Last month I met Edward Zeidan, owner of an award winning computer support/maintenance business in Lafayette, California called Nerd 4 Rent.  He asked me to create a series of promotional post cards that will be mailed to customers.  I drew a few concept drawings, and the Nerd Bucks, concept seemed to appeal the most.  Here is the concept drawing that was selected for the next phase of production:

I used Flash Professional 8 to import the concept illustration.  Then, in a separate layer, I started tracing over it using a combination of tools that the program offers.  Creating a circle, then going into vector mode, I was able to stretch, pull and position control points and handles of the bezier curves.  All of the lines were created with bezier curves (vector based shapes that are resolution independent).  I wanted the lines to be uniform and geometrically well proportioned.  It took a few hours to get the lines in the right place.  The Nerd 4 Rent logo that was provided for me from the company has an illustration of a spinner hat in it.  When deciding what colors to use for the post card, I had to take the colors used in the spinner hat into consideration for all the colors to be consistent.  I have noticed that in a lot of commercials on television, companies use consistent colors and fonts to advertise their products, so It seemed like it would make good design sense to use consistent colors in the drawing for this project.  Here is what the final product for Nerd Bucks looks like:

Edward was pleased with this product, and I am looking forward to working with him on more design projects like this.
Another graphic design project I recently finished was a post card for John Palm, an employee that works for California Cooking (CCK).  California Cooking is a restaurant supply company that rents, services and sells ice machines and other restaurant supplies.  After John and I discussed the concept for the post card, I got started on it using Flash Professional 8.  I like this program, because the Graphic User Interface (GUI) is easy to use.  It is similar to Photoshop in that it has a tool bar with familiar icons to represent similar tools.  I also like how different tool bars for things like color mixing are easily found from the drop down menus at the top of the program window. The only thing that I think would improve Flash is if the action script GUI could be more intuitive for non programmers to use.  Here is the first draft of the post card I created for CCK:

The illustration depicts a chef that is upset about his broken ice machine.  It was John's idea to give the ice machine a personality, making the post card a funny keepsake that customers will hang on the wall of their office or break room.  There were several employees of CCK that saw this drawing and they all had different ideas about possible revisions that they wanted to see in the finished product.  I got all of their suggested revisions, and made some suggestions of my own. Once the revisions were approved by John, I started revising this vector drawing to the finished product below:

You see the yellow background, the detail on the ice machine, and the changes in the text.  These are all changes that were discussed and agreed on, but at the last minute, I decided to add the tongue drooling water from it's mouth.  The team loved this post card, and it would be great to work on more projects like this in the future.

This month is going to be a busy month for me.  I have caricature gigs lined up every weekend, and my art coach has me doing some very helpful exercises.  I'll be painting for 15 minutes every day as part of my continued exploration of  process, not product.  It is the process that becomes the product, so in order to obtain it, I have to let go of what I want my craft to be, and just put the paint on the canvas and allow things to evolve one step at a time.
Here are some of my process paintings that I have done this week:

As I painted, I thought about light effects on a lemon that I saw while eating dinner earlier that day.  I also thought about the philosophical concepts of the Yin and the Yang.  The light makes the lemons mostly dark, but deep within, the light shines through.  In the center we see the round shapes that are opposites on each side.  This painting is about feelings, and how nothing is ever all one thing, but a complex collection of feelings; thoughts and ideas.  While people in politics  speak their views as representatives of one singular belief, they must explore other beliefs in order for them to be prepared to win a debate against their opponents.  On an psychological level, there are things that make us sad and things that make us happy.  No matter how happy I am, there will always be a part of me that will encompass every other emotion.  Vice-verse, when I feel sad, thoughts that are negative repeat in my head, but deep underneath those thoughts is a different self with positive thoughts that manifest emotions of happiness. 

This is a water color painting of some characters from X-Files; a television show about FBI agents who search for evidence of the super natural.  The colors of skin can be very complex, because it is translucent.  Light passes through it more in some areas than others. As it wrinkles and bends blood flows this way an that.  A combination of yellow, red, brown and sometimes blue is used to pick up all the little details of skin.

This one is based on a photo of my wife when she was a little girl.  I explored my process by mixing different colors, and seeing how they blend to get different results.  I like the way the man on the left's nose is indicated using darker shades of yellow around it.  I like the way I can subtly show little details of people's faces with color.  This can be very difficult to do at first, but with experience I have learned that the more contrast there is between light and dark areas, the more information about what I want to see can be indicated.