Giraffe, Tortoise? Girtoise!

Two Girtoises about to feast on cloud-rooted Bananeries on the plains of the seastern continent. These animals are also known as Toraffes or by their scientific name: Giradinoides. In German, they have the even better name Schiraffen. The Bananeries contain valuable vitamins and minerals which help the animals in maintaining smooth fur and strong shells.

Detail at full resolution:

Available printed on apparel, as poster and a few other forms.

Technical notes

This is a completely tablet-drawn work. With my trusty serial Wacom Intuos, still working as I keep compiling the module after every kernel update. Originally, I wanted to use Krita for the nice paintbrush engine and the canvas rotation. I found the later to be critical in achieving the smoothest curves, which is a lot easier in a horizontal direction. With what ended up being a 10000 x 10200 resolution and only 4 GiB RAM, I ran into performance problems. Where Krita failed, GIMP still worked, though I had to switch to the development version to have canvas rotation. At the end, GIMP’s PNG export failed due to it not being able to fork a process with no memory left! Flattening the few layers to save memory led to GIMP being killed. Luckily, there’s the package xcftools with xcf2png, so I could get my final PNGs via command line!


“Hobby harder; it’ll stunt!” RC-car T-shirt design


In 2016, RC-car company Arrma released the Outcast, calling it a stunt truck. That label lead to some joking around in the UltimateRC forum. One member had trouble getting his Outcast to stunt. Utrak said “The stunt car didn’t stunt do hobby to it, it’ll stunt “. frystomer went: “If it still doesn’t stunt, hobby harder.” and finally stewwdog was like: “I now want a shirt that reads ‘Hobby harder, it’ll stunt’.” He wasn’t alone, so I created a first, very rough sketch.


After a positive response, I decided to make it look like more of a stunt in another sketch:

Meanwhile, talk went to onesies and related practical considerations. Pink was also mentioned, thus I suddenly found myself confronted with a mental image that I just had to get out:

To find the right alignment and perspective, I created a Blender scene with just the text and boxes and cylinders to represent the car. The result served as template for drawing the actual image in Krita, using my trusty Wacom Intuos tablet.



This design is now available for print on T-shirts, other apparel, stickers and a few other things, via Redbubble.

Ours is better than theirs!


A bit late, but here’s a drawing in wallpaper format in celebration of the Ubuntu 10.04 release and the new visual identity that made its first real appearance with it.

Full size 2560 x 1600 pixels

It all makes perfect sense, I swear:
Mark Shuttleworth is the founder of Ubuntu/Canonical. Additional software packages for Ubuntu are organized in Universe and Multiverse. The packagers are called Masters of the Universe (MOTU), referencing an 80ies toy line / animated series, with a hero known as He-Man. So this led to the idea of He-Mark.

The UDS-M video interview might be the best reference, if you can’t compare with the real Mark.

He-Man rides on Battlecat, a beast resembling a tiger. The mascot for 10.04 is a Lynx, so my version of Battlecat had to have characteristic ears, a short tail and dots. Battlecat’s helmet has a beak … as have penguins, so I had a color scheme for the armor. Aubergine is the new color for Canonical and the business-oriented aspects of Ubuntu.

The 9.10 release still had the brown (and orange) look and a Koala as mascot. The arch-enemy of He-Man is Skeletor. Ever had a look at the skeleton of a Koala? Well, I borrowed elsewhere. Darth Koala was born.

The small fellows represent the community, of course.

Made with MyPaint and GIMP. Note to self: watch out for anti-aliasing issues with too thin lines right from start.

Design in Collaborative Projects

If you just let things happen in a collaborative project with design/artwork needs, you will likely see a few people creating proposals that mostly cover the same ground. They all will base their work on their own assumptions regarding various aspects of the project. This might not even happen consciously, but be more about gut feeling.

The same applies to other collaborators providing feedback. Everyone has an opinion on matters of design. People talk a lot of what they like or don’t like, seldom giving reasons.

This way, there is no shared idea of what should be achieved and how to judge proposals. No common ground for collaboration.

People trying to pull a project in various directions.

A collaborative project should have a documented mission statement/vision/set of goals. You need to define where you want to end up, before you can take care of getting there. Otherwise you rely on chance alone. This is especially important for artwork, because it shouldn’t be about individual taste or the latest fashion, but rather be constructed to help further the goals of the project.

People pulling a project in the same direction.

Even making some people unhappy is better than having no direction.

People pulling in the same direction, but one is unhappy.

You should work from a mission statement, a project briefing, towards defining your audience, the desired tone and your message. This will be your measure to decide what is and isn’t appropriate regarding design and artwork.

Your audience, your users might be quite different from your collaborators.

Everyone paints the project in the color they prefer.

There’s also the aspect of breaking a big problem down into a set of smaller ones. This helps with covering every aspect and detail. As far as there is subjectivity, it’s much better to deal with it in small parts instead of at once, for the entire design.


I’m trying out iStockphoto 🙂

One of three images: