Episode Book Cover – Hammer Into Anvil


Prisoner Episode Book Cover

Design Assignment for Week 4

Out of the two choices of the “to do” assignments – I chose the book cover recreating  the aesthetic of Spacesick .

My first thought was the Dance of the Dead episode and having multiple skeletons, a sample was too close to that content and swaying me in replicating instead of creating.

While the look and feel is replicated – the process did require using design components to create. Space, form, size, color, place, text.

I used PhotoShop as my tool.

  • Paper size canvas – black

  • Brush – Sponge edges highlight then go back in with background color to soften and break up

  • add Gaussian Blur – minimal

  • Use Blur tool – large and draw dark into light colors

  • Add rectangles for heading – fill with color

  • Find camera icon and copy paste into file – Use SKEW to lengthen lens part

  • Add Text Fields with Helvetica fonts Bold and Regular

  • Find copyright free, free icons of hammer and anvil

  • Open in new file and use color replacement tool to add color to each

  • Scale

  • Rotate

  • Copy and paste into new layer in first file – place

  • Duplicate hammer layer to make multiples to set in pattern

  • change opacity for each layer going back

  • cut out shadow of hammer – SKEW, Rotate, Scale,
  • Add Title and tag line

  • Futz around

  • Export as jpeg

  • I am also going to import to my iPad and use some photo apps to add some noise to the finished product to see what that does to age or make it look used. If they turn out  – I will add them to this post.


I used an app called Snapseed. Adds effects. The part I don’t like is the randomness and just flipping from one effect to another. There really isn’t a way for you to create or control it – or get back to one you may have liked. It is take it when you see it. It does easily add some aging. I used the Grunge filter.

Added a filter

The Cows are Coming Home!


Design Week at the Bovine County FairyTale Festival


Celtic Series Poster

NanaLou is working with her granddaughter Rochelle, Cousin Ron, and the famous Headless Inkspots of #ds106 to pull together a Celtic musical performance on “The Porch”.

“The Porch” is where the adults gather at sunset after the children have had their story time and are settling in for the night. With the Fairy Tale Festival in full swing – performances and jam sessions are happening around the themes of the festival.

The Black-Spotted Maid performance is anxiously awaited. How it came to be? Well – NanaLou can tell you!

One thing I really appreciate about a network of people who collaborate is how I am pushed to reach for my best. I think that might be the case in just publishing for others to see as well – but when you have an active group it does help you to reach your best at the time.

I had an idea for this promo poster when @RockyLou22 posted she was working on it. I pulled something together at a late night hour and let the group know I was working on something…..

While I liked the bright colors and some other things – it was just quickly put together. On rare occasions you luck out and the first one is a charm – looking at this one, I needed to go back (and yet after it is all done – there are still some things I like about this version).

I pulled it up again to work on it in PhotoShop.

  • Open PNG file of NanaLou’s porch
  • Open Cow GIF in another file
  • Clear out background of cow pic
  • Smooth edges and clean up
  • Save, copy and paste into poster file as layer
  • Create a background layer – went with a pink to hint at sunset
  • Put background in as Dissolve and pattern
  • Blurred background
  • Used Filter – Clouds Made this base layer
  • Changed opacity on porch graphic to give it more of a late in the day feel
  • Added Text
  • Used  Warped Text Features to create titles lots of playing around!
  • oh…..and I followed NanaLou’s lead and installed a celtic looking font….
  • Went back in and cleared out more of the treehouse pic to give it more grounding and be able to see horizon line.
  • From there it was mostly moving, looking at things – tweaking – increasing the canvas size and images so there was more balance….

Glad I had others who would be looking at it as it pushed me to make it better!

I did do the first draft with a GIF of SuperMoo’s cape in the wind….still need to go back and do that! Ahhh!!! the pressure! But I love it!




Split Geography Residences-New GIF Theme Banner

All the new adventures for this summer of 2015, it just seemed right to update the blog and give it a fresh look for the work ahead. It also gave me the opportunity to follow up and do another GIF after creating the Bovine Badge for Artists in Residence to see if I actually am learning or if it was chance and luck that things worked out. I think I am learning! Look above for the outcome of the banner. DesignAssignments, DesignAssignments1412

Summer 2015 and I am now a multiple residence individual. Wisconsin folks often have a primary home and a home “up North” that they go to on weekends, vacations and certain times of the year.

This summer I will be an Artist in Residence at the Bovine County Fairy Tale Festival and staying at the Burgeron Trailer. Looking  forward to nights around the campfire, listening to Nanalou and others tell stories and maybe a cup or two of family made beverages that will help me overcome my fear of music week!

My other residence will be The Village. I am not sure where it actually is located. Most check in and even when checked out can never leave. I am getting there and back via Dr. M’s teleporter from her treehouse near the trailer and also by hitching a ride with Cousin Ron on his famous time cycle.  I am looking forward to meeting some of the residents there and find out what all this number stuff is about. Number 6 seems to have a real need to leave the place and is providing some interesting down time for me in trying to follow his adventures.

To finance my stays I am working on the Bovine County Fairy Tale Festival PR team in Bovine. I needed a little more funding – so I am also the Interior Designer and Painter at the Village. Hopefully, between jobs and traveling, I will be able to keep up with my creating and assignments. I hear if things are not done according to schedule in the village, I will lose electricity in my bungalow. That won’t help keep my laptop running to get things done.

Gotta go – the Sunday deadline is approaching and Number 2 and Rover will be looking for things. I also have a load of Holland fairy tales to pile thru and figure out the trail of web story they have left.


Challenge from Ben Rimes

I saw a post in Twitter today about a possible assignment for the #ds106 assignment bank.

Looking at the sample it was point on.  A great assignment for design and working on Photoshop or GIMP skills. The sample is part of an Adobe Education Lesson. (you need to set up yourself as a member to get access to – free to join)

I had some time so decided to take the challenge from @mdvfunes (Mariana Funes) and @techsavvyed (Ben Rimes). I also totally agree with Ben in completing something myself before asking others to do similar tasks. Which is probably why I felt so compelled to complete this after opening my beak and suggesting he submit it to the assignment bank. I hope he does try it as well – I would love to see what he comes up with creates.

Originally a lesson for middle and high school students the instructions require a size of canvas and other parameters. There is also a pre-established list of movie combinations to choose from, most likely to keep students working in a lab situation over a week. A classroom situation is not always the best for creating. 50 minutes at a crack of starting up and shutting down. Someday classrooms will change. I think students in a week-long unit an hour at a time have an added burden in creating. Just think of what they might do if allowed to follow their own creative clock! Okay – back to the work….

I decided to use Roman Holiday and National Lampoon’s Vacation as my Movie Mates.

Finding various posters and images for each movie I settled on about 3 from each that had pretty good graphics to start. I used the BluRay cover for Vacation as it was more to the style of the Roman Holiday posters and a better match for combining. Next was pulling out the objects that I thought I could use in a new rendition of a meld. Each object was cut, blended, shaped, saved and copied to a working canvas. I did most of it by sight and sense using layers for each object, text block and the background.

I found a shared template for movie poster credits that helped with creating the text style for the credits.  As I was looking for some advice on creating the credits box I found a great WIKI on graphic design that includes a section on movie posters. I probably should have reviewed this first – but now have it bookmarked for a next creation.

I have two versions of the poster. Still not totally happy with the layout. BUT – I am going to put this one to rest at this point and move on to adapting the task to creating a movie poster for the Burgeron Family Summer Trailer gathering this summer. My thought is to combine Bernie Burgeron (my character) with some of the others in the family and their stories from last summer leading to the Fairytale festival this year. We will see if this comes together or not…..

Thanks for the challenge Ben and Mariana – it was a fun few hours. I’d rate this assignment as 3 stars – maybe 4 if there was more tied to a genre or character.

Roman Holiday Vacation

Movie Poster Meld v2

The assignment is available in the bank here.

Sketchy Dr. Groom on Assignment

Learning By Design

Turn ideas into pictures!

Visualize a blog post, TED Talk, Class lecture or even dense text from a book- through drawing. Use the pictures to symbolically represent & concretize abstract concepts, and to make connections between ideas. Try to use words sparingly and only to reinforce your imagery.

Doodle it in your notebook, use your tablet, or scribble it on the back of a napkin. Just be sure to digitize it and then blog about the process, including citing where your inspiration came from.

I decided to follow another ds106er path (that”s you @spencer_cscott) and take an assignment and tweak and create it into an assignment of my own. Learning by Design is creating a doodle or sketch of a complex topic and making it into a visual with design principles.

I have been interested in sketchnoting and been reading the work of Sylvia Duckworth. (Sketchnotes for Beginners) And for years now RSA style videos have fascinated and tempted me to discover how to create. The next thing that came into play was all the mystery around Dr. Groom this week. It is hard to not want to jump in as you are doing the assignments. The adventure actually creates a thread of connectedness in the community. (Probably designed that way don’tcha think!). As we each explore digital media and how to use it, a common thread helps as we approach our own content in learning new ways of creating and expression.


After reading about sketchnoting and downloading a few apps for my iPad. I settled on Paper 53. I liked the way it handled and the quality of the sketch. It makes scribbles, and bumps and jumps, look like a style and intended.

At first I thought I would use video and make it more of an RSA kind of presentation. I used an IPEVO document camera which captured my sketching in video format. It is cool and it worked and I will definitely go back to it for another assignment or creation. For my intent here, the distraction of my hand drawing (it looked HUGE) was not an example of thinking of design.

I refocused on the topic of the week – design and then decided to use photo shop instead, but add the audio and animation features as well. So here is the tweak – I did a design, of still images with audio to produce a video. To keep it manageable and an assignment not a project – I used only a part of the weekly videos to sketchnote. The reasons were that this was not to actually create a product of the content and it will be old in another few days. I wanted to understand the steps and process and create something short enough for feedback from others.

I downloaded the Groom Week 4 Video and the Intro to Week 5 video to extract audio. This was a good follow-up to week 4 and pushed me to stay with Audacity and audio editing. Another plus to continue with audio from last week and build.

I worked on the audio portions that I wanted to include in my story. From there I needed to now listen and do my sketchnote of those portions. I used the Paper 53 and created a full image just as the original assignment had suggested.


After saving as a JPEG I moved to Photoshop and opened the image.

The next steps:

  1. Create 22 duplicate images and name each in sequence of sketchnote graphic and context.
  2. Create a first layer of a white background to act as the whiteboard.
  3. Start with the first of the sequence and erase all but the one image.
  4. Continue with the next 21 layers.
  5. Export from Audacity and then Import the edited mp3 into Photoshop
  6. Use the Timeline feature of PS and set all images at END of audio clip. I needed the story to stay within the audio so I worked backwards first to prevent running out of room at the end and having to continuously go back and move all the layers around.
  7. Added transitions to layers when needed.
  8. Locked position on each so that they would float in without jumping.
  9. Created and added a last image for closure and identification, then added it to the timeline.
  10. When satisfied with placements and flow I went to RENDER VIDEO and exported as mp4.

So sounds not too bad. BUT – I had to do this more than once – I stopped counting after #3. The first time I started on my desktop machine. As evening rolled around, I decided to switch to my laptop and at least be in the same room as my family and a little more comfortable. By this time it was mostly just the grunt work of moving layers a fraction of a space etc. Thought all was going great – it played in preview just great! I rendered and when I opened it NO AUDIO.

Okay – go back and try again. But then I found that after rendering and saving – the timeline turns into something flat and you really can’t go in and change much. So I had to get rid of the timeline and replace all the layers before rendering again.

Done –  rendered – NOW IT HAS AUDIO BUT IMAGES ARE TWISTED! I needed to redo again! And this time I stressed out my laptop and it ran out of memory and froze up! Now I had to do machine maintenance and repair. Time for bed!

The next morning – I just went right to my desktop and worked there. I had saved some copies- but basically they had too many edits in them and it was faster to begin again. I had this down now – back to the Next steps above. Followed them and YEAH!!! It rendered and it came out fine!!!

LESSON LEARNED: Before exporting or doing a major change to the file – save at least 2 copies. This way I will have a master copy of a place in time to go back and not have to start completely over. I will need to remember to update that file as I go along as well. Next would be to get rid of all the copies that won’t make a difference anymore if you have to back so that I am not eating up memory and storage.

The original assignment was 3.5 stars. I am bumping it up to 5 stars on my chart – but I’m not tracking stars as an open course participant anyways. 🙂

I will cover design principles in a later post.