Feb 22, 2011

Drawsigner.com Launched!

The new blog: Drawsigner.com

I'm happy to announce the launch of my new blog Drawsigner.com

I will no longer post on Art Backwash but I will leave this blog intact for reference purposes. All future blog posts will appear on my new blog site Drawsigner.com so if you follow me here via Google Friend Connect, or RSS Feed I encourage you to visit my new blog and subscribe.

Lots of new content and a sneak peek at the cover of my next art resource book Border.Banner.Frame along with a FREE sample download so you can check out the type of ornament art it'll contain.

Thank you to all who waited for this new blog, I hope you enjoy it.

- Von

Jan 4, 2011

Vector Basic Training

Vector Basic Training Book.

I want to apologize for the delay in my new blog being launched. It's been designed for well over a month but unfortunately the developer I'm using has dropped the ball so it'll be a while longer, but will launch within January.

In the meantime as a way to say "Thank you." to those who read my blog. I'm going to do a FREE giveaway of my newest book called "Vector Basic Training." (VBT) I'm already doing another FREE book giveaway on the VBT Facebook page and this one is specifically for my blog readers, but don't let that stop you from participating in both if you wish.

I won't bother posting all the details about the book here, you can read about that on my web site. All you have to do to be included in this drawing for a FREE copy of the book is to comment on this post. I'll than draw three winners this coming Friday and will list them at the bottom of this post.

B Level Acting Skills.

When I came up with the idea for the video intros I didn't think the publisher would take me seriously. But they did, and we had a lot of fun with them as you'll see below in this promotional plug for the book. You can view another video posted on my web site here.

So what are you waiting for maggot!? Post a comment now!

Winners of the FREE VBT Book Giveaway!

My oldest daughter Savannah drew names out of a hat and the following three people were chosen.

- Jeff (No Last Name) This Jeff.
- David Sizemore
- Ronda Couch

Each of you have 24hrs to claim your FREE copy by emailing your snail mail to info@vonster.com.

FYI: I'll be doing a workshop at the HOW Conference in Chicago this summer on "Vector Basic Training" so if you're planning on going I'll be demonstrating the methods I cover in the book.

Thanks everyone.

Oct 10, 2010

A New Blog - Drawsigner

New "Drawsigner" blog.

My first venture into blogging happened May 29, 2005. I wasn't sure when I started if it was a waste of time or a practical way to communicate with others on a new level. Thankfully the later turned out to be the truth. (At least for me that is)

Needless to say technology has changed and it's time to say goodbye to the antiquated ways of Blogger and move my blogging over to a brand that better suits my work and the audience I communicate with.

So this post will be the second to the last one I'll make on the Art Backwash blog. It'll remain active moving forward, but all my new content will be posted to the my new blog called Drawsigner.

I'll make one last post announcing when the new blog is live and provide the exact address at that time. Thanks to everyone who has made this blog so much fun and I hope you'll enjoy the new format and look even more.

- Von

Sep 24, 2010

Slum Sans

Photo of some slum typography.

It's been nearly six months since I spent time in the Mathare Valley Slums located on the outskirts of Nairobi, Kenya. My emotions are still raw when I think about that experience and it usually makes my eyes water.

At this time the post production of the documentary is in full swing and in good creative hands as well.

A common site in the slums is hand drawn typography used on signs. They are everywhere you look. For an upcoming collaborative project with Rule 29 I wanted to mimic this aesthetic so we could use it for titling in our project.

Slum Sans on light background.

As you've seen in previous posts the slums continue to be source of inspiration for me.

Slum Sans on dark background.

I drew out the whole set by hand pretty small so it wouldn't be crisp. Then I created a rough highlight you could add to the type to give it some pop. I even used a slum texture to degrade the letterforms as well.

Slum Sans complete set.

The whole set is just a simple vector file with the letterforms on one layer and the highlights on another. So you just compile what you need to create the word.

Slum Sans detailing.

I optimized the texturing as much as I could without loosing that nice authentic feel. The source file in the download below is a CS2 Adobe Illustrator file.

Update: A big thank you goes out to Brian Carroll who took my raw vector files and not only created a working font but also created the missing letter "I" that some how I over looked in the process? Brian is a multi-talented creative who is part of Studio Litchfield so check out their site.

Download Links

- Slum Sans - Vector Art (1.9MB)
- Slum Sans Font (217KB)

If you find this resource useful please consider donating to the work of Life in Abundance who works in African slums helping people improve their lives. Donate here. Thanks.

Sep 15, 2010

Ricoh Copies?

Keyboard Characters Set.

Four years ago I created a unique self-promotional product I called Keyboard Characters. It was a fun set to create and worked really well as a self promotion for my business.

I still give them out at speaking engagements even though Apple has changed the modus operandi on keyboards so you can't insert stuff like your use to be able too. And I still have about five boxes of them sitting in my closet at home. ;-P

"Pet Monster" Keyboard Character.

Since I have them posted on my web site I periodically get email from art directors or creative directors who request a set. When I get a request like this I always send them one and include a few tear sheets as well. So in that respect it's still serving as a promotional item for me.

Around September, 2008 I received a phone call from an ad agency in New York. The person asked if I could send them two sets of the Keyboard Characters. I did and included some tear sheets. Nothing ever came from it and soon I forgot all about that brief interaction.

Ricoh Ad showing artwork in question.

Around February, 2009 I received an email from another designer asking me:

"Did you do some illustration for Ricoh?"

I told them I hadn't and they responded "Well I saw this ad in a magazine and it looks just like your character."

When I saw this ad I got that sinking feeling in my stomach, you know the one that happens when you look in your rear view mirror and a police car is right on your bumper.

It turns out that the agency (I'm purposely not naming names) I had sent two sets of Keyboard Characters too was the same agency that handled the Ricoh campaign for the C900 in September, 2008.

They didn't simply copy (pardon my pun) my art and use it, that would be easy enough to deal with. What they did is borrow the concept and equity (segmented multi-colored monster) of my art and exploited it for their own work. And they didn't even do a good job at that.

Ricoh "Scary!" campaign for C900.

I've talked to my copyright attorney about this and he agrees that it was definitely derived from my work but I have no way to prove it. In other words if I would have sent the Keyboard Characters via UPS with a tracking number and receipt that would have sufficed to prove it.

Since I posted this I've been contacted by a lawyer explaining my opinions and I'm now pursuing that course of action. Thank you for helping me understand how I can address this through official circles, I appreciate it.

I think anyone with an ounce of common sense can discern the source however, so I'll leave it in the court of public opinion.

Hostage quality photo of Ricoh brochure.

This summer I got another email from someone containing this image of a Ricoh brochure showcasing this character art again. Every time I think about this it pisses me off. I know someone, some where had to reference my design in order to create their own B movie version of it.

I debated whether to even post about this or not. But over the last year I've had numerous other people email me who have seen the original ad and thought I had done the monster art. Its like having a scab that just begins to heal and than gets snagged on something and ripped off again exposing the original wound.

So I decided to post about it, and see what others thought.

Sep 8, 2010


Chumlee on Black.

My family and I enjoy watching a show on the History Channel called Pawn Stars. It's a reality show centered around Gold and Silver Pawnshop located in Las Vegas.

Our favorite personality on the show is a guy by the name of Chumlee. (Austin Russell) He's a lovable buffoon with just enough of a cool hipster vibe mixed in to surprise you at times and make you laugh the rest of the time. The old man is a close second.

Chumlee on White.

I've been inspired to do other pop culture centered artwork like Billy Mays and Twitter. BTW, you can follow Chumlee on Twitter here.

I think it's pretty cool when an average joe like Chumlee gets to enjoy the lime light for a while. Unlike the elite Hollywood centric stars that tend to irritate me more than they entertain me. So think of this creative exploration as my personal attempt to extend da Chum's 15 minutes of fame.

Go get 'em Chumlee! You can help expand the chum-centric universe by voting for this design on Threadless.

PDF Art Downloads
Chumlee on Black
Chumlee on White

This artwork is Copyright © Glitschka Studios. You can use these PDF files for personal viewing and to print out and hang in your work area. No other usage is granted.

Sep 1, 2010

Slum Textures

"Slum Textures" 35 Royalty-Free Textures.

Back in April and May I spent 10 days in the Mathare Valley Slums located on the outskirts of Nairobi, Kenya. It truly was a life changing experience.

The slums consist of a vast network of small corridors that weave their way through haphazard constructed shacks. While there I took a lot of pictures capturing the daily life of those who call the slums their home.

Many of my pictures documented textures I came across while walking through the slums and this set represents the sensory experience I visually encountered during my time there.

Source photo and resulting texture.

The best things about textures is they never go out of style unlike other resources such as fonts, stock art or even photography. A texture that looks crappy now will still look crappy 50 years from now. And that's craptacular!

All "35" Textures in set.

I've put together this set of "Slum Textures" so you can use them in your own projects. If you don't like the way I created the PSD file or the bitmap tiff file no worries, you'll be able to create your own versions using the original source photo included for each. So the possibilities are endless for your creative needs.

Source File Specifications.
Each Texture Includes the following formats for each of the "35" textures.

- Original Source Photo (Hi-Res, RGB jpeg)
- Layered Grayscale PSD (Hi-Res, 10x13 @ 315 ppi)
- Bitmap Tiff (Hi-Res, 10x13 @ 315 ppi)

Also included in the download is a bonus PSD source file for you to deconstruct and see how to put the textures to use.

(All PSD Files are CS4 but will still open in CS3 or CS2 without any problems.)

Download Links
The whole set is broken into four manageable downloads.

- Slum Textures 1 (192MB)
- Slum Textures 2 (173MB)
- Slum Textures 3 (169MB)
- Slum Textures 4 (168MB)

If you find these textures useful please consider donating to the work of Life in Abundance who works in African slums helping people improve their lives. Donate here. Thanks.