Learning more Graphic Design

Here’s another project I had to do…
Editorial Illustration Project

Client: Major national magazine publisher

Task: Create an editorial illustration for an article in a magazine

Size: 8″ x 10″ total page area. Will have to factor in text and title elements.

(start with PhotoShop file provided on the server)

Choose an article of your choice from one of the following magazines:

1. Road & Track

Requirements: Needs to be more than just a photo or collage of photos. All PhotoShop tools, filters, image adjustments, vector capabilities, 3D stuff, and fonts are available for this project.



There were multiple magazines to choose from but I picked Road & Track because of the convenience; copy in bathroom and my husbands restoration projects provided plenty of photos.

The article I picked was by Peter Egan, Side Glances: Cars of Occasion, August 1, 2013, print. It was a very enjoyable article expressing the need of more than one vehicle  in todays world, and more importantly the need of cars (or trucks) for certain occasions. Egan discusses everything from trucks to convertibles to jeeps.

I collected photos of my favorite projects Mac (husband) has restored; ’63 split window, ’63 Impala 409 SS, and ’69 Corvette roadster. I then found my favorite photos of my vehicles: BMW Z3 Roadster and my current ride, 2006 Jeep TJ. I had this grand idea of using them all because, well, basically they fit the article. I ran into problems managing the text in Photoshop. I wanted the text to be in 3 columns and going around some of the cars. Not that easy in Photoshop if you’ve never tried it. Remember I’m learning the program and trying to learn how to design. I finally figured out how to create a shape and have the text follow it.

I decided to use the ’63 split window corvette mainly because of the quality of photo, plus it’s very iconic and recognizable.  If I were a guy (that was into cars) flipping through Road & Track and saw a ’63 split window I’d stop and see if it was worth reading. So, I clipped the car from the background, then went to the filters to see what I could make happen. The “poster edges” under the Artistic  Filter gave the car some cool effects I thought.

I then created the road & mountains using vector shapes. Using the eye dropper tool I pulled some color out of the car to help pull it together. I decided that the tail lights needed some help so I painted them a bright color to appear being on. I really liked how that came out.

Any critiques or comments will be greatly appreciated. Or any comments on how to use Photoshop to accomplish effects more efficiently would really be appreciated. Such as, is there a way to get vector shapes to “lock” together other than zooming in and eye balling?



Have you ever seen this video of a mule defending his human?

This mule earns its keep and looks happy doing it!

Stacy Westfall Horseblog

I do occasionally get asked if I have worked with mules. I have not…not that I have anything against them. I have heard that they are smart…but this video really makes that evident!

This is one of those videos that shows a true partnership between an animal and human.

It would be an understatement to say that this guy knows his job!

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Learning Graphic Design-Continued

One of my latest projects in my Typography class was to create a typeface using any animal, using the letters that spell the word of the animal. I chose “Squirrel”, not really sure why but it seemed a good idea at the time. Next I chose a font that I thought was shaped most like a squirrel. (Use your imagination) I picked the font Cooper Std. Then using Adobe Illustrator, I created outlines of the letters and printed it out so I could sketch the animals inside the letters. The s, q and l were the most challenging.


After I made my sketch of squirrels and scanned it in as a jpeg file, then saved it as a psd file (Photoshop). I then opened the file up in Adobe Illustrator and let the fun begin. I have struggled using the pen tool but decided that was what I needed to trace my letters. So, I searched on YouTube and found a couple of really helpful tutorials on using the pen tool and layers which is very important. After a couple of hours of struggling I finally started getting the hang of it. The one thing that I couldn’t figure out is how to cut the inside shape out to create the “e”. I did a quick fix of creating a shape and filling it with white, but that isn’t the correct way. Below is my squirrel font.

GPeppers-Typography Design-Finish

I’m not really satisfied with my “S” or the “q” but the rest of the letters look pretty good. If I have time I’ll work on those before Monday, when I have to turn it in.


Leonardo da Vinci in Huntsville, Alabama

The US Space & Rocket center in Huntsville, Alabama hosted a traveling exhibition of Leonardo da Vinci provided by Grande Exhibitions & the Anthropos Association. The Italian Artisans, headed by Modesto Veccia, a Vincian expert from Florence, have for the past decade been studying Leonardo’s codices and creating the machine inventions contained in this exhibition.

“It had long since come to my attention that people of accomplishment rarely sat back and let things happen to them. They went out and happened to things.” -Leonardo da Vinci

I thought I had an idea of who da Vinci was, famous painter (Mona Lisa), the sculptor (the horse), and mechanical inventor (flywheels, ball bearings systems, coil spring). I had no idea how intelligent and driven to perfection da Vinci was.

“I have been impressed with the urgency of doing. Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Being willing is not enough; we must do.” -Leonardo da Vinci

Below are a few photos from the display, unfortunately my battery died in my camera before I barely started.

Leonardo used a special kind of shorthand that he invented himself, but usually used “mirror image writing”, starting at the right side of the page and moving to the left. Some historians speculate he did it to keep his writings private, others think that because he was left-handed he just found it easier and faster to write this way. Either way, you’d have to be a genius to keep up with what you’re writing.



I did not know that da Vinci was not educated in what was typical of the time. Da Vinci did not learn Latin or study with the clergy. He couldn’t read or learn from books, maybe that was why he invented his own shorthand. Leonardo learned through observation & experience. This was a trait he applied in everything he did.

Some of Leonardo’s most inventive activities focused on weapons of war. Some of his early designs are practical and easily constructed; emergency swing bridges and ladders.

Below is a photo showing a device for protecting the horse. The horse would go in between the 2 ends with metal blades that spun. However the poles prevented the horse from being allowed to turn and could only move forward in a straight line. Leonardo decided that the horse would probably become frighten and bolt under war conditions. I found this interesting.


Leonardo also designed the first tank and helicopter. Below is a scaled down model of the tank and helicopter.

DSCN1409 DSCN1408



I would like to thank French scientific engineer Pascal Cotte, inventor of the first multispectral camera for his display of the Mona Lisa. He was granted the privileged rights to take incredibly high definition pictures and was able to produce and examine detailed images ranging from ultraviolet to infrared. Although I didn’t get to see the real Mona Lisa, Cotte’s display is as close as you can imagine. The detail was extraordinary and the colors amazing.

My small account did not do the display or Leonardo da Vince justice but wanted to share it. If the display comes to a city near you I recommend going to see it.

“The poet ranks far below the painter in the representation of visible things, and far below the musician in that of invisible things.” -Leonardo da Vinci

Learning Graphic Design-Part I

In my new adventure called college, I’m learning Graphic Design. After having many years in mechanical design & detailing using AutoCAD I thought the transition would take little effort. Let me say that I was wrong, no really, wrong big time. Learning new software, Adobe Photoshop & Illustrator on the fly as they say, has not been easy. You can get to the same destination but you take different roads. AutoCAD (because I know it) was like taking the interstate highway, fast, efficient, easy. Adobe (because I don’t know it) is like taking a back road pig trail. Difficult & time consuming.

For example; in AutoCAD, to create a artboard or page area I would draw a circle, mark the center & use tangent points. In Adobe Illustrator apparently drawing a circle is doable, but trying to use it for reference is not doable.  The handles & grips are different, and editing is stressful. I’m not saying one program is better than the other, just different. It’s hard to forget what you’ve done for 20 years & learn something new, but it can be done. But it takes the effort.

The Larger the Island of Knowledge, the longer the Shoreline of Wonder.        Ralph W. Sockman

Below are 2 Typography projects we had to do. These were design to go in a Library, painted on the wall in a reading area. I’m sharing these because they are the first things that I’ve had to do in my 1st semester of college. Lets hope that by the end of 2 years, I’ll be a lot better.

GPeppers-Project Library Quote-1B-Final-3

GPeppers-Project Library Quote-2C-Final-2


January Snow in Alabama

We’re having a cold winter day in Alabama and thought I’d share a few photos. Looks like we’ll get up to an inch but south of here is expecting 2-4 inches. This is kind of bizarre weather and I’m ready for spring!


Joker & Gray playing in the snow.


These 2 crows look cold to me. Does 2 crows in a tree have any meaning? Good or bad?

How’s the weather where you are?

One is happy as a result of one’s own efforts. George Sand

At the age of 50 I’ve been handed the opportunity to “start over”. I’ve started college this week, something that I did not see coming. The company that I worked for 13 years, basically since moving to Alabama, went out of business. Therefore, I qualified for training so here I am returning to college. I decided to try Graphic Design so if nothing else I’d learn Photoshop and other cool software. As school progresses I know I’ll be sharing more. Right now I’m starting my blog on the advice of a friend that thought I had interesting things to say. We’ll see about that too.