89 (Fun with 6/8, Harmonica, Octaves, & Percussion)

When the girlfriend’s away, the boyfriend will play … music.

Pretty sure I’m in 6/8 time here, pretty sure I ended up with a total of five vocal tracks, and I’m 100% sure the percussion you hear in the second half is comprised of 1) clapping 2) bodhrán (Irish drum), and 3) me tapping on a glass.

Could potentially blossom into a full-blown song, but for now, it’s just a 45-second ditty:

I Wish I Was a Fisherman, Tumbling on the Sea [Illustration]

I was recently inspired by a great song I used to listen to many moons ago, back when I was a (singing) busboy at an Irish pub in Montreal. The song: “Fisherman’s Blues” by the Waterboys.

Go have yourself a listen (I’ll wait here).

Here’s the old-man-fisherman-dude I drew from the song. He started out as a simple pen sketch.

fisherman's blues pen


Then, I brought him into Illustrator and had some fun with colors, gradients, textures, etc.

fisherman's blues


Here’s the side-by-side:

fisherman's blues side by side


And here are the lyrics to Fisherman’s Blues, just cause:

I wish I was a fisherman
tumbling on the sea
far away from dry land
and its bitter memories
casting out my sweet line
with abandonment and love
no ceiling bearing down on me
save the starry sky above
with Light in my head
and you in my arms

I wish I was the brakeman
on a hurtling, fevered train
crashing headlong into the heartland
like a cannon in the rain
with the beating of the sleepers
and the burning of the coal
counting the towns flashing by
in a night that’s full of soul
with Light in my head
and you in my arms

I know I will be loosened
from the bonds that hold me fast
that the chains all hung around me
will fall away at last
and on that fine and fateful day
I will take me in my hands
I will ride on the train
I will be the fisherman
with Light in my head
and you in my arms

“Time to Resume” Logo & Branding Project

Did a bit of design work recently for a (forthcoming) nonprofit network called Time to Resume. The network will connect veterans with business pros to help with resume creation and interview prep.

My only guidelines for the logo: It had to be “military-looking” but not “cheesy/overly-American,” and the colors had to be “grays/blues.”

Here were my first ideas:

time to resume-01

Major props to my designer pal/co-worker Matt Plays for coming up with the idea for the chevrons/resume/star icon. (And of course, that’s the logo we ended up going with.) Updated versions below:

time to resume-02



Just the text:

time to resume-text-02


Just the icon:

time to resume-icon-02


And here are some calls-to-action (CTAs) I created for the site:

time to resume-volunteer-cta-04

time to resume-veteran-cta-03

time to resume-blog-cta-05

Designing a Logo for the Bee Business

A buddy of mine runs an “apiary,” which, as it turns out, is not some type of sanctuary for great apes.

Bad jokes aside, I volunteered to mock up some logo ideas for my pal’s new endeavor, which he’s calling Weston Bees.

His only requests going into the design process: 1) He wanted the logo to be circular, and 2) He wanted it to include an image of a skep, which is a beehive made from straw or wicker.

Three rounds laters, I have a pretty solid logo concept. Here’s how it evolved:

Round 1



Round 2


Round 3


How to Design a Building in Adobe Illustrator (the Easy Way)

inn at sonrel st

Yes, this is another post about doing fun stuff in Adobe Illustrator.

And yes, this is another case of me being envious of an awesome project that my designer buddy has been working on.

The project? Illustrating a whole slew of cityscapes, with buildings and bridges and busses galore. While many of his building illustrations now adorn the walls of HubSpot’s headquarters in Cambridge, MA, my latest building illustration (see image above) now adorns my mom’s refrigerator.

→ ♣ ←

So, how do you make one of these bad boys? Or, better still for my fellow amateur illustrators out there, how do you make one of these bad boys the easy way? Lemme show ya:

1) Open a Photo of a Building in Illustrator

For this most recent project, I used a Google Street View shot of my parents’ house.


2) Bust Out the Pen Tool, Get Comfortable, & Start Tracing

The more lines you trace, the more detail there’ll be when you’re finished. (In the image below, I’ve highlighted all of the lines in orange so you can see them.)Sonrel B&B-lines-01

Here’s what it looks like with the photo hidden (and the lines darkened):

Sonrel B&B-dark-lines-01

3) Add Some Finishing Touches

As you can already see in the image above, I used more than just lines: I also filled in some shapes with solid colors and added some funky scribbles for the plants.

In the final version below, you can see that I added some hanging plants (i.e. more funky scribbles) and then covered the whole thing with a paper texture.

inn at sonrel st

And that’s all there is to it!

Labor intensive? Yes. Difficult? Once you’ve mastered using the pen tool in Illustrator, no. So get to it! And until next time, happy illustrating.