Thursday, January 21, 2016

Feeling A Little Crabby

When Ian was in the 9th grade, his long range plan was to study graphic design in college. Not only did he enjoy creating that type of art - he had a genuine aptitude for it. So much so, that during that time, Graham routinely used Ian (instead of a professional designer) for his company's graphic design needs. Ian created Graham's business cards, web designs, mobile app designs, business signs- you name it, the kid probably designed it. Although ultimately deciding to study Finance in college, Ian still has the chops of a graphic designer. Let me show you what I mean. 
This is a reproduction print from an artist named Ryan Fowler, appropriately named Black Dog Canoe Company. I've pined over this print for a couple of years now. The sticking point has always been that I want my version on wrapped canvas, measuring 36" x 36". That kind of customization puts it at a price point of somewhere around $289.00, minus S&H. I was bemoaning this fact to Ian while he was home over Christmas Break when he said, "If you want, I could make something like that for you."  When I finally stopped kissing his face, he said, "Just let me know what you want on it." I told him, "Anything to do with the Oregon Beach would be perfect" and turned him loose.
Here's where Ian got to work. After doing some basic research online and downloading some Oregon pictures for inspiration, he broke out his paper and pencils.
His first step was to design his own font, because he couldn't find one that he thought looked right. He wanted something old school and classic but with what he called a high level of "personability".
Once had the font sketched out and liked how it looked, he took a picture of it.  He then transferred that image into Photoshop.  There he tweaked and polished the font until it was exactly what he had envisioned.
Next, he designed an image of a dungeness crab by creating his own stencil. He then filled in that stencil with a base color shade. After experimenting with a number of different colors and hues, he ultimately settled on this rendition.
Once all the separate images and fonts were complete, he started layering all the components together. 
Eventually coming up with this first mock-up. Although I thought it looked great, he felt like it wasn't quite finished and it needed something more. He tried out a few things and ultimately added what he called a "grunge" filter over the image to give it a bit of patina and depth. Once that was done, he saved everything to a high resolution PNG file.
We then uploaded that file to a web based company called Their website was very user friendly and their prices were considerably cheaper than anything else I'd seen on the web.
They were able to do a custom size canvas print (36" x 36")  without an upcharge and had it delivered to my house in less than 2 weeks.
It turned out perfectly- much more impressive than the Black Dog print (no offence, Ryan, but you know it's true) and for a heck of a better price. Total out of pocket cost? Less than $105- including S&H.
Of course, one of the first things I did was to have the artist sign and date it. I've seen enough Antiques Roadshow to know that it's the kind of important step you just don't skip. Any art expert will tell ya, provenance is everything. 
And here she is in all her glory- hanging up in my front hallway. My very own piece of original graphic art, designed specifically for me. I love, love it. As in, "can't help but smile every time I walk by it" love it. I know Ian has his heart set on a career in Finance, but with crazy skill like this? He could definitely give Mr. Fowler a run for his money.


  1. Replies
    1. Thanks so much, Mr. Fowler! Ian is gonna be super jazzed that you liked his work <3