blog by Mark Weaver
Mark Weaver/twitter)

Jacqui Oakley

9 Jun

Jacqui Oakley is a Toronto, Canada-based illustrator who’s style is incredibly beautiful and colorful. She specializes in hand-lettering and portraiture and has a thing for patterns and textures. Her work has a wonderful personality and is quite unique and makes my eyes feel like they are on vacation on a tropical island. A lot of illustrators have moved on to using the computer almost exclusively, but not Jacqui. She says she “typically inks her work and paints with good old-fashioned oil or acrylic and elbow grease.” She does admit to occasionally doing the color (or colour) work digitally.

Jacqui recently worked with the designers from Poly for the album art for an Ontario-based band Two Crown King. The center piece of the album art is an absolutely stunning long-maned lion. Just. Plain. Amazing.

See more of Jacqui’s work on dribbble. Thanks for the inspiration!

(via Evan Stremke/twitter)

Are all creative people their own worst enemies?

7 Jun

I was talking with a good friend of mine (Greg Keysar, MD-based photographer) last night over IM and he was considering sending a set of photos he had recently taken (parents-to-be on a sailboat) to a few local sailing and parenting magazines (see full set here). Greg is always looking to try new things and push the boundaries with his photography, and really enjoyed himself on the sailboat, so naturally he’d like to expand his portfolio and score some more photo gigs. He is super talented (pretty much a self-taught photographer, excellent fabricator, and general problem solver), but in this case, it seems that he was doubting his abilities. I told him to go for it. The least they could say would be to tell him no. And that’s what stuck with me. The fear of rejection.



For me, rejection is sometimes devastating, but other times it makes me want to go out and prove to the world (and myself) that I can do it and kick ass at it, too. The “it” in this equation may be a side business or an illustration for your website or a self-initiated project that’s been in your sketchbook for over a year.

Maybe rejection isn’t the right word. It could be fear of doing poorly, or not doing your best work. We are all our worst enemies and critics. To me, I think I hold myself back more than anyone else would or could. Self-loathing and depression comes along with the creative territory. It seems like creative people are somewhat manic. There are times where I feel like I can’t create a single good piece and feel like I am drowning in a sea of suck. Other times, I feel like I’m on a roll and keep hitting it out of the park. It’s a vicious cycle, but we all seem to dig ourselves out of the rut and keep on keepin’ on.

Do you feel like you are your worst enemy? How do you work through it? What keeps you going?

friday blinks – 6/3/11

3 Jun

Here is a list of sites I’ve come across throughout the week that I think are worth sharing. I’m calling it friday blinks:

Ready, Set, Make! shredded paper type
(via Dan Cassaro/twitter)

An Object of Beauty by Steven Martin, designed by Darren Booth
(via Darren Booth/twitter)

Dodge Ram Letterpress Commercial and the behind the scenes of the commercial
(via Mark Weaver/twitter)

Lorraine G. Vale branding by Fuzzco
(via Brandon Oxendine/twitter)

Firebelly University: the real world alternative to an MBA
(via Mig Reyes/twitter)

Tymn Armstrong

2 Jun

Tymn Armstrong is a graphic designer, illustrator, art director, copywriter, and typographer, but he prefers to simply be called “a designer.” He has recently been hired by San Francisco-based Space Dog Books as an art director and designer, handling their in-house branding and book design. It seems that Space Dog’s books would be a must-have for any parent with young children. I might have to pick up an iPad after all.

Tymn’s style is illustration-heavy which can make an orthodontist look cool or help many businesses represent themselves in a very smart way. Not only are the marks he designs solid, there is tons of thought behind them. You can tell Tymn does lots of research and thinking in the concepting process. I also love the fact that he shares select pages from his sketchbook.

Congrats on the new job and thanks for the inspiration, Tymn!

(via Jon Ashcroft/twitter)