artsed, design, creativity

I Keep Thinking

Maybe this is the problem, I keep thinking and not updating.

Well, to be more thorough, I update and make a lot, I just don't update this place of mine (here) on the internet. It just isn't a habit - though I would like to change that.

I have a multi-faceted strategy up my sleeve, so we will have to see how it plays out.

While I keep working on that, I would love it if you take a gander at the below processes and let me know what you think.

You can also follow more of the process on instagram, too.

I hope to hear from you around the interwebs, and have a great day!


Welcome the newest design.


That there is the newest design in the shop. Hand printed right here in California.

This summer I was fortunate to once again head back to Yosemite for my annual summer backpacking trip. While it was challenging after the winter of heavy rain we had in the Bay Area (there was a lot of inaccessible trail), I once again had glimpses of this big beautiful rock.

Half Dome never disappoints. After creating a series of small drawings inspired by Half Dome I got to thinking...what if...

So I pulled the plug, drew up (literally) a couple versions that would work on a t-shirt et voila!

They are printed on the same super soft cotton/poly blend shirts as before, and printed with completely smooth water based inks. The shirts wear well and look great (they are the same "athletic fit" we always use).

A lot have sold so far, and I'm in talks with Yosemite National Park to try and work out a deal to carry them in their gift shops. Head over to the shop and get one while they're fresh!

Thoughts About A Process

I picked up two more boxes of blank t-shirts to get printed with new designs yesterday, and stole a few minutes here and there throughout my morning to work on finalizing one of the new designs. 

It was frustrating and slow, and something I should have completed several months ago. Well, a few months ago is when I conceptualized the idea anyway. An idea that had been languishing in my sketchbook. You can see the ideation process and the partial pile of the process below. 



What will be the final design doesn't deviate much from the original idea, which I appreciate, but to get even from the point of a full size finished pencil line drawing to an inked version wasn't flawless. Though I guess it wouldn't be nearly as fun if "flawless" was part of the equation.  

The lines! What a difficult thing sometimes. I wanted consistency and chose my tools carefully, but still had to have more than one redo. I usually don't mind this, and to be sure I want the line work to look hand drawn. Just not too hand drawn. With a design that didn't have the benefit of color, value, or really even any shapes, there wasn't  the luxury of "hiding" any imperfections.  

First some segments of the mountains were too thick, then one of the cross bars of the text got too jagged. When I attempted a fix of the latter the whole letter was just off - and by too much to allow the entire word to work. 

Back to the drawing board. Literally.  


Now, I'm not trying to come across as whining about this, though I did feel the frustration over what I thought would be a straightforward task, but it does illustrate a point.  

If it was easy everybody would be doing it. And really, I'm just getting started.  


There is scanning and cleaning up to do; there is getting the digital file to the printer; there is delivering the blank shirts (which includes having to decide on colors for them) ; there is figuring out which colors of ink to use on which shirts; there is photographing them for website and documentation purposes (which still hasn't been completed from the first order of shirts I had printed three months ago). 


So...process. It's all about the process. It has to be. If it isn't you're bound for disappointment alley.  

What happens next? Take a breath, relax and take it one step at a time.  

So that's the update. I'm excited, and excited to share what is coming next - even if I'm not absolutely sure of what those next steps will be.  

art, design, typography

Selling with SJ Made

This Sunday, as part of SJ Made, I will be selling my Forge Your Own t-shirts (and some other prints of my sloths and ink drawings) at the Viva Calle SJ event at Arena Green Park (340 W. St. John St.)

There will be free yoga from Live Lotus at noon, bike repair from San Jose Bicycles, live music and more. Last year tens of thousands of people participated and took advantage of several streets being blocked off to traffic so they could roam the streets with their families on bikes and boards and feet. Will you join in the festivities this year?

The shirts are designed and printed here in San Jose so it's just about as local as you can get. Get them while I still have them in stock!

Red and Charcoal shirts will be available with the "forge your own" mountain design on them.

Red and Charcoal shirts will be available with the "forge your own" mountain design on them.

painting, art, design, creativity

Another Sloth for the Road

I've been on a roll lately with the sloth paintings for Silicon Valley Open Studios next month. Some are more fun than others just because of the addorability factor and I would say that this is one of them.  

He is missing the earring in this iPhone image, but it is there in person now.  


art, creativity, design, painting

Silicon Valley Open Studios

I said something earlier this year, but here is the official official announcement.

I am showing for Silicon Valley Open Studios 2016.

I have been hard at work ever since January trying to get as much new work made as possible. On top of planning a wedding and teaching and regular life stuff it has been a lot to juggle, but I'm excited to see who comes out.

There will be plenty of new sloth pieces, and a new series of drawings. You can see some of these in the WORK section of the site, and a few up in the SHOP or with our merch partner SOCIETY6, but I know there are many more pieces you can find if you come by that weekend of May 7-8.

I hope to see you there. More info HERE.


art, creativity

The Coffee Monsters

Instagram is a great place to discover new artists and creatives and interestingness, and as I'm bummed they will be changing their feed, I know I'll still embrace the platform as a place to show and discover new work.

The Coffee Monsters is one such case. Take a spill (sometimes intentional, sometimes not), and make it in to something new. I mean, isn't that what we search for in creativity, taking something existing and combining it with something else to make something that didn't previously exist?

You can see more of the work by checking out Stefan's feed and the Coffee Monster website.


art, creativity, design

Thomas "Dambo" Winther and Wonderful Creativity

In another instance of beautiful creativity, we have these birdhouses. Beginning with a 2008 project in Denmark, Thomas Dambo used recycled and donated materials to create 250 birdhouses within the city. This gives the birds shelter as they are, he says, wonderful at recycling themselves.

Clearly if you wander around his site looking at the different birdhouses the project has grown, and clearly others are supporting his efforts, but how can you not smile at those that are camouflaged and turned in to birds as well.

This was a wonderful article found on Design You Trust as I'm slowly getting my coffee legs under me this Easter morning. Cheers!

art, painting

Another New for the New Year

I've done it.

As in, I've decided to participate in open studios this year. Well, the Silicon Valley Open Studios I think it officially known as.

My weekend is May 6-7, so if you need something to do...or a last minute Mother's Day gift, you can find me HERE.

I have several works from the past two years to display/sell, and I'm in the midst of several new drawings to have available. One little teaser - which you can see on the SVOS site is...

That funky giraffe is fun and ready to walk out the studio door with you to a new home. What do you say?

If you want to follow along on the new art making journey I'll post more here, so stay tuned, but a more up to date version can be seen on Instagram: @misterthad


typography, creativity, art

New And For The New Year

There are so many things that are new here in 2016 so far, not the least of which are the recent nuptials in my life. 

Mum also venturing in to participating in my first open studios down the road in May. That's pretty exciting, but what I'm really thinking about today is the idea of camping.  

Even in the winter.  

I was in Yosemite this past weekend as a celebratory measure and there was, for me, a lot of people out camping in the snow. Now, I think it would have been a little cold for me, but I am definitely getting the big to get back out there and I've been thinking about camping - winter or not - lately.  

Since I also draw in my sketchbook on the daily - which may change as I hear up for the afore mentioned open studios - I thought I would use those camping thoughts as inspiration.  

So, here you go ... 

Daily sketchbook after a Travis Burke Photography image found on the insta

Daily sketchbook after a Travis Burke Photography image found on the insta

Stay tuned for more updates. There will be a lot happening in the next few months.  


11 Commandments, art, typography

#1 -Show Up

The best place to begin is usually at the beginning, right? Well, I will assume so - at least for the time being.  

As I begin to use this location as a replacement for Tumblr (or, more likely, using one as a supplement for the other), the 11 Commandments have to show up at some point. (Note, you can also find them in my Instagram feed is you are interested)


These 11 hand drawn pieces of typography are much more than pretty visuals. They are consistent reminders of what I like to refer to as How To Be Better. Distilled from more than ten years of teaching art and creativity in public high schools, I truly believe that these bits of advice (dare I say wisdom?) are integral in happiness and productivity for most areas of life.  


Without further delay, Number 1: Show Up.  


Of of course this means showing up physically, but it is so much more.  

Clearly you can't participate in any activity if you aren't "there", but "there" is more than a physical presence. You have to be present mentally and emotionally as well.  

I often tell my students to be thoughtful about what they are doing/executing, and being thoughtful in your presence is of the essence. After all, why do something if you aren't truly giving your mind and energy to it.  

Drawing Is A Thinking Tool

I've been thinking a lot about this phrase (meaning the title of this post) lately. Not just because I draw every day or because the bulk of my time is spent teaching students to draw*. 

In preparing remarks for parents at our annual Back To School Night (BTSN), I usually focus on the layout and flow and policy related issues of the courses I teach. I have decided to take a left turn this year now that our parents have access to my complete curriculum - including assignment comments and introductions - on our districts' LMS, Canvas.  

I have decided to discuss philosophy in a much more intentional way. 

As I feel passionately about the benefits learning about Art gives all cultures, that is what I want to hit hard upon. I mean, we as a species have been drawing in one form or another for thousands of years, and long before there was written language to use as a communication tool.  


Excellent (and unanswerable) question. Which is kind of the point.  

When somethhing is, truly, hard wired into your DNA, why deny it? You don't have to pursue it as a career or even feel like you are "good" at it - which is a very relative descriptor anyway. But you can learn a lot by learning how to see; by learning about how culture and history and art have always inter-influenced each other; by developing a deeper sensitivity for creation and process and product.  

Truth be told, drawing is always an easy way to access creativity, and when the top business leaders in the world are after more and more creative hires, why not start at the beginning, and give life to ideas visually. Who knows, maybe it will lead to much more than a piece of paper. Maybe it leads all the way to the development of a new sports car or layout for an app. Just think about the possibilities.  



(Note that teaching is not about teaching what the title or subject of the class outwardly appears to be, but is much more; which requires much further investigation later.) 

Another Shot of Greene

It's no secret that I love the music and performances of Jackie Greene. He has been stunning since I first saw him open for Buddy Guy in Redwood City in 2005, and here, 28 shows later, I dig it every chance I get.

Social media let me know he covered another one of his favorites and posted it on his YouTube channel, so I'd like to share it HERE, too.

Thanks, Jackie! I can't wait until you're playing in the Bay Area again!

art, painting, creativity

Summer Painting Update

Almost three weeks in to summer vacation and the time is officially slip sliding away.  

Not to say that things haven't been productive, because they have, but I can't believe how much time has flown by while I intentionally ignore "work". Though I guess that is what breaks and vacations are for - to allow for some amount of time to be spent on family and yours truly and to regenerate. All that is happening so I guess I'm on the right path.  


What at has happened is that I am basically functioning in a new studio space, and the fourth of a new series of paintings happened there yesterday.  


Sloth Love (acrylic on birch panel on 3/4" cradle, 10"x8") 

Sloth Love (acrylic on birch panel on 3/4" cradle, 10"x8") 

Above you can see the first of the series, and I'm nearing the end of having one for every season.  

They will soon be available as original paintings and as prints both in my online Forgeron Studios store and on Etsy, so stay tuned.  


There re is a lot more to come in terms of updates, so this summer is looking to be an exciting time for his as of yet little used blog.  



So making art increases resilience, reduces stress, and increases brain activity.

That sounds like as good a note as any for the first blog post on this new-ish site.


As an artist and educator these things seem so obvious to me, but I know so many even in the field of education that wouldn't even think about it this way.

What with all the "You need to take another AP class" and the "You won't get a job without STEM classes" chatter that does nothing but increase every year.


I know that emotionally and psychologically you benefit from creating something and thinking about something from a different perspective. It also helps to struggle with something and be forced to have a "do-over" and to work on a project that takes a significant amount of time to complete. These things are all good.

I mean, being able to "undo" something is a lifesaver (and by life I mean time), but the thinking and process and time involved in the physical going over something or remaking of a thing is so valuable.

Anyway, I just saw this great article (that has plenty of science and research to back it up) that Gabe Bergado wrote on .Mic titled Science Shows Art Can Do Incredible Things for Your Mind and Body