Saturday, November 28, 2015

The moon, the sun, and so forth

For the theme "lunar cycles," I made a representation of how the lunar cycle matches up with the sun. Specifically, I realized I wasn't clear on what cycle determined whether you could see the moon during the day or night. So, I looked it up! The answer being: at the full moon, it rises at sunset, and rises later each day, until at the new moon it's rising at sunrise. So I tried to capture this:

lunar cycle over time

The gray half-circles indicate when the moon is up, and the yellow/orange represent when the sun is up. The small light blue half-circles are for the high tides. I tried to balance being representational with being abstract enough to be a usable stripe/dot. It came in the bottom half of entries.

I knew there would be a lot of designs that had all the phases laid out in a row like I did, but I stuck with it anyway. My favorite in that vein was this one, plus this one that put them in a circle. Others I liked were the ones that looked like a quilt, sort of Scandinavian, or retro and sketchy.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Fitness and health

For the theme of "fitness," I was still thinking about the various glyphs and symbols I worked with last week, and wanted to do some basic icons related to fitness. I have a very young baby (almost 7 weeks!) so I'm not able to think much beyond the essential functions for life. So I came up with some very straightforward advice on health: get enough sleep, get some exercise, eat a balanced diet, and drink plenty of water. I made little "icons" for each of these.

basic advice for health

For the colors, I used the "Doctor" colors from the synergy project, which I hadn't used yet. This entry came in very near the bottom of the contest. My favorite was this nice usage of running shoe treads.

Monday, November 9, 2015

The yearly calendar

Every year Spoonflower does a contest to put next year's calendar in a fat quarter-sized design, such that it can be used as a tea towel - you can see my previous entries here. This year, I was initially going to go with something generic that people like to have in their kitchens. Uhh, lavender flowers! And let's add fleur-de-lis and go for a French theme. But when I started trying to make the basic layout of all the numbers, it seemed kind of dumb and pointless. Back to the drawing board.

I had been laying it out in a diagonal checkerboard pattern, so I stuck with that. Then I had the thought to fill the background of each of the diamonds I was going to put a month in with just a large initial for the month. But, starting with "J", that seemed like it left too much empty space, so then I did the three-letter abbreviations instead, trying to stack them together like Mayan glyphs.

The Mayan connection reminded me of the ancient Egyptian colors I used before, so I used those. I made a polka dot background - instead of just circles, it's X's, stars, hexagons, and bursts, which you can see better here. I'm actually really happy with how that came out - it's one of the few designs I've made that came out exactly like I envisioned it.

In any case, the calendar came together like so:

Glyph Calendar 2016

It didn't go anywhere in the contest, but two people bought it. My favorite was this one.

Monday, November 2, 2015

After the apocalypse

This week's contest was another one for a toile, but with a "post-apocalyptic" theme. I went right for the "only the cockroaches will be left" approach, and drew some giant, irradiated cockroaches wandering around in overgrown ruins. I tried somewhat to emulate the style of Tom Gauld as a guide to conveying atmosphere without a ton of detail.

giant roaches among the ruins

For the colors, I used a subset of the ones from my sandcastle entry, since I thought it had a bit of an eerie feeling. This came in near the bottom of the results. My favorite entries were this cartoony one that depicts life after an alien takeover and this sketchy, nearly-abandoned cityscape..

Friday, October 23, 2015

A tasty bacteria

For the "micro-organisms" theme, I went with depicting the bacteria that makes yogurt possible: lactobacillus. In photo micrographs, it has a pretty basic cylindrical shape with rounded ends - like a pill capsule. I went for that look, and used the colors from the "spring" set.

lactobacillus makes yogurt

I think this is pretty fun, and could even be mistaken for sprinkles. This came right smack dab in the middle of the results. My favorites were this very geometric one and this one with some interesting textures.

Thursday, October 22, 2015


For the cephalopod theme, I drew some squid egg casings, which are weird and interesting but simultaneously cute. Here are some of the reference images I used: 123.

I used these colors:

Color by COLOURlovers

And here's the result:

squid egg cases

The background texture is my good ol' kelp again, and the texture on the branches the cases are attached to is a basketweave. My favorites were the tentacle stripe, this very cutesy design, and this more grown-up take.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Pop art cookies

We had yet another "pop art" theme, this time for cookies instead of chickens. I stuck with Murakami as my inspiration again but went with his flowers this time.

I used these colors:

Color by COLOURlovers

So it came together like this:

superflat cookies

The gray background is supposed to make it look like they're still on a cookie tray. I think I have improved my technique a little and they look more like iced sugar cookies than my previous attempt.

I was surprised at how many macaroon entries there were. That actually included my favorite (which was the ultimate winner).