Different Strokes

Form follows function

As an illustrator, I know that I should choose one style and be consistent with it so people can easily associate my work with me. But not all styles fit all functions.

I was recently asked to design a set of posters for San Francisco Strong (#sfstrong-posters) to illustrate the ways we can protect and support ourselves and others during our current pandemic. The small posters would go in people’s windows so I needed to have the work be bold, graphic and easily read from the street.

My sketch style has evolved over the years to what you see on the rest of my site, but back in my Kaua’i days, my work looked very different.

Three beauties modeling my work

OldBizCardIn my first major entrepreneurial venture, Red Ginger, I designed and sold T-shirts, which I printed in my garage. At the time, my technique was to cut the drawing and lettering through a thin layer of laquer film that was stuck to acetate. After peeling off the positive areas, I adhered the laquer (with a nasty chemical) to the screen, removed the acetate and then squeegeed the ink through to the fabric. I had to use an x-acto knife as my primary tool (not quite as bad as using your finger as a stylus, but you get the idea).

Additionally, I employed a homemade system of two screens on hinges so I could make two color designs. It was a crude system that could not handle tight registration.

The screens in my studio
That’s me at the drawing board
Everything dried out here on the patio

Due to these technical limitations, my style developed to include white lines between large color blocks.

Another promo shot
At Anahola Beach. That’s me, with the hair, on the left
Full disclosure: not printed by me
Looking at these, I think they’re pretty simplistic but I still love them


Fast forward to today (you knew I’d get here at some point). I instinctively conceived of the #SFStrong.posters in this graphic style.

So that’s why they’re so different from my sketches. But actually, I think that most, if not all illustrators have many styles but they choose to put only one forward for the reason I mention above.

Do they wish they could mix it up more? Do they do that? I’d love to hear your thoughts on this.

Stay safe, everyone.


Baby Maks and Waimanalo

Wednesday we had dinner at Helena’s with Mitch’s buddy Richie, who was here for a conference from NY. The restaurant has the best Hawaiian food and is one of the great holes-in-the-wall out in Kalihi, a local neighborhood west of downtown. I worked  in Kalihi in 1989-1991 at Hawaiian Graphics, which is no longer there). The funniest thing was getting out of the car and Richie saying, “Hey, I saw this place on TV!” Turns out it was on a show called “Man vs. Food.” I have no idea what they had but we broke da mout’ on pipikaula, luau chicken, lau lau, steamed butterfish with watercress, lomi salmon, kahlua pork, two scoops rice, and poi (of course).  Ugh, roll us home!


Pau Hana Sun in My Face

Wednesday, the waves were also HUGE on the North Shore and they were close to having the Eddie Aikau surf competition which, like Mavericks in northern CA, only occurs when the waves are monsters.


Turns out, they weren’t big enough—need to be consistently over 25 feet. The good news is that the high surf made waves (so to speak) on the other shores of O’ahu too, so Diamond Head on Thursday was messy but fun and breaking all over the place. I caught a few waves and saw this massive turtle head peek up about 10 feet ahead of me. Woah!



Baby Makapuu

The weather’s been great and I’m still being a maniac and making sure that we surf or boogie board or snorkel or hike every day. I only just realized that my attitude is—I can sleep in San Francisco. If there’s light out here we should be outside!!! Needless to say, we’re exhausted.


Friday night we had Steve, Azeema, Sue, Rob, Liz and Susie over for margaritas, which became mangoritas after Liz showed up with frozen fruit. Yummy! Mitch really knows how to mix those puppies. Yum!


More Baby Maks

Yesterday, we tried to replay last weekend’s fun by driving around the southeastern part of the Island, past Hanauma Bay, Sandies, and Makapuu to Baby Maks. I love it there—it’s so haunting and majestic and captivating with the bright aqua water and 2000 foot Koolaus looming right over the beach. We snorkeled there again but the water was murky and rough so didn’t see a lot of fish. Did follow a turtle around for a while, though. That was really cool. Ate at the inimitable Sweet Home Waimanalo, which has the best plate lunches (get the lemon chicken and corn bread—actually get anything there—it’s all good)!



Waimanalo beach study

The high surf wrap persisted to Waimanalo beach where the shore break was pretty big and fun. We played like kids there, even after the bust –a-gut lunch. Yes, I’ll be returning to CA with a couple of extra lbs. on my butt)!


Last night we had a great time back of Palolo with the Osorios and their friends. Good food and nice folks. Re-learned how to play cribbage, which I always liked when I played it twenty years ago. And some lovely singing to guitars, ukes, and a harmonica. Lots of fun but we had to wake up at 6:15 to get ready for a trip up north.


After two hours of body surfing...whew!

My old friend Mary Woollen picked us up and we drove over the Pali and northwest from Kaneohe to Malaekahana. The Koolaus were glowing in the morning sunlight and we could see way up the coast. I hate waking up that early on a weekend, but the view was worth it. The water was murky but the waves were fun and we body surfed for about two hours up there.


No, we’re not having any fun at all.

A couple more days in paradise…

So, I’ve been doing a drawing (of sorts) a day since arriving in Hawaii. Here are a couple more days cataloged.

Okay, so this one isn’t much. It was my first day back working so I’m cutting myself some slack. Working on PST was difficult at first but we got used to it.

So the deal is that my back molar started to hurt about a week before I left for this trip.

The tooth, the whole tooth, and nothing but the tooth

And by day 4, it could not be ignored. After a visit to both a dentist and endodontist, it was determined that ‘dat buggah gotta go!’