Archives for category: Illustration

For my digital illustration class, we created a series of illustrations/patterns around a specific theme for use in licensing. Since I have been waiting for the rain to clear away so we can feel the sun again in Portland, I decided my theme should be spring. I decided to go abstract with it and I avoided typical spring motifs like flowers. Here are the illustrations that I created:

The whole set has tons of triangles and geometric shapes which I drew by hand and then took into illustrator to color.

I liked this project because I got to integrate type using pen and ink. I mostly had T-shirts, bags and stickers in mind for the type but it could be used on any product.

The little shades were my favorite part.

I mocked the illustration set up on a few things in Photoshop to get the idea of what they look like on products:

My favorite is this pencil case:

I was really excited to go to Albany today for the Oregon Newspaper Publishers Association awards with the rest of my co-workers at PSU Vanguard. Our newspaper won in a lot of different categories and it was interesting to see all of the different student publications in Oregon. I think the Vanguard is really unique for having good photography, writing, editing and design on a smaller budget than some of the other schools in Oregon.

I think it’s cool that they chose an illustration that I did about domestic violence awareness, something that is really important to me. When I sat down to do this illustration I really tried to put my own emotional response to this issue into it, something I’m not really able to do with every illustration.

I love doing these editorial illustrations and being a part of getting information that students care about to them, and I feel inspired now to make them even more relevant to the articles.

Here is my illustration for this week’s opinion piece about the changes in Google’s privacy policy.

Google is getting smarter and smarter, tracking your searches & sending you advertisements that they think you’ll respond to… To do this illustration I went to Google trends and looked at all of the top searches from the past month. It’s actually pretty fascinating to see what people are searching for the most in the U.S. day by day, a lot of them were surprises to me… To read more about what the changes in the privacy policy mean for PSU students, visit PSU Vanguard

-EHT 03/15/12

This is my illustration for this week’s opinion piece about awareness of eating disorders, something that is close to my heart because eating disorders have effected my life and many of my friend’s lives. So many women have terrible body image these days, and it’s important to raise awareness about it and understand that it is different from healthy dieting because it comes from unhealthy self-image. Eating disorders unfortunately often start when women and girls want a way to be in control of some aspect of their lives and use either starving themselves or binge eating as an escape. To read the article, visit PSU Vanguard

-EHT 03/14/2012


My illustration for this week’s opinion piece about the way people eat on the go + never stop to enjoy a good meal anymore. I really enjoy cooking for people and spending a lot of time at mealtimes but it’s not always possible, and I notice that the times when I’m rushing through the day just eating whatever I can pick up on the way to class or work are the times when I don’t eat as healthy or feel as awake.

To read the article, visit PSU Vanguard
-EHT 02/22/12

These past few weeks have been a blur as I have been super busy working on creating an identity system for Enat Kitchen as a part of Kate Bingaman-Burt’s 321 communication design class at PSU. We are working with MESO, an organization in town that helps small businesses in town become successful. We met with the clients and each student tried to create design solutions that they felt would benefit the companies the most.

Menbere showed me her kitchen, where she makes the food for Enat Kitchen fresh every day

I chose Enat because I was inspired by the owner’s story: she came to the US from Ethiopia and worked at a convenience store in North Portland for years to support her two children. She had the dream of opening a restaurant and so when the space across from the convenience store became vacant she asked the landlord every day to let her open a restaurant in the space. She didn’t have a lot of money to start a business but the landlord eventually caved and let her open the restaurant anyway. I really liked how she started with nothing and created something successful just by not giving up.


photo from Willamette Week

I drew a lot of design inspiration from the traditional crafts and artwork that I saw inside Enat Kitchen when I visited, and also from the vibrant, colorful, flavorful and healthy food that we enjoyed. She has all of her ingredients shipped from Ethiopia, except things like meat and produce which she buys locally. The food comes on a big plate with the meat, sauces and vegetables piled on top of injera bread, which is a kind of porous flat sourdough bread.

A few of the beautiful baskets found inside Enat Kitchen, which was full of inspiration.

When I first walked into Enat Kitchen, I was very inspired by the vibrant, beautiful colors and patterns that I saw everywhere in crafts and artwork from Ethiopia. I drew color, pattern and design inspiration from what I saw.

When I was thinking about how to brand Enat Kitchen, I tried to look at successful small businesses and restaurants, figure out what they are doing right and think about how I might be able to help Enat do those things for themselves. I tried help improve Enat’s image by creating something contemporary and bright that helps Enat stand apart from it’s competition. Enat is friendly, approachable, caring, simple, exciting, handmade and authentic, and I tried to create a design for them that would reflect that.

I also saw this project as a chance to experiment with using a sumi brush and ink to create unique patterns and shapes. The small icons, colors and patterns come together with the logo to create a flexible design that adapt to different applications.

Although the budget for the project is small, I decided to create this mood board for the way that I might treat the interior if they decided to redesign it in the future…

The best part of this project was exploring a different culture from my own and learning about helping restaurants and small businesses succeed. I found out from this project that I love branding- from doing the research to the final product. It was exciting to be able to present my ideas to a real client, because it made the project more meaningful.

As a part of the design business class that I am taking this term with Jill Bliss, we are visiting various design studios, galleries and stores to pick professional brains about how they have became successful running their own businesses. Today we went to the Grass Hut Gallery in Chinatown, owned and curated by Bwana Spoons, the infamous creator of hundreds of strange toys, crazy paintings and wondrous drawings.

Bwana Spoons teaching us kids how to succeed and achieve our dreams

He talked about his life leading up to being able to work for himself, and I learned that he went to City College in San Francisco for one semester before getting on his skateboard instead one morning, riding into the sunrise and never looking back. He says it took him 20 years of working various day jobs (most of them related to toy manufacturing or distribution) before he was able to finally quit and begin working for himself. I learned a lot about how licensing is different from freelance or contract work, because the artist can collect royalties over time and can often negotiate being paid in product (in Bwana’s case, this means shoes, skateboards and toys!)

The Grass Hut is a magical wonderland filled with toys, comics, paintings, and awesome zines

His toys are limited edition, collectors items that are only produced small quantities- sometimes only 100 at a time- and many are hand painted by him, making them completely one-of-a-kind. Grass Hut was full of tons of independent comics and zines that I had never seen before. Everywhere I looked I found more inspiration!


(images from here)

I thought it was interesting that he said that his marketing strategy for years was “constant yet gentle harassing”– he just kept doing art, giving people zines and promos, finding the people at companies that were the decision-makers and calling/mailing stuff specifically to that person. He said that while the person might not remember you the first few times, if you keep meeting them and keep giving them promos and zines they will eventually remember who you are and that can lead to work someday. It was very inspiring to talk to Bwana Spoons about design business and marketing stuff and see how Grass Hut supports so many independent artists and freelancers. He also really inspired me by saying that one of his friends, Scrappers, worked at the Vanguard newspaper too!

-EHT 02/08/2012

Here is my illustration for this week’s opinion piece about highschool dropout rates in Oregon:

“Only 67 percent of high school students in Oregon graduate within four years. Portland faces a more daunting problem: only 59 percent of Portland high schoolers will graduate in four years. Even fewer of these are likely to pursue higher education; roughly half of high school drop outs will not attend universities or pursue other degrees. In other words, Portland has a real problem on its hands…”

When I was a teenager, highschool became a stressful, scary place for me. I was smart but my grades were terrible. Family problems, homelessness, moving, missed days, terrible grades and other issues combined and I almost fell through the cracks. I left home and came to Eugene to live with my sister and ended up in a really awesome program in Eugene that accelerated my highschool coursework and allowed me to go to school in the afternoons and evenings. They soon realized that I learn quickly in areas that I’m interested in (writing, literature and art of course) and they helped me to graduate early and start in community college, where I did really well. I’m really grateful for the teachers that took the time to help me succeed and not be another bad statistic.

To read the rest of the article, go here.

-EHT 02/04/12

I stayed up last night making patterns and textures for my project in 321, a branding system for the Ethiopian restaurant Enat Kitchen in Portland. I love it when I get to do stuff like this for projects! my favorite one is this one that looks woven.

-EHT 01/28/12


I have a collection of random ads from magazines and books so I grabbed some and started creating line drawings, like this one:

In design studio class I am taking with Jill Bliss we are doing a project where we take found objects and create a brand around them. I added old playing cards that I have to this illustration, as a decoration and background:

This has really been fun for me because I really haven’t gotten to do any illustration or experimentation in school this year because the focus has been on learning Graphic Design techniques and programs. I feel really inspired so I think I will do many more of these kind of illustrations for this project.. Can’t wait!
-EHT 5/2/11