Logo for 2020 Christmas in Doylestown

The Christmas in Doylestown House Tour, run by the hard-working volunteers at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church since 1992, needed to be re-imagined this year to accommodate social distancing. The highly-anticipated Tour is a holiday tradition for many in the Central Bucks area, allowing delighted attendees of years past to wander through four beautifully-decorated and designed homes in the center of a town filled with historic buildings. Throughout the years the House Tour has raised more than $193,700 for the Bucks County Housing Group to support the Doylestown Homeless Shelter.

My original logo for Christmas in Doylestown, which took place mostly during daylight hours, was this:

The team in charge this year has come up with a number of alternate activities to keep patrons entertained and healthy at the same time, and they hope to still raise some funds for the Homeless Shelter. To avoid crowds, the tour will be primarily in the evening, where anyone can drive or walk down the designated streets to see beautifully lit grand houses from outdoors. There may be entire streets of homes that will participate, so it should be quite a show! This outdoor tour will be free, though donations will be gratefully accepted on behalf of the Bucks County Housing Group.

In addition, St. Paul’s will still hold its popular Christmas Attic sale – with a twist – where shoppers can find great bargains on all sorts of holiday decorations. To keep this safe for patrons, the sale will take place as an online auction.

I updated this year’s logo with suggestions from the CID team, to reflect the changes for 2020, and I think it still makes an eye-catching design –

For further info on this December’s Christmas in Doylestown and Christmas Attic, and to learn how to donate to the Bucks County Housing Group, click HERE.

Poster Art for ‘The Sorcerer’ Musical

Every year I design the poster for the Bucks County Gilbert & Sullivan Society’s musical comedy and this year’s June operetta is Gilbert & Sullivan’s The Sorcerer. I love the wacky plot of this show, which is about a sorcerer in Victorian England who is asked to create a love potion that an entire town partakes of, with chaotic and comic results. It strikes me as singularly funny that instead of a cauldron like Shakespeare’s witches brew their potions in, this very proper society sorcerer brews his in a porcelain pot of tea!

I was lucky to be at an early costume fitting for the actor playing the title role, so I took photos of him in costume for reference when drawing, and they even had the large teapot that will be his prop in the show. I knew the kind of pose I wanted for the figure and started with pencil sketches –

I put some rough color on the sketched figure and placed him on the poster page, with the text that will go around him, based on previous posters, and drew in the background roughly with a digital gradation, markers & colored pencils, to get a rough design of the page.

I refined my line drawing of the figure and did more detail on the digital color –

I worked on the title logotype next, to shape it around the sorcerer’s arm & umbrella. I used a fun typeface called “Island of Misfit Toys, ” although I played with the letter shapes a bit, stretching and adding some curls, to balance things out.

I drew the cloud emanating from the teapot digitally and put the figure in place –

and then dropped in the title logotype and added some more magical swashes and particles circling the Sorcerer and the cloud, for the finished art.

This promises to be a terrific show, by the way, I recommend everyone comes to see it! Tickets go on sale April 15, through the website.

Caricature branding

My friend Roberta Fortune commissions me to do a caricature of her for practically every holiday that comes along, and she uses these illustrations to brand her events as The Spa Lady, wherein she helps clients relax their lives with essential oils, wellness products and yoga. I drew a black/white caricature of her recently and thought I’d post that and some of the previous holiday caricatures, which all show off her clever marketing and effusive and fun personality.

My recent drawing, showing her with some fragrant burning sage –

and some of the previous holiday-themed drawings (click to enlarge):

Logos for a Theater

The creative folks at TAFE (Theater Arts for Everyone, in York, PA) have decided on their 2019 season of shows, and requested I design a 2-color logo for each. The simplicity of the logos makes it easy for them to produce affordable t-shirts, with the logos imprinted, for the casts. (These logos are copyrighted; please contact me if you would like to lease them)

tafe_2018_logos

Art Deco Wedding Invitation

My daughter was just married on New Year’s Eve (thank you, she married a wonderful guy who is also a very lucky man) and she admires the clean and classy look of Art Deco design, so this became the theme for her wedding invitation and much of her wedding decor.

My printer is Cortineo Creative of Doylestown, PA, and I met with Lori of their Wedding Studio early on to discuss the look we wanted for my daughter’s invitation. Of many beautiful designs Lori showed me, the most exquisite I saw were those with laser-cut paper overlays.

Cortineo has created many unique designs with pre-cut laser-cut designs – some are pictured below – but of the samples I saw, all were floral and lacy – very pretty, but none had the sleek Art Deco look that I knew my daughter Julie prized.

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We decided to create our own. I found PaperPresentation in NYC online, and submitting our own design to them for laser-cutting seemed fairly easy and affordable. I asked Cortineo if they were ok printing and assembling the invitations if we provided a 1artdecowedinv3custom-designed laser piece and they were completely amenable to it.

We wanted the laser-cut overlay to be metallic gold and the invitation base to be simple black and white.  I made a rough Art Deco frame design in black for the laser-cut paper so we could also design the type, and Julie tweaked it, adding an arch at the top which fit perfectly with the deco look. I initially used a default Art Deco font for the rough invitation text, knowing Cortineo had many more stylish fonts in their catalog that they would suggest.

Since Julie works in NYC it was easy for her to visit PaperPresentation’s showroom and choose the exact paper she wanted for her overlay – she tells me I must visit there sometime too, they have so many gorgeous papers and envelopes for designing printed pieces! She chose a lovely deep burnished gold paper.

1artdecoinvitation4The designer at Cortineo, Kelly, found two beautiful deco typefaces to use – a bold one for the couple’s names and a more refined one for the body copy. Julie and I also came up with a gold and black deco-style monogram with their initials to put at the top, and by experimenting we decided to put some black triangles in the corners, which would show up the gold overlay even more. Kelly also deftly matched the gold ink color of the couple’s names to the gold of the laser-cut paper.

When submitting a design to PP you must create an extremely fine-lined electronic file, because the laser will cut exactly on the center of the lines you provide. Julie traced her design into Adobe Illustrator, and to be sure it was correct I asked my friend, designer and illustrator Glenn Zimmer, to check it and clean it up. I submitted the file to PP and they accepted it.  Within a week their box was delivered to me with 100 perfectly cut overlays.

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We think that when the invitation was finally assembled, it achieved a rich and lustrous, yet clean art deco look.

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1artdecoinv5In addition to the attractive front of this card, Cortineo coordinated and assembled the other components of the wedding invitation into a pocket on the reverse side.

It was a wonderful experience putting together a custom-made wedding invitation with my daughter, and she really enjoyed inserting her taste and details into it. I highly recommend Cortineo Creative for their incredibly courteous and professional service, and their excellent designer. They even stamped the return envelopes for the invitation responses, then hand-delivered all 85 invitations to our post office, to be sure the clerk hand-stamped the outer envelope to prevent any damage from putting them through a machine. And PaperPresentation also deserves high praise, for efficiency, professionalism and the wonderful range of papers and services they offer.