The assignment: to improve on an existing poster. The poster I found was plastered all over Pine Street, and was solely typographic with some bad typeface choices… So I fixed it (with invaluable input from my friends Kevin Cox, Matt Sowecke, Courtney Comfort and Nevena Stoeva. Sometimes you need a lot of help.)

A friend and classmate, Druscilla Santiago, asked: “Wouldn’t you just love it if that were your job, just designing posters?” Which got Kevin and I talking about how awesome it would be to only REdesign posters. And when I think about it, that’s really one of the reasons we’re all here. We all see these things out in the world and think: I could do that better. And so I’m thankful that our teacher saw fit to let us have the chance.
Super busy right now, and my home computer is on the outs. I don’t know how frequently I can post for the next couple weeks, but I’ll do what I can!

The other day, I was production assistant to my Design School BFF Courtney Comfort. He is interning at Equal Rights Washington, and needed to make a poster for Equality Day, coming up on March 22. (If you pick up a current copy of the Seattle Gay News, you’ll find his half page ad in there, using the same graphic you see here. His first real print ad!)

Naturally he decided to screenprint these. This means: a 3 color run of 60 posters. Which means pulling a squeegee through the thick ink on the screen at least 180 times. During this time, it is necessary to run back and forth bringing wet sheets to the racks to dry, making sure the screen has enough ink on it to pull, etc. I did all that running , etc., not to mention all the prep beforehand. I mixed the inks, which was fun, and prepped the screens. Courtney had the hard jobs: making the film and burning the screens so they would register correctly—and then the printing itself. Registering 3 colors isn’t easy, neither is all that hard work on the hands after designing on a computer all day. You forget how to use your hands. This is why I love this class.

Mixed Inks

Mixed Inks

Final Product!

Final Product!

The posters turned out great, and Courtney’s pulls got better and better as he printed. We were such an efficient team, and it was great fun.

Sometimes I get to help on my own projects! Unfortunately, some of the screens are so long, and I am so short, that it can be hard for me to get a decent pull, which is why I’m glad I have tall friends.

Allerina or Crocodancer

Allerina or Crocodancer

Racquetgull

Racquetgull

Screenprinting is what led me to Graphic Design in the first place; a friend and I taught ourselves from an old Dover title and a kit. I fell in love with printing. From there I learned linocuts, then woodcuts, then monotype, then etching… and then I decided I could do more and applied to SCCA.

Best $15 investment ever.

Bad News for Outlaws

Bad News for Outlaws

Bad News for Outlaws: The Remarkable Life of Bass Reeves, Deputy US Marshal, by Vaunda Micheaux Nelson with illustrations by R. Gregory Christie.

This book is AWESOME. For many reasons. First of all, the content is great. I never heard of Bass Reeves until I was arrested by Christie’s gorgeous illustration of his face on that stark white cover. And what a cover! Look at that badass cover! Pure beauty! I love the interior illustrations as well. R. Gregory Christie, I will be looking at more of your books.

Endsheets are hot.

Endsheets are hot.

Born a slave in 1838, Bass Reeves became “the most feared deputy US marshal that was every heard of.” He was a fast draw, expert marksman, made over 3,000 arrests but killed only 14 people. For the 30 or so years he served, he was the most respected and feared lawman in the territories.

Expert Marksman

The Man Himself

The Man Himself

I love looking through the sections I don’t spend as time with as others, like fiction or picture books, for reasons just like this one. You see something new and are introduced to an historical figure you never heard of before, or a new to you author or illustrator.

In this case, I have to be honest and tell you that this one was on display (and it’s been on display before): it’s Black History Month after all. Maybe you noticed the little sticker on the front of the book? This won the 2010 Coretta Scott King Award. Well deserved, I say.

Where's Waldo?

Where's Waldo?

Ok, yeah. So this exists.I have not shared my intense love of postcard books or postcard collections with you yet. But I’m gonna start now. With this. The brand new Where’s Waldo Postcard Book. I saw it on display when I arrived at work yesterday and got super excited.

The bold type! The rounded corners! LOVE THAT RED!

The cover is, unfortunately, the best part. The insides are a little shiny for my taste…Shiny insidesBut I’m still probably gonna buy it. On a different note, have you tried to find Waldo recently? It is pretty easy now that I’m grown. I always spent forever pouring over those pages when I was a wee one, but now it’s over in a flash. One of the many aspects of growing up.

The End

The End

That’s all for now; I will have to share some more from my postcard book collection some other time.

Against the Odds, by Marjolijn Hof

Against the Odds, by Marjolijn Hof

Against the Odds, by Marjolijn Arsenault, pub. March 2011, Groundwood Books. Review by Anna Minard on The Shelf Life, University Book Store’s excellent blog.

Cover illustration by Isabelle Arsenault.

Nostalgia

From top left: George & Martha: Marshall // Caps for Sale: Slobodkina // Fables: Lobel // Sam, Bangs & Moonshine: Ness // Burt Dow, Deep Water Man: McCloskey // The True Story of the Three Little Pigs by A. Wolf: Sciezska // One Morning in Maine: McCloskey // Each Peach, Pear, Plum: Ahlberg // Chicken Soup with Rice: Sendak // Tim & Charlotte: Ardizzone //A Chair for my Mother: Williams

There’s a lot of text in that caption. And this is certainly not all the books I feel nostalgic about. In fact, my favorite book as a child was an “issue book” about new siblings called “Katy Did” in which a little girl blames all the bad things she did to her little brother (by trying to help out her exhausted mother) on her doll Katy. I’m a middle child; guess that one hit the mark. It’s so out of print and obscure I can’t even find a link. But I didn’t try that hard.
I want to talk about these books. It’s still Valentine’s Day, even though WordPress has already decided it is now February 15th. There are still 44 minutes in this day, and this is my Valentine both to my past and books in general.
George & Martha. I cannot look at these books without thinking of my best friend from elementary school, Ashton E. I don’t know her anymore, but on the yellow school bus of my memory she was a brilliant (no, really, she had a super high IQ), funny, artistic, dislexic, colorful, creative, beautiful, awkward, confident creature and I remember her reading this in 2nd grade or something and I was surprised but I didn’t tell her. We used to take sailing together and we capsized the boat two summers in a row. She wanted hair that was dark and curly on top, straight in the middle, and curly at the bottom.
Caps for Sale. I read this book thinking of my mom, shaking her fist like the peddler did, and then the monkeys after him. Monkey see, monkey do!

Fishy Dinner

Fishy Dinner

Fables. My very favorite collection of Aesop’s fables. For some reason, the illustrations have stayed with me all this time. Particularly this one. Whenever I am reminded of this one, I think of the cat dreaming of his fish dinner with butter, lemon and dill (and then it reminds me of a gluttonous friend of mine who manages to stay trim despite her butter addiction).

Sam, Bangs & Moonshine

Sam, Bangs & Moonshine

Sam, Bangs & Moonshine. In my application for school, I was asked to talk about someone who has influenced my work. Here is an excerpt from my essay. “Recently, I rediscovered a book from my childhood: Sam, Bangs, and Moonshine, by Evaline Ness. I remembered every page. Every line and color was as sharp in my memory as it was on the page. The way she used line—looping, thick-thin lines, intersecting not entirely neatly and almost, but not quite, tangling unintelligibly—the unexpected quality of the print—the accidental splot or absence of ink, the hurried frazzled energy of each overlaying image—these have directly inspired my work.”

  Burt Dow, Deep Water Man

Burt Dow, Deep Water Man

Burt Dow, Deep Water Man. I think of my brothers without a doubt. We loved this book. It’s a sweet story, but it has a craggy old sailor in it. So, obviously, it’s awesome.

  One Morning in Maine

One Morning in Maine

For some reason, I loved the sparkplug more than any other part of this book, and remember this illustration the most. I still don’t know what a sparkplug is.

The others:

Each Peach, Pear, Plum and Chicken Soup with Rice: I can still recite almost the whole thing.

The True Story of the Three Little Pigs: I totally met Jon Sciezska while wearing an octopus costume. I was 24. And when I was eight, I bought this book from a Scholastic book fair in my elementary school’s library.

Tim & Charlotte and A Chair for my Mother: possibly the two sweetest books ever.
All these books are still in print. So the best thing of all I learned from working in a bookstore? My mom has excellent taste in books. But I could have told you that anyway.
Happy Valentine’s Day!

Lemony & Lisa, sitting in a tree.

K-I-S-S-I-N-G

My excellent friend Anna made this awesome display about authors and illustrators who are in love. It reminded me how much I love this book, to the left here. Not the one on the left, but the one on the right in the picture to the left. Who’s on first? Lisa Brown is married to Daniel Handler, AKA: Lemony Snicket. And it’s no surprise. They both have a strange sense of humor. I prefer Brown’s brand over Handler’s. That’s just me.

How to Be, by Lisa Brown is wonderful. It is sweet, funny and has a good message, but it’s not saccharine or stupid. Here’s a closeup, with a chipmunk puppet, as well as some interior shots.CoverInside, it's so pretty!
How to be a BearHow to be a SnakeAnd last but not least (and the advice on this one is like this: take the best aspects of all the animals I just talked about. Be charming like a snake, loyal like a dog, curious like a monkey—playful like a monkey? But most of all? Be yourself.): How to be a Person.How to be a Person