On the Lighter Side—Pets as Mascots

On-the-LigherSide

Pets can lighten up an employee newsletter.

Let’s try something new…Try drawing a cartoon character from your pet. It’s easy—just draw a quick sketch, add some bright color, exaggerate a feature, and add motion or gesture. You don’t have to be an animator to try this.

Have fun animating your dog, cat, pet turtle, hamster or pot belly pig. The character you create can be the new mascot for your animation project or a way to add a character to otherwise drab content. Then bring them to life with some gestures, thoughts and words. Add speech and thought bubbles to allow the animal to comment on the article or topic. Who knows? Your readers may even want to adopt your animated character as the new company mascot.

Then add the character to your corporate communication for a lighter feel. Of course, don’t try this on an annual report or a letter to the Board of Directors. An employee newsletter might be a great place to start.

In the sample above, I created these characters from two of my former dogs, Shoogie and Cotton, an akita-chow mix and a pure breed samoyad.

Lighten up and so will your audience!

______________________________________

If you’d like to talk about an animated character illustration for a newsletter, poster, website or other communication, please drop an e-mail to hwdesign@west.net.

Help the Earth—You’ve Got it in the Bag

Grow Life.  Harlan West's Reusable Bag Art Contest Entry.

“Grow Life,” Harlan West’s Reusable Bag Art Contest Entry

Creating artwork for reusable bags is a great way to help the environment and your community. These bags are daily reminders of how we can help the earth and are great promotions for Earth Day.  The nice thing about this type of project is that the art can be more free-flowing and whimsical than most graphical treatments.

I recently submitted an entry to the Ralph’s/Kroger Design a Reusable Bag Art Contest.  Here, I created a whimsical rendition of a tree sprouting out of an apple core. I wanted to show “reuse” in a very fun graphical way.

The style consists of a very graphical cut paper style that uses flat wedges of color to make beautiful shapes of brilliant color. This style actually works quite well with silkscreened art for apparel, especially for cloth bags.

The theme of the art is “Reduce, Reuse and Recycle.”  I added the tagline “Grow Life,”  to show the positive impact of one’s commitment to using reusable cloth bags.

If you’d like to vote for any of the entries, you will need to sign in for an account with Ralphs or any of the participating Kroger stores. The entries are arranged by first name. If you’d like to vote for my entry, you can find it by pulling down the menu in the upper left to search by name. Mine is listed under the “H’s,”  under “Harlan W.” of Westlake Village.  There are two entries—one with apples in the tree and one without.  Please vote for the one you prefer.  Or you can vote for both.

If you’d like to talk about an environmental design for a reusable bag, poster or online communication, please drop an e-mail to hwdesign@west.net.

Congratulations to all the wonderful contestants who submitted art to help the environment. Its admirable that you have all thought of creative ways to help the earth.  Thank you!  You’ve done more good than you can imagine.

You’ve got it in the bag!

It’s time to Saddle Up–Commemorating an Event with a Graphic Emblem

The 2013 Conejo Valley Days took place last weekend, May 3-5 in Thousand Oaks, CA.  This commemorated the 57th year of an event which honors the Conejo Valley’s rich cultural heritage and volunteer spirit. Wristband sales were used to raise funds for non-profit organizations including schools, PTAs, religious and social-service organizations.

On a historical note, I was reminded of my 1994 award-winning logo for Conejo Valley Days. A sample of the pin is shown below. Here, I created colorful hand cut-outs of a western boot and a cactus as the design for the award-winning emblem. It was great fun to be a part of the rich cultural history in the Conejo Valley.

If you’d like to talk about a poster for your event or fundraiser, please drop an e-mail to
hwdesign@west.net.

Saddle-up partner!

1994 Official Conejo Valley Days Logo and Pin, designed by Harlan West

1994 Official Conejo Valley Days Logo and Pin, designed by Harlan West

Pick of the Crop: Strawberries Make Great Artwork at the California Strawberry Festival

One of my favorite events living here in California is coming up next weekend, May 18 and 19, 2013 here in Oxnard, CA.  This year marks the 30th anniversary of the California Strawberry Festival. Close to $4,000,000 has been donated to local charities.

In fact, it captured my imagination to the point that I created the 2009 winning poster design. Strawberries are fun and colorful to illustrate. For the 2009 poster, I created a whimsical illustration of a giant strawberry “sunning” itself at a lively party of fun, food and festivity.  Photos from the 2009 poster unveiling are available for viewing.

So, on May 18 or 19 take a trek out to the California Strawberry Festival at the Strawberry Meadows of College Park at 3250 South Rose Avenue in Oxnard, CA. You may even find my 2009 poster for sale at the official souvenir booth.

If you’d like to talk about a poster for your event or fundraiser, please drop an e-mail to
hwdesign@west.net.

Happy picking!

The 2009 official California Strawberry Festival poster, designed by Harlan West.

The 2009 official California Strawberry Festival poster, designed by Harlan West.