Sheep, Pig and Rabbit reunited

Sheep and Pig have finally returned home to rejoin Rabbit in an emotional reunion last weekend. The three papier maché animals, along with a life-sized llama, made Heifer International newsletter headlines when they helped raise $3,000 for that most worthy cause a few years ago. Last weekend we retrieved them from storage at my church.

Sheep and Pig join Rabbit at home!

Poor Llama had to be put down, because of two broken legs. I blame her creator (me) for this, because she did not know what she was doing when she dove into all this papier maché making. Pictures documenting the creation of these animals, plus some shots of those who collaborated with me in the making, are here.

Llama, we will miss you. We'll see you under that paper moon on the other side of the cardboard sea.
Llama, we will miss you. We’ll see you under that paper moon on the other side of the cardboard sea.

Now that my studio has definitely taken on an Orwellian character, I’m thinking about adding a couple more characters to my Animal Farm collection (now that I know better how to build a supporting frame for the papier maché). I’d like to add a chicken or two and a cow, and would really like to build a Percheron, but because of spatial limitations, might have to settle for a Shetland pony, or perhaps even a Przewalski’s horse. Then maybe we could stage a Rebellion of our own!

Teeing off: jumpstart T-shirt design

I don’t fancy myself as a great designer of T-shirts, however, inevitably during the course of one’s artistic career, one is asked to design a T-shirt. (I’ve also designed and airbrushed a couple surfboards – once, just once, a long time ago. Since then I’ve learned to say “no” to projects like that, even though they DID turn out pretty cool.) So here are a couple of simple hints to help the T-shirt designer noob on her way.

Find an adorable picture (this one is of my granddaughter Charlotte “Lottie”– you can’t have her).
Make a line drawing – lines show up well on T-shirts. Embellish.
Add color. For digital printing (4-color cmyk) on white garments, something like this should work. If you are screen printing on dark colors, you’ll need to identify one or two Pantone spot colors you want to use.

If anyone wants to know the difference between CMYK and spot color printing processes, please let me know! Otherwise, check out my store for my new products featuring this illustration!

No dot-comment on site backup info

Noob alert! Just found out yesterday after agonizing over it for a day and a half that I do NOT have to back up my website, as it is fully hosted by WordPress and they take care of all that. It’s only if and when I decide to venture into “self-hosting”, that I need to worry about installing plugins like Transmit or VaultPress. This is all clearly stated on WordPress’ Support page here, however it took me awhile to find it. Here you will also learn the difference between (they back it up) and (you back it up), which has nothing to do whether one is a non-profit or not.

I’m glad I finally know this now, and as I am exceedingly pleased with WordPress so far, if anyone asks if I have any complaints about how hard it was to locate this information, I’ll simply say “No .comment.”

In honor of all that is technical and takes some work to understand, I dedicate today’s doodle.


Humus erectus: Mulch Man

Missing link found in my back yard!


Looks mean and creepy, but he’s the champion and caretaker of all green living things, and very warm at heart. In future posts, I’ll bring him to life in an animation.

If you remember my earlier post, which could have been more aptly titled “Mulch Ado About Nothing”, I featured a monstrous but benign mulch pile. This is an example of what could happen if you leave a mulch pile lying there long enough. Evolution!

Kitty mind control illustration

I looked down from my desk the other morning to see this:


Now I know that she is lying next to me because she likes to be with me, but when she is staring at me like that it means she expects something, and if I choose to disregard the thoughts she is beaming telepathically at me and reach down to pet her, she will grab my hand, hold it and bite it while scratching me with her back legs, then jump up and run down the stairs and demand to be let outside, which is what she was expecting of me, pre-attack.


I did test this out, always hoping that someday she will learn gratitude and not bite the hand that feeds her, reaching down to pet her and sure enough, she grabbed my hand, bit and scratched me then ran down the stairs. This time, however, I was not seriously wounded – just washed my hand and I was fine.

This morning I did an illustration using that grainy closeup of her staring eyes as a start. Took about three hours, with interruptions.


Here’s what my Photoshop workspace looked like:


Graphic design is like gardening, sort of…

One can never have enough mulch.
One can never have enough mulch.

Comparing gardening to graphic design makes for a flimsy metaphor, but an analogy can be drawn from the “outgrowth” of each, so to speak.

I hate gardening. Pulling weeds, mowing, sweating a lot, hauling mulch around – not really my thing, but my husband and I do it (with occasional weekend help from visiting offspring), mainly because it’s our first line of defense against the beautiful but encroaching wilderness that surrounds our house. Choosing plants and planting them is not so bad, but the plants must have a good attitude. I do not tolerate plants that must be pampered to survive. (My husband has a greenhouse for his pet palm trees and cactus that he hauls in and out seasonally.) But as far as I’m concerned, you, plant, make it through the pests, the deer, plant diseases, the droughts, the heavy rains, and the freezes, or you are out of here.

I love graphic design. I learn something new everyday when I’m tooling around in Photoshop and InDesign. I enjoy the positive reactions of people when everything falls into place and looks good. Graphic design is relatively easy to accomplish compared to gardening, so really the analogy could start here: once it is DONE – everything mowed and orderly and blooming, attracting hummingbirds and butterflies and honeybees, I’m feeling all is well with my world.

Okay, butterflies, bring it!
Okay, butterflies, bring it!

Doodle – lines of thought

The best doodles are idly performed, without forethought or sense of purpose or meaning. But after a doodle is “done”, that is, when you’ve put the drawing tool down and moved on to more lucrative pursuits, the doodle might take on a meaning of it’s own. So, just curious, does today’s doodle communicate anything to you?

Downunder doodle