Monday, May 28, 2012

A Pretty Ok Bag

My cousin has an awesome tote bag.

Yes, I overuse the term awesome. But I don't care. :p

Just because I want to, here's a side by side comparison of the Photoshop before and after versions.

Cardboard Jungle

The biggest projects I have ever been a part of were the projects in our Design 2 class. There were only four students, but it was the best class I've had. The biggest project of all was the 3rd one. It took us weeks to plan and build, but it turned out great.

Every year the Design 2 class does some kind of an art installation in the Reiver room at the student center of Iowa Western for Earth day. We all decided right off that we did not want to try to make some sort of political statement with our project, but we wanted it to be something more about appreciating earth. Eventually we came up with the idea of doing a project that you did not see with your eyes. The idea was to make chambers that mimicked different environments. We had many ideas but in the interest of time we narrowed it down to two, The Jungle and the Arctic.

The cardboard structure in my LAST POST was the first stage of design. Eventually we tore off a bunch of that and rebuilt it. I took pictures along the way as we worked on these for a couple weeks.

Finally after we had finished building, came the day of the installation. We arrived early and were at school all day.

This was the first one. You can't tell by looking, but it's actually a jungle. :)

When you were inside you had headphones playing jungle ambiance on a continuous loop, while there was a humidifier running, and a bucket full of water and dead leaves for smell.

The second chamber is the arctic.

Inside here was an air conditioner and a fan, while the headphones played the sounds of a blistering wind.

We took turns pushing each visitor in on a rolling chair while they put on headphones and closed their eyes. I had brought materials for blindfolds, but no one wanted them, so we stopped offering, and just made them promise to keep their eyes closed.

One of the ladies from the offices heard about our project and came by to try them and take our picture. She went back and told others that she worked with, and we were kept busy all day.

Left to Right: Deb, Joel, Sonoka, Me, and our teacher, Jesse.

We had a lot of fun, and everyone loved our project. Over and over we were told that ours had been the best Earth day project the school had had.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Life Happens

So I suppose you're wondering why I haven't uploaded any of the pictures I said I would. Well, I've been very busy. I have been working almost every day at the store, and when I haven't worked, I've had something else that needed doing, clothes shopping in the city, house cleaning, youngest brother graduating, life in general.

Today we helped some friends load up a moving truck. Most of you know we have a home church, and it has been led by a retired pastor for the last... 7, 8 years? A very long time anyway. Earlier this year they announced that they would be moving to Tennessee to be closer to their sons, and tomorrow their son arrives to help them drive the U-Haul to their new home. We'll miss them, but we're glad that they'll be nearer to their family. We're not sure what this means for our home church yet, but God has a plan for everything, and I'm sure he'll work it out in time.

So, I'm going to try to get some posts done in the next few days. I have a few days off of work, but there is still lots of house to clean. We are tentatively planning to have a garage sale sometime before the end of summer. We have so much "Junk" around our house that it's ridiculous. After the flood in '10 it became VERY apparent that we had way too much stuff. Hopefully that will change soon.

While you wait to see what kinds of artwork I worked on during the last month or so of school, I'll give you one teaser picture.

This was not an art project in the traditional sense. Can you guess what it was? :)

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Graphic Design

This semester I had two graphic design classes. The first was an online class called Graphic Design. It covered Adobe's big three design programs, Illustrator, Photoshop, and InDesign. It was my worst class this semester. It took up so much time, and I ended up with a B. I got A's in the rest of my classes, so I wasn't too happy with this. I'm still glad I took it, because I learned a lot, but I'm not happy with the grade. The second Graphic Design class was call Digital Drawing, and it focused exclusively on Illustrator.

In today's post I will show a few images I made from both of these classes.

This one was an assignment to use three instances of your first initial to create an image that was interesting to look at. I don't think my teacher was expecting me to make an actual picture out of them.

These instruments I created for an assignment to make a poster for a Jazz festival. I think my instruments turned out much better than the poster itself did.
This was an assignment to create a color wheel out of objects you found around the house, or anywhere really. This is not a very good representation of my work though, because something happened between my computer and the internet and the colors have been severely dulled. They were all much more brilliant than this when I uploaded the picture.

This was for an assignment using a set of statistics included with the curriculum to create an interesting graph. Illustrator can create basic graphs if you plug in the numbers, but the images I made myself. I started by finding photographs on the internet and using the "Live trace" feature in Illustrator and modifying them from there. It's a really fun way to make your own images.

This was for a project where we were to recreate the look of a Peit Mondrian painting using only text. For those of you who may not recognize the name Mondrian, you probably will at least recognize his work.

This was the painting that my image was based on.

One of our first assignments was to create a series of icons using some basic images for templates. These were mine. Most of them are basic universal symbols.

That was followed with an assignment to create 6 more icons for a park/nature reserve. We weren't given any images to use, just that they needed to represent Hiking, Horseback Riding, Mountain Climbing, Sailing, Swimming, and a Walking Trail. After some research on the internet, these were the designs I came up with.
This was an assignment to create a map using a hand drawn outline as a template and adding in some pre-made graphics, like the houses and trees.

This was an assignment to create a cereal box. The photos, outline, and a few basic elements were supplied, but I created the box itself. We did a pre-folded version, and used a 3D modeling feature to see what it would look like folded.

One of my final assignments was to create a cover for a non-existant book about the artist Paul Rand. He is the artist responsible for many many famous icons, some of which are still in use today, such as ABC, UPS, IBM, and more.

We also had to have it printed and used as the cover of a real book to see what it would look like if it were real.

This is not nearly everything I worked on, but these were the most interesting pieces. I don't think I'll do any more blogs on my graphic design projects, since most of the rest is kind of boring, but I still have more from other classes. Stay tuned. :)

Saturday, May 12, 2012

It's Not Winter Any More!

So I FINALLY got around to updating the overall look of my blog. For the last (At least) 6 months I've had a winter theme going on, and I've been meaning to change that, but with school and all, it just wasn't one of my top priorities. I finally updated the look, and I chose a much more green look to go with the current season.

Now that school is out, I'm hoping to be able to put a little more effort into my blog. I have posts planned about all the different projects I did in school last semester. I took pictures of most projects that  I did, and a great deal of my projects were graphic design projects, so I will share most of the files for those. Some were just generic assignments, so they really aren't worth looking at.

I should have a post up tomorrow, I first need to go through my files and organize them. I wasn't very organized at the beginning of the semester. I had just gotten my Mac, and was still getting used to it, so most of my files are just scattered all over.

Well, that's all for now, I'm off to do some digital clean-up, and then I need to do some actual clean-up. My desk and room got pretty messy over the last semester...

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Unicorns Really Do Exist!

I had started this post last year, but when my computer crashed a couple months ago, it was forgotten in a drafts folder on an external hard drive. Today on Facebook, a friend posted a cartoon which reminded me of this post, so I went back to finish it.

I had made a similar post on my other blog ages ago, but now that that blog is gone, I decided to revisit the subject, since I can easily relate it to another of my favorite subjects, Cryptozoology.

If you’ll recall, in one of my papers last semester, I explained that Creationists believe that Dinosaurs were the creatures behind all the dragon myths that permeated many ancient cultures. But what about all the other famous mythological animals? Surely they can’t all have been purely make believe. Couldn’t some of them have been based on a living animal?

Second only to the dragon, most people’s favorite mythological beast would be the unicorn. These days, it seems popular to view the unicorn as a wimpy little animal that only little girls like, but I've never really been one to care what's popular. I still think unicorns are awesome. I prefer a little more of a dangerous version though. When I was younger I liked an illustration from the final book in the Chronicles of Narnia series that showed Jewel the unicorn with blood running down his horn. I may have been a slightly disturbed child… :p


Where did the unicorn come from? Was it real? The Bible talks about Unicorns, and it talks about them in passages that do not suggest they are speaking of a fictitious creature. It speaks of them the same as it does a sheep or a horse. So if one believes what the Bible says, then obviously there has to be a real animal behind the name. But what was it? Someone much smarter than me actually took the time to track down an answer, and the video he made pretty much blew me away. It makes so much sense, I don’t know why this didn’t occur to anyone before this guy figured it out!

Answers in Genesis, the ministry behind the Creation Museum, and the upcoming life-sized Noah's Ark in Kentucky, wrote an article about this as well, and they went on to say that in the 18th century there were reports of explorers in Africa, discovering ancient drawings on stone of equine-like animals with one horn. Could the "Mythical" version be real as well? As far as I know, there isn't any documented evidence of these drawings. I think AIG would have referenced them if there were.

I still think it would be cool if there were a real animal that looked like a horse with a giant horn growing out of its forehead, but knowing that the unicorn was (And still is!) a real animal is pretty awesome. :)

By the way, here is the cartoon that reminded me to finish this post. :)
The artist may have been making a joke, but I bet they never guessed how close to the truth they were!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Creature and Bird

I wrote this post for a blog I abandoned, but I needed to link to it for my Beanie Baby post, so I decided to go find it and repost it here. When I went to find it, I noticed that the original post date on the other blog was EXACTLY one year ago today on May 1st 2011. Talk about a weird coincidence...
I wrote this post because I was trying to "Be a blogger" and I was using a suggestion from another blog to write about the last good book I had read. Ultimately I decided not to "Be a Blogger" and just go back to writing about my life. Here is the (mostly) original Post. I have edited it somewhat, and added a few more pictures.

The last good book I read was actually two books, and it was more looking at the pictures than it was reading. The books are entitled Creature, and Bird, by photographer Andrew Zuckerman. They are amazing books. The pictures are absolutely stunning.
Andrew Zuckerman photographs his subjects against a completely white background. This does two things, first of all it allows you to focus on the animal itself, as there is nothing distracting going on around the creature. The white background also reflects the light in such a way that every detail of the animal becomes crystal clear. It reveals so much detail that you otherwise would never see. Some of them are almost mesmerizing. I could look at the parrots for hours, their feathers are so beautiful.

I wholeheartedly recommend these books to any animal lover, bird lover, or photography enthusiast. These are two picture books that you won’t want to just flip through. You’ll want to linger over every page, soaking in all of the amazing details.

To see some more of Andrew Zuckerman’s work you can click the link to his website, HERE.
He has also set up separate sites for both books. You can find Creature HERE and Bird HERE.

Beanie Babies

So, as promised in my last blog post, today's post is all about Beanie Babies! Actually I have been planning on writing this for the last few months, because my first project for Design 2 was all about Beanie Babies. Yes, Beanie Babies. I have a very large collection of them.

"Jonathan, you're almost 26. Why do you have a very large collection of Beanie Babies?"

Well, it all started many years ago...
My Aunt Linda gave me and my brothers each a Beanie Baby one year. Mine was a dalmatian named Sparky.

We had never heard of them before, but soon afterwards, Beanie Babies blew up in popularity. They were the "It Thing" to have. Mom started buying them for us for Christmas, other family members bought them for us, and if I saw a Beanie Baby of some animal I really liked, I bought it for myself.

I think this was the first one I ever bought myself. Is anyone really surprised that it's a giraffe? :)

So over the years I amassed a rather large collection, and they all ended up stuffed in a giant plastic tote and put away. Who would have guessed that they would one day resurface to become the focus of the first half of my fourth semester of college?

This project was based on the book "Creature" by Andrew Zuckerman. The assignment was to study an artist and make a work that was a tribute to their style. Mine ended up more of a parody than a tribute, but everyone loved it and my teacher is encouraging me to have the pictures I took made into a book of my own. I won't be able to share all my pictures on my blog, but here are a few, just so you can get an idea of what I did. I may post more to my photography blog at a later date. (No, I haven't abandoned that blog, I've just been too busy to work on it.)

That's all for now, but I promise, this is not the last you have seen of my Beanie Baby collection. :)