Tag: graphic design

January + February Inspiration

Note: Sometimes the things I include in these posts directly influence something I’m working on; other times I include things that just inspire and motivate me to continue making work.

IMG_9297 Werner Pellis

1. Flower parade featuring floats inspired by Vincent van Gogh in the Netherlands


2. This heartbeat gif

“Envy will eat you alive; cynicism will eat your work alive.”

3. Jerry Saltz’s tips for art students


4. Paintings by Guayasamín


5. Exhibition: Queen by Molly Zuckerman-Hartung and Dana DeGiulio

sewing gif still

6. This sewing gif

Screen Shot 2016-03-04 at 11.37.39 PM

7. Poetry Readings

“One of the hardest things about being chronically ill is that most people find what you’re going through incomprehensible—if they believe you are going through it. In your loneliness, your preoccupation with an enduring new reality, you want to be understood in a way that you can’t be. “Pain is always new to the sufferer, but loses its originality for those around him,” the nineteenth-century French writer Alphonse Daudet observes in his account of living with syphilis, “In the Land of Pain.” “Everyone will get used to it except me.””

8. New Yorker article: What’s Wrong with Me? by Meghan O’Rourke

masters at work

9. Videos of the old masters at work


10. Vintage NASA Posters


11. Isabelle Arsenault and her illustrations for Jane, the Fox, and Me

“I’m not a celebrity, I’m a worker. I’ve always worked. I was working before people read anything about me, and the day they stopped reading about me, I was doing even more work. And the idea that if you’re a mother, you’re not doing anything—it’s the hardest job there is, being a mother or father requires great sacrifice, discipline, selflessness, and to think that we weren’t doing anything while we were raising a son or daughter is appalling. It makes me understand why some human beings question their worth if they’re not making a huge amount of money or aren’t famous, and that’s not right.”

12. Interview with Patti Smith by Alan Light

Links: 1/2/3/4/5/6/7/8/9/10/11/12


Project: Banda Magda T-shirts


I’ve been sitting on this story for several months, but now I can share it with you! So there’s this amazingly talented international group of musicians called Banda Magda. I know of them through my musician brother, Gabriel, and the Music Lab at Jefferson Center in Roanoke, VA. I had the pleasure of seeing them perform live at Jefferson Center in September of 2013 and I felt like I had been transported to another place. It was such a beautiful and entertaining show.

Magda Giannikou, the band’s tireless leader (pianist, accordionist, singer, composer, orchestrator, songwriter, music producer, etc.), is constantly creating and working on new projects. Last year she and her band put out a new crowd-funded album titled Yerakina. During the crowd-funding campaign, she also released a call for illustrators who could help design T-shirts. My brother told her about me and we were soon Skyping and sending messages back and forth talking about goals and ideas. I was a little nervous about the project since I had limited experience in graphic design work, but Magda had faith in me and was very supportive.

I whipped up a couple preliminary sketches based on Magda’s vision and we discussed style, color, and other content. Magda wanted the shirts to be quite bold, but simple and also educational. We decided to create two different shirts and each would feature a different musical instrument (vibraphone and pandeiro).





Once I had the final drawings done, it was time to make them digital and add text. This was the most challenging part of the project. I used Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop and I was learning as I went, which is a great way to learn, but also very time-consuming. I learned how to create a vector and I played around a lot with color and placement. Many changes were made along the way, but the designs were eventually finalized and t-shirts were printed! Now many of the people who helped fund Yerakina own one of these shirts and you can also purchase them online here. The shirts have been traveling around the world as Banda Magda tours.

BM_VibesShirt BM_Vibes_detail BM_PandeiroShirt BM_Pan_detail

Speaking of tours, Banda Magda’s last stop on their most recent tour was Jefferson Center this past Tuesday. I saw them perform again (SO GOOD!), and I also finally met Magda in person. She is so sweet and she exudes creativity and passion. I feel so lucky to have worked with her and seen her perform live. What an amazing experience!!



Banda Magda is working on their third album, Tigre, which will also be crowd-funded. Click here to check it out and consider supporting them! As always, thanks for reading. xoxo

Banda Magda Website
Banda Magda Shop
Tigre Pledge Fund Page


A Brief History of the Blues: Promotional Artwork

Last year, I mentioned that I’ve been working on my graphic design skills. My younger brother is a musician and I made a promotional poster for his holiday show last year. He has another show coming up at the end of May so I made another poster for him. The process was much smoother this time around and I learned lots of new techniques and shortcuts. If you’re a beginner Adobe CS-user, I strongly suggest watching tutorials on YouTube and then trying out things yourself. Watching videos helped me out a whole lot.


If you’re in the Roanoke area and you enjoy great music and food, then you should definitely come to the show. I guarantee you will be impressed and entertained! As always, thanks for reading :]

Gabriel’s Facebook Page
Gabriel’s Website
Event Page


A Whole New World Part IV

student teaching 8_2

This time last year, I was preparing to go back to JMU for my semester of student teaching and I was beyond nervous. At this point, I was really hoping that I would enjoy it and not suddenly discover that this wasn’t something I wanted to do because it took so much work to get here and it was going to take a lot of work to get through it. So yeah, that was kind of my mindset going in. Not the best one, I admit, but it is what it is.

My semester of student teaching consisted of two 8-week placements. My first placement was at a high school about 30 minutes away. Let me just tell you that my high school experience was fine as a teenager, but I was definitely not excited about going back, even as a teacher. I don’t want to make this too long so I’ll attempt to briefly summarize my time there. I co-taught and taught multiple Art I classes, Art II, Art III (which focused on 3D art), and Art IV. I had a great cooperating teacher to work with who was a practicing artist, used all his resources, got the students quality supplies, and was great to talk to about lots of things, including art. The students were great, but often very unmotivated or troubled by things going on outside of school, so that was a challenge. I also unfortunately noticed that at this school, art was overall not considered a necessary part of the curriculum and so the students generally shared that perspective. Finally, it was winter, so there were plenty of snow days which constantly changed my plans. Here is a list of some of the things I learned at this placement:

  1. Don’t assume that all students have basic skills (I had to spend quite a bit of time showing students how to use a ruler, for example)
  2. You have to spend time proving to the students that they are in a safe place where all questions or comments are welcome and everyone is free to speak, even if they don’t have the “right” answer. This is so challenging because a lot of students seem to become paralyzed by the fear of being wrong or made fun of by their peers.
  3. Things usually don’t go as planned so prepare as much as possible. Include a note in your lesson plan for what to do if students finish early and what to do if students don’t finish in time.
  4. Grading is really hard. Some students worked really hard, but their technique was consistently pretty rough. Other students were very talented in art, but did not take the class seriously and often exhibited laziness and a lack of interest.

Being in this classroom was really eye-opening and I thought of a lot of things that I would do differently the second time around in my own classroom. Here are some images from the lessons I taught. Some of the lessons were very successful and some weren’t as great, but they all taught me a lot and I was able to see what worked and what didn’t.






 I could go on about my high school experience, but let’s move on to my second placement. For my second and last placement, I actually went to two elementary schools each week. My cooperating teacher worked at one school Monday-Wednesday and another school Thursday and Friday, and I followed her where she went. She was a big help and so enthusiastic about art and teaching. I was more excited about teaching at an elementary school because I have a better connection with younger kids and it didn’t seem as intimidating.

There was a lot less down time in elementary school because the classes were 30-45 minutes each and often back-to-back. It was definitely a challenge to stay on top of things. It was harder to learn names and observe each student because there were so many of them. I got to repeat my lessons several times, which allowed me to tweak them along the way, but it was also tiresome to repeat lessons that turned out to be just okay. The volume of work produced was much greater, and that gave me a better idea of how effective my teaching was.

In terms of discussion, the elementary students were the opposite of the high schoolers. While it took a lot of effort to get a peep out of the older kids, all hands would go up when I asked a question in the elementary classrooms. The younger students were eager to share their ideas and tell their stories and that was one of my favorite parts about working with them. They were very enthusiastic about their work and weren’t afraid to show it. Again, here are some things I learned during my elementary placement:

  1. Be cautious about providing lesson examples because some students will try to copy it, and we want to encourage them to come up with a new idea.
  2. Come up with some kind of signal to get the students’ attention, especially during lessons that require moving around to different stations.
  3. It’s often a better idea to show students what not to do instead of what they should be doing. For example, demonstrate a sloppy printmaking job so the students know to avoid putting too much ink on their block.

I really enjoyed teaching in an elementary school in spite of a lot of challenges. Here are a few images from some of the lessons I taught:






I came out of student teaching alive, relieved, and ready to teach in my own classroom. The new challenge was to find that classroom, but more on that in the future :] Thanks for reading!

A Whole New World Part I
A Whole New World Part II
A Whole New World Part III


Graphic Design

As an artist living in a culture that relies heavily on technology, I’m realizing more and more that I need some graphic design skills. There is a need for graphic designers in so many fields whether they’re art-related or not. When I interviewed for the teaching job I have now, the man interviewing me said that computer arts skills are basically a requirement for being an art teacher today.

Ever since I was a student at JMU, I’ve been dabbling in graphic design. I took a computer graphics class as a sophomore (or maybe I was a junior…) and I was introduced–key word introduced–to Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, and In-Design. I learned a ton of information, so much that I forgot most of it after a few months because I didn’t use the programs anymore.

In the past year however, I’ve been getting those skills back and then some. My younger brother, a talented musician, has kept himself very busy with his music and is working on an album release and some shows here in Roanoke. I designed his album cover (hopefully I get to share that with you guys soon) and I just designed my first promotional poster for him:


I’ve used Photoshop and Illustrator for both of these projects and the trial and error process is basically how I’m coming to understand them better. It’s a slow process, but the results are rewarding. You can expect some more graphic design projects in the future! Thanks for reading :]


Save Your Stuff!


See this duck? It doesn’t look finished, right? Well this is the only image I have of it and it’s from my cell phone. The real file got lost forever it seems. And I did finish it by the way..

I took a computer graphics class last semester and was introduced to Photoshop, InDesign, and Illustrator. The picture above is from my Illustrator project which initially made me freak out because I just could not figure out how to use the program until one day it just clicked. After that I was on a roll and I was really happy with the final product. Silly me, though, I only saved it on my flashdrive and the file got damaged somehow. My professor was nice enough to not make me do it over again since he already saw it when it was done and also since I’m not a graphics major.

So the point of this short post is to encourage you to always save your stuff in more than one place!! Sometimes old school CDs are more reliable than flashdrives. Whatever you do, just make sure sure to save and save often. Don’t let the above happen to you :[