Tag: Hand-lettering & Typography


Belated Valentine

February 28th, 2013 — 6:08pm

This year, for the first time ever, I did not celebrate Valentine’s Day…. so sad!
Marc and I had caught the most horrible flu, it truly knocked us down for over a week. Neither of us had ever been so sick. Needless to say, Valentine’s Day came and went. Now that we’ve recovered I wanted to do a little something fun to mark the holiday…
always a good excuse!
Yesterday we went to Ethnic Arts to pick out our annual “Valentine” milagro, we’ve been collecting them for years and have fun displaying them on the walls of our kitchen nook (a.k.a. The Frida Room).

Here is The Frida Room, our ever-evolving shrine room to Frida Kahlo.
And here is a closeup of a wonderful saying that I hand-painted on the wall, the rough translation is “Be Fearless, Choose Love!”.
And here is today’s project, created in the Valentine spirit!
Marc and I went to Oaxaca, Mexico for Day of the Dead in 2011. While we were there we fulfilled a longtime wish of mine; to dress up, have our faces painted, and get a professional photograph taken to look like an old portrait! Our photo session was hilarious, the photographer was so fun to work with. Above is my favorite photograph that I have painted over with encaustic medium (beeswax and resin), the encaustic gives it such a perfect ghostly look.
Today, I finally hung the photograph and hand-painted our names, place and year on the wall.
I hope everyone had a wonderful Valentine’s Day, full of love, appreciation, and playfulness.

1 comment » | Hand-lettering & Typography, Process, Uncategorized

Black Pearl Sings!

May 3rd, 2012 — 11:19pm

Today I’d like to share a really fun, and quite different, project. I was contacted by Michael Buchino, the graphic designer for Portland Center Stage, to create a poster design for their 2012 season. The play was Black Pearl Sings!
A brief synopsis from Michael:
In 1935 Texas, Susannah, an academic and song collector for the Library of Congress, visits a high-security prison where she meets Pearl, an African-American woman imprisoned for murder who longs to leave prison and find her lost daughter. Hoping to record the treasure trove of spirituals and African folk songs that only Pearl knows—and make her reputation on the discoveries—Susannah bargains for Pearl’s parole and arranges for several public performances. The two women soon find themselves walking a delicate line between exposure and exploitation.
Featuring beautiful a cappella renditions of little-known American folk songs, Black Pearl Sings! chronicles a powerful story about being a woman in a man’s world, being black in a white world, and fighting for one’s soul in a world where anyone can be a commodity.

I was very interested and excited to work on such a different type of project. I read the entire script and relished in trying to create a captivating and communicative image. I explored several different rough concepts and illustration styles.

Here is one of my studies. I thought it could be interesting to play with old sheet music paper and to use the lines to represent prison bars.
Here is a similar study, again using the music paper, but here I wrote the words to a song that Pearl sings in prison to gather attention.
I loved keeping my designs in black and white with a touch of red, simplicity can be so powerful. The storyline and the main characters also made it seem quite fitting.

I also explored “illustrated type”. I love expressive typography and I thought it could be interesting to illustrate the name of the play and somehow communicate the storyline.

In the end Michael chose this design concept and I was very pleased. The final poster image, shown at the beginning of this post, evolved into a portrait format rather than landscape to accommodate other printed verbiage and I like the way it turned into a strong checkerboard of information. My illustration style in this design is inspired by one of my favorite artists of all time, Margaret Kilgallen. If you don’t know of her you should watch this short film. She was so talented. I love her work and sensibilities.

3 comments » | Hand-lettering & Typography, Illustration, Process, Uncategorized

Martha Stewart Debut!

December 17th, 2011 — 5:21pm

I have been dying to post about my first appearance in Martha Stewart Weddings!
I was one of the lucky designers that was contacted to create a wedding suite inspired by pattern. I was assigned stripes!  Instead of sticking to the classic crisp lines we know so well, I created stencils and hand-painted watercolor washes onto each and every piece.
Labor intensive, yes, but I wouldn’t have it any other way ; )
The results are so soft and romantic.

Here is my full page feature! Beautifully photographed by the Martha Stewart team.
I love the way they styled the photograph with the background fabric and hand-painted cookies…. can you believe they found the fabric for the background after I created the suite?! It’s perfect! So exciting to see my work on the page of such a well known and respected publication!

4 comments » | Hand-lettering & Typography, Uncategorized, Weddings & Events

Signs of Encouragement

November 16th, 2011 — 5:32pm

It has been quite some time since my last post. It amazes me how quickly time moves on. My life has been busy with work, travel, more work, and the construction of my studio addition! In times like these I find it helpful to make myself “signs of encouragement”…. little handmade signs to comfort and motivate me through the chaos. Just the process of sitting down and making myself a little reminder makes me feel better.

I made several additional copies of this sign and have put them up all over my house. When you are self employed and work from home sometimes the biggest challenge is just getting to your office!


I can be known to procrastinate. I’ve also been known to labor a little too much over things. In cases like this my supportive boyfriend, Marc, reminds me that
“Done Is Beautiful” (a saying used often in construction).


This is another one of Marc’s sayings… and it’s a perfect description of the trouble we can get ourselves into!
I have also been known to over think things… and paralyze myself in the process!
I think we all need, at one time or another, a few signs of encouragement.

Comment » | Hand-lettering & Typography, Process, Uncategorized

Happy Bastille Day!

July 14th, 2011 — 10:13am

I’ve grown to love July 14th, Bastille Day, as it is such a magical night at Chez Panisse Restaurant. Over the years I have created many Bastille Day menus for Chez Panisse, the above 2002 menu was my first. At Chez Panisse, Bastille Day is also a celebration of the garlic harvest. The decorations that can be found all around the restaurant are breathtaking… beautiful garlic garlands, olive branches, and French flag ribbons as far as the eye can see! The menu items are absolutely delicious and celebrate traditional rustic French fare, and lots of garlic! I feel nostalgic looking back at my design from 9 years ago. It’s simple execution still holds strong.

Comment » | Hand-lettering & Typography, Portfolio Archives, Weddings & Events

A Delicious Gift

July 6th, 2011 — 12:04pm

Lately I seem to have Pizzaiolo, and their delicious food, on my mind…
I think I need to go and visit!
Above is one of the best gifts I can think of, a gift certificate that feeds you! I designed and hand-lettered this gift certificate several years ago and I still love it’s simplicity and old world charm. I found the wood oven engraving in a book of mine and I think the image is just perfect. I letterpress print them in black and warm red. The image seems to glow very much like the restaurant itself… and the man at the oven even looks like Charlie!

Comment » | Hand-lettering & Typography, Identity & Packaging, Uncategorized

Marion’s 80th

April 12th, 2011 — 11:05pm

Spring has truly arrived here in the Bay Area. Flowers are blooming everywhere.
Today’s post is a “Spring Inspired” menu for Marion Cunningham’s 80th birthday,
a delicious Sunday supper at Chez Panisse Restaurant.
I printed a botanical line drawing of a crocus onto vintage paper and hand-lettered a birthday message on the ribbon.
I hand-painted each menu with soft water based inks.

Here is the inside of the menu, I hand-lettered each course using a mixture of my favorite lettering styles.
I love that there were EIGHTY different sweets for dessert!

2 comments » | Hand-lettering & Typography, Process, Uncategorized, Weddings & Events

60th Birthday Dinner

March 9th, 2011 — 5:15pm

I’ve been reorganizing my studio lately and sorting through drawers and drawers of my lateral files. I came across this menu that I created for a special birthday dinner at Chez Panisse Restaurant. A 60th birthday celebration for two of Alice’s close friends. I love the charming, funny little morel mushrooms, photographs from one of Alice’s books.

Here is the back of the menu, a long and impressive list of the wines and liqueur that were served that evening. I like the simple elegance of the calligraphy style I chose to work in.

Comment » | Hand-lettering & Typography, Portfolio Archives, Uncategorized, Weddings & Events

A Little Faith

January 29th, 2011 — 12:22pm

Today I want to share a project with an inspiring story.
Anni contacted me to create some hand-lettering of “a little faith” for the artwork of her tattoo. Having created a few tattoo designs for myself, I was honored to be involved with such a special project.Anni wanted the phrase to be linked together, as if written in a continuous strand of thread. We explored many different combinations of upper and lower case characters, each one had their own personality. Anni ended up choosing version #1, shown at the top of this page.
And here it is, in the flesh!
I love the strong placement on her forearm.
So exciting to see one’s design so permanently displayed!

Once Anni had chosen her design she kindly wrote to me and explained her personal, and powerful, story behind her tattoo……
… here is a photograph of “A Little Faith”, a beautiful and wild 3 year old Mustang.
In Anni’s words “I adopted her based off of nothing more than a look in her eyes in her picture on the BLM’s website and named her “A Little Faith” or Lily for short. She is the absolute sweetest and most amazing horse, and having her name forever on my arm will be a wonderful way to remind myself that taking chances often pays off! ”
I get chills every time I read this. Anni, thank you for sharing such a beautiful story.
You truly inspire me to make decisions from the heart and to have faith in the outcome!

7 comments » | Hand-lettering & Typography, Process, Uncategorized

Special Delivery!

January 20th, 2011 — 3:57pm

I wanted to share this birth announcement that I created for a friend/colleague. It is inspired by a wedding invitation design that I did, featured in Brides Magazine, last year. The theme was “vintage schoolhouse” printed on old school paper, mounted to old file folders, and packaged in manila envelopes. The look had such an old fashioned sweetness about it… also perfect for a birth announcement!
On the front of the envelopes I silkscreen printed my stork illustration and found the perfect use for my vintage “Special Delivery” labels.

On the back of the envelopes I played with the same “schoolyard song” as I had for the wedding invitations, only taking it a bit further… first comes love, then comes marriage, then comes…. Jameson!
I had so much fun creating schoolbook-like illustrations and hand-lettering. Using a clock for the time of his birth, a scale for his weight, and a ruler for his length measurement. I like how the parent’s names cradle each side of my baby Jameson illustration.

5 comments » | Birth Announcements, Hand-lettering & Typography, Illustration, Portfolio Archives, Process

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