San Francisco Zine Fest

zine fest poster

This past weekend, I went on a spur of the moment trip with my friend Silvia to the San Francisco Zine Fest!

I will admit it, I’m not really all that zine savvy…I knew what they were, but I hadn’t been exposed to the culture and I’m so glad I was.

For those of you who don’t know about Zines, here’s an explanation here. There weren’t just zines at the fair, there were actually illustrations, books, stickers, buttons, and other crafts being sold. The thing about zines is that, in general, only a few are created by the artist (usually they are self-published) and they are either very cheap or given away for free. I saw many zines that were raunchy in nature, some that were political, some that were goofy, and some that were fact-based. The following people at the Fest caught my eye ๐Ÿ™‚

Andrew of Ogner Stump
Andrew’s work caught my eye (of course)! His Ogner Stump zines, books, and stickers were reminded me of old movie poster art. I love the simplicity of color and personality of his characters. Also stopped by the Giant Robot store and saw his work in there as well.

ogner stump stickers

hero land

Stopped by the Fun Chicken booth and purchased one of these great Hero Land zines. I am going to send this to a friend who will really enjoy it. It’s so funny…kinda the behind the scenes of what super heroes do in their daily life. This zine is by Esther Pearl Watson…her illustrations are always on the last page of Bust. So cool to see the connection!

miss sequential

Loved Marisa Falco’s work of Miss Sequential. She had a cute, retro style. Definitely girly and witty! She was doing drawings for only a dollar, so I had her draw me as Betty Draper of Mad Men.

alexa draper

everybody get up

Finally, I stopped by Everybody Get Up’s booth. They were so nice and had a lot of cool street + pop culture art. They were doing portraits for 25ยข. Can you believe that? That’s one of their things…they love art and want to make it accessible for everyone. I had an illustration made for a friend, so I can’t share it just yet. They were fun…I enjoyed talking to them!

Hope this gives you a little more clue into the Zine scene and that world. It was a really great and unexpected day and I had a great time with Silvia! We have a lot in common and had so much fun chatting!

Until next time Swellions!


Digital Photo Drawings

paris copy

I know you’ve seen this before. You may not have realized it, but the handwritten/drawn on look is all the rage! A few months back, my friend Carey gave me the idea to play up photos using this technique and I whipped up a few pieces using existing photos I had. I know you’ve seen this look…heck, you may have even done it before and never really thought of turning it into something uber fab!

It’s seen all over Perez Hilton…he’s not only the “Queen of All Media”, he’s the queen of these doodly drawings.


The movie Juno also featured this drawn photo/illustration style in it’s opening credits…

juno opening

…and I love it on this fun cd artwork (complete with the diagonal stripes, one of my faves)…


So there’s no reason you can’t do this to your photos too! All it takes is a basic Paint application (MS Paint or Photoshop Elements anyone?) If you don’t have one of those, then you can download one of these free applications…. It doesn’t really require a lot o’ talent either. You can just do some fanciful outlining, dots, and very primitive shapes. The photo paint look so lends itself to the sloppy handwritten look and that is part of it’s charm too! Sure, you may have to be a little bit picky and do some erasing here and there, but’s that all a part of the process! I played around a little bit before I came up with this final design for my friend’s cat Puzzle:

photo paint art

If you are trying to do this, let me just give you a few quick tips:

1. Use the pencil brush instead of the blurry edged paint brush. The pencil brush has a hard edge and gives a more illustrative/pen-like style. You can play around with both really (the paintbrush tool lends to a more graffiti feel), but the looks shown in this post all used a pencil edge.

2. Work with the highest quality resolution image if you plan on printing them out and framing or actually making a fun craft project. There’s nothing worse then spending a lot of time on an image only for it to turn out totally pixelated and poor quality. Trust me, you’ll thank me later.

3. Mix your digital drawing in with your fun decorative fonts like I did in the Oui Oui picture above. This adds a touch of whimsy and if you’ve not super confident in your handwriting, this may be the way to go.

4. Fill in large areas with a large paint brush tool or paint bucket tool if you want to showcase just certain areas.

5. Dress a design up with basic dots, lines, swirls, and outlines in different colors. Also doodle and draw on your image the same way you would on paper. Draw hearts, stars, thought bubbles, little smiley faces, etc. on your image. I recently visited Bam Pop fun and graphic inspiration in this style.

These would make cute little conversation pieces all around your home…I can just imagine making mini digital photo drawing pillows, coasters, stickers, and magnets to put on display. They also make a great photo grouping using different shaped frames scattered all over an open wall. This also opens up into gift possibilities as well…if your friend is a nut over those LOL cats, wouldn’t they be just as crazy over a custom cat or funny image of themselves with their signature phrase??? These would make super funny gift wrap bags and tags as well. What a great way to make a funny statement!

You really can do so much with this look. A few months back, I created this idea folder in a very similar vain (granted, I actually hand lettered this image, but the basic idea is there). Just think outside of the box and start thinking about the different ways you can accessorize your plain photos and turn them into something beyond swell!

idea notebook

Until tomorrow Swellions!


A visual & vintage cookbook smorgasboard

pancake mix

I’ve been meaning to post about this for a while, but recently while on a trip home I got out my mom’s old cookbooks that she used back in the early 60’s…and boy was I in for a treat.

If there was one thing I wish I could do art-wise, it would be to know how to illustrate in the 1950’sesque style. I love the kitschy linework and adornment along with the colors they infused into their work…just love it. I’m sure there are plenty of artists out there still doing this style (I met one named Suzie Millions at the CHA show last year who replicated this look to a T and had them featured in her book Retro Crafts.) But there’s definitely something to be said for the unadulterated whimsy and fanciful shapes and designs and linework. I guess it goes back to it be a simpler time…when it was much easier to hire an illustrator to do a cover than to have it photographed. I would def. love to meet one of these illustrators today and hear about their craft. It just amazes me.

Well, I’m going to post a whole slew of photos below of covers, quirky foods, and those beautiful illustrations. I guess back then, the domestic housewife had a lot of time on her hands and could utilize it by ‘whipping up’ a 5 layer cake or several batches of homeade cookie bars. I know very few people today who even attempt a daunting task like that even once a year (actually my sister Angela does around Christmastime-must applaud her for that effort). It seems like Thanksgiving and Christmas are the only real times we actually cook. It’s kind of sad that we don’t “play” as much in the kitchen cause our lives are so overwhelmed by work, kids, and social obligations. I do notice a lot of people have been doing more simple baking like cupcakes which are relatively easy and pretty and are rather quick craft of sorts. I guess it’s all about finding the time to create something – even if it is a 30 minute meal. hope you dig these illustrations and retro foods as much as I did!

sorbet fantasy


coconut layer cake

wagon cake

table talk

practically cookless cookbook

frozen assets

do ahead party book

Until tomorrow Swellions!


5 sites o’ the moment that I just love!

Thought I would do a fun list of sorts today of 5 sites you really need to check out!

Craft Critique
I’ve been visiting this great blog called Craft Critique. They seem to really be on top of stuff on there…new products and whatnot. They also do thorough research on all types of craft products, not just scrapbooking stuff. It’s a great resourceful site.

Betsey Johnson
OK, so I perused around on Betsey Johnson’s site today. I love her jewelry so much. I remember first hearing about her back in middle school, when she had a “Get a cool look for under $50 at K-mart” featured in Seventeen. I always loved what she did with that (I remember her teenage daughter Lulu was always the model). Anyway, I don’t know why I haven’t been visiting this site more often, in fact. If you know of any other quirky designers that is in this vain, please let me know. I’m not the most fashionable of people (I mean I keep up on some stuff, but it’s hard not being immersed in that world.

Your Face Blog
I love this fun illustration site called Your Face. Artist Damien Weighill does some really original and fun drawings with basic photographs that people send in. I actually sent him mine, but I doubt he will ever get to it. I’m sure he gets hundreds of requests daily and has to weed through them to find just the right one to draw. He has the craziest, most off the wall ideas. I love the randomness.

Culture Soak Blog
I found this great Bluegrass region blog called Culture Soak. It’s really nicely designed and doesn’t fixate itself totally on Lexington, but it also deals with cool design, photography, and art all over the world. I love posts like this lego photo reenactment, Polaroid Mirror, and one that led me to this bad design police link Hilarious!

Marketplace article…”Knit 1, Pearl 2, Point & Click”
Heard today on Marketplace this story about the decline knitting shops that were booming just 2-3 years ago. Considering that I don’t knit and haven’t visited a shop or talked to a knitter in depth, I had no clue as to what was going on with this industry and the downturn of the popularity of local knitting shops. Looks like more people are going online or turning to other venues for their supplies. If you are a crafty pro, you should def. check out this article. Very insightful.

I hope you guys have a chance to check out atleast one of them to be inspired and possibly learn something new! Until next time Swellions!