Mike's Harder Design Contest

"ZA JUSU" by Erin K. Nolan
Please vote for me here: http://zooppa.com/en-us/ads/craft-the-next-can/prints

"MAIKU'S RINGO" by Erin K. Nolan
Please vote for me here: http://zooppa.com/en-us/ads/craft-the-next-can/prints

The designs haven't officially been approved yet, so no voting right quite yet, but when voting DOES start go here. Find me and VOTE EARLY & VOTE OFTEN!"

The first one, is entitled "The Juice" in Japanese. It shows a demon tree whose sap is made of firewater. The branches are red to show the spicy cinnamon heat. The leaf and apple symbols are made seasonal with autumn hues and the background texture is the same color as dark apple cider. I thought it might hit, with the Japanese-style design, with the target audience though a tattoo style.

The second can is just the top of the same tree , but it is entitled "Mike's Apple."

Wish me luck! (I think I'll try to do another one in my dot-pattern style over the weekend!)


"All's Quiet on the Western Front," Well, Maybe Not

Was December just two months ago? Seriously?! It feels like another lifetime that I went to school.
Northern Illinois University Graduating Class of December, 2013
I'm the one that turned around just as the photo was taken.
Graduation was awesome. I went back to school to get that single sheet of paper, but it ended too soon. I don't think I'll miss living on Mountain Dew and just three hours sleep a night. I will definitely miss the creative atmosphere, the supportive and kind students and staff, and just the ability to create my own pieces every. single. day. 
Me, with my BFA in Illustration!
3.45 GPA overall  |  4.0 GPA since I went back!
I've been productive in those two months, just not on the art side of life. My son and I moved out of the apartment and lived at the Motel 6 for a month → it sounds bad, but was a blessing because at the end of the month I moved into MY NEW HOME! I can't even begin to express how amazing it feels to clean my own floor, cook on my own stove, and paint walls in a COLOR other than white! The finished basement will be my very own studio!
"The Nolan's"
The most blessed thing of all is that everyone in my family has done some hard work. Each of us has looked deeply into our strengths and weaknesses, our successes and failures. The black hole that we entered two years ago has brought us to a new and better place. We have learned and are moving forward together. People have shown us who they are, their true nature has been revealed → some for better and for worse and those lessons will not be lost. 

We are moving in slowly after we each caught the cold going around town. While I haven't been doing outside work as much or as often, I have been doing some pretty cool things with my co-workers. We got together and decided to try to recreate the movie poster for Star Trek: Into Darkness. That way we could work on our lighting, typography, and special effects skills. Here is the progression: 

How cool is that? I know! Awesome, right?!?! I was also able to help out the Family Service Agency, by working with them to get an updated website. I wrote about this project on OC Imageworks' company blog. 
Personally I was really pleased with the results. FSA currently serves as the um FSA currently serves as the umbrella for a variety of essential community programs: Big Brothers Big Sisters, Children’s Advocacy Center, Center for Counseling, and Senior Services.  They serve as a “hub” of services, organizing the efforts of many local agencies to provide the best care possible to every generation found within my community. I love that I was able to assist such a worthy cause. Here is the before and after website screenshots:

Family Service Agency Website: Left = Before | Right = After
I worked on a marketing campaign for Chad Luberger at Plum Bottom Pottery. He was interested in ramping up his brand identity with a new version of his logo as well as a new color palette. Chad creates both sculptural and pragmatic porcelain and invites artists of other mediums to show in his gallery space. One of those artists is Amanda DeWitt and her Silversmithing. Her jewelry is shown in the ad I created below, but you can read a bit more about her and view her work here

Ad for Plum Bottom Pottery & Gallery in Egg Harbor, Door County, WI
Whew! I guess I there was a lot more going on than I thought! I didn't even write about everything. I'm humbled and praise God for his abundant and generous blessings.