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3, 2010 - Creative
web design challenge
I've accepted a proposal
to test a creative web design software now in development.
It purports to give the designer much more freedom in constructing
a page without templates or parameters that frustrate fee-form designers.
may begin by redesigning Citizen
Artiste, my site for political art, or make a portfolio for
my older hand-drawn, painted, and collaged art that gets short shrift
since I have focused on digital art in recent years. I am jazzed!
29 , 2010 - Illustration
I enjoy exploring
this site that challenges artists to illustrate a particular theme
that changes weeklyjust for fun. I think of the creative rush
I felt in art school, but without being concerned about grades or
portfolios. I haven't participated yet, but plan towhen I can
forget I ought to be doing profitable work. Illustration
March 20 , 2010 - Paper
by these artists' mastery of a medium usually considered 2-dimensional.
Joisel creates magical and mythical figures.
Chan (left) makes incredible origami insects.
Christopher makes intricate costumed characters.
her love of papercraft and typography in this beautiful piece, left.
Many years ago in
art school, I was required to take basic typography classes. But as
an Illustration major, I considered typography to be tedious, in the
realm of graphic design.
I learned to love and
use type after many occasions when a graphic designer would add
type to an illustration of mine in a way I disliked. Thanks to digital
technology typography and graphic design is no longer tedious, but
More neighborhood photography
attracted to the textures of weathered wood fences and urban walls
as I walk the neighborhood, camera in hand.
plan to make these into web wallpaper, or frames for other photos.
4, 2010 - Dr.
local elementary school hosts an annual Dr. Seuss reading day for
neighbors, which I participated in, whimsically attired. The first-graders
(above) were very excited to see someone new wearing a funny outfit,
and begged to be allowed to read. The older children were polite and
appreciative. More fun pictures on my Flickr
set: Seuss Day at school (opens a new page).
1, 2010 -
working on a logo and other graphics for a candidate for Washington
State legislature. The client wanted a lighthouse and tree to symbolize
the district, which has most of Seattle's Puget Sound waterfront,
a large island, and two lighthouses.
logo has to be altered in a subtle way for different usages; for
instance, a small round button (left) is going to be different than
a yard sign, to fit the format. Similarly a web graphic, because
of the low resolution of the screen, is somewhat simplified compared
to images meant for print. For instance, I generally avoid italics
in small screen text. A vertical text appears sharper.
typical non-professional has trouble understanding the difference
between a 5-inch web graphic and a 5-inch print graphic. At the
same width, a quality print graphic is 5 or 10 times the file size,
because it contains many more pixels and therefore detail. The difference
is obvious if the printed images are compared: fuzzy edges vs. sharp
came across this delightful swinging hobby horse in my own neighborhood,
hanging from a tree.
looks like it's made from a single old tire or inner tube, cleverly
Center, just south of Seattle, has a monthly ArtWalk hosted by area
merchants and artists.
I tried out my new camera, a Canon PowerShot G11. Below, the popular
Full Tilt Ice Cream Parlor had an interesting if bizarre exhibit.
But the small child staring at the camera makes the composition, I
feel. More photos: White
Center February 2010 ArtWalk.
10 , 2010 - Neighborhood
in my series of eccentric White Center signs
made by people whose first language isn't English. Funny
how the letters in NAILS are rigidly straight-edged, but the writer
went free-form with the S. The rest of the text is oddly mixed cases,
sizes and spacing. Feeling the sign needed a prettier touch, I suppose,
the artist added hand-drawn palm trees, flower and butterfly. Obviously
the sign on the right was composed by a different designer who used
an actual font, margins, a border and illustration, with an equally
On a different note, EVERYTHING printed in Cambodian is beautiful,
to my eye.
15 , 2010 - Julia
Bolz wages peace in Afhanistan.
I attended a talk by Julia and others
who build schools, especially fort girls, in North Afghanistan. I
adjusted the tones of the photo so that both the screen and the figures
in front were properly lit. And yes, I wish the title font was not
21, 2010 Collage
made another collage, this time to honor
a friend whose life ended too soon. I didn't know her well, but
well enough for an impression of a remarkably energetic, intense
life: police officer, political and community activist, organizer.
the materials with the thought in mind that she enjoyed gardening,
so I made that part of the symbolism joining the images. A unifying
range of harmonious colors greens, oranges, wines helps
bring together the elements, snapshots of a life.
re-design project: a lesson in text
Goddess Tells All series now has to be re-designed with the
format I chose for the latest title, Tribal
Vibes for Bellydancers. The
biggest change is the use of
Minion Pro as a text font instead of Book Antigua (which
is the same as Palatino).
I was self-publishing my first book, Palatino was recommended to
me as an good book text. But (I realized much later) because I use
double columns, I need a narower font to avoid too much hyphenation
and overly ragged right margins. The narrower font also resulted
in a good deal more white space, so I had to adjust the layout of
was VERY tedious, but I was able to eliminate 8 pages from Flattering
Costume, saving me money with each printing, and I still had enough
extra space to add a few more photos.
10 , 2010 -
I like to walk in nearby White Center or other gritty urban area
on a pleasant day, and look for photo-ops.
Knotty wood planks (left)I
plan to use these to make webpage wallpaper, or as part of a photo
a piece of outdoor plumbing with pleasing geometry that could almost
be the subject of a painting.
10, 2010 -
BOOK RELEASE PARTY
dance friends helped me celebrate my new Costume
Goddess Tells All edition, Tribal Vibes for Bellydancers,
with an evening of dance, hosted by Katrina of Skin Deep Studio
in Seattle's Central District.
book sold briskly as the dancers got a chance to peruse it for the
first time. Some of those pictured on the cover or inside were buying
extra copies for their moms.
me with Seattle troupe Anwaar, three of whom are my Tribal
Vibes cover girls.
Lily, Aaminah. Marisol
Chris, Dina Lydia (me), Joey-Michele
1, 2010 -
Goddess Tells All edition Tribal Vibes for Bellydancers
is in my hands, finally! I've already had many orders, including
from Germany, Australia, New Zealand and UK.
Vibes is features a lot of eye candy.
Left: Page 14 in the Photo Gallery, featuring Mardi Love and Tempest,
with a vintage theme, including old-fashioned photo corners.
had MANY contributors helping me create this, cause I am NOT Tribal
-local Tribal/fusion performers, plus some international stars.
A book release party at Skin Deep
studio in Seattle my local contributors treating us to performances.
2 - XTREME
am hard at work on Tribal Vibes for Bellydancers, a costume
how-to book from my series The
Costume Goddess Tells All.
border design was originally from an old clip art book; I converted
it to a sharp vector image in Adobe Illustrator. The photo is from
a shoot I did with a local dance troupe.
do the writing, editing, illustration, layout, and most of the photos.
A commercial publishing house assigns these jobs to several professionals.
websites won't lay out a book with this many imagesnor would
I trust them to.
I correspond with dancers, designers & photographers; do photo
shoots; adjust photos and retouch any flaws; make line drawings
in Illustrator, and do page layout in InDesign.
it was easy, everyone would be doing it. So I have very little competition.
be glad to teach self-publishing basics to budding authors
when this is done!
2 - MORE
SIGNS IN THE HOOD
sign in the multinational neighborhood was no doubt lettered by
a recent immigrant.
The sign DOES have a sense of neatness, style and proportion...yet
looks like its speaking with an accent. The odd spacing, the
contrasting color of the periods, the differing thicknesses of the
letters within a word.
They sell A Lot of sea food, I see. Freshfish
is one word. Why "U.S. catfish"? Is foreign catfish suspect
to their American customers? What is "CA-HE" and "Galugong"?Free
cut and clean sounds like a classified ad in an alternative
SIGNS IN THE HOOD
batteries. Who knew they could be made so graphically arresting?
Compare this one with the groovy-style
"Watch Batteries' sign below.
glance, the lettering is a wood-type style, all capitals with big
chunky serifs. A stencil alphabet?
The rectangular dots added over the capital "I".
The assymetrically placed arc of the word JEWELRY, melded with the
The odd spacing - some wide, some overlapping, allowing REPLACEMENT
and JADE DIAMOND to fit on one line.
The fat round commas, seemingly from a different style of alphabet.
a grandfatherly jewelry vendor patiently painting the sign circa
1956, not concerned with classic rules of lettering.
16 - THOUGHTS
For me, collage is the free-association version of graphic design.
Much like real life, the images don't follow a tightly designed
pattern - it's refreshing and relaxing to let go of that. They are
layered, arranged, and embellished intuitively with 2-D and 3-D
objects. Yet the spacing and color combinations should end up pleasing,
not discordant and disturbing to view (unless of course that is
the point). My goal is usually pleasing.
COLLAGE: This one portrays my active and friendly community group.
I started the night before it was needed, finished at 3AM in a quasi-dreamlike
& LITTLE SISTER COLLAGES: My "Little Sister" and I
made these together
with her friends, to commemorate two years together. Art & craft
field trips, costumes, theater, sports, just goofing around are
been posting my photography on Flicker. There you can see hundreds
of performance photos of dancers.
Members of the Blue Lotus Troupe at Seattle Folklife Festival 2009.
of the photos have been retouched to eliminate background clutter.
That showcases the beauty of the dancer without unwanted and distracting
details like sound system hardware and wires, floor tape, etc.
am shooting up at close enough range to create an unflattering foreshortening
effect, I adjust for this by altering the aspect ratio slightly,
especially from the waist down.
color is too yellow or otherwise odd due to stage lighting, I adjust
so it's more natural looking.
Lydia's Folklife photos on Flickr
2009 - SIGNS
IN THE HOOD:
is in West Seattle's Alaska Junction. What an eccentric sign! I'm
Is "Watch Batteries" the name of the shop? Seems odd!
Watch batteries, sinuous organic script, and climbing roses are
things that usually would not go together, right?
the owner saying: "I do mechanical work for a living, but
at heart I'm a sentimental lover of nature and beauty."
The second headline "Fast Quality Repairs"
is a different, equally ornate Art Nouveau style embellished with
a wing and swashes, but the letters are oddly spaced and placed.
The phone number doesn't match the other lettering in color or
The (misspelled) phrase "Whole Sale Prices," is squeezed
right underneath the second phrase and overlaps the phone number,
as if it was an afterthought. But if so, why not make it a simple
type style? It's a snaky script, though not matching the headline
style (look at the W).
there's the huge flower, and the pocket watch perched on top of
the headline script, containing a giant diamond.
It's been pointed out that the white lettering was probably done
by a different, less skilled hand at a later date. If you cover
the white kettering, the sign looks much less awkward.
this a relic of the 60s? Was the sign painter stoned or tripping
when he created this art? Or does it go back even further? Someday
I'll ask the owner.
view my quickie SHINE video from Biznik in a few weeks. What is
the purpose of the video (besides contributing to a film by the
Biznik owners)? The consensus was: by letting people know who
you are as a person (rather than a direct sell) helps them connect
with you. Then they'll be more likely to want to work with you.
5/6: the largest collaborative social media film project Seattle
has ever seen will be happening. I am excited to participate in
my business networking org, is bringing together a dozen professional
video-graphers, expert interviewers and hundreds of Seattle's entrepreneurs
to tell the story of small business in America. Check
it out here.
to promote Digital Genie and Costume
Goddess by wearing a suitable genie-themed (yet tasteful) ensemble.
"Little Sister" I mentor at Highland Park Elementary school
informed me that she wants to be a businesswoman, running an international
company. ~ Dina Lydia
Multi-cultural design images in my own neighborhood.
design and graphic design copyright 2004 by Dina Lydia.
Copyright law protects all images and artwork. Please do not reproduce