Posts Categorized: Illustration
Designer, My Profile
Filed under Animals, Demos, Illustration.

Creating a Gopher

This isn’t a video demo, but rather a few screen captures from a project that crossed our desks this past week. Here’s Paul describing his thinking as a sketch becomes a more finished icon using Abobe’s Illustrator software:

I start with a rough sketch of a gopher, giving him little beady eyes to make him a bit more unique and demented. Some designers prefer to make the cleanest ink drawing possible, and then use AI’s Live Trace tool to vectorize it. I prefer to modify it and simplify after I’ve scanned and traced it.

I use a black stroke and the pen tool to trace the sketch. It already looks cleaner, but it’s still a little boring.

I realize he doesn’t quite look rodent-like enough, so I add some buck teeth.


The paths are turned to fills, then I use Path>Simplify at about 95% accuracy to remove excess anchor points.

The corners are blunt, so I use the direct-select arrow to move points around to make the corners sharp and lively. Then I can manipulate the lines to be thick and thin, to give it contrast and visual interest. I don’t make them too thin or too thick. I just maintain a guideline in my head as I pull points around so there’s some consistency.

Once I’m happy with the outline, I use Path>Compound Path>Release so I can start clicking on areas to color.

Hmm…those beady little eyes could be better. I’ve saved those until this point so I could experiment, since they give it the most personality.

Since I got the sense that this client was going more toward “cute” than “crazy” I made some big Disney eyes, making them slightly off-kilter to retain some crazy.

I use the Knife Tool to slice of some portions of areas, and make them a slightly darker grey-brown. I make the lighter parts an 85% tint of the darker colors when I’m trying to conserve PMS colors.

There you have it. The pink ear insides may have been indulgent, especially if the client is trying to save money on ink, but they can be turned into light brown quickly if needed.

To put Paul or any of our other designers to work on your next design project (logos, websites, brochures and more), visit and get started! To see more demonstrations, click on the links under “Demonstrations” on the top right side of this page.

Rob Marsh

Another Demo—The Joker and LOST?

Watching a designer work can be a lot of fun—as we demonstrated here and here (go ahead and click the links, it’s worth it and we can wait).  So why not do it again?  This time we did a mash-up using some reference photos of Heath Ledger’s Joker in jail from the most recent Batman movie and Benjamin Linus from LOST. The result is, well, interesting…



Let us know what you think. And if you need a logo or help with a brochure, website or other design project, why not check out the designers featured on the home page of Or create your own logo design at

Rob Marsh

Thinking about Bicycles…

Each March, as it warms up and the snow melts, everyone around here gets a little stir crazy. And nothing cures the need to get out like a ride on a bike. Which got me thinking about some of the logos we’ve done for bicycle companies. We’ve done lots of logos for bike races, bike stores, and even a couple of bicycle makers. Here are a few to check out while you search for the tire pump and your padded bike shorts before you hit the road or trail…

First up in an enclosure we did for Gold Coast Bicycle Company. The client sent us a pretty specific drawing of what they wanted and we took a few revision rounds to clean it up and play with the fonts and colors. The result includes elements like the bike tire and spoke, but also imagery that hints at fun and a warm weather, beach location:



Not all bike companies want a logo that says fun. Others want to be taken more seriously. A bike manufacturer that makes bikes for serious cyclists might go for a look that’s a little more performance-oriented. This example makes use of shapes and color to convey the idea of speed while the torn “L” has a younger, x-games quality to it:



A second example of a bike manufacturer is both fun and performance-oriented. They make serious bikes, but most people who ride tandems don’t ride their bikes competitively. So the name indicates quality, while the icon splits the difference between performance and fun.



This last example of a bike store sells both road and mountain bikes and wanted a logo that would represent both parts of its business. We put together several options and in this composition, included a few things like the tire pattern and the sprocket wheel to give the enclosure a “bike” feel.



Whether you’re the slow-ride-through-the-neighborhood-on-a-cruiser type, or an avid cyclist who spends more money on her bike than her car, if you need a logo, we can help. Check out and put one of our designs to work for you.


Rob Marsh

Another Look at How It’s Done

Last week we posted a video that showed one of our designers (Paul) illustrating a character from the television show LOST. If you missed it, you can watch it here. LOST isn’t the only show our design team likes to watch. Another favorite is The Office. We gave another of our designers (this time it was Rob) an hour and some recording software and asked him to go wild. His subject is Schrute Farms, the number one beet-related agro-tourism destination in Northeastern Pennsylvania. Rob started with a sketch (this isn’t on camera, sorry), then transfers his drawing to the computer to clean it up, add color, and turn it into a logo. Here’s the result:



Timely, yet shameless, plug: if you’d like to put this kind of creativity and skill to work on your next design project, contact one of the designers featured on our home page at Or create your own logo design with

Rob Marsh
Filed under Animals, Illustration.

Going to the Dogs: Man’s Best Friend

Over the past ten years, we’ve had almost five hundred customers ask for logos, icons, or other design projects that feature dogs. Our project list includes: black dogs, yellow dogs, brown dogs, lazy dogs, fat dogs, stunt dogs, hot dogs, sun dogs (which of course aren’t dogs at all), dog houses, dog crates, dog groomers, dog walkers, doggy fitness centers, dog races, lucky dogs, bearded dogs, hot diggety dogs, dirty dogs, and, well you can imagine another four hundred and eighty or so project requests. People love dogs.

As you can imagine, these projects call for a lot of variety, from the artist’s style to the type of dog (the most requested dog is the bull dog, although we are also asked for a lot of labrador retrievers, great danes, and “cartoon” dogs). Here are a few samples I came across browsing our archives this morning. In most cases, I’ve removed the company name, so what you see here are mostly icons, not finished logos.

First up, a highly stylized cartoon pointer. It’s simple, fun, and friendly. Matched with the right typeface, it makes for a pretty compelling logo (only the icon is shown here):

Of course, not all dogs are friendly. Some customers ask for dogs that you might think twice about petting. While we’re not interested in doing logos for dog fighters, we don’t mind drawing dogs with more than a little fight in them. Here’s an example with a “sports logo” look we presented to a skate board company:

Dogs love to chase cats, squirrels, rabbits, mailmen, cars, and just about anything else. Here’s a simple icon we did for a production company…

And, of course, not all dogs are obedient. Some dogs are a bit mischievous. Others more than a little…

Unabashed plug for our design services: If you’d like to see more examples of the variety of artwork our designers create for our customers, check out the gallery at