Daily Kanji 2018

In 2017, through an unexpected and somewhat circuitous series of events, I was inspired to dive back into studying Japanese. As part of my studying process, I started writing one kanji per day in my Hobonichi Techo daily planner, and a few associated words, like a daily flash card. This method worked super well, but I decided I'd rather leave my planner for planning, and migrate this somewhere I would have more room. This little weekly planner (also from Hobonichi) was the perfect solution - pocket sized, vertical, laid out in a grid, room for notes. I had my friend make me a little program that would randomly generate one kanji per day from the JLPT level lists (this year mostly encompasses N3!).

I write each one (practicing proper proportion and stroke order, of course!) in brush pen, fountain pen, and ballpoint in three different sizes, and then go through the "Words containing [kanji]" list on Jisho.org to get a sense of the readings in context. And unlike a whole lot of other things I've told myself I'd practice daily, this one stuck. I wrote a kanji and learned some vocabulary for each day of 2018, and so far I'm going strong in 2019 too!

Check out the video flip through of my full year of kanji below:


Winter Soldier

Trying to draw more/improve my likenesses... so expect a lot of my faves from the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Somehow Bucky Barnes has become one of my favorite characters from anything ever? (It might have at least a little bit to do with his insanely good & evocative theme music.)


Geography Lesson

My explanation for where my hometown is, refined some point during my freshman year at Penn State:

"I'm from the Shore, but like, not Seaside Heights... No, it's like on the complete other end of the Shore from Ocean City. Do you know Asbury Park, you know like the - yeah, like the Bruce Springsteen album. Yeah, I'm like the town right next to there. Right between Long Branch and Asbury Park."


Excuse the mess….

Posts may be appearing and backdating sporadically with or without images - changing website formats (from Squarespace to WordPress) is not as quick and seamless a process as I'd hoped for.


DesignLab: Branding – Identifying a Brand

Unit 1 of this course was all about the basic concepts of a "brand". Most of it was things I was already familiar with, being a graphic designer by profession, but I found the project for the unit to be a lot of fun: creating a moodboard for a brand of our choice. The project brief was thus:

Let's consider the multi-faceted nature of brand design by thinking about a brand familiar to us. Pick a brand — any big brand you might have access to right now: Safeway, Starbucks, a car dealer, Wholefoods, Trader Joe’s, etc. Doing a little research online is fine, but it's best to go out into the world and look, hear, taste, or touch representations of the brand.

Only a few weeks removed from the 2016 Stanley Cup Finals at the time, I decided to go in a slightly different direction from the consumer-focused brand examples and chose to explore the brand of my beloved San Jose Sharks. I had a lot of fun delving into their brand and the things that make the Sharks organization so unique.

Process Notes: Initially I was focused on the actual design aspects of the brand (and spent a lot of time trying to hunt down the standards with no luck, ha!), but as I was assembling it, it felt important to incorporate more of the "community" focus of this underdog team and its fans.



Recipe Cards for Alex & Alex

Two of my friends and all-around favorite people, Alex (W.) and Alex (B.) got engaged in July, and threw a lovely engagement party at the end of August. As they were planning their celebration, they asked if I would design them a set of recipe cards to send to all their guests, to fill out with a favorite recipe and return at the party along with a dish to share potluck-style (or through mail, if they couldn't be there in person). In their words,

"Food is a language that transcends time zones an generations and cultures. It brings people together. We want to bring you and your traditions with us as we continue to build our kitchen and our home."

I was so happy to oblige them! The version for the engagement party has a space for guests to write in their names, so they will always know right away who shared that recipe with them; I also designed an alternate version, that simply say "From the kitchen of Alex & Alex" so they can save and share their own favorite recipes for many years to come.


Data Visualization in Processing

So, I've had a Skillshare membership for approximately 1000 years now, and enrolled in a number of classes there. But trying to find a lot of time for both watching videos, practicing, and creating projects has rather eluded me until this week. I found Nicholas Felton's Data Visualization: Designing Maps with Processing and Illustrator course, and immediately I was hooked.

Which makes no sense, considering it's got !!!PROGRAMMING!!!!! - my old nemesis.

But on the other hand.....it also has maps, the objects of my greatest visually-inclined-geography-nerd love. So I figure that's the key.

And really, the programming? Not so bad! The Processing syntax is pretty familiar and very approachable, with the Javascript and Python dabbling I've done in the past, and Nicholas explains everything in a way that makes sense, is easy to follow, and easy to replicate. And processing.org has tons of easy to use (and understand) resources.


Course Project - Mapping Meteorite Strikes by Mass

Processing seems like a really awesome, powerful tool. My execution maybe needs more refinement, but I'm excited to jump in and practice with more maps, and puzzle out how to make even more kinds of graphs and charts, to really round out my infographic makin' skills.


American Pharoah


Part of a larger illustration for a poster that's in progress and also AWESOME. Had to share because I'm completely jazzed about how he's come out - stay tuned for the rest soon.

(Watermarked on the off chance my pony drawin' turns up on google images and someone decides it's worth using in their article or blog post or whatever - figure it could be one the tribulations of being/drawing a Triple Crown winner)


Avengers – WIP

Some practice with digital painting and trying to solidify more identifiable, accurate portraiture. Skipping around a little bit between them (story of my life) but just working on more painterly rendering in Photoshop - Kyle T. Webster's amazing brushes are a big help. Of course I still have 3+ more Avengers to go after my 3 favorites here...