What I've been up to - branding, design and illustration

Hey there! I took the last week of of blogging - startup life is getting (even more) intense right now so I'm blogging when I can! My startup has an aggressive ship date for our private beta product, and we need to get it done by Thanksgiving... not to mention we've been attending some VC talks and meetings. It's kept me very busy!

I've also been doing my design work for clients in between working on startup stuff. I even managed to fit in a little personal illustration. That's really important for me - even a seasoned designer finds it hard to be creative on demand. Creativity is a little practice and a little magic, and I need to feed my soul periodically so I can keep it flowing for my "real" work.

I don't have an awesome tutorial or great design tips for you today, but I thought I would share what I've been working on the past couple of weeks instead.

For one thing, I finished doing some branding and UI design for an app being created by a lovely team of people in Australia. Since the app is in active development, I'm not going to share the UI design I did or the team's information - I'll save that post for when they have launched their product! However, I'll share the mood board I did for them. 

This project is called "The Celebrator" and the team asked for a bright, cheerful design that was colorful and had a disco ball involved!

The Celebrator Brand Board.jpg

I LOVED working on that project and with that team so I can't wait until I can share more about it with you all!

I also finished creating another digital clipart set to sell on Creative Market! This is one I've been wanting to make for myself as well - so I can make my own Christmas cards! It's called "Christmas in California" and it's (surprise!) a Christmas themed digital clipart set for making cards, stationery, gift wrap, tee shirts or mug designs - anything you might want to send or gift. 

I grew up in Southern California and now I live in Northern California, so I've never really had the whole snow and sledding type of Christmas. What I did have was cactus, palm trees, and sun! I wanted to make a Christmas graphics set for all of us here in the southwest - that was a little more accurate! I'll definitely be making my own cards with this graphics set.


Powered by Creative Market

I also included 6 card designs in this set for those who don't feel like making their own cards - and although the watercolor graphics work best in Photoshop, because you can use blending modes to make them more transparent, they also work great in Canva!

Now, that digital clipart set took me about a million hours to do. First, I create all the watercolor paintings over a few weeks in between doing design work. Then I have to scan them all in and cut them out carefully in Photoshop so they have smooth edges and transparent backgrounds.

Next, I create wreaths, arrangements, patterns, and all the extra designs that come in the set. The whole process can take 40 or more hours! And finally, I spend 6-8 hours creating the files and the marketing images for the set. It's a TON of work!

I'm pretty burnt out after I finally write out the description and upload it for sale. Even though it's incredibly fun work, I still need a break after all that! 

So, I took a little time and painted a "fun" painting for myself - just whatever I wanted. I saw a really cool video on Instagram using watercolor markers, and I wanted to try the technique. So I made myself a watercolor Coyote painting.

Coyote watercolor and ink illustration by Making Something Rad
Closeup of Coyote watercolor and ink illustration

I had a lot of fun with this one using my Tombow watercolor markers as well as my Kuretake watercolors - as you can see in this closeup, I used some of the metallic gold to give it a beautiful texture. I used a fine brush and India ink for the linework.

And lastly, I've been working on a couple of design projects for clients - 

First is a set of "cute animal" designs for a set of silicon children's teethers. The client needed some concept illustrations. I'm not going to share the finished illustrations since those belong to my client and she's not in production yet - but here's the initial concept sketches.

Children's teethers concept sketches.jpg

These are just roughs, so they aren't quite accurate to the final design (the hole in the ear is wrong, of course) but they were quite fun to do and a nice break from UI design.

Similarly, the other project I'm working on right now is an illustration for a client's logo. We are just in the first sketch phase right now, so this one will change a lot - but the concept is a cute, slightly mystical kitten!

cute kittens illustration


I love that I have so much variety in my work, even if it does get hectic at times!

Well, that's about it folks - I have plenty to get done today, and I'll try to be regular and keep you all updated on my projects. I've got plenty of things that I hope to make tutorials for so if I can fit in time to make videos I will get some posted!

In the meantime, if you have any tutorial requests, design asks or anything else you'd like to ask me about, you can leave a comment here or email me.