Friday, February 26, 2010


Short post today as I'm a little under the weather this morning (sniff). Combining Brush Script with Lemonade (this one's free!) is perfect for a kid's birthday party invitation or any casual layout. Two very different fonts that go together like peanut butter and jelly.

Oh, and yep, that's another clipping mask you see...I'm tellin' you, once you start using them it's hard to stop!

Thursday, February 25, 2010


(Click for a closeup view.)

Lately I've been scanning old album covers as the basis for new encaustic pieces. Because the covers are wider than my scanner, it takes two passes, then I paste them together in Photoshop. You might want to use this technique using your own favorite albums...of course you could scan CD covers, but I like the worn quality of old albums.

"Performance" is one of my all-time favorite films. Directed by Donald Cammell and Nicholas Roeg and starring Mick Jagger and James Fox, it has a kick-ass sound track featuring not only Mick but Ry Cooder, Randy Newman, Buffy Sainte-Marie, and Merry Clayton. The film explores themes espoused by poet Jorge Luis Borges about the nature of identity, duality, and time, and references to Borges are strewn throughout the movie.

This album jacket has great photos of Mick, front and back, in the two personas he displays in the film.  I used pages from a Borges anthology as collage materials to reinforce the connection. 

The term "wax" also applies to record albums.  This is because early phonograph cylinders were made of wax, eventually replaced by vinyl. You still hear records referred to as wax, although less and less frequently.

Altered covers make great wall art for you and yours, but I don't suggest selling them...the original images are undoubtedly copyrighted. This is just about making art for art's sake.  Waxing on wax, so to speak.

You can order my Photo Encaustic Kit's an easy way to get started.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010


It's almost always the simplest things that make me feel the deepest a vase of flowers beaming softly in the early morning light.

Shot a little video of my good friend, flower photographer extraordinaire Pip Bloomfield (check out her amazing work here), and she gave me these gorgeous roses as thanks. Thank YOU, Pip!  XOXO

Friday, February 19, 2010


Choosing fonts for a layout falls within the realm of graphic design, and although in the strictest sense there are lots of "rules," the choice of a font, or fonts, is actually somewhat personal and therefore hard to define. When you choose the right typeface, it just seems to "go" with the image and the emotion you wish to communicate. So just play with different faces until you hit one that makes you go "Yes!" Common sense prevails...if it's for the body of an invitation, you want a very readable font, but if it's for a banner or heading, you can go with something that conveys a strong feeling...romantic, grungy, scary, feminine, masculine, etc.

When combining two fonts in a single layout, it's most effective to choose two very different styles...often a script, calligraphic, or handwritten-type font along with a more classical font; a strong, bold font with a contrasting lightweight font; or one with serifs (those little curly-cues or lines you see at the ends of letter forms) alongside one without (ergo, sans serifs), in opposing weights.

Here I've chosen Letterpress Text and P22 Cezanne. I like Letterpress because it has an organic quality but is still highly readable. With its subtle level of decay and opacity, it emulates the look of the letterpress printing process in which a raised surface is inked and pressed into a sheet of paper. It's especially effective when printed on a heavyweight textured digital paper, and you can even take it further by adding an embossed layer style in Photoshop. (For detailed instructions, see my January 13th post entitled "Personal Fave.") Order Letterpress here at

I have to admit that although I use P22 Cezanne in my own marketing materials, I'm a little tired of seeing it everywhere, but you can order it here at my very favorite foundry, P22.  And while you're there, check out their shop and sign up for whatever you can...they are a great resource for not only fonts but gifts, ideas, and inspiration. Other fonts with a similar flair to P22 Cezanne (available elsewhere) include AL Verdigris, Jane Austen, Emily Austin, Dear Sarah, Baker Script, Lamar Pen, Houston Pen, and Jefferson.

Friday, February 12, 2010


Finding the right font to go with a photo layout can be challenging, and finding two very different but complementary fonts even more so. That's why I like to make "font flags" visual journal pages where I experiment with different combinations and then save what I like for future reference. Besides that, they're fun to can even print and frame them. Thought I'd share mine with you each Friday, along with links so that you can purchase the fonts you like...but mostly I just want to inspire you to experiment on your own.

Caslon is a classic and very readable font "family," meaning it's available with similar characteristics in several sizes and weights...e.g., regular, bold, italic, and bold italic. Some families also include condensed, small caps, and other professional styles. Purchase Caslon at Linotype,, and elsewhere.

Liana is a script font that's easy to read, elegant, feminine, and has a handwritten character that's perfect for letters and informal invitations (and Valentines!). Available from

Wednesday, February 3, 2010


In this morning's mail, here's a promo from Anthropologie...a perfect example of using Photoshop clipping masks as described in yesterday's post.  (Click to enlarge.)

Monday, February 1, 2010


Here are two examples of clipping masks. You see them used on billboards and in magazines...they're effective, simple, and a really fun way to use your photos in your it greeting card, blog banner, promo piece, calendar, scrapbook page, mixed media, whatever.

Basically, in Photoshop, you want a photo on one layer and text or a shape on the layer beneath it in the Layers palette. Then hold down the Alt/Option key, hover over the line separating the two layers, and when you see the double circle icon, click and, voilá!

For fonts, it's best to choose a "fat" one (I love Bauhaus Heavy) or the image won't show, and make sure the piece itself is big enough to "read" the effect...otherwise it's a wasted effort. In other words, a business card may be too small, but a greeting card is just right...and anything bigger is even better. Use the Move tool and the Transform feature to tweak things to your liking.