Jonathan (jonajooey)

I'm getting to that age when engagement, wedding, and baby photos heavily outnumber the nightclub invitations and videos of my friends pounding shots of tequila. And at some point in my future, I guess I'm supposed to have a mini-me running around, promoting his own crappy art to the world. But from where I am right now, the "Miracle of Life" looks an awful lot like a wriggling mass of flesh that somehow escaped from the heavily-guarded basement floors of Area 51.

Honestly, I've always been afraid of holding babies. As soon as the mother / father hands me their offspring, I just know that the little one is going to somehow slide out of all his once-secured tiny clothes, spill all over the floor, and break everything simultaneously in a remarkable display of my imbecility. Even worse, they may start crying.

Illustrator Jonathan (jonajooey) has been documenting his life as a new father in single panel black and white comic strips. With his media, he is showing much of the day to day duties as a father, using his blend of wit, observational humor, and a tinge of sarcasm.

On his website, he publishes various anecdotes about his life accompanied by his illustrations, with the plan that one day, his son can have something to look back on and read to learn more about his parents. Take a look at his digital time capsule here. Of course, follow him on instagram to keep up to date on his most recent illustrations and various comic strips. Check out his charming and honest take on being a father.

PSA on milkalcholics #🍼 #sketchbook #sketch #doodle #milkaholic #milkalcoholic

A photo posted by jonathan (@jonajooey) on

Think twice, purchase once.

I hate the phrase "Measure twice, cut once." It really doesn't offer any useful advice about either measuring or cutting. It's just a terrible play on reusing the adverbial genitive tense twice in close proximity while adding no new knowledge for the listener. Stop using it, save yourself the extra syllables, and just go with "Don't screw up."

All this is to say: I screwed up. 

This slightly used rotary paper trimmer from Amazon is a beautiful piece of hardware, shining in all the right places, and slicing neatly right where it needs to. 

Compared to the standard model guillotine paper trimmer, the rotary trimmer uses a small circular blade attached to a wheel. The piece of paper gets locked into place by a latching mechanism underneath the neon green guide, and the blade depresses the paper into a pliable cutting surface, creating clean cuts without the occasional diagonal cuts made on poorly-stabilized paper in a guillotine slicer. 

I'm basically going to use it to start cutting my own greeting cards out of ledger sized 17 x 11 cardstock, but I'll be damned if I didn't think of getting a paper cutter large enough to cut something 17 inches long. This 12 inch beauty had to go back.

Sadly, now I'm 11 bucks down for not "measuring twice." 

Rebecca Louise Law

I am constantly actively searching to find inspiration in new, unexpected places. To prove it, I'll show you how my first greeting card design was inspired entirely by something I heard on a random podcast. It's dope how sometimes stuff just works out.

"The Hated Flower." A 2014 installation exhibit in London. 

"The Hated Flower." A 2014 installation exhibit in London. 

Podcasts first showed up on my radar because of the hype surrounding Serial, the multi-part exploration of the mysterious case of a man (wrongly?) convicted of killing his girlfriend. Between that, Stuff You Should Know, Retronauts, and H.P. Podcraft, somehow I stumbled over "Art for your Ear", a highly recommended podcast by the Jealous Curator herself, Danielle Krysa. 

As is the standard protocol for myself when I discover something new, I start from the most recent and work backwards through the episodes. As I got to the 62nd entry in her archive of podcasting sessions, I found her interview with London based artist Rebecca Louise Law

If you can't carve out the time to listen to this great podcast ep, the tl;dr of it is: girl loves flowers. She describes a moment in her life when she stood breathless in a field of thousands of daisies and thought to herself: "Can I bring this moment to others?"

Then at some point in art school, she stopped using paints, and started using flowers. 

I got to thinking that flowers are a thing that people like. So how about I also do a thing with flowers? That's how my first greeting card was born. 

All images here belong to Rebecca Louise Law.

Zazzle or Etsy? There is a right answer.

Although I classify myself as a hobbyist-artist rather than a professional, I figure there must be a way to convert the work I'm doing into something tangible (like pizza. Likes on facebook or llamas on DeviantArt don't do much to appease my constant desire to cram pizza into my face.) No part of me ever thought that anyone out there would be interested in paying get some of my art on their walls. This hesitancy kept me from investing any significant money into setting up an account at one of those expensive online art galleries. Hell, the .20 cents to list a single item on Etsy for 3 months was enough to push me away from that being an option, despite regularly losing 20 cents to my couch and being a literally insignificant investment compared to the potential return. It's really the principal of the whole thing.

So Zazzle is free! But....

The first venue my cheap ass was the free-to-list site Zazzle. I very quickly got my Megaman X derived abstract design shut down, immediately after making a sale. Zazzle has a place and a purpose, maybe for corporations or people particularly sensitive to the daily spam of various coupons, but for artists, it's not a particularly useful venue to get your art out. Although you can set up a store under your name, the Zazzle store front doesn't focus on you as a brand. It has a few integrated social media components, such as setting up collections where you can display items that you enjoy, a customizable profile, but nothing more than that. Establishing "Austin Lim" as an artist requires forming connections with individuals, and that sort of infrastructure of networking was simply not in place in Zazzle.

Zazzle does excel in many ways, however. It is easy to customize the products you put in your store - simply upload a picture, set the commission, and hit add to store. However, the ease of customization gives me the impression that Zazzle is geared towards individuals who already have designed a product, and want it made. People don't search on Zazzle to buy other people's products - they go there to make their own products. If I'm planning to print some unique items for myself, like phone cases, pillows, or coffee mugs, Zazzle is most likely my first option. But I don't ever see myself searching for a particular design that someone else has made through this site.

One huge advantage is that while you are the creative driver behind the wheel, Zazzle handles all the logistical work: They print, they ship, they take the flak for customer dissatisfaction. These print on demand aspects of Zazzle are convenient, but it comes at a tremendous cost: While you can set the commission that you earn from each sale, increasing commission also raises the price of the base item, often times to some exorbitant price. Worse of all, it distances you from the customer. There are no opportunities to interact with your buyer. As I process my Etsy orders, it honestly never feels like a chore, despite having all the characteristics of chores. Putting that giant envelope in the mail is so utterly satisfying.

So for me, the case in favor of Etsy is clear: Having a community of buyers and sellers gives me room to expand beyond just the store. In fact, the Etsy Reddit thread is what inspired me to set up this website!

Tatsuo Horiuchi

If my eyes were a 90's cathode ray tube screen, I have no doubt that the gridlines of an Excel spreadsheet would be permanently phosphor-burned onto my eyelids. Scientists, like actuaries, accountants, and Excel usability testers, stare at these thin, intersecting lines the same significant fraction of their lives. 

Unfortunate as this may be, this software has the latent capability to serve as a canvas for some creative souls, and Tatsuo Horiuchi from the Nagano Prefecture in Japan is just one of those people. Just look at this madness:

73-year old Horiuchi gained recognition through winning an Excel Autoshape Art contest in 2006, which is at the top tier of the "Obscure Competitions" list alongside the cheese rolling competition of Gloucestershire or the US Air Guitar championships

RocketNews24 has an archive of some of Horiuchi's work, proving that a wide variety of tools can be used for a creative digital artist, and that MAYBE you don't really need Photoshop or Illustrator for work.

Byron McBride

An artist I found on Instagram, Byron BcBride is a Canadian artist based out of Edmonton. His surrealist buildings and landscapes recall the general sense of whimsy that inspired Dr. Seuss, but his shading with a subdued, natural color palette lends a sense of gravity and realism to his art. The creatures he designed are intimidating, mechanized mashups, almost inspired by Steampunk, with less of the distracting busy-ness.

There's an irony about this Old Navy shirt.

To Old Navy,
Who do you think designs your shirts? Do you think that font was a gift from a higher power inscribed on a stone tablet, or do you think some artist somewhere who understands aesthetics created the angles and weights of each line to make the shirt look the way it does? Who do you think made the layout for your website, some scrub with no knowledge of user interface? And who designed your basic-ass logo? Probably not an astronaut. But maybe it was.

This shirt, in addition to being insultingly dismissive of people who have made art their careers, is also a physical embodiment of an outdated "black or white" mentality that encourages people to categorize and label others based on their career - "careerism," if you will. It says that someone is defined by their job that pays them, rather than them as a person. Most people are much more complex than what they "do for a living." To put all people of a given profession in a neatly labeled box reduces them down to a stereotype: Not all accountants are boring, not all cops are assholes, not all nurses are caring. Stop devaluing the individual based on their career. Who says astronauts or presidents or Old Navy execs can't be artists? Don't allow passions to fall by the wayside only to favor your career.

The most common objection to this design is that it discourages our country's little ones from pursuing a career in art, devaluing the profession. The internet, where SO MANY artists essentially live and conduct business, did not take this insult laying down. The Twitter hashtag #ArtIsACareerToo, in addition to be confusing to read without capitalization, exploded with parody pictures, mocking Old Navy for it's out-of-touch product. Since the December 2015 release of the item, Old Navy has actually pulled the product from it's shelves. Thanks to all the artists who stood up on behalf of other artists.

B.D. Judkins

Chicago based artist B.D. Judkins has a really cool way of looking at geek-pop icons. Done in the 17th-century Japanese style of ukiyo-e, Judkins has re-interpreted some popular video game characters, super heroes, and villains. 

As far as his Pokemon series goes, I'm personally waiting until he gets to 130. I'm saving a space on my wall for a traditional Japanese ukiyo-e Gyarados.

Check out his etsy store and support this creative artist.

Star Wars ep 7 - The Imagination Reawakens

As with anyone who had lived in the 80's, Star Wars was a major cornerstone for which my imagination factory was build. The expansive universes inhabited by diverse species, the weaponry and technology, the political systems are work - all of which fueled the bulk of my "creative" time in elementary school, whether it be drawings or writing. The many fan fictions available through the bookstore in this pre-DeviantArt world were the most worn books on my shelf. Every piece of "original writing" I submitted to my sci-fi-naive teachers were inevitably some derivative of George Lucas' world. The woods in my backyard was Endor, the Grand Canyon is Tatooine, and every big city was Coruscant. The Return of the Jedi spoken narration on vinyl was the first album I ever scratched on.

And then Episodes 1, 2, and 3 killed my interest in Star Wars over 6 agonizing years. Worse than that, it caused me to be ashamed of my earlier obsession of the sci-fi genre altogether. I know I saw episode 3 in the theatre; I can't even recall what happens in The Clone Wars until the last 5 minutes when all the relevant exposition actually happens.

As trailers for Episode 7 started hitting the internet, naturally I expressed no enthusiasm. Despite not being a frequent movie goer, I would undoubtedly see this movie in the theater, as it would assuredly be a pop cultural icon and frequent topic of discussion among, well - everyone. It would be the first film in the franchise with the Disney stamp of approval, with J.J Abrams at the helm. Disney has made so few mistakes in it's storied history of filmmaking, and Abrams turned Star Trek from an outdated and dry franchise to two lively summer blockbusters. Clearly, the world would be watching to see if Star Wars just needed a strong defibrillatory shock that this duo could provide. 

I didn't lower my expectations going into the movie. Instead, I considered it as a standalone film, isolated from the rest of the lore of Star Wars. I remained ignorant of the actors, trailers, and speculation to maximize the surprises whenever one of MY heroes show up onscreen. I pretended as if I couldn't tell you the name of every bounty hunter in the following lineup. Which, I can.

Ep 7 provided exactly what Star Wars needed - Essentially, a revival of 4-6, down to the smallest details of the plot points. New characters for a younger generation to identify with, acting alongside the greats of my generation. Obviously imperfect, but sufficient.

Hey wanna see some official Star Wars related TV movie content that's even less fit for consumption than The Phantom Menace? Of course you do. Here is some 90-odd minutes of Wookie-speak interspersed with musical interludes by Jefferson Starship and Harvey Korman as a Julia Child parody in a cooking TV show. And yes - this is all canonical. 

Whoa. RIP Quinton Hoover

I just found out that my favorite fantasy artist had passed away in 2013. Quinton Hoover, the Oklahoma based artist, had done the artwork for some of the most iconic cards from early in the history of Magic: The Gathering. I knew him best from his artwork in the White Wolf CCG, Rage. Although his pieces are remarkable on their own, his use of color and contrast, amazing shading, and eye-catching backgrounds made his work perfect for the medium. Compared to some of the work on the other cards, I always though Quinton's (and Rebecca Guay's) style was more refined when put to comparison against the images concocted by their fellow artists.

Immortality is the genius to move others long after you yourself have stopped moving. -Frank Rooney

Thank you for your genius, Quinton. You've inspired people who never had the chance to tell you.

How to buy C4

The envelope size, fool. Don't stalk me, FBI.

ULINE Shipping Supplies has a distribution center just north of Chicago, actually fairly close to where I used to live. Not that it actually matters at all because shipping still costs dollars. For curiosity, the box of 100 smaller (9.75x12.25in) white self sealing envelopes cost me 39 bucks, while 100 brown (13x18in) tab sealing envelopes cost 70 dollaronis. 

SPEAKING OF SHIPPING THOUGH: Here's a sick deal. Buying in bulk means having my own envelopes, which means no more buying individual envelopes from the post office, which means no more trips to the post office. 

AKA i'm passing on the savings to yoooouuuu. Running the math, all shipping costs are going to be reduced to reflect the lower prices!

Fun with Zazzle

So since Zazzle put the big ole "fuck you Austin" sticker on my last design, I decided to move onto selling designs that don't involve infringing on any copyrights. As far as I understand, zazzle itself searches for products on their site that potentially use copyrighted material, and then promptly throws their shoes into your metaphorical Dutch windmill. In their mind, this is preempt the actual copyright holder from potentially dropping the bomb on Zazzle. Realistically, this is too expensive for them to pursue - they'll likely hit them with a quick little cease and desist letter, explaining that if they do not pull the product from the store, then they are going to push ahead with the lawsuitbomb.

Zazzle is full of all sorts of unique products that you can customize - pillows, iphone cases, posters, plates, etc. For each item you sell, you receive a tiny little sliver of commission: I'm talking about the slice of apple you give to someone when they ask for your food. Like, 2-5% of the cost of the item. So I made about 1.80 cents on MaveriX. Uh. No.

But what IS cool about Zazzle is that you don't need any physical items in your store, essentially acting as a print on demand service. 

As it tuns out, you can make some really silly profane art on Zazzle.