Legos + Orthographic Views

This little assignment involves orthographic drawing, which I hadn’t done before but find kind of fun. The idea was to build a simple shape out of Legos and produce six orthographic sketches of that shape, one for each side. Here’s the shape I built. The front view is a little off since my camera was slightly above the shape, but it gives the right idea.

And here are the original hand-drawn sketches, presented based on the Glass Box theory. It was more difficult than I’d anticipated to draw without paying attention to perspective, especially since my shape involves a piece with a slope in the front and things stacked on other things.


I’m still not sure if some of the views are quite right, because I keep getting tripped up on the perspective. But as the next step, we were to refine the sketches in Illustrator. I made sure to add the dashed lines to indicate invisible shapes.



The third part of this assignment was to translate the orthographic designs to isometric. Illustrator’s neat 3D Isometric settings did most of the work for me on the main body shape. But the 3D conversion didn’t handle the round bit stuck on the top of the thing or the little connective Lego nubs, so I just had to draw those out myself on the isometric grid, using a tutorial I found on Tuts+ that explained how to do circles and cylinders. Here’s the result!


Project 5 – WordPress Website

This short project was to design a small business website using WordPress. We were to base it off a subject we know well. I chose my old cello teacher’s private studio, because that’s pretty small-businessy, and since I studied for 10+ years and play semi-professionally, I feel that qualifies as “something I know well.”

This actually came together pretty easily. I chose a template that was designed specifically with small-business promotion in mind (“Lodestar”), which helped in deciding what kind of pages to include and where to place information and how to incorporate the blog component. And as it was designed to showcase big, full images, I grabbed several beautiful images from Pexels and Flickr (all under CC0 license, of course) of cellos and cellists to flesh out the site.

Some of the text came from my old teacher’s Facebook page, and the rest I came up with based on my knowledge of private string teaching.

My only frustration was with the main page header image. I had wanted to give this site a header image with more Photoshop magic. But the template has a black overlay effect on the header image that I can’t remove, which totally destroyed my original design. Ah well.

Zebra custom die-cut hangtag

I’ve already posted a couple of times about the Grevy’s zebra character design process. But now I want to share the process of designing the hangtag that the zebra character was developed for. The idea was to create something that would hang from a plush animal, and would show the illustration of the animal, its name, some good facts about it and its endangered status, and present the WWF logo and proceeds line and a barcode.

I printed the thing and actually hung it on a zebra plushy I have and took a few snaps of that, and it’s adorable, so those will be included too. But first things first: the original concept sketches for the tag.


Not the most exciting tag shapes, I know. At this point, I was primarily concerned with getting some idea of how to incorporate the Ethiopian tibeb patterns, which can be very simple or very complex and use lots of colors. Traditionally, they are patterns made in a strip at the hem of a garment, and can be of varying widths. The most common patterns I saw used in my research were based on diamonds, and that’s what I used.

A couple of examples from good old Google of authentic tibeban:

Figuring out a better die-cut shape came later. It was made by uniting several elongated diamond shapes (it’s everywhere!) stacked over each other.

custom die guide

The magenta guide shows the shape, with the general location of the zebra character. I like its funky angles, and I think people would be more inclined to physically touch it because of its odd and irregular shape. Cute zebra on the front is a bonus.

Onward. Doing the tibeb patterns was really the trickiest bit. The goal was to use several rich and vivid colors in the patterns (in keeping with tibeban Google found for me to draw from), but not too many different colors, and lay “hems” of various patterns next to each other, but have each pattern be distinguishable next to the others, and use bold zebra black and white for text/text-boxes so they would stand out, AND not do anyone’s head in with a crazy jumble. Et voila.

It works! I think. Shown here with die guide and bleeds, which were cut off by my handy X-ACTO blade after printing to some cardstock.

My home printer is a basic inkjet, so there was some color quality loss, but not too bad. Gluing two funky shapes back-to-back while trying to get the edges and corners lined up just right was way harder than I imagined. Which reminded me a) why I don’t do a lot of fiddly crafts (I have big fingertips and no patience) and b) that I need to make myself learn paper cutting (I need more dexterity and patience). Sisyphean task? Only time will tell.

Finally, for the best part of this whole project: the plushy with the hangtag on it. Just to be clear, I did not go to a store and buy this plushy just for this occasion. I already had it. Yep.

Project 4 – GSM, pt 2

The culmination of the standards manual prep mentioned in the last post, here is my take on the Crucible identity guidelines. This is the front cover image only, but clicking on it should open the whole PDF document.


Document assembled in InDesign; some of the more image-heavy layouts created in Illustrator; mockups done in Photoshop.

Now, honesty time. This project was a bit overwhelming, due to the large scope of it and just how many moving pieces there were to manage. But we were given just the regular two-week timeframe for it, with a round of feedback at about the mid-point. And I know, the real world. But as this is a classroom assignment, and something probably none of us has ever done before, it would be much better spread over three weeks. Not just because of how big the project is, but also because then there could be a second round of review. Speaking for myself, I really wish we’d had another peer review session. The first round of review came at such an early stage in the development of this project, that I don’t think it allowed for really useful constructive feedback.

Generally, I’m happy with the overall output, but I’m also conscious of the weak spots. For instance, I could never quite land on a cover design that was really it; this one here is just what I decided was “finished enough.” If I decide to include this in my portfolio later, I’ll definitely come back to this and retool those spots.

For now, here’s a mockup of the cover and some of the interior pages in a magazine-like form, which is roughly how I envision this would be printed.


Zebra character final

The finished version of the zebra character is here! Changes made between the WIP2 version and this one are kind of minimal, but I think they make her look better overall: the right arm was pulled away from her body to be less likely to “disappear” from the arm and body stripes blending. Accordingly, the stripes and shadows were adjusted.

Also, green background this time, just to be different. Actually, the three background colors I’ve shown so far are, funnily enough, the three main colors I’m using in the patterns on the hangtag, which I will post here when it’s done.

And now for the zebra!

character final