Mind Over Moon

August 28th, 2012 by Moonie

Gradient Mesh for Beginners


In my Digital Illustration class we have embarked upon a treacherous journey: the gradient mesh. We just handed in our first crack at ’em, and though mine still needs tweaking, I enjoyed the process and am satisfied with my first attempt (above). I would caution that if you want to try this technique, it should really only be attempted after you consider yourself to be at minimum an intermediate skill level in digital design. Prior experience with Illustrator, and specifically the pen tool, will go a long way in making your life easier.
So the first thing we want to do is pick an image, specifically a big one. In my Google Image search I selected larger than 4 megapixels, which is a behemoth. Things that work well for this are shiny: cars, bottles filled with liquid, or, in my case, insects. I picked a rather unattractive fella with a nice color palette:

Orange Caterpillar

After we load our image into Illustrator, set it as a template, dim it, and lock it on the bottom layer. The next part is tricky, but arguably the most important part. Using the (wretched) pen tool, outline the major shapes in your photo.





After that, we select the gradient mesh tool and go to work.
The basic idea is to grid out each section, being careful of knotted points from curved lines. It’s good to start with a basic shape, like a square or a circle, add your grid, and then mold the shape to more closely resemble the outlined piece.


Using either the eyedropper or color swatches, match and fill the color at each intersection of points. The mesh tool translates each color swatch into a gradient effect with the surrounding colors. And WA-LA! Hours of meticulous color matching later, you have a beautiful, realistic looking image. This is a brief overview, but I recommend taking advantage of the multitude of free tutorials online. Keep in mind a few things:

  • Start with less mesh, and add more later where you think more detail is needed.
  • Don’t pick something with too much texture or color to start: try a ladybug, or a Corona bottle.
  • Always make sure your vector colors are very contrasting to the image colors, so that you can keep track of the nodes better (double click your layer to change the color of the gridlines).
  • Amidst all the tedious color matching, HAVE FUN! Hit Command + Y to check your progress, and re-inspire yourself with the progress of your soon-to-be beautiful creation.

So my next step in this process is to attempt a human portrait, which is a completely different animal (literally). Check out these redonk examples from true masters of the gradient mesh technique.

August 25th, 2012 by Moonie

One fan’s “Critical” is another fan’s “Passion”


I went to the Phillies game last night [left], an act which put me in deep contemplative thought.

The Phillies are seated close to the bottom of the rankings, while simultaneously leading the league in ballpark attendance. Granted, some of this attendance is residual support for a team that enjoyed the laurels of first place finishes for the last five seasons. The fact remains, though, that the fanbase has grown. People are enjoying their game experience, because they keep showing up despite the team’s losing record and playoff chances described as “nothing short of a miracle”.

Any casual sports fan in any other city will be quick to renounce Philly fans by the negative stigmas purported to them: rowdy, obnoxious, indignant, overly critical, mean spirited. I challenge that few, if any, of these detractors have ever actually experienced this sort of behavior from a Philly fan. In addition, it never ceases to astound me how inappropriate behavior by fans in other cities is simply explained away as the actions of a few sub par individuals, yet when it happens in Philly the entire fan base is reduced to a bunch of blood thirsty cravens sucking the life out of it’s athletes.

I digress. Anyway, have you ever watched a Tampa Bay Ray’s home game? The Rays have continuously sported a winning record, are always in the hunt for one of the top two spots in their division, are consistently in playoff contention, and even made it to the World Series in 2008. No one comes to their games. No one. Sorry in advance for singling out that team, because they’re not the only ones with this problem. (I’m looking at you, Miami Marlins and Washington Nationals fans.) So the Phillies are holding steady at the bottom of the heap this year, but thanks to the overwhelming support of the fan base, they have enough money to regroup and sign talented players for years to come.

All of this begs asking: what are the real intentions behind criticizing a loyal and passionate fan base? I heard once that attracting haters is the biggest indicator of success. But is an indicator even necessary when the stats speak for themselves?

The Phillies, as I see itThat’s just how I see it.

August 22nd, 2012 by Moonie

A soon to be overplayed (but good) jam

QUICK! Everyone enjoy this song before the radio kills it.

August 21st, 2012 by Moonie

Real Talk: Nicki Minaj

Who You See Now is just a more multifaceted mixture of all the personalities that I have in me. I think if I was to not show that I wouldn't be doing justice to all the people that feel like I do. Because for every person who doesn't understand it, there's another person who feels like me.


August 20th, 2012 by Moonie

Hayley Warnham – Ironic Pop Art

Hayley Warnham

The other day I stumbled upon Hayley Warnham, a talented young digital artist. I love the way she injects pop art illustration and color into dated imagery.  I love the ironic futurism and somewhat absurdist visions her work gives me. So apparently she was accepted into The Royal College of Art in London to pursue her Masters in Visual Communication, which, by the way, is A BIG DEAL. The thing is, financially it would be difficult for her to attend. Conveniently she set up a donation fund in case anyone else of copious means is inspired by her art. Looking forward to seeing more from her. It may be quite some time from now, but I’m calling it, Hayley Warnham is the next big thing.


August 18th, 2012 by Moonie

A Celebration of Individuality


I’m working on a series of cloning projects inspired by Anthony Goicolea’s “You And What Army”. His work as a digital artist was the first to truly affect me, way back in my very first Photoshop class in high school. I love his injections of humor and his creativity of composition. Shown above is some experimentation I have done with this theme, which I just remembered I still owe my brother some Chipotle for agreeing to model for me.

I recently adopted a new technique with regards to cutting people out. For years I meticulously stewed over Photoshop’s magnetic lasso tool, but often was unable to avoid that “cut out” look. Lately I have been using the quick selection tool:


I like to zoom in and really take my time when defining the area. Once I’m satisfied with my selection, still keeping the marching ants on, I hit “Refine Edge” in order to really sure up my perimeters. It allows for a much more natural look. It comes in handy when attempting to “naturally” place someone into a new environment.

I’ll post more of my clone projects soon. In addition, they are featured in my soon to be released PORTFOLIO! I’m very excited for all the big things coming.

August 17th, 2012 by Moonie

What Up Iggy Azalea

iggy azalea

Today I was introduced to my new favorite person that I have never met. This is Iggy Azalea, a female rapper from Australia(?!). At first I was dumbfounded, then as I listened my reaction turned to intrigue, followed shortly thereafter with sheer elation. Let it be known, this gal is the next big thing.

August 15th, 2012 by Moonie

Real Talk: W.C. Edition


Found on a bathroom wall at a bar in New Jersey.
It’s the Jersey equivalent of spotting a Banksy.

August 15th, 2012 by Moonie

6 Things I Learned From Someone Who Poops His Pants


I recently spent a week posing as a nanny to Moonbaby, who at 4 months is the newest addition to our family. As a single 25 year old female, I anticipated gaining some perspective on what it really means to be a parent. I figured I would either come out of it completely disinterested in ever procreating, or decide I’ve been wasting my childbearing years and immediately start researching sperm donors. Neither of those predictions came true.

1. If they can’t dress themselves, it doesn’t matter if the outfit is cute.

One of the first things I learned is that generally, poopy diapers are a breeze. They are basically moist farts. You get yourself into trouble when you’re changing their clothes. You want to pick a nice outfit, but when you’re dealing with someone that could start screaming in your ear at any second, the last thing you want to do is limb wrestle them into complicated pants and shirts. God forbid their arm gets caught, that’s a whole mess of trouble you just don’t have time for. Don’t even get me started on the 50 thousand snaps on their clothes, although they do come in handy when their poop is literally leaking on you and you need to tear their clothes off in superhero shirt ripping fashion. It happened… more than once.

2. Spontaneous dance parties are ALWAYS the answer.

Babies are so curious about everything that something as benign as a ceiling fan can entertain them for a solid 20 minutes. Thus, you find yourself doing absurd things that adults judge you for, but babies just adore. We often listened to music in the mornings. He sat in his little bouncy chair and I washed dishes. But mostly, we danced. He couldn’t talk, but he could screech and wobble, and I was glad to indulge him. We had a ball.

3. You don’t need Rosetta Stone to speak babynese.

Whether it was studying French, learning web scripting languages, or just being my general loud mouth self, I have always embraced the art of communication. Naturally, I didn’t find it difficult to understand someone who merely utters sounds. I often would talk to him in an elevated voice about whatever was going on that day. But the most interesting part was what happened when I shut up: he would respond! He always uttered sounds when I stopped speaking, a fact I found fascinating.

When we would watch the cars out front he would follow their movement to and fro. But every time there was a 5-10 second lull without any going by, he kicked and flailed his arms and started exasperatedly cooing. He literally was saying, “WHERE ARE THEY?” It was so profound to actually witness someone have a thought, know exactly what they were thinking, yet they didn’t utter a word of your language.

4. My newfound appreciation for being selfish…

I didn’t value the time I spent just sitting down perusing the internet, running some quick errands, or cooking dinner until I needed to constantly schedule these small conveniences. When you’re looking after someone who can’t walk, talk, eat or even sit up straight without your assistance, none of your own needs are important. So when his mommy asked me to come back full time when I was done school, I begrudgingly made the selfish decision to focus on my own professional goals. I knew if I was balancing my fledgling web design career and caring for a baby, I would need to make a choice. And I had a feeling my career would take a backseat.

5. My newfound appreciation for being selfless

The day I left Moonbaby’s house, relieved of my nanny duties, I was bound for Newport, Rhode Island for a weekend of swimming in the ocean and bar hopping with my friends. Regardless, I cried for an hour after driving away. Even now, I clamor over every picture his parents post, every text and email update they send. I truly miss him every day. The company of a child is so rewarding, and your ability to make them comfortable is a more fulfilling gift than any time you take for yourself. I can’t imagine the hovering basket case I’m going to be over my own children.

6. Sometimes, you just have to sit back and watch the cars pass by.

No matter how gassy or fussy he was, there was one failsafe solution to restoring the peace. My dad told me this before I left, he said, “When you used to cry, I would take you for a walk outside. You always shut right up.” Truth. Moonbaby immediately went silent as he watched me unhitch the front lock. There we would sit, looking out at a relatively busy road. The cars whizzing by, sometimes we sat there for an hour at a time. He would coo occasionally, but mostly he would watch in utter fascination at every moving object passing us by. It was a constant reminder that life is always much simpler than we make it out to be.

August 14th, 2012 by Moonie

Honeygrow: Touch Screen Salads!


In between classes the other day I noticed the new trendy, minimalist looking food joint was finally open. I had watched them build it over the months, the signs were all in muted greens and thin fonts, so I knew it was going to be some kind of healthy schtick. Ever the salad eating dieter, my interest was piqued. Turns out the place is called Honeygrow and it did not disappoint. It’s basically a Saladworks with a highly customizable touch screen. I tried the Eos salad [pictured left], which is basically like a greek salad. It was delish. I do love me some Saladworks, but I’m happy to have another salad option in town. And if you don’t live in Philly, trust me, this shiz is the next big thing. They also have Stirfry and Smoothies. Can I get a collective.. yuuuuhhhhhmm: