cd cover

I haven’t had the opportunity to do any cd work yet, but I’m really intrigued by it. I’m a music nut, which kind of goes without saying. But I’m also intrigued by the limited size and the need to convey a mood, rather than a specific literal meaning.

In that spirit, I thought I’d make a couple of mixed tapes (mixed cds doesn’t sound right) for a few friends. I’ve been listening to some really excellent new music lately, and want to share the discoveries.

I’ve been working on a pretty cool new site that will be launching soon. It’s very satisfying, but severly left brained. I felt like letting my mind loose a bit this evening, so had a beer, and fooled around until I came up with the image above.

Click the _Read More_ link below to see the whole thing.

!/images/44.jpg (no evil cd cover large)!

Gradient Mess (um, I mean Mesh)

Inspired by a posting at “Veerle’s”: blog, I bring you my short hand method for working with gradient meshes, those nasty bastards of the Illustrator world.

_You may want to begin by clicking on the image above to open a larger view in a new window._

It may also help to read “Veerle’s”: excellent tutorial first, as I’m not going to go into much detail here (too much work to do today).

So, without further ado, I present Peter’s Amazing Time Saving Approach to Gradient Messes (aka PATSAGramM):

First I drew the outlines of the clothing (each on a separate layer), then duplicated each layer.

On the duplicates, I converted each object to a gradient mesh using *Object/Create Gradient Mesh*, and set the number of rows to something quite high (I think around 15 by 15, can’t quite remember).

Next, I selected the *warp tool*, and used it to push the mesh to mimic the movement and creases of the fabric (double click on the tool icon on the toolbar to change tool settings).

After that, I shaded the objects using the eyedropper and direct selection arrow using only shades of grey (this allowed me to concentrate on values, rather than colour). The quickest way to do this is to select the direct select arrow (*shortcut key A*), the nselect the eyedropper (*shortcut key I*). Now, when you hold down the command key (aka apple key) or control key for you pc users, the tool switches back to the direct select arrow. Cool, huh?

I then returned to my original layers, and coloured the object with the appropriate solid fills.

The magic step was putting each gradient object on top of its solid coloured match, then changing the transperancy to multiply.

I had always intended to go back and finish this image, but now it looks like I’ve lost the original file… Back to the drawing board I guess.


This is a cross post of a comment I made on “whitespace”:

Trying to find balance between work, play, kids, hobby, wife, friends, family, raking the leaves, cleaning the windows, etc is akin to jugging 14 roaring chain saws. Can’t… stop… paying… attention… or… YEOWWWWWCHHHHH!

I have a tattoo of DaVinci’s Vitruvian Man (you know, the guy with four arms and four legs) on my shoulder. I got it a couple of years ago, after my older daughter was born to remind me of the potential I hold. All that business about proportions, beauty, and balance; it seemed like the perfect symbol. I really like it.

I find though, that I’m so busy with, well, life, that I often go weeks without even noticing its there. All of which is to say that getting a tattoo is no assurance of balance!


Stop this diatribe right here. Older daughter (3) just came up and gave me a kiss. I was just about to get in to the difficulty of maintaining balance while working from home.

See, the balance point just moved again.

New Map of North America

You know, it’s times like these that I’m particularly glad I’m Canadian. Not just because my politics lean more to the left, but because I feel I can speak my mind without fear of reprisals.

I’m not talking about out and out blacklisting or fear of personal violence, but rather a more subtle kind of avoidance.

To say this recent American election has been fractitious (is that a word? If not, it should be) would be a gentle understatement. I’ve noticed that very few of my US colleagues have ventured into the squared circle of political commentary. I assume this is for fear of losing business.

After all, these personal design blogs tend to be come-ons to potential employers. “Look how smart I am” is an underlying tone to most. Sure, if asked point blank, my brethren and I would heartily disagree. We’d argue that our blogs are nothing more than an attempt to share and bond with our peers. Yet in the darkest corners of our egos, we all feel a bit smug, don’t we?

There’s also a wariness to go on the record when it comes to controversial topics. Blogs have a life unto themselves. Unlike a conversation, a blog sticks around, and can be quoted verbatim.

The point in all of this is that as a Canadian, I don’t think I’d risk my business by publicly aligning myself with a political party (unless I wanted to do government work). I suspect though, that my American friends might think otherwise.

What do you think? I’d love to hear…

PS: for those who like the idea in the “map”: above, click “here”: to read what one of our preeminent thinkers has to say about it. Thanks to “Mark”: for the links

The Joy of Renovating

Forgive me, dear reader, for my prolonged absence. I’ve been busy, you see. Busy renovating. Or, as I’ve come to call it, busy watching my small pile of money vanish.

Back in early August, my wife and two little girls moved into our new place. It’s a tall, narrow, old brick house in Toronto’s beaches neighbourhood. The contractor we hired told us at the time that he’d need “three or four weeks” to finish the sizeable task we’d set out for him.

“No big whoop,” we thought. We’d just moved to Toronto after 15 years out west, and my folks were offering to share their place with us while our love nest was prepped. “It’ll be fun living with grandma and grandpa”. We get along extremely well, and have a blast together.

Today is November 2nd. We’re still at my parents. The fun factor has dropped somewhat.

Knowing me as you do, you know I have a soft spot for how-to’s, tutorials, and generally sharing my mistakes with others. In that spirit, I thought I’d share with you a few of the bits of wisdom I’ve picked up while undergoing this torture. Whoops, freudian slip. What I meant to say was “undergoing this reno”.

Here then, in no particluar order, is the list:

# When a contractor or tradesperson says “one week”, replace it with “one month”, ie “that’ll take two weeks” actually means “that’ll take two *months*”.
# Leaving alcohol of any sort in your home is an open invitation to 1) drink all your bloody expensive wine, and 2) work drunk.
# Arguing with your spouse over paint colour is akin to repeatedly slamming your fingers in the car door. You just don’t want to go there. Remember, you can paint it what you like later.
# Living with your parents for a few days is fun.
# Living with your parents for a few months? Not so much.
# When friends offer to help you move/paint/sand/etc, what they really mean is “I’m pretty sure I’ll have something come up at the last minute.”
# small kids and construction sites don’t mix
# When a contractor or tradesperson says “once you’re doing A, it seems silly not to do B”, ask him or her to cover half the cost, then see how silly it is.
# When everyone advises you to add a 15% contingency to your budget, listen to them, politely laugh, then add a 25% contingency.
# As soon as you’ve made a payment, the tradespeople will disappear with the work 1/2 done for a week.
# Breathe. Breath again. Beat the crap out of someone deserving.

That’s all for now. I’ve got to get back to work! I don’t know how much longer I’ve got before mom and dad throw us out on the street!