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2015 – 2016 Cambridge Symphony Orchestra Posters

In 2015, I decided to go in for purchasing Adobe Illustrator since I’d be using for both CSO posters and my knitting pattern diagrams. Like everything, it was an educational process since I’m the type to jump in and get a tool working, rather than take the time for a class.

I set up a workspace with “artboards” for the whole season. This way I can see, compare, and use elements across the group of posters and ads. And what goes on the first poster tends to set the theme for the season.

CSO Mahler Concert - CSO Posters

There are always head-shots of the musical guests, along with a lot of text and sponsor logos. I like to pick a color scheme for the text to draw attention to the soloist. In the case of the Mahler poster above Indra Thomas‘s beautiful photo has a lovely green-grey backdrop that I wanted to work with. And as a new Illustrator user, playing with text appearance was the most fun, so I decided I had my theme for the season. All the posters would have roughly the same layout with the “Cambridge Symphony Orchestra” text working with the soloist head-shots.

 

CSO Holiday Pops - CSO Posters

Here for “Holiday Pops” I chose Adobe’s subtle sparkle effect for the CSO text along with an already festive head-shot of  Jennifer Sgroe and a happy photo of Cynthia Woods.

CSO Family Concert - CSO Posters

The Family Concert in January always features are remarkably talented young musician, this year was no exception. Visually, I loved that Yoo Jin Ahn‘s cute head-shot has a white background. The CSO text illustrator fun for this concert was the bright pastel colors from the Illustrator “graphic styles” library.

CSO Russian Masters - CSO Posters

Doing this for a couple of years now, I have to say the March concert always throws me for a loop for the color scheme. If I use springtime green it makes people think of St Patrick’s Day which is almost never the concert theme, and especially since the program for this concert is “The Russian Masters” I had to work with something else. I went with a color theme in the red and blue spectrum since using the grey in the soloists head-shot would make the poster too dreary, giving the CSO text a circular blue gradient glow.

 

CSO Chamber - CSO Posters

The Chamber players need a poster from time to time, and I could go off the season’s theme trying something new. I played with Illustrator paths to create a fun swirly violin, and I loved this effect so much it is going to be the theme of the 2016-2017 posters.

The Prince and the Firebird - CSO Posters

This Firebird show with the accompanying ballet ended the classical season with a bang. The concert was a labor of love for many, with the dancers and musicians using their creativity to bring this event to the next level. I contributed with the painting “The Prince and the Firebird” that I was able to work into this poster format. Having too much fun with color and design I created this surface design line at Spoonflower.

Pops on the Lawn - CSO posters

And finally, for the end of the season I had some more Illustrator fun, creating warped text for the title. The CSO logo is still recognizable with the SYMPHONY portion shown in bold. The entire image has an under layer of crumpled paper to portray a summer-of-love type vibe to it. I used color picker to pull the color from the sponsorship logo to use for the background and lettering.

Often the tools used and project restrictions dictate what the posters will look like. The limits, I find, help the creative process, if only to keep projects from being over-designed.

The one most important thing that I have learned in this post-tech artistic life: designing is decision making.

 

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“Hello Spoonflower World”

Spoonflower Giftwrap from Spatial H

Hello World” is a short hand term for projects techies create while working on a new platform. My new platform? Spoonflower.

The “Hello World” idea is similar to the Minimum Viable Product, “MVP“, for people that know something about marketing, where the learning process involved in getting the first item/program/project/design out into the world takes most of the work. Theory being that once you get this first one done, the rest will follow much easier. I mean, think of all the learning involved with any new thing you’ve tried to do. Procrastination can get the best of you, but giving yourself the one goal to push toward, the “Hello World”, the first product, the first class, etc, you have something achievable and worthwhile.

I started by drawing up a design in Adobe Illustrator. Spoonflower has a nice writeup to learn about loading their available colors into Adobe Illustrator so you know your image will print with colors you can have confidence in.

Getting the repeat right is the crux of the design process. A lot of good information is available on surface design repeats on YouTube.

Once I had my MVP design ready to go I uploaded it, ordered my proof, and waited by my mailbox.

When it arrived I opened up the package and inspected my new fabric, and oh no, a subtle problem: there was a light “aliased” outline on the right and bottom edges of the repeat. It may have been mistaken for wayward white thread if I had left it as it was, but it would bother me not to fix it.

Spoonflower support was very helpful, told me I could edit my file to remove the white outline, re-upload, and release it for publication.

A little Pixelmator, and boom, done.

"Plum Regal" Preview
“Plum Regal” Preview, available at Spoonflower

So now I’m literally in business.

Fixed and uploaded, my first #spoonflower design "plum regal" 🙂

A post shared by spatialh (@spatialh) on

Wish me luck in my new venture.

“Plum Regal” Spoonflower Giftwrap Preview. Their automated illustrations are wonderful.

Please leave a comment if you have any experience with Spoonflower, either sewing or designing with it. And please watch this space for more upcoming designs.

Nerd On,

Heather

 

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Initiate Mitts, a free knitting pattern for beginners

Buy some pretty yarn, wind it into a ball, buy some size 8 knitting needles, and maybe a darning needle for finishing

Then make your first knitting project.

The Initiate Mitts

A free knitting pattern.

>>> Click here to download <<<

Learn how to make these mitts at Craftwork Somerville’s Knitting 101.

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Craftwork, the Octopus. Free Knitting Pattern.

Hey, so my friend, Amy Lou, is opening an awesome DIY/Maker/Classroom/Art space in Somerville, MA called CRAFTWORK SOMERVILLE; and she asked me to teach Knitting 101!

Since new knitters like a project they can show off with their brand new skills, I created a new beginner pattern for you to try.

I would like to introduce you to Craftwork The Octopus.

Craftwork The Octopus

It’s a sweet little octopus to help people learn how to Cast On and Bind Off fearlessly. Knitters are always worried that they are working their stitches too tightly or loosely, and this project lets you do either and the results are that the tentacles simply curve and sway making your octopus look unique.

Practice, practice, practice.

And it’s a free knitting pattern for you to try.

>>> Click here to download <<<

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2013 CSO Pops on the Lawn

The last poster of the season. I’m always looking for a simple Americana vibe to this poster since we are creeping up on the 4th of July, …  some red, white, and blue. The music we play is good Pops schlock: show tunes, tv shows, a legit but short classical piece. This concert is about connecting with Cambridge, MA and giving back by having a grand old time out in Sennott Park with people that just happened to be walking by as much as making an effort to come out and support us.

2013 Pops Concert with the CSO
2013 Pops Concert with the CSO

Red, white, and blue, baby… summer of love. Come by Sunday June 23, 2013 at 3pm to hear us play. Let’s give Norfolk Street some love.

And don’t forget to bring a little kid, the conductor might just let them conduct.  (seriously, tho, she might) 😉

 

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CSO 2013 March and May Concert Posters

Still upcoming as of the date of this post, come see the CSO play our May concert, “Love on the Run“.
2013May18LoveRun
Saturday, May 18, 2013, 8:00 PM
Sanders Theatre, Harvard University, Cambridge
 
 
Featuring Pianist Sergey Schepkin
Overture to La forza del destino – Giuseppe Verdi
Piano Concerto No. 2 in C minor – Sergei Rachmaninoff
Suites No. 1 and 2 from Romeo and Juliet – Sergei Prokofiev
 

After looking into the content of this music I needed to portray the idea of “star-crossed lovers”, while still leaving room for all the business these orchestra posters need. I didn’t want to go as specific as a classic painting of Romeo and Juliet or the standard dark images that go along with the Verdi. Nor did I want to draw a cartoon heart with feet trying to get away with something. In my adventure of learning how to do graphic design I like looking back at the older posters I’ve done to objectively decide which ones were most successful, specifically the March and June concerts of the 2010-2011 season. The plain white background, though the work is done on a computer, suggests, I think, that the poster was printed old skool, with limited layered colors. This is what I tried for here.

My rule is to fill the page with color and something intriguing to catch the eye. This previous poster was a bit more of a struggle to get to look appropriate with the amount of content I needed to portray. Not entirely unsuccessful as a poster.
CSO 2013 March 30 "A Bump in the Night"
CSO 2013 March 30 “A Bump in the Night”

Now if I can get that Shostokovich riff out of my head. A challenging piece to learn, very rewarding to play.

– H