Drawn & Delivered Round-up 1

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Hello!

Now that I’ve been making people cards for a few weeks, I thought it would be a good time to do a round up!

Since I started the Drawn & Delivered project I’ve done the bulk of my work using brush markers and pens, which I have been rather obsessed with lately.

Most notably I’ve been using Copic Sketch markers which come in like a million colors. They have a brush side and a chisel side and have great buildable color coverage. One of my favorite colors is Ocean Mist. It’s a very light green blue that’s hardly detectable until you apply several coats. I never realized how handy having such a low coverage marker would be until this one.

On my schedule next, I have a few digital cards to work on which are a lot of fun. I also want to work on making envelopes a little more interesting. I’ve had my eye on an envelope punch board that I might just have to pick up soon. Another technique that I’m very interested in trying is using masking fluid pen or drawing gum to preserve white space while using paint.

So far, creating these cards have been a real joy and I’ve only just begun. I can’t wait to send more little works of art in the mail very soon!

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Love Love Love

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The voice of John Darnielle from the band The Mountain Goats poured into my mind on Saturday morning while I lazily cooked my eggs.

some things you do for money and some you do for love love love was the lyric that looped in my head from the song love love love.

I decided to sit down and draw the word ‘love’ over and over again as I thought the message from the song was distinctly clear.

The Sunset Tree is a collection of autobiographical music from Darnielle’s troubled childhood. While I was working on my drawing I listened to the song once again but the lyrics pointed to a message that became difficult to accept but very clear;

Love is wild and doesn’t always make sense. It is beautiful, but then it gets complicated.

Love can make you do great and unthinkable things.

I imagine that this message isn’t new information to anyone. It just feels more true to me lately than it has in years.

In the song’s lyrics, the audience is shown examples of historic and fictional characters who were clouded by love and the many forms that it takes. It showcases the damage that is done in the wake of being reached. This complication turned my drawing from a clean simple message to one that is finished with uncertainty.

Tools used:
Winsor & Newton watercolor marker
Pentel water brush

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Studio View

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Since moving to Minneapolis I was so happy to be able to set up my own little in-home studio! And in this blog post I will be sharing the progress I’ve made in this space so far. My studio is set up to accommodate my continued explorations in design, illustration, lettering and blogging.

Welcome to my jungle!

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The apartment that Christopher and I lived in perviously didn’t have the space for a functional studio to be set up. Once we moved and purchased some furniture the idea for having a studio started to gel.

We picked up the storage cubes as well as the table and chairs from Target. During the day, I have the kitchen table set up for work and then at night I am able to easily transform it back to the place where Christopher and I share meals together.

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When we purchased the storage cubes we toyed around with a few different arrangements until we decided to stack them in an ascending fashion to create a divider between the dining area and living room. We opted for this set up because it let the light pass from one section of the room to the other while still giving it visual distinction.

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Once the cubes were in place I started to fill in the gaps with my favorite art supplies as well as a couple picture frames, magazines, candles, my record player and records. Having a mix of art supplies and non art related objects helps to make this space a little more inspirational.

I think a huge reason why this space works for me is because most of my supplies are out in the open and not hidden away in drawers. Not having to look too hard for things makes jumping into a new project so much easier.

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I hope you enjoyed a little behind the scenes look at abbyabbyabby HQ! I am very excited to keep this space fun, fresh and productive for as long as Christopher and I are here.

Do you have a studio space or notice one on the internet that you love? Please share a link, I’d love to see what’s working for you!

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UK Favorites

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Hello!!! I’m so glad to be back to the blog-life. I had been sick almost the entire time since I got back from vacation and really bad at the end of last week BUT I have so much that I want to share from the trip and I’m going to do it all in one post. We did so much more than what’s covered in this post, including a wedding for my beautiful cousin, but other than family festivities here are my favorites from my time in the UK.

Ready? Go!

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1. The Borough Market
Eating under a bridge might sound shady or like code for doing drugs or something but you would be so so soooo wrong. When you are on the South Bank of London and you need a bite to eat or want to drink a fancy cider or buy all the fixings to make your own picnic then scoot your booty over to the Borough Market. It is located under the railway near the London Bridge tube stop and it is massive! It was like a farmers market on steroids. My family and I went twice and I know that we didn’t see all of it.

London’s population is quite diverse and this was easily seen in the wide selection food truck style restaurants available. Our family favorite was Pieminister. They do meat pies right! They were so good that when we went back to the South Bank for the second time, to visit the Tate Modern, my mom and Christopher went back for more meat pies. hahaha! My brother and I decided to get pad thai for our second day which was also superb.

Why I love it: It is easy on the budget, there is a huge variety of both prepared food and produce, you can make it a quick stop to grab lunch or take it easy and stroll through the stands because there is so much to see and taste. Finally, the atmosphere is so unique given its location and you can tell that locals and travelers both love this place.

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2. Double Decker Bus Tour & Boat Tour
The first thing that I love to do when visiting a new area is take a tour. Going on a tour provides you with a little orientation on where you are compared to what your map says.

During our first full day in Oxford we went on a double decker bus tour which came with a headset (a very uncomfortable one) and an audio guide. I enjoyed the narration of stories and history that accompanied the sights while the wind was blowing in my hair.

In London we did the same thing, and on the first day we went on The Original Tour hop on hop off bus tour which came with a boat ride down the River Thames. That bus tour is great because it has four lines that you can ride which covers a good portion of the city and each are narrated.

Why I love it: It’s a very chill way of sight seeing and you get to ride a really iconic symbol of British culture. I loved that on some of the bus lines you have the option to listen to the audio tour so you can choose your own adventure!

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3. High Tea at The Orangery
This was the highlight of highlights. Without a doubt my favorite thing about our time in London. As many of you know, I love to eat, but why I loved this so much was because of the experience. It was like having the ultimate tea party.

We had our High Tea at The Orangery which is on the grounds of the Kensington Palace. Isn’t just the idea of having tea in an actual palace enough to give you goosebumps? All the snacks were perfectly presented, delicious and all on the cutest china I’d ever seen. You couldn’t help but sit up a little bit straighter, take smaller bits, sip slowly on your tea and have a nice chat with your company. Fair warning, it’s not cheap. We paid £26 per person but it was so worth it. This was one of those memories that I will hold dear to me for the rest of my life.

Why I love it: Tea in a freaking palace, man! What more do you need?

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4. Neal’s Yard
Before arriving to the UK I had heard about Neal’s Yard, particularly because a pizza place called Homeslice. Before my family and I saw ‘Matilda the musical’ (which was amazing, btw) we stopped there for dinner because it was literally a one minute walk away from the Cambridge Theatre. The pizza was very good but just being in Neal’s Yard was the highlight for me that evening. This little corner of the city is filled to the brim with colorful buildings which is such a welcome surprise from the typical city skyline. There are cute shops, a little courtyard, coffee shop, and so much personality in this tiny area.

Why I love it: It’s pretty hidden away from the main streets in a back alley. That is one thing that always surprised me about my time in the UK is that the alley ways can hold little surprises if you venture down a little bit. The colorful buildings reminded me a lot of the La Boca neighborhood in Buenos Aires and it genuinely had a happy vibe.

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5. Museums
We went to four. All of which couldn’t be more different from each other. First we went to the Oxford University Museum of Natural History which I loved because there is something about dinosaur skeletons that I can’t get enough of… We then went to the Victoria & Albert Museum which was my very favorite because it featured artifacts through history such as furniture, jewelry, fashion and textiles. It gave you a real sense of history by showing the audience objects that were used by people. I loved their photography room and the room that was entirely made up of Art Nouveau furniture and advertisements, they even had a poster by Alfons Mucha. ohhhh yeah! Next up, we went to the Tate Modern which is housed in a converted power plant. The building alone is striking but their massive collection of modern art is just impressive. If you have a yen for modern art, check this place out. Also, their museum store can’t be beat. Christopher and I bought two posters and could have easily bought more. haha! The last museum we visited was the British Museum with such greats as the Rosetta Stone. Seeing the Rosetta Stone was a lot like seeing the Mona Lisa. Lots of crowds but worth it. I think what makes this museum rock is the fact that their map (which costs £2 in lieu of an admission fee) comes with their guide to the top 10 in the museum which takes you on a great loop through the space. I feel like I saw so much while we were there even though we were always on the move.

Why I loved them: The amount of history and art that is in these museums is such a gift to see in person, especially now that I’m more educated on art history and design. All of these museums have free admission which, sure, makes them crowded, but the fact that these pieces can be shared with everyone is beautiful.

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6. Memories of India
My brother, Aaron, and I really wanted Indian food while we were in London because we’ve heard that this cuisine is about as traditional and long standing as Fish and Chips. I asked the concierge at the hotel we stayed at for a recommendation and he shared with us a place called Memories of India. He said it was reasonably priced, only a 5 minute walk from the hotel and had VERY good food. I know our whole table felt a bit out of our element because we didn’t know what to order and the waiter had to help us along but when we got our food we were all so happy that we decided to challenge our taste buds for the evening. I know my mom and Christopher were just along for the ride in the beginning but by the time we were done, they pleasantly surprised.

They served the food family style so we all got to try a little bit from everyone’s order. My favorite was what Christopher ordered, it was lamb with a sweet yellow sauce. It was so tender and the spice of the sauce was both creamy and light. At the end of the meal we were given a version of an after dinner mint that I had never heard of or seen before, it’s called Mukhwas and acts as a digestive and breath freshener. It looked like potpourri flakes and we all laughed a little while trying it. That was such a fun experience to have.

Why I loved it: It was a quick walk from our hotel, the food was so good and we all left with the biggest smiles on our faces.

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7. Walking Tour
Going on a walking tour was a recommendation that I had heard from many people who had traveled to London before and for good reason! Again, you get a different perspective of the city than you otherwise would with just yourself and a map. We went on a The Hidden Pubs of Old London Town tour that was run by London Walks for the number one reason of getting a properly pulled English pint. At that point in our trip we’ve had several but hey! Any excuse for beer, amiright? The tour was interesting because we got some history lessons while we walked between bars, we even got to scope out a few back alleys along the way. My favorite bar was on called the Old Bank of England which seriously looked like a bank from the outside but inside it was filled with tap handles and people eating dinner. So fun!

If beer isn’t your thing, there are so many walks to choose from on the London Walks site. If you travel to London, go on one, or two, or three. You will appreciate the city and it’s long history even more.

Why I loved it: You get to meet other travelers, it’s pretty inexpensive at £10 a person and you don’t need to reserve a spot, you just show up at the designated meeting spot before the tour starts. You get to get outside, get your blood pumping and learn about the city as you walk around.

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8. Chocolate Burger
Our last full day in London was a rainy day. After exploring the British Museum and having lunch we treked out to the department store Selfridges Co. for one big reason, MORE FOOD. haha! Seriously. I wanted to get dessert/tea at the restaurant on the top floor of Selfridges called Vintage Salt. They have beautiful desserts but I really came for just one, the Chocolate Burger. It is the cutest little dessert burger and fries that could ever be imagined. The fries where like baby churros and the ketchup was a chocolate sauce. The burger bun was like a cream puff, the burger patty was some kind of chocolate goodness, there was also a raspberry looking disc that resembled a tomato, whipped cream that looked to me like mayo and other finishes that made for a very convincing looking burger. It was out of this world.

We also got a piece of salted caramel corn cheesecake that I can’t forget about either. But really, the chocolate burger won my heart.

Why I loved it: First of all Vintage Salt is like this sort of secret restaurant that is only accessible from the elevator by the Chanel counter. It’s on the roof and on nice days it’s an open air restaurant. The decor has a pretty cute vintage nautical vibe. I loved it as a place to sit and relax after an afternoon of shlepping around town.

If you read this entire post, you deserve the highest of high fives. I know this was a long one maybe even a little TLDR-ish but I hope that if you did read it that if gives you a little insight to some awesome touristy, but not too touristy things to do in the UK.

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Routines Revisited

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Today is my first full day back in Minneapolis after being gone for over 2 weeks! Other than feeling like a jet lag zombie I’m trying to reconnect with my morning routine and daily rituals. Progress is slow getting things back to normal. I did a lot of laundry and ran the dishwasher yesterday which helped tremendously but I still have a lot to do including but not limited to…editing photos, grocery shopping, starting up a new freelance project and getting my card making factory turned back on. I have a feeling that this week will go by quickly and not everything will get done. As I’m writing this right now my eyes are feeling heavy and the thought of going grocery shopping feels like a nightmare… I’m trying to take it all in stride. It seems that coming home from vacation stresses me out even more than before I leave for vacation. Sad, but true.

On the bright side, everything on the travel front went as good as we could have all hoped for, all planes, trains and busses were on time and no one forgot anything important or got lost. The wedding was beautiful, my cousin and her new husband rocked out their first dance to ‘Time of My Life’ from the movie Dirty Dancing and Oxford was such a charming city. London was filled with contrasts of very old and very new. I had some of my favorite food experience while traveling, which I will describe later :) We went to 4 very different museums while we were away, my favorite was probably the Victoria & Albert museum.

I hope everyone has been enjoying July so far! Just a few more days until August! eep!

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June Favorites!

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Hello! June has treated me so well this year! I will go on record to say that June is my favorite month of the year. This is because June is the beginning of summer, the days are extra long and it really seems like everyone is finally more relaxed and happy (myself included). Finally, June is my favorite because it is the month of the wedding anniversary of Christopher and I! This June did not disappoint and here’s why…

1. The Butcher and the Boar
This is the restaurant that Christopher and I decided to dine at to celebrate our 3 year wedding anniversary. We heard nothing but praise reviews about their menu AND it is located across the street from where we live. I had the pork chop and it was the best I’ve ever had, it was glazed with a spicy maple syrup sauce topped with blueberry compote and goat cheese. I couldn’t believe how amazing and enormous it was! I had it for leftovers the next day.

This restaurant is perfect for those who are passionate about good cuts of well prepared meat. The concepts for the dishes are traditional and sway to a more German meat and potatoes feeling but there is always a twist that sets each dish apart. It can be a rather spendy place to dine at but if you go for a happy hour in their beer garden you can get a beer and sausage plate for a very reasonable price. Since it was our anniversary, we decided to indulge a bit.

2. Fossil Sydney Satchel Bag
While my mom was visiting we visited the Mall of American because when in Minneapolis… I have on almost every occasion of visiting this humongous mall stepped into the fossil store. I was looking at a completely different purse when this one caught my attention and I realized that it would be the perfect bag to be an all day, I need to bring my water bottle and external phone battery and camera, and kindle and etc etc etc… basically this bag is the a medium size bag that holds a lot of stuff but doesn’t feel too visually large. It’s all leather and had a perfect quick access phone pouch in the back. The cross body strap and handles make it the easiest purse to transition from car, to walking around to chilling at dinner. Also, it’s gorgeous. This purse is bae.

3. Pride Parade
When marriage equality was announced last week our city was just about to celebrate its annual Pride festival. Everyone was in an awesome mood everywhere you looked. Minnesota legalized gay marriage a couple of years ago but you could still feel the energy of everyone’s happiness. I was so excited to see our first parade from our balcony too! We are right along the parade route and Christopher and I had some friends over to enjoy the spectacle. We had snacks, drinks and our folding chairs out to enjoy this super long and cheerful parade. Normally, I’m not a parade going person, but now with where we live I really hope more parades will be rolling down our street. It is so enjoyable to have the overhead view, quick access to the bathroom and AC, if needed.

4. Sofa
Christopher and I had waited for ‘Sofa Day’ for over a month until the delivery day was set. We ordered our sofa from Macy’s and they told us it should arrive in 4 weeks. We were kind of bummed because that meant our living room would go almost unused until it arrived. What’s a living room without a sofa, anyway? Before it arrived, it also meant that nothing would be decorated or put in a more permanent place because so much of the layout would be determined when the sofa was actually in the space. Once the beautiful grey sofa arrived, we finally set up the living room TV, got a few stacking cubes to divide the living and dining areas and got a small dining room table and chairs. It took some time and a few cute new lamps from HomeGoods to make the space come alive, but now I’m in love with our living room. All we have to do is hang artwork on our walls.

5. Tame Impala
Grooving to this psychedelic rock group has been an addiction for my ears this past month. The Current (89.3 or thecurrent.org) introduced me to this band and a slew of other amazing acts including local music groups like Hippo Campus and Caroline Smith. Tame Impala played in the Twin Cities area just as we were moving in but I wish I could go back in time and buy tickets to see them. I love the song Let It Happen in all of its 7+ minute goodness as well as Eventually and Cuz I’m A Man. There is something so retro and 60’s about their sound, I just want to put on bell bottoms and chill out. Next time they are in the area I will do whatever I can to see them on stage.

I hope you had a great June and July will treat you warmly. I’m heading out for a long vacation to see my cousin get married in the UK! I am so excited to explore a new country and see my family <3 I also hope to share some of my trip when I return.

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Drawn & Delivered

Who likes getting a card in the mail?

Who thinks it’s even better when the card is handmade?

I love both, especially sending cards that I’ve made. So I am starting a new project just for you and your mailbox.

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I pledge to draw and send one greeting card per week for the next year and I want to send a card to you! Either to your home address or your email inbox.

I know what you’re thinking…

“But we haven’t spoken since high school and I thought you were a huge jerk.”
Sorry to hear that, maybe this cat card will smooth things over?

OR

“I don’t even really know you…”
Fine by me! Have this card with a few words of encouragement on it!

OR

“We’re already friends, you don’t need to send one to me.”
BS! I want to send you a card real bad!

Now that I’ve eased your mind, please fill out the form below to sign up. There are only 52 spots available so do it now!

SIGN UP HERE! (No longer accepting submissions, thank you to all who signed-up!)

Important things to know:

  1. I will not distribute your information to anyone, you will not be added to any lists. The NSA is not involved.
  2. The list will be private and will be used only for the one occasion.
    (unless you want to be my pen pal, then bring it!)
  3. I will share drawings on my blog and/or social media accounts sans your name, address or any identifying information because I believe in a thing called privacy.
  4. Limit of one per person, I would love to send cards to others in a household, but just one per individual, please.
  5. I will send items that can be delivered by means of ‘forever stamp’ or less to keep costs reasonable. However! if you live in another country, that’s fine, whatever it takes to get a card to you is what I’m willing to spend.
  6. I take requests! Much like a DJ. Do you love Star Wars? Have a brother with a birthday coming up that you need a card for? I can make that happen.
  7. You will not be alerted when your card is on the way, it will be a good old fashioned surprise.
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Mini Golf in Minne

After a particularly lazy start to Memorial Day, Christopher and I decided to leave the apartment and go on a walk, before we knew it, we were golfing.

Because we live near the Walker Art Center we thought it would be nice to walk to their sculpture garden, give Claes Oldenburg’s spoon bridge a high five and look at info for the Artist Designed mini golf course. We hadn’t planned on playing but there was no wait, the weather was holding up and we had the whole afternoon in front of us!

I enjoyed the course a lot. Give the video a watch to get a preview of some of the holes.

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Bee Favorites

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Since elementary school I’ve had the nickname of ‘Bee’ or just ‘B’. I wouldn’t say this was a widely used nickname but my family picked up on it and to this day use it allllll the time. With a nickname that is so closely linked to a living creature you are bound to amass a collection of items associated with it.

Hence this post!

It’s not just my family who gets these items for me, but I often seek them out. I love using bee products in my skin care regime because, raw honey is a natural healer. It aids in acne prevention and treatment, gives aging skin a boost and improves overall complexion condition. This is all possible because of the anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties found in natural honey. I also love the sweet yet floral scent and taste of honey. If it’s in a product, I’m usually all over it.

With that, here are my favorite honey bee items:

Bee Snug ‘Butter Me Up’ Body Butter
Body butter is a great product that I love to use on my cuticles and as a lip balm before going to sleep. This product came from the Kalamazoo Farmers Market and makes a great alternative to body lotion. I’ve seen products like this come in a bar which would be perfect to massage into the skin. It leaves my skin feeling hydrated but not sticky which happens quite a bit for me and the majority of lotions I’ve used.

LUSH ‘Brazened Honey’ Fresh Face Mask
First of all, I’m a huge fan girl for LUSH products and this product lives up to the quality I’m use to experiencing. At $7, the price point is very reasonable and provides around 6 applications. This face mask is excellent at gently exfoliating tired looking skin and giving it a polished hydrated look. It also smells amazing and is made fresh. You only need to keep it in your refrigerator because it doesn’t contain preservatives.

Medicine Mama’s ‘Sweet Bee Magic’ Skin Cream
This skin cream is a new favorite of my face! If you like really simple products without additives or fragrances this products is what you’ve always dreamed of. It only has 6 ingredients and it makes your skin feel like brand new. I use it primarily at night before going to bed because it doesn’t have any SPF and I always wear a moisturizer with SPF during the day. This cream is also a little on the thick side so at night it soaks into your skin and heals you right up. I even use this product on any scratches, burns or dry patches on my skin and it does an excellent job taking care of any skin that’s in need. It has excellent staying power, I use it daily and I barely made a dent in it.

Marc Jacob’s ‘Honey’ perfume
My dad and his wife got this for me as a birthday gift a few years back and around this time of year it’s in heavy rotation. I love the light sweet somewhat floral scent. A little goes a long way so I think this perfume will last me for a while to come.

‘Bee Happy’ wish stone
I’m not 100% sure when I got this little guy. If I were to guess I’d say it was from my mom because she gets me a huge chunk of the bee items I own. On the reverse side it says the word ‘happy’. I leave this in my wallet or on my bedside table and it reminds me of my family and all that I have to ‘bee happy’ about.

Burt’s Bees ‘Hibiscus’ Tinted Lip Balm
I love when a product can multi-task well. For a long time Burt’s Bees has been a favorite for lip treatment (right next to ChapStick Classic) but I absolutely LOVE their tinted lip balm range. I use it on days when I want to spice up my lip game but still keep them comfortable and happy.

Cherry Republic Cherry Honey Bear
I couldn’t have this list NOT include some actual honey! This little honey bear is filled to the brim with Michigan cherry goodness which reminds me of home. It’s a perfect treat to add to your tea, or oatmeal, or spoon…

Do you tend to collect items in a theme, either intentionally or unintentionally? Please share if you have one, I’d love to read about it :)

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Design File: icons

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Icons, graphic forms, tiny little pictures, all little characters with their own with personalities.

I love to look at these forms and almost create a story behind them or envision what kind of faux digital family they are from. All icons sets have a voice and if you look and l suppose, ‘listen’ you can hear it!

One of my recent freelance projects gave me the chance to develop these breakfast icons in order to promote my favorite meal of the week, brunch. More specifically, they were used to promote bridal shower brunches, hence the softer color palette and flowers. While I was creating these I kept thinking of a really happy bride, a younger gal that is filled with life and playfulness. The arrangement of this set helps to create a fun environment, almost as if the food and flowers are confetti raining down in celebration.

Things I considered:

  • Keeping the outlines about the same thickness, this is a great way to create unity in all of the shapes.
  • Edges, I made sure to make all of the edges slightly rounded, again to create unity within this little icon family.
  • Placement, I didn’t want to stick all of the large things together and create an unbalanced look. I fiddled with the placement of each item for a while. Certain items, like the croissant I felt needed to be placed with the open end pointing downward and to the right so your eye is pulled into the body of the work so I basically build the rest around that item.

Things I learned:

  • Improvisation, I intended to just use the breakfast icons but it started looking too food focused and not so much for a bride so I gave these little flowers a go and wound up loving how well they complimented each other.
  • Finding my groove with this color palette, breakfast foods aren’t always the most colorful, lots of browns and beiges happening (with the happy exception of fruit) so I used a neutral/pastel set of colors with a small showing of a bright color to make these guys and gals come to life.

Things I loved:

  • Dat bagel schmear tho! While I was creating the form for the schmear in my head, I went through this dialogue with myself…”Yay! It’s bagel time! I love cream cheese too. Basically my two favorite things! Oh, whatever, it doesn’t have to look perfect…screw it, in my mouth it goes!” At least, that’s how I top my bagel, I try to keep it neat in the beginning of cream cheese application and then quickly abandon all expectations of that a few seconds later. I think little weird thoughts like that during creating give it some soul.
  • The blueberry muffin looks a little bit angry at the world. At first this bugged me but then I thought, every family has a grump and that is who the muffin is, a lovable delicious grump.

Breakfast family profile:

  • Blueberry Muffin: the adorable grump (as described above).
  • Coffee cup and saucer: the austere aunt who has her shizz together.
  • Coffee beans: her kids that she can’t quite keep in line.
  • Snozberry: the teen, always trying to be the center of attention and wearing some bright ass color.
  • Croissant: The guy or gal/dad or mom who keeps things together for everyone, the pillar of the family, if you will.
  • Bagel and schmear: the best friend who will always be in your corner.

 

Info Cited:
Type Faces used – TW Cen bold, Didot italic, Mrs. Eaves
Flowers – Dollar Photo Club
Personal branding type – Bariol



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