Sharing what I've I've learned about lettering and illustration.

REVIEW: Leuchtturm 1917 Sketchbook

leuchtturm 1917


I thought it was about time I reviewed the Leuchtturm 1917 sketchbook. This is where most of my ideas get developed, and it figures prominently in a lot of my posts.

Looking back on other sketch books I’ve used, I was mainly looking for something cheap, and not too large that I couldn’t easily carry it in a messenger bag. I did use larger sketchbooks for a time, but quickly realized they were unwieldy for transport.

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REVIEW: The Art and Flair of Mary Blair by John Canemaker

the art and flair of mary blair by john canemaker


When I got into lettering and illustration, I started compiling a list of other artists whose work I really admired. Miroslav Sasek (I wrote about him here) and Alain Gree come to mind.

Mary Blair came up quite often in the online forums. Her best known work would be the It’s a Small World ride at the Disney parks.

Ok. I know what you’re thinking. That’s the kiddie ride you bypass on your way to the Haunted Mansion. Or if you’re traveling with little ones, you go on because you HAVE to.

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My Precious Step-by-Step

my precious


This is a laid back look at how I approached my My Precious (that sounds funny) illustration. This isn’t a technical overview, so much as my thought process as I worked through the concept.

As with most pieces, I had a rough idea in my head for the layout. In the image below, my sketches are basically glorified thumbnails. I’m taking the basic elements and moving them around, trying different angles, putting the lettering inside shapes, etc … I’m looking for a good balance between the lettering and the donut (or doughnut, depending on where you’re from).

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Do what’s popular or do what you like?



Many years ago, I was at the One of a Kind show in Toronto. As the organizers put it, this is “a community of like-minded individuals to exchange ideas, stories and objects through the culture of craft.”

I was talking to a photographer who specialized in landscapes. I noticed they fell into two distinct styles. One was the stereotypical sunrise/sunset, and something you might see in a poster shop. The other was very ethereal, almost abstract.

I asked him about the difference, and he explained …

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Whimsical Maps Pt. 5

Sinclair Road Map


Here’s another whimsical road map I came across at a flea market. Although there are over 2,500 Sinclair filling stations in the US, I’ve personally never seen one myself in my travels. There’s no date on the map, but I’d put it at the mid to late 50s. I always admire how creative they can be with the limited number of inks.

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