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I was kind of a hermit in high school. If I wasn’t in class, I was in the art room. I never used my locker – all my stuff I stored in the art room. It was where I ate my breakfast and lunch, and spent much of my after-school activities of doing homework and throwing paint on canvas in that room. So the majority of friends I had were also people who frequented the art room. Hank Butitta was one of them. Senior year we were the only two in AP Art who finished our portfolios and sent them off – him for architecture and me for painting (painting trees to be more specific). Thankfully, one of us continued to use the skills they learned in school (hint: not me).

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The Kid Who Bought a Bus

If you’ve been following me recently on Twitter, you’ll have seen me post a bit about Hank and his incredible journey. Hank bought a bus and ever since then, the world can’t seem to stop talking about him. In a spontaneous decision, Hank bought an old school bus off Craigslist and renovated the entire thing for his Masters Final Project. (This isn’t the first time Hank has taken a large vehicle for a joy ride. Senior year, Hank, our friends Kadi and Andrea, and I were tasked with bringing artwork over to the public library during school hours. We did it – but then took the van for a spin around town and down to the Arboretum and climbed trees – you can tell he hasn’t changed much.)

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A Designer’s Dream Interior

The end product of Hank’s hard work is this absolutely gorgeous, minimalistic tiny home on wheels. The interior is every designer’s dream-come-true. The clean lines, the wood paneling, the bright natural sunlight. This is what I want to emulate in my future house. Hell. I want to just own this bus.

Hank didn’t just do it as a final project. He’s hoping that his bus and the road trip will promote the idea of living a minimalistic lifestyle. In his own words: “I hope this experience can help expand the dialogue about tiny living spaces and their viability. The bus prompts lots of interesting questions that could (and have) led to hours of discussion, which is truly the point. Our definition of home is so narrow, and our image of a mobile home is even more limited (and generally looked down upon). I think the tiny house movement is terribly interesting, if not entirely viable as a large scale solution. It helps remind those of us who have grown up in a traditional home that we could get by with less. A lot less. 200sqft is small, but I know people who have lived in apartments that are smaller. I want people to see the bus, be shocked at how comfortable, functional, and affordable it is, and maybe reassess what they’re willing to consider a viable home.”

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Adventure Bound!

Hank is the kind of person who can be completely quiet, working intently, and out of nowhere, with the most serious expression on his face, say something ridiculously funny that leaves you in stitches, unable to remember what paint color you were trying to mix. We once staged a paint fight in an empty hallway in our high school for our friend Laura’s photography project – I dumped an entire can of purple paint over Hank’s head and the walls of that hallway I’m sure still to this day show signs of the fight. It took weeks before I got the orange paint out of my ear. I can just imagine the hysterical conversations and happenings going on on that bus. I don’t know about you, but I would LOVE to see it all in person.

Come to Austin, Hank and Co! We have beer and live music and all the breakfast tacos you can eat!

All the photos you see are from the talented Justin Evidon, Hank’s co-pilot on this adventure. You can find out more specifics about the bus on their Tour of the Bus page. Find them on Twitter and Facebook too!

Music!

Today’s musical line-up brought to you by the letter C. Because cats. And cookies. And cupcakes. And coffee. And caffeine. Pretty much all good things in life. Yay coffee! Anyway this is what’s in my ears right now. Good tunes.

There will be times you might leap before you look…

“Call it surrender but you know that that’s a joke / And the punchline is you were never actually in control / But still, surrender anyway”

Do It Anyway, Ben Folds Five

I honestly can’t believe I haven’t shared this before since I absolutely love the video (ANNA KENDRICK CAMEO FTW!) – I adore Fraggle Rock so I posted this thing like fifty times on Twitter and Facebook because I was obsessed with it. I hadn’t actually listened to the song in awhile though and it came on this morning and it was so very appropriate to things in my life right now. I avoid so much and over-think and overanalyze and sometimes I just forget to do. So this is a good reminder.

Got the sense I was not her type by the black eye and bloody nose…

“It’s suffocating to say, / But the female mystique takes my breath away. / So give me a smile or give me a sneer, / ‘Cause I’m trying to guess here.”

Deer in the Headlights, Owl City

Again, a song that came on and I felt was relevant to my life. I think we’ve all felt this way before – like a deer trapped in the headlights and whether the outcome is good or bad, it’s life and it’s not easy to guess what other people are thinking unless they give you a black eye. Or something. You get what I’m saying.

What are you listening to today? And go!

bard-smallFor as long as I can remember, I have wanted to be a writer and illustrator. In fact, I wanted to create children’s books and I wanted them to be fun, colorful, and have animals in them. That’s why I was so excited to do this interview with Bard Hole Standal, author of the interactive kids’ book Jack and Joe, which was built for the iPhone and the iPad. I was given the chance the read the book and play around with it and let me tell you, I loved it! Personally, I think this is HUGE, especially for the iPad. Interactive kids’ books aren’t exactly new, but I feel that with Bard’s style he could pave the way for many books like his. And iPads are a great size for kids to use.

Here’s a few things that really jumped out at me and made me love Jack and Joe:

  • I loved the illustrations! Bright, colorful, good movement! Very cute and great style for kids. The illustrations were really engaging and I felt the artwork went along perfectly with the story.
  • The interactions build into the book are fantastic. The hide and seek page was one of my favorite parts! There are also pages you can shake and some where you can pet Jack! In talking to Bard, I learned that in a future version of the story there will be even more interactive pages.
  • Jack and Joe very much felt like characters that could be on Disney or Nickelodeon – the voices were good too and there was a good pace to the book and the reading.

On with the Interview!

Let’s start from the beginning. Where did the idea to create an interactive children’s book for the iPad/iPhone come from?

I think all illustrators dream of publishing their own children’s book. For me, it felt like the right time to give it a go. I had focused all my time and energy in being involved in vinyl toys and endless projects with toy companies that seldom went anywhere. I was tired of both toys and spending a great deal of time on things that never came to fruition. With the iPad and the iPhone’s App Store, that would not be a problem. You are in control of what’s published, no second or third parties involved. So I talked to my brother who’s a computer engineer, and we decided to combine our talents to make this book happen. We originally intended on programming it using Adobe’s Flash CS5 iPhone module, but Apple pulled the plug on that. Plus the tech was incredibly slow, nearly useless.

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How did you begin each page? Walk us through your process of completing an illustration for the book.

I started the process by writing a simple outline. The initial idea about a boy and his best friend, his husky puppy. I thought of the fun things they could do together while keeping in mind what sort of interactive tasks would work with that. In the outline I wrote some ideas down for a story arc and how the boy would end up being jealous of the husky. The boy wanted to be a husky too because, let’s face it, there is nothing more awesome to be in the world than a husky puppy!

I never really set out to make a literary masterpiece, I wanted a sort of random character-focused story without morals or life lessons. I just wanted to make it a peek into the world of two best friends.

After the outline was written, I wrote a proper manuscript and drew a very crude storyboard of each page. Then I used Illustrator to draw up the final images, and adjusted the script and drawings as I went along. I also had to come up with what sort of interactive things we could add to the pages. I had a bunch of ideas, but we had to cut back to make it possible to produce. Coding for the iOS devices is very time consuming. Compared to technologies like Flash, this is much more demanding.

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Was creating an illustration for mobile devices different from simply creating an illustration for print or the web?

I always had to keep in mind that everything I drew would have to be cut up into smaller pieces for it to be animated or made into an interactive page. So working with vectors in Illustrator made that very easy, it’s part of my style and it’s how I like to work already. I’m an interactive art director in my fulltime job, so this is part of my everyday life. If you’re a traditional illustrator, I’m sure it would be a little harder to wrap your head around than producing things for print. Also, you have the issue of resolution differences on the devices. The iPhone 1 and the iPhone 4 have different resolutions, and the iPad even has a different format! So you end up exporting everything three times and you have to make sure that the illustrations for the iPad work even though you’re cutting the sides off to make it fit within the format. It’s easy to slip into madness with all of these things to think of ;)

What do you hope kids will take from Jack and Joe? Where do you see this book going?

My biggest wish is that kids get sucked into the world of Jack and Joe and just end up having a really FUN time. That was my goal all along, to make a super fun book kids can play with for hours. And maybe they’ll all convince their parents to get huskies! That would be cool. The world needs more huskies. I see a world in the future where everyone has a husky. I’d like that world!

I hope the book makes it up the App Store charts and that it gets some attention. It’s proven quite difficult to get it out there, there’s no automatic success by having a book in the App Store. You’ll have to tell people about it before it moves anywhere. I was hoping that wasn’t the case, that we wouldn’t need the PR machines of giant publishing corporations. We’ll see how it goes. I think we just need to tell people that it’s out there and that they should check it out. Maybe make a free preview version too.

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Who would you say has influenced your art style?

My art style is definitively influenced by a bunch of Japanese artists. I grew up with a keen interest in manga, so people like Akira Toriyama and Katsuhiro Otomo have been huge to me. In terms of vector style, Furi Furi Company, Buro Destruct and Maniackers Design were a major influence on me when I was starting out. Then of course there’s the video games of my childhood from Nintendo and Sega that were probably the reason for why I was drawn to illustration in the first place.

You say on your website that you love drawing animals. Any hope for a children’s book about pigs in the future?

Haha, yeah now that would be something! I would love to just sit down and draw pigs for a 6 month stretch. That would be a amazing!

I am actually working on a CGI short about a pig that wants to go to the north pole. It’s a side-burner project, so it’ll take a while to complete. I get my monthly dose of pigs that way though, keeps me sane and far, far away from bacon.

I eat a lot of sausages though, so technically I’m a hypocrit!

And finally… what “fuels” your illustration?

Giant exploding mega ultra death pigs! with LASER EYES!

At least the dream of one day giving such a vision a proper rendition as an illustration.
Until the day I do that, I will relentlessly be working on my skills until they can achieve such awesome awesomeness.

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Find more about Bard here:

Originally posted at Fuel Your Illustration on January 17, 2011.

The Declaration of You, published by North Light Craft Books and available now, gives readers all the permission they’ve craved to step passionately into their lives, discover how they and their gifts are unique and uncover what they are meant to do! This post is part of The Declaration of You’s BlogLovin’ Tour, which I’m thrilled to participate in alongside over 200 other creative bloggers. Learn more – and join us! – by clicking here.

The Declaration of You!

When all else fails: Turn to the Internet!

A little over a year ago, my life took a nosedive when the company I was working for laid off a bunch of people, including more than half of the marketing team I was apart of. I felt betrayed, lost, hurt, and ultimately, like I had somehow failed. I wasn’t sure where to go with my life or what to do, so as I do when I’m on a hunt for answers, I turned to the internet (I had just lost a job as a social media strategist – of course I’d look to the internet for help!).

I had started following and talking with Michelle Ward, the When I Grow Up Coach, over Twitter about a year earlier, but it was at that moment that she had opened up the Clubhouse and in a spontaneous burst of inspiration, I joined. All of a sudden I was surrounded by people who were just like me – trying to figure out what to do with their talents, how to make a business of it, how to be successful. It was one of the best things I ever did and I am so thankful to Michelle and all the amazing folks in that community. It not only helped me to structure my goals, create a plan, and find support, it also helped me in my journey to begin trusting myself again.

Learning to Trust Again

It’s amazing just how damaging losing a job you love can be. I no longer knew if I was good at anything, and I didn’t trust myself to start branching out. I hesitated at everything and felt like I had lost my footing on a path I wasn’t sure was my own anymore. I felt like I couldn’t even trust the people around me anymore – the community I had built at work for the past three years had been stripped away in one afternoon. I went home and just cried and wondered what I should do with my life now (a little dramatic, but I felt I deserved it, at least for the day). I am so thankful that Michelle had come into my life when she did – I already trusted her judgement and felt that connection with her that’s so important when working with a career coach. The Clubhouse was instrumental in teaching me to trust myself again, to trust my heart, to trust my gut, and to find trust in the close-knit community I built around me.

The Book!

The Declaration of You!

When you have a faith in yourself again, it’s like opening a door and finding opportunity everywhere. And that’s why I’m so excited to be a part of this book tour. The Declaration of You is an inspiration book for creatives searching for their place in the sun. It was written and illustrated by Michelle Ward and Jessica Swift. I’ve been a big fan of Jessica Swift for years. Her artwork is colorful, motivational, and inspiring, and I have many of her prints up on my walls – including my cube wall at work! I’ve even written about her work here before! To see two of my favorite community people getting together to create something so wonderful is a dream come true. Check out the book trailer if you don’t believe me.

Join Us Today!

The Declaration of You Facebook Party

Are you looking to join this amazing community and find out more about Michelle Ward, Jessica Swift, and The Declaration of You? You’re in luck! Today over on the Facebook Page, there’s going to be a comment party all about this week’s topic: TRUST! If you can, we’d love for you to join us at 9:30-10a PST/11:30a-12p CST/12:30-1p EST.

My Declaration!

Over the past year, I’ve learned to not only trust those around me, but to trust myself again. It’s been a long, up-hill battle, but I am proud of who I am today. I’ve worked hard, become more organized, defined the goals I want to achieve in my career, and I’ve done it with the support (and trust!) of an amazing community around me. My declaration for the day: It’s always a good thing to have a little faith, trust, and as much pixie dust as you can possibly handle!

What’s your declaration of you?