Category Archives: Graphic Design

Underrated Tools Used by Layout Designers and Crafters [Opinion]

I find myself recently more often having to sketch things out before I commit to making them. I am not a drawing artist, or at least I don’t like my drawing abilities most of the time. I do love layout drawing though. While most layout designers would go instantly to InDesign, I find something very useful with plain old paper.

Layout/Craft Paper Design Tools

Sure, you have to start out drawing some lines, erasing, redrawing, erasing the scribbles your daughter left while you weren’t looking, more lines and more erasing but it’s worth it in the end.

I usually have a pretty good idea of what I’m looking for when I start sketching my layouts, and I could go straight to InDesign if I wanted. But I can get a clear picture of things I want to include with paper such as making notes of sizes, doing simple math on the pages, seeing how it looks in whatever book or planner I’m currently making, and even cutting paper to lay on top.

The ability to make notes you can save for when you need them is a great asset.

Paper aside, there are more simple tools like a ruler, geometry compasses, and paper clips which are all useful. Rulers are pretty important for paper layouts because you have to measure obviously and draw straight lines. I love my geo compass the best though. I can’t draw circles or arches free hand, I mean who can! It’s probably my favorite underrated tool. Look at that curve (below), its perfect! A bit too long maybe but perfect! I cant be the only one who still uses these.

Geometry compasses are great for circles, arcs, and even shapes when used with a ruler.

Want to know something fun I like to do? Of course you do. Binder paper clips make great shapes. It takes a little illustrator magic to turn the shape into something I can use, but it’s sure fun to make!

It takes a lot of thought for layout but also in making all my crafts. I use all these tools when planning sewing projects, making planner clips, and even the layout for my daughter’s room (before I use an online floor planner).

I love my computer, it’s like my first born child. I use it for so many aspect of all my project but there’s something special about paper and pencil.



Mickey loves Minnie and so do I

“Ah… Mickey and Minnie Mouse. Oh! Look Daisy! Mickey and I have the same last name! Ah… “-Minnie Mouse

I make a lot of Disney inspired prints, ALOT, because I love Disney and what’s more Disney than Mickey and Minnie. Mind you, there aren’t a lot of Mickey and Minnie quotes that aren’t from Mickey Mouse Clubhouse or Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmas. Most of the quotes from both are some of the best quotes from the Disney’s universe and Walt Disney himself. There are a few in Minnie that were too cute to pass up from The 3 Musketeers, which you can’t help but admit is a pretty cute movie. I love looking at them together and now I’m counting down the days till my next Disney trip.



New Jacksonville Spa in Riverside and Creative Ideas

So I had the wonderful fortune of getting to accompany a good friend of mine from Jacksonville Magazine, Jocelyn, to the opening of a new spa here in Jacksonville. It’s a themed spa, which is something I didn’t even think existed but I’m also pleasantly surprised as to how much I liked it. This new spa located in Riverside is uniquely named Marilyn Monroe Spas.

Hand with British Love Nail Polish
Marilyn Monroe Spa’s British Love (Tardis Blue =P) nail polish

During our visit we received a complimentary polish change on our hands and I chose a very pretty color I thought looked Tardis blue. According to one of the associates, the girl who did a great job on my nails, all of their polishes are vegan and cruelty free, and their formulations are formaldehyde, DBP and toluene free. I did manage to find out the name of the polish i choose and isn’t Tardis blue but British Love which is still VERY fitting. I’d also like to point out all of MM Spas’ polish’s names are inspired in some way by Marilyn Monroe.

Later, after a plate of delicious cheeses and fruits and a quick tour of the facility, Jocelyn and I decided to attempt a massage. I’ve never received a professional massage in my life. The closest I’ve come are the massage chairs at Planet Fitness and it doesn’t compare. Rachel, who did my massage, was very attentive to what places need it most. I got up feeling wonderful and sleepy.

I was also very intrigued by how very well decorated everything was. The floors looked like an interesting type of hardwood and the walls showcased different iconic photos of Marilyn Monroe. The red carpet that lead from the front door all the way to the back of the building was easily my favorite accessory though.

Front of the store
Front entry way of Marilyn Monroe Spa in Jacksonville Florida.
Nail Polish Lounge
Marilyn Monroe Spa Nail Polish Lounge

The best part of this visit was the inspiration it gave me for my next set of text art I’d like to persue. My Disney work will never be done so I can easily put that aside a moment while I work on my current creative project.

A headshot of Marilyn Monroe.
Photo 1: A headshot of Marilyn Monroe.
Marilyn in text
Photo 2: A text silhouette of Marilyn Monroe.

Photo 1 is the original picture of a smiling Marilyn. Photo 2 has been converted to nothing but text and all the words are different Marilyn Monroe quotes. Next comes my favorite part of adding the colors and bring my art to life.

If you’d like to see my finish piece or maybe even want a copy for you self, check out my etsy account @ where I’ll be posting it for sale along with a few more Disney inspired pieces and hopefully soon, more celebrity prints.

And if you decide to give the Marilyn Monroe Spa a visit, which I highly recommend, you can find them @ 150 Riverside Ave #303. Be sure to check out their great package pricing and specials. For more information, visit their facebook page:

Til Next Time!

Disney Princess Fever

So this week gone my current obsession is turning disney princesses into text. It’s sounds strange and is actually a lot less difficult than I originally image but still a very slow process none the less.

The first step was of course to choose a song that fit the princess. There’s always at least three songs from any Disney Princess movie that will get any Disney fan singing. My first choice was to do Ariel since a friend of mine loves her and she looked the easiest to do. With so much red hair and her green tale, it made for an easier project start. The original photo (below) was my template.

Ariel from the Little Mermaid

After outlining the photo, filling it, converting it to the proper format and deciding on the song (Part of Your World) it was time to get to work. Aligning words seems simple enough but it actually isn’t. That bit of annoyance though, is what’s makes it so much fun for me. It took about an hour to turn the above colored picture into the below photo. Getting the text to fit where i wanted and giving as much detail to the silhouette took the longest but my little mermaid soundtrack playing in the background helped.

Ariel as text in black and white
Ariel as text in black and white

A black and white version of one of Disney more excitable princesses isn’t very fun to look at though. Who would want to hang something so boring on their wall. The final project though is something I’m very proud of and has a spot in my house already picked out.

FInished Ariel, Princess in Text
FInished Ariel, Princess in Text

Isn’t she pretty and so full of color! For a closer look and more Disney princesses, Check out my etsy page RonohDesigns via the etsy box below. Til Next Time!

Planning for the future

So it’s been quite a while since I’ve take the time to invest my energy in something creative and that’s something that’s not acceptable at all. I’ve finally graduated after way too many years and after all the job hopping I want to settle down and do something with the piece of paper I paid so much for. I’ve got a fair few ideas in mind, the number one being sharing and selling all the little ideas running around in my head with anyone who wants them. I had quite a fun time making so many of my own wedding stationery, why not make something for others.

Today’s work though isn’t for a wedding at all. As the media manager for my church, one of my favorite things I’m in charge of and also the most aggravating, is our monthly calendar. You would think of course that a calendar is quite easy. It’s just a bunch of boxes and lines and numbers.

March Calendar Week One
A screenshot of the first week of a 2015 March calendar.

Everything seems lined up quite nicely. The numbers are all the same size and an equal distance apart. The words are all the same font and centered. The amount of guides, shifting, resizing, distorting and patience to get everything perfect is tedious but for me always worth the effort. In the end you get something you’re generally proud of. Once you’ve gotten everything to the size you need, for one row, copying and pasting makes most of the rest of the work easy. Each row can be repeated and changed and then shifted over to match. The holidays are inserted and the name of the month put on top. All done!

2015 March Calendar
A screenshot of a full 2015 March Calendar.

I love the green in March btw, it’s my favorite color, not to mention my birthday is in March. And for one month I can put aside this calendar and not worry. Until April comes around and everything has to be shifted again but that’s another day. Till next time!

Thank You Cards for the Memories

It’s impossible to be a graphic designer and not use my talent for my own personal gain. I’m picky at times and I’d feel horrible constantly changing my mind and making someone crazy. This means there’s times I like to edit my own photos (even if they’ve been edited already) or making my own birthday cards. Now I get the chance to design things for my wedding which is even more fun than normal.

There’s a lot of work that goes into wedding planning. If we take away the dress, the decorations, the guest list and even the cake you’re still left with a lot. There’s the invitations, the programs, place cards and thanks you cards. Between the design, the printing,  the shipping and mailing things can start to add up quickly.

What isn’t expensive is a pack of cardstock, office max or a home printer and a little time.

You can get an array of different colors and patterns of cardstock from different place all over the interent or instore. The price ranges from  $5 to $12 for 50 sheets depending on where you get and what colors. Here are two good ones: Paper Presentation (online) and Hobby Lobby (in-store).

EnvelopeTo make the envelope templates are also readily available online. One of my favorites is Creative Blog. The give you a  list of 8 different card and envelope temples.

I chose this envelope style for my thank you cards because I liked the rounded flaps. I created the rose pattern in illustrator and it fit perfectly with the Beauty and The Beast theme of my wedding. Including a place for the address and return address is a quick way to make sure the address are legible and fit on the envelope.

THank youNext comes the card that goes inside the envelope. I wanted mine to match so I used the same rose I chose for the pattern on the envelope to fit nicely on the right side.

Finally I printed both the envelope and thank you card on the same colored cardstock. You can do this at home or bring your paper into Office Max and they will print everything out for you. One piece of cardstock in color is about .70. So for 40 thank you cards it’s 7 dollars, and 28 for the envelopes.  I printed mine at home and they turned out perfectly, so Officemax is only necessary if you want to save a bit of ink.

The final price of homemade thank you cards is between 40 and 47 compared to the average price of 75 dollars plus shipping for ordered ones. Not to mention homemade ones can be made in a day or two.

I chose a tan color and after folding the envelope and cutting out the cards, everything was done and ready to ship!

Screen Shot 2014-06-30 at 10.19.32 AM

Till next time!

Digital Drawing

So I’ve been playing around with Illustrator a bit lately. It started with trying to see how well I can actually draw. It’s a common misconception that all Graphic Designers can draw. I have a small bit of talent when it comes to the skill but nothing to brag about. What I do like about drawing though is scanning in my sketches and tracing them in Illustrator. I find the easiest way to do this is scan the drawing at a resolution f 300 or more. This darkens the lines and makes it easier for illustrator to trace it. If it’s still not dark enough, I usually pop it into photoshop and up the contrast then the fun begins.

Using different textures, the pen tool and masking layers, it’s quite easy to take a simple sketch and make into something interesting. Illustrator’s trace tool can take some getting use to though. Figuring out how much of a threshold is needed, if it needs more path or noise isn’t very easy some of the time and depends on the photo.

ImageIronically, I’m not a very fashion forward person, at least I don’t think I am. I like what I like even if it’s not necessarily in style. I would wear all of the above sketched items though. I think next time, I’ll try drawing something a little more fun. I’m getting married soon, so maybe I’ll sketch a wedding dress I know I’ll never wear? (Mine is already picked out) =]

Till next time.