Archive for the ‘Digital Design’ Category

Free Owl Photographs You Can Use

October 21, 2015 Leave a comment


In September 2014, I went to a lecture given by Northern Illinois Raptor Rehab & Education at Emily Oaks Nature Center, Skokie Park District. This a wonderful group that helps injured birds, cares for birds that cannot return the the wild and participates in breeding programs for at-risk species. Part of their mission is educating the public about the value of raptors to the environment. The lecture was a joy because I got tons of great photos of live owls up close.

I love having a good reference photo to draw or paint from. You can get high resolution owl photo downloads from this event from my morgueFile account here. There are nice close up shots of a Great Horned Owl (above), Saw Whet Owls, a Barn Owl and a lovely Barred Owl.Scroll through the various images to find them; for some reason items in “most recent images” are not coming up in chronological order.

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:


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