Category Archives: Illustration

$5 logo from Von Glitschka

Once upon a time, this very popular illustrator/designer named Von Glitschka created a website to sell logos for $5. The kicker is that he would only spend 5 minutes on each one and there would be no revisions allowed. It was done out of frustration from what he calls ‘cheap a** clients’.

However, for fans of his, this is a great way to have a cheap piece of ‘art’ from the man himself. After some conversations about his $5 logo website with Jamie Carroll, we came to the conclusion that it was pretty genius.

And.. what do you know? I got one for my birthday, from Jamie.

For an undetermined amount of time, this $5 logo has replaced my prior logo on my personal website/blog (desktop version of the website/blog only).

This is the coolest project I’ve worked on in a while. It’s a poster to advertise the annual Jazz Festival at Mineral Area College, where my Creative Improv counter-part, Michael Goldsmith teaches music and leads the jazz ensemble.

Why did I love this project? I could combine my love for jazz music, art and design and create something that really embodied jazz.

A bit about my design process

I spent hours sketching Delfeayo and coming up with a really loose sketch that could be incorporated into the poster. I was try to re-live this style. After much tweaking, layering and coloring it just didn’t have the right feel. Failure… but that’s OK – because it made me think about other ways to bring the ‘hand-drawn’ feel to the poster. I decided to the make the text and background elements all have a hand-drawn feel and leave the photo pretty much as is.

The above sketches were all drawn with marker on tracing paper, then scanned and layered in Photoshop to create the final, colored illustration.

Inspired by the hand-drawn feel above, I took some of my own watercolor textures and layered them in the background and over the left side of the suit jacket (subtle, eh?). Then I added some hand-drawn typefaces in various angles. I wanted it to have a bit of a haphazard, hand-created, imperfect feel.

I have to admit – I had a lot of fun creating this image. It started out in the studio with fellow designer, Jamie Carroll – using his new grid and seamless background to create the nice vignette and shaped light on the background. Then I tweaked it a bit in RAW and dropped it in Photoshop. From there, I grabbed a few of the smoke photos I took previously and screened them back and masked them to fit the image perfectly. Now if only I could get rid of those 4 awful sensor spots that I have to keep cloning out in all my images. (don’t mind the watermarks – just a preventative measure after some images were used without permission in the past)

Michael and I at just recently completed a project for and This project was inspired by Jamie Varon and her popular website Jamie gained publicity from CNN, Fortune Magazine and many others for her straightforward approach to finding a job. I first found out about her by Dr. Grow, an education professor at Truman State and our client for this project. I’m now friends with Jamie on Facebook and Twitter and she thought it was cool that she inspired this project. She now runs her own design business, Shatterboxx Media and is living in Italy (LUCKY!).

Three years ago I was introduced to Gecko Math (which is a Korean math curriculum that is being translated into English). At that time, I illustrated the gecko and designed the logo and original website. I worked with a great programmer, Ryan Herriman to complete

Recently, Creative Improv was approached to extend their brand and directly market gecKo mathematics to publishers. The end result was, seen below.
New Website!

gecko logo

original gecko math website
Original Gecko Mathematics website


In Costa Rica, I took this photo of the sunset one evening.


I did the watercolor on cold press illustration board and then drew the pier separately with pen/ink. I then scanned both images in and composed them in Photoshop.


I kinda like the black and white version more than the color.


blackcat billboard idea #5
I tried getting the cat to look like it was ripping through the billboard. I spent 30 minutes playing with placement of the cat over the rip. It just wasn’t looking right… then I realized that the cat tail needed to go because it was ‘flattening out’ the depth of field.  Thoughts on this one? Does the background type/texture need to be more latent? I was careful not to overlap type on type and not have anything behind the large type.



blackcat billboard idea #6
For this one I tried using the same concept but simplifying it. So there is still a texture, cat, ripped paper but they are used differently. Also the leading of ‘Blackcat County’ is tighter here with the ‘t’ of ‘Country’ connecting with the ‘c’ of ‘Blackcat’. The previous one has more generous leading. Should the type/texture be even more latent? I’m just not sure how noticeable the texture will be from the road.

I invite everyone’s critique and thoughts – even if you’re not a designer.

I’m currently working on designing a billboard for fredericktown school district – it’s a project meadow heights church is doing for the school. First I had to re-illustrate the low resolution blackcat that I was provided with. There’s gotta be a high-res version floating around somewhere – now I have my own – and it only took 12 hours to recreate.

Vector Blackcat – gotta love the pen tool and wacom tablet


One idea for the billboard


Variation of the last idea


Totally different idea – it already feels dated to me – almost like a late 80’s, early 90’s school t-shirt or something.

Anyone have some ideas for background textures/elements and or other ideas that could help these designs? I’m open to anything!

I would never have guessed that of all places, Fredericktown, MO would be home to a really awesome illustrator like Tim at Unique Ink.

Michael Goldsmith and I teamed up to create a truly ‘unique’ website for Unique Ink. They offer screen printing/poster design/vinyl lettering and a bunch of other stuff. His artistic style is really hip. It’s hard to put my finger on something that it reminds me of, but it’s sort of retro, detailed, flat colors & monochromatic.

The cool thing is that Tim designed the website and handed it over to us to turn into a website. His website design is very fresh and ‘never been done before’ because he doesn’t bring to the table past website design experience (like I do). I think that’s what I like about it most… that he designed it… and Michael and I just helped to make his design a functional website, while adding our own touch of detail, accessibility & functionality.

Michael & I have started Creative Improv, a print/web design firm, a few months ago. For a sneak peak at our mantra, check out We will be launching the full website very soon – get ready.

Oh yeah, and I’m starting my new job at A.T. Still University as web developer on January 5th.  It should be an exiting two months!

The best is yet to come.

I had my senior Visual Communication show on Monday, and it would seem like I have nothing to do. Though, I’ve been working on some freelance work in the past two days. I got some logo sketches done for Putnam County Partners in Prevention and a theme/logo for the MH Film Festival. Check ’em out.

This coalition is a drug abuse prevention program that just started. I will be designing a website, brochure and large banner for them. It all starts with the logo.

Meadow Heights – or maybe just Michael 🙂 had a very focused idea of what they wanted. It makes it easy to design when they have a style and approach in mind. I did go out of my comfort zone to do this. I usually don’t do such illustrative work. Mini-site for this coming soon.

I have heard many people in my design class say at one time or another that they are Illustrator experts but they can’t even use Photoshop.

I am the total opposite.

I can do almost anything in Photoshop, even use the Pen tool like it’s used in Illustrator. I just have never needed Illustrator to do my design. I haven’t needed it, but that doesn’t mean I couldn’t have used it to make things easier or to create something in vector rather than raster. So today, a day after receiving an email from a design firm that I want to work for this Summer, I set out to illustrate a guitar using Adobe Illustrator. The email I received inquired about my illustration skills. I know the concept of Illustrator, even the pen tool is easy to me, but actually creating things in Illustrator is something I’ve never done.

My freshman year we had to do a tutorial and create robo waitress in Illustrator, this thing was the demise of almost everyone. We were then threatened to have to airbrush this same image… If you’ve ever used an airbrush, (a real one, not a paintbrush in photoshop), you know how crazy this would be to do. So, I guess I found this tutorial unhelpful, since it told you exactly what to do and how to do it.

This is a side-by-side of the guitar I made tonight. It was a 3 hour job. I used the Gradient Mesh tool. for the body of the guitar and just other basic shapes.