Archive for the ‘Digital Design’ Category

WordPress Hates White Space

September 4, 2015 Leave a comment

WordPress, or at least some of its templates, really hates white space. Even the &nbsp; or <br> tags for HTML will not work and something overrides the code to remove empty space. I personally don’t think text, images and video should be rammed together. I was particularly tired of embedded videos and images being run together with each other or jammed together with text above and below. I came up with a simple hack if you want to space elements out in your blog posts and put negative space between different parts.

My solution for giving space is to insert a blank image. The background of this template is white, so I just made two white rectangles in Photoshop. Here is one at 550 x 20 pixels. You can save it and use it:


Here is a thinner blank image giving a gap of 550 x 10 pixels:


I just insert these blank images as I would any other image in areas that WordPress is not allowing space between items. If the text is against the video box, add in a white rectangle. If you want to make sure there is a gap between photos in a series, then put a rectangle between each photo.

Making a different size rectangle is simple; just give it the pixels dimensions you want when you create a new file. If your template has a different color background, just screen cap a page of text, sample the background color with Photoshop’s eyedropper tool and use the bucket tool to fill your rectangle. Test it out in a block of text in a draft post to make sure the color matches and the rectangle blends in invisibly.

The nice part of this process is that you do not have to upload the rectangles over and over again. You can use an uploaded rectangle repeatedly. I just select the uploaded blank rectangles from the images gallery: when writing your post go to Add Media > select the Media Library tab > select your rectangle to insert.

Categories: Digital Design

Teacher Hack: Easiest Method on How To Learn and Teach Animation

August 19, 2015 Leave a comment


This is the fastest, best way to learn animation and teach it to any age student. File this under Hack to School: I adapted a 3D stop motion animation app to make 2D hand-drawn cartoons using a tablet computer. A smartphone can also be used, but the smaller screen size will make the process more difficult. This method is easy, gets quick results and is fun. This is a great way to combine hand-made art for painting and drawing with digital skills. I found that kids came up with ideas and completed their drawings on a varying timeline so a whole classroom of students were able to share a single tablet and everyone made a cartoon. Enthusiastic go-getters made more than one cartoon.


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Categories: Digital Design, Video

Vintage Bird, Hawk and Owl Etchings

July 28, 2015 1 comment

Here are some vintage to antique etchings scanned from an old magazine which I cleaned up in Photoshop for you to use. All are 300 dpi high contrast black & white images. The adorable owls are my favorite!

Hawk family

Some kind of hawk family, species unknown.

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It’s Roenick, he’s good!

June 10, 2015 4 comments


I have a hockey team, but we don’t really have a name. We just have an NHL team name that was slapped on us by the rink so we know when the heck to show up for games. There are probably about a million variations of the Chicago Blackhawks logo for rec league teams. This is the one I had stuck in my head, so I sat down today to get it out.

One advantage is that being a vector design will make it super easy to vinyl cut the logo and iron it on a jersey. It’s a high contrast design so it would also be easy to silkscreen. What makes it harder is that rink stuck us with bright gold jerseys. Unless we can think of a color that was not assigned to a team in the league, we will be carrying on the summer season in gaudy gold.

Game 3-28-2015 WEB A

Laser Collage Article

August 22, 2014 4 comments

Art Sharks by Shellie Lewis, paper collage and laser cutter, 6x8 inches, 2014

Art Sharks by Shellie Lewis, paper collage and laser cutter, 6×9 inches, 2014

I came up with a new method for collage or at least a variation on the process which I published here. The intended audience is people within the hacker/maker community and are more likely to have access to laser cutting technology.

If you are enrolled at a college or university and you are not learning how to use current tech in laser cutting and 3-D printing, see if there is an available hackerspace / makerspace in your area. Laser cutting and 3-D equipment was on the campus I graduated from in 2010, in one department and locked behind closed doors, the private playthings of the professors. Students did not even know this equipment existed on campus. Demand education and access to this technology if your campus is missing it or is restricting access to the equipment. Robotics, rap rep [rapid reproduction] and being able to prototype creations on your own are current technologies that a wide range of creative and technical fields are using now. For me, becoming proficient with a laser cutter has opened new doors creatively, has been interesting and a lot of fun.   

Artist Trading Card Animated Zine

August 22, 2014 3 comments




Share artist trading cards with the world! Here is a zine I made as an animation you can link to, email, tweet and send any way you want. Share the idea of artist trading cards with as many people as you can. Short link to this post:

Basic Hand Drawn Animation

April 12, 2014 8 comments



400 x 400 pixels

Here is the finished little “What’s in your mailbox?” animated GIF someone requested for a mail art group. It’s cute and it was fun to make. Too bad the GIF format pixelates color gradients. The animation looks better in the program because the glowing light and clouds are smooth. I have no idea why there is not an animated JPG format; only a programmer could explain why.

I put a lot of time into the second round of this little seven second animation. I forgot to save the original Photoshop file where I matched and laid out the layers of the rough pencil sketches. I just did a screen capture of the GIF I put online, dropped each screen capture as a layer for the new Photoshop file and up-sampled the roughs to 144 dpi.

I was going batty from slamming layers in Photoshop all day. Sal, my Hockey Blogger Boyfriend, insisted I find the Beavis and Butthead “Animation Sucks” episode, which further proves that Mike Judge is both brilliant and hilarious in describing reality. Animation is pretty exhausting. It helps to try and not do it all at once. You really need to take breaks when working on an animation project. It also helps to remind yourself that the professional grade work is done by huge teams of people using better software and hardware!


Small 250 x 250 pixels


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