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year in review

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year in review

Well, the Kuhlmann family has had quite an interesting year this time around! We thought we'd share it with our close family and friends by sending out a goofy holiday card that doubled as a year in review (info?)graphic - letting everyone know what we've been up to as of late. I think we got some pretty good laughs out of it. You can see more detailed photos of the card here!

Here's the Kuhlmann family, up close and personal. But not that crazy squirrel. How'd he get here?

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cards on a whim

I was rushing around a few days back for a holiday party and had to make a few Christmas cards on the whim. This was my favorite! 

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best feelings

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best feelings

If you've glanced at my blog before or follow me on Twitter and/or Instagram, then you probably already know that I like to draw. Buildings, people, patterns, dogs...whatever. Every once in a while, when the cosmos align just right, I get the chance to simultaneously draw and get paid. When that happens, it's really pretty much one of the best feelings in the world. It's special...like building a house with your bare hands and whole heart and then someone saying, "That's a really pretty house. Can I live there too?" That made more sense in my head, actually, but I'm not sure how else to explain it. 

So recently, one of these types of opportunities came across my path and I was, and still am, pretty psyched about it. I was asked to do a full cover illustration of Writer's Digest magazine to go along with some illustrations I had previously done for the interior feature package of the July/August issue! You can see the cover above along with some close-ups and interior shots from the feature package below. 

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oh, cincinnati

Starting work downtown has been a huge change of scenery, and change of pace for me. Busy busy & loud, hussle bussle. At first, it was a bit overwhelming but I'm getting more and more used to it. I've been snapping a few photos here and there while wondering around on my lunch breaks. There is definitely no shortage of interesting things to look at. 

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flow chart, fun(ny)

Flow charts and information design. Those have always been two of my most favorite types of projects to work on! Organizing and compartmentalizing are among the things I do best. In fact, if you were to peek into my design laboratory at home or my desk at work, you'd immediately see that I am a little psycho about it making sure things are in order.

This flow chart is featured in the March/April issue of Writer's Digest, and I'm pretty excited about it! I generally take care of all design needs for the magazine (new feature package designs/concepts for every issue, column design, etc.), but I've never had the opportunity to design a flow chart for WD before. This piece is titled A Step-By-Step Guide to Agent Response Times. It's a lighthearted take on the thought process of a writer as he or she nervously goes through the (beginning stages) of the publishing process. It's very humorous and I think all of us (writer or not) can relate to it on some level! 

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ahhh, memories

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ahhh, memories

I generally don't believe in making New Year resolutions for myself because, and I'm sure most people can relate, I never seem to obtain them. This year, I've just tried to set a few simple goals for myself...things I'd like to work on here and there. Nothing outrageous or unachievable, I don't think. Recording memories both visually and by the written word (in cursive, at that!) through the use of my sketchbook is at the top of my goal list! Here are some of this year's attempts so far. Hope to keep them coming. :) 

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beauty is embarassing

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beauty is embarassing

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While bedridden and sick last week, like every other human on the Earth right now, I watched a disgusting amount of t.v. Some good, some bad, and some AWESOME. This documentary about Wayne White was definitely in the awesome category. To be honest, I didn't know who Wayne White was before watching the documentary. I had seen his work throughout different times and phases in my life without ever making the connection that it was all by the same guy. If you don't know him either, he was a designer and puppeteer for Pee-wee’s Playhouse back in the 80's and also designed sets for Beakman’s WorldShining Time Station, and other well known children's shows. He's most recently known in the fine arts world for his humorous word paintings. From the way he talks about these paintings in the documentary, he buys original landscape paintings from thrift stores and then paints his typography on top of them. The words, or sayings, are usually humorous and sassy...or they reflect memories about his upbringing in the south. The typography is executed extremely well; you can definitely tell that there is some serious skill with color and painting technique...not that I'm an expert or anything. 

I'm not 100% sure what the overall takeaway of the film is supposed to be, but I am sure of the things that I learned from it. 

  • Stay humble. Wayne has lead such an interesting life and has really made it big in the creative world, yet he is so humble and appears to still be the man that everyone has always known him to be. He doesn't take life or his work too seriously and keeps a playful take on things. I hope that one day, I'll be able to say the same for myself. 
  • Variety is the spice of life. From what I could tell, Wayne has pretty much done it all. Sculpture, painting, design, set design, illustration, art directing, and much more.  When something doesn't work out for you, or you get burnt out, it's time to try something new. 
  • If you don't know how to do something, jump in and figure it out. Wayne openly admitted that he didn't know how to build puppets when it came time to making them for his job. Instead of freaking out and/or researching the subject for hours on end, like I most likely would, he just just jumped right in. His first puppet wasn't exactly built efficiently/correctly, but I bet that he never made those same mistakes again. He wasn't afraid of making something less than perfect, and it still worked out somehow. 

So, yeah. If you're a creative like me, check out this documentary. Learning about Wayne's life made me step back and examine my own creative process and how it affects my every day life. I think that's something all of us creatives need to do from time to time! 

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handmade market at work

So, we are having a small Handmade Market event at my place of work next week, which I am already excited about! How cool of an idea is that?! I'll be selling items from my Etsy shop, Gadzoooks! Sadly, it's for employees only. Sorry folks!

Also, I am excited that I was asked to help out with the flyer design, which was super fun and certainly a nice break from the normal routine at the office. Check it out below!

Illustrations courtesy of fotolia.com

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new shop!

Hello world! Long time no see! I've been a busy little bee, working on my newest endeavor-an Etsy shop! That's right, my Etsy shop, called Gadzoooks, is now up and running and I am so very excited about it! Check out the spiffy logo I made below! 

For now, I have mostly decent older work from college (made about 5 or 6 years ago). It's not doing any good sitting at my house in dusty sheets of mylar, so why not let others get some enjoyment out of it? My newest work on there, though, is pretty cool! I've designed and illustrated a series of love themed prints that have a steampunk/robotic twist. You may recognize the one on the bottom right from this post. I first created it for my sweet niece, Elinor. It was a gift to her parents, for her nursery. I've just sort of built on that same style and theme and with that, created the other 3. 

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Over the course of the next few months, I'll be releasing another line of either illustrated prints or cards-I haven't fully decided yet. The subject of this new line of print goods will feature crazy ass children, and I am calling the series Jankity Kids. So, keep a look out for these funny little guys to come out at Gadzoooks!

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42 dd

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42 dd

Drawing. It's an essential part of any artist's or designer's career and really, their life. I believe that if creatives don't sketch or draw or doodle, whatever the hell you want to call it, ideas will turn stale. Creative juices will run low. And growth in a positive direction just won't happen. With that said, I'll be the first to admit that I've gotten lazy. We all have and we all do at sometime or another.

So. 42 days ago, I made myself promise to do at least 1 daily drawing.  It started out partially as a personal experiment and also as a way for me to rejuvenate my creative mojo...to keep my brain and my ideas fresh. Somehow, it turned out to mean more than that.

  • Drawing everyday turned out to be a great way to record memories. As I mentioned in my last post, I recently traveled to San Juan, Puerto Rico. Some of these were drawn there-in the middle of sight seeing and people watching. I'm so happy that I have drawings from there to remind me of the good times that were had on our trip. Pictures, of course, are great ways to record memories too, and boy did I take a lot of them, but there is something about bringing back a piece of something handmade and created on a trip. It feels...a little more special. 
  • These drawings were drawn in so many different places. One in a car. One in a plane. One on a beach and some in coffee shops. Naturally, different surroundings brought different inspiration and really had an affect on what was going down on paper. This, in turn, leaked into my own side projects and other work-having a great effect on what I was producing all around. 
  • Drawing on the daily allowed me to really laugh at myself. Out of the 42 days I did the drawings, a few of those days were really crappy...I would be grumpy or stressed and draw some really funky looking things. Those funky things turned out to be some of my favorites out of this whole collection! If you couldn't already tell - #'s 19, 21, 26 were the bad days. (You have to click the images to view them in the light-box with numbers). 

So yeah. This was a pretty cool experience. I think I might carry it on a little longer...or maybe forever? We'll see. :) 

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