Adobe Illustrator Tutorials

Woof. These account for my first ever earnest attempts at creating something on Adobe Illustrator. Maybe photoshop is easier, or maybe I have simply had a lot more practice with it. Either way, these took much longer than I had expected. Though my skills and ability to adapt are truly to blame, I also have a cheap mouse, so any hand drawn stuff within these will likely be jagged as all hell due to the jumpiness of my imprecise “value” travel mouse.

Please, feel free to judge me, or even give me tips! The latter being what the internet was created for and the prior being what it has become known for 😉


Final Graphic Collage

My final graphic collage is a test of my photoshop skills and ability to visually portray an idea. The idea here, is that there are always two sides to a coin, and the duality of human beings is something that should be understood from the inside out. Basically, if one can understand one’s self, they have a much higher chance of understanding others, solving problems, and improving the world and their personal lives in a holistic manner. For more information on my feelings on the matter, please refer to the post JUST below this one. There, you will find the reasons for my choice in art and photos, and hopefully come to understand this seemingly self-centered project I have created.

Upon reading my peers’ feedback, along with my professor’s, it has come to my attention that I left a little too much to the imagination and left my canvas a bit empty. The general consensus was that my lower left and upper right corners were nice in conveying their point of balance and the dual nature of self, albeit in an overly minimal way. They felt I could display a bit more of that contradicting nature with that space and that it was a missed opportunity.

In response to this critique, I inserted what I have found to be highly influential: Language. On the left side: Logical and independent, reinforced by my time as a Marine, I inserted a repeating quote. The non-commissioned officer’s creed. An NCO in the military is basically your lowest level of management and is attained once one can prove to their superiors that they are worthy of leadership. I was an NCO for over half of my time in the Marine Corps, and it’s something I worked very hard to achieve, both physically and mentally. In other words it means a lot to me and represents a large portion of who I am at this moment.

On the right side, the black side, of my collage, you have my creative and playful side. Fittingly, I inserted the dialogue from Monty Python and the Holy Grail into the barren space. One of my favorite scenes, the lines hiding in the highly opaque lettering are the exact words of my favorite scene from that movie: when Tim the Enchanter points out the killer rabbit just before the end of the film. I used this dialogue to represent that side of me because it too, is highly representative of that side of my self. Humor, playfulness, and irony, all rolled into one. HOW FUN! Growing up as a chubby kid, I had to develop a good sense of humor in order to compete for a place in the unspoken competition for status and mating rights. Ergo, humor too, is paramount to who I am.

After deciding on quotes that would more accurately reflect the story I am trying to portray through the collage, I added to lines to keep the eyes from drifting. Using the same color scheme as before, green and its inverse, I created two blocks to reach behind the lettering and connect the center to the photos. on either side. Hopefully, this will encapsulate the visual cues I have created, and reinforce the northwest to southeast flow I have established.

At long wait, here it is 😀 I hope you enjoy viewing it at least a fraction of how much I enjoyed creating it!

EDIT- [September 20, 2014 — 4:15pm]

It turns out my primary computer’s monitor runs a bit dark (it’s an old hand-me-down) and I have been told me left edits are impossible to view unless you tilt your monitor a lot. So I went in and made my left edits about 15% less opaque. Now, I present to you, my FINAL final edits. Sorry about that!

collage draft 3-Recovered

Until next time: Goodnight, and good luck



Graphic Collage Draft

For this week’s assignment, I have made a graphic collage about my blog’s subject matter: Me. However vain, or even narcissistic that seems is for you to judge. But, please, give me a chance and I can explain!

First off, the primary theme of this blog is me. It’s a decent first blog theme, as I have plenty of stories to share, of which I happen to be the subject matter expert. Whether those are embarrassing adolescent experiences, near death experiences (usually caused by a stupid decision), unrequited or unfulfilled love stories, or simply observations I have made as to the nature of human beings, I have no other wealth of information as great as I do about a subject matter as I have for myself. Perhaps this makes me a typical member of Generation Y. Perhaps it means I lack creativity. Or perhaps, it is an action caused by a lifetime of seeing how conflicts arise between two or more parties of people who lack a mutual understanding for one another.

In such cases, even if both parties know each other very well, communication tends to break down when it becomes apparent that one or more of said parties doesn’t understand him or herself. If one does not understand one’s self, any sort of critique or comment regarding a certain aspect one lacks a personal base knowledge of will erode the discussion and devolve it into an argument. Though an argument is a small scale conflict and may appear to be something unimportant about which to ponder, it represents a failure in one on one discussion, the foundation on which larger conflicts may be settled. Ergo, I think it is imperative to understand myself to both build a better tool box of conflict resolution skills, and improve my interpersonal relationships.

Below is my first draft of the graphic collage project:

collage draft

Now that you have seen it, let’s go over the original art used, the photoshop concepts I employed, and my basic ideas regarding my choice in design and style of the overall collage.


  1. All of the art present is mine. I took the photo of the Marine recruit crawling under the barbed wire in about 2008 or 2009 while I worked as a public affairs specialist at Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego. Though not a photo of me, it represents a big part of my life and illustrates the kinds of things I was able to do on a regular basis. Though I was a Marine for only four years, it changed me fundamentally, not simply through it’s unique culture, but also due to the fact that it was how I spent my first four years as an adult.


The naked man was a drawing I made a few years ago as an exercise in creating the human figure without any model or photo to copy. It was a proud moment, as for the most part before that specific drawing, I was horrible at capturing human proportions accurately. Visual art has been a part of my life since about 2001, though this drawing was the approximate moment I learned to like my own drawing style. NOTE: I still don’t finish 95% of my drawings and have not done it much in the past two years. The trees and waterfalls within the two naked drawings of me were taken on a hike/camping trip with my best friends. Another important experience. Notice the brown back ground (a color I choose to represent my “center” for reasons that should be obvious) and the inverted colors of the upside down me. This is representative of the dual nature of so many aspects to life. Id and Ego, known self and unknown self, presented self and withheld self, etc.


The photo on the bottom is me at comic-con in about 2009. Though I was still a Marine, it represents my nerdy side, or my childish side. I have loved star wars since about 1996, and since then, I have continued to develop (probably too much) my playful and dorky aspects.


  1. In the Marine photo on the upper left, I increased the contrast and darkened the photo a bit, as the dust tended to blend everything together. I then put a layer of black and white over the young recruit and ensured his emphasis by showing the modern colors of his uniform and brought attention to his exceptionally bright brown eyes by erasing the black and white layer over those.


For the drawings, I erased all but the harder shaded spots so they would reveal a transparent background, increased their contrast as well so the darker shades would pop, and slid the waterfall into him. I flipped, reversed, and inverted the purple one as part of my theme. I also made the green in the waterfall photo a bit more vibrant so that it would more accurately reflect the way that hike felt. Green is also my favorite color (just barely in front of red– my two personality colors, surprisingly.)


And the photo of me at comic con was a more subtle change. I blurred out everything but my hand and face, cropped it to better fit into the rule of thirds, and fiddled around with the levels to give it a bit more of that bright lit show-room floor look.


  1. Lastly, the theme being duality, things are very split here, yet also balanced. White and black split by a neutral color. Green and it’s odd inverse pinkish purple, top and bottom. Marine life, a masculine and aggressive and structured way of thought juxtaposed by nerd/fun life, childish and so lacking in structure, it’s almost sick! (I am kidding)

Then there are the two mes, looking at my various aspects. No one side is dominant here, though I suppose one could argue my fun hike would be cause for saying the contrary. Yes, it was fun, but it was an 11 mile hike into the woods where no one was. Fun, lovely, difficult, dangerous, and semi structured–as there are a few things that must be done if you want to live through the journey 😉 Jokes aside, these things are seen at my core, as it represents a portion of the emotional, intellectual, and cultural foundation on which I build from. Also, I just didn’t have any cool photos of my family to put in there.

Photo Collection

These are some photos I am thinking about using in a graphic collage project. All of them are either of me, or taken by me.