art + illustration

DDQ&A: Andy Alexander, The Grim Wreather

October 17, 2017 | By Brent Almond | DAD STUFF, DESIGN STUFF

A couple of months ago, Andy Alexander reached out to me about helping promote his line of custom Halloween wreaths. I get a lot of requests like this, but they rarely meet my two requirements of A) being related to kids/family/pop culture, and B) looking cool as hell. Not only did Andy’s work fit the bill, but he’s also a fellow gay dad! So instead of just sharing a blurb on Facebook, I wanted to dust off the old DDQ&A questionnaire so you can all get to know Andy, his family, and his work.

BONUS: Scroll down after the interview and enter to win one of Andy’s Grim Wreather creations just in time for Halloween!

Q&A with designer dad Andy Alexander

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Walk me through the highlights of your design career .
I got my MFA from Art Center College of Design in Pasadena; I studied fine art at UCLA as well. I took my first design classes at Art Center knowing that I’d eventually need a “real” job. After college I worked for Belkin doing interface design for gaming hardware, then for Geoff McFetridge (who I consider a mentor), and then at Napster from 2004-2010. There I started as a designer, working my way up to Creative Director, managing the internal design group. I was laid off during the 2010 recession and decided to carve my own path in both the art and design world. And here I am!

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September SuperLunchNotes: 1st Month of 2nd Grade!

October 2, 2017 | By Brent Almond | DAD STUFF, DESIGN STUFF, POP CULTURE

Another school year is well underway (that would be second grade, folks), and I’ve already got a month’s worth of SuperLunchNotes to share. I’m gonna give it a go of posting notes a month at a time, but am always open to feedback, other ideas, and of course heaps and heaps of praise.

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9.5 Woody & Buzz Lightyear  |  9.6 LEGO Batman & Robin  |  9.7 Phineas & Ferb

The night before the first day of school we watched Toy Story 2, so I thought it fitting to kick off 2nd grade with the playful stars of the franchise, Woody and Buzz Lightyear. That spawned the idea to do a duo-themed week, which in turned spawned two of Jon’s current favorite pairs, Phineas & Ferb and LEGO Batman & Robin. Fun fact: Man-of-few-words Ferb is voiced by Thomas Brodie-Sangster, also known for the role of Newt in the Maze Runner series and Jojen Reed in seasons 3 and 4 of Game of Thrones.

9.8 The Wonder Twins (Zan and Jayna)

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All New SuperLunchNotes for Back to School!

August 21, 2017 | By Brent Almond | DESIGN STUFF

Just in time for back-to-school — a whole buncha new SuperLunchNotes in the Designer Daddy Shop!

After many requests (from you) and much procrastination (from me), I’ve added two new sets of lunch notes to my Etsy shop — one of which you can get for FREE! As with previous note sets, they include a high-res digital download of full-color notes, as well as a couple of sizes of coloring pages for you or the kids to customize.

new superlunchnotes

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How (and Where, and When, and What…) Do You Netflix?

July 24, 2017 | By Brent Almond | DESIGN STUFF, POP CULTURE

How do you Netflix?

Remember (it wasn’t that long ago) when you had to watch your favorite TV shows at a specific time every week, and only then? When there was no DVRing? No pausing or rewinding? No watching it anywhere other than on an actual TV?!? *SHUDDER*

Thanks the TV gods for technological advancements…. and for whoever first used “Netflix” as a verb. [note: I’m not talking about Netflix and Chill, though that certainly has it’s merits.] NETFLIXING is watching what you want, when you want, where you want, and how you want. A Mad Lib of entertainment, if you will. As a parent, this is especially helpful; finding time to watch my “grown-up” shows can be challenging, to say the least.

For an example, fill in the sentence below, with either your favorites or something completely random:

I just watched ___________ (number)  episodes of ___________ (show)  at ___________ (time)  while ___________ (setting / situation)  on my ___________ (mode of delivery).

A recent afternoon of Netflixing for me included the following components: 2; Wet Hot American Summer; 3:30pm, waiting at my 7-year-old’s summer camp pickup; phone. The possibilities are endless, and I’m sure most of you have way more awesome/hilarious/interesting outcomes than mine. Share them in the comments, and I’ll repost some of my favorites!

In the meantime, I’ve created some silly, pun-filled scenarios to help inspire you on how, where, when, and what to Netflix.

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Scenario: watching your ferociously cute toddler twin nieces

Show: GLOW
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How do you Netflix?

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SuperLunchNotes for Spring

April 10, 2017 | By Brent Almond | DESIGN STUFF, POP CULTURE

SPRING IS IN THE AIR!

Flowers are blooming! Bees are buzzing! And of course lots of excited young’uns are scurrying about, frolicking in the sunshine like kittens on Red Bull.

It’s possible your kids are just excited about spring break; but in all likelihood they’re already looking ahead to summer. Help keep those little minds focused on the last few months of school by celebrating all things spring! I’ve pulled together some of my favorite spring-themed lunch notes to help put some fresh fun in your kids’ lunch.

THINK GREEN

When it comes to ideas for springtime lunch notes, just look out the window. Plants, flowers, and trees; butterflies, bugs and other creepy-crawlies; birds, frogs, picnics — you get the picture. And don’t forget Earth Day is April 22!

superlunchnotes lunch notes for spring

There’s no shortage of springy characters to be found in comics, video games, TV and children’s books. L to R, top row: Bulbasaur (Pokémon), Groot (Guardians of the Galaxy), Curious George, Clayface (DC Comics/Batman). Middle row: Wasp (Marvel comics/movies), Toad (Super Mario games), Kermit the FrogAnt-Man* (Marvel). Bottom row: Red (Angry Birds), Spider-Man, Superman, Poison Ivy (DC Comics/Batman).

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My Marvelous Superhero Family

March 13, 2017 | By Brent Almond | DAD STUFF, POP CULTURE

So I did some work with Marvel Comics (I ❤️️ typing that!), where I talked about everyday heroes. I nominated my friends the Scheers for Marvel’s #WhoIsYourHero campaign. If you haven’t read it yet, go do that.

As part of the gig, Marvel sent me some cool superhero merch so our family could play dress up, mug for the camera, and display the true essence of our own superheroics. Not content to just pose and shoot, I called upon my mutant design powers (and my family’s patience) and spent some time tinkering in Photoshop and Procreate.

Presenting, my family — as our Marvel Superhero selves.

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Adventurous & headstrong; loves to make a racket and swing hammers around the house. 🔨 JON is… THE MIGHTY THOR!
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My Marvelous Superhero Family

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Thanksgiving Evolution

November 22, 2016 | By Brent Almond | DAD STUFF, MAKING MEMORIES

It’s been quite a year of evolution for our little family. Between trips overseas, moving into a new house, and starting a new school, it’s been an exciting and eventful 12 months. Yet it’s also been daunting — facing down so much that’s new, and less and less that’s known. I’ve heard similar stories of big life changes causing children (and adults) to regress. They search for something comfortable and familiar in a wide, open field of uncertainty.

We’ve definitely felt it, seen it in one another. My newly minted 7-year-old experiences this the most. In addition to officially graduating from “big boy” to “kid” — and on top of a new house, new school, and new classmates — he’s also lost multiple teeth, grown multiple inches, and reads everything in sight.

When overwhelmed or insecure, my son’s default settings range from Silly to Ignore to Meltdown — sometimes all three within the span of a few seconds. This in turn triggers my default settings of anger, frustration, helplessness. Many times it’s damn near impossible to be the bigger person. Many times I fail.

But as seems to be my parenting mantra, I keep on trying. In attempts to empathize with all the transitions my little boy big boy kid is going through, I try to speak less; try to listen better; try to breathe more. And I try to do what he’s always needed the most from me — be there.

In organizing the new house, I culled several years’ worth of artwork and school projects. Among the mountains of crafts were these three masterpieces:

Thanksgiving Evolution

Created over the last three Thanksgivings, they are a gloriously fun study in artistic interpretation.

But they also serve as a reminder that time continues to continue; that it speeds by, leaving me stunned that I have a child who’s already been in school this long. It also shows that as each year brings new challenges, he/we keep coming out the other side slightly different, hopefully better. And with extra glitter.

This first Thanksgiving in our new surroundings brings new traditions along with it. But in the midst of the new and of change, I plan to soak up the familiar, appreciate the growing pains, and anticipate the next evolution.

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Visit and like Designer Daddy’s Facebook page for (nearly) non-stop fun & conversation. And also goofy pictures.

Kickstart Your Kids’ Love of Classic Lit With KinderGuides

October 16, 2016 | By Brent Almond | DESIGN STUFF, THINGS MY KID DIGS

KinderGuides book giveaway

As both a designer and a daddy, I’m always on the lookout for exceptionally nifty children’s books. When I find one that’s also well written or has a unique concept, I count myself lucky. And if my son happens to really dig it, I know I’ve struck story time gold!

I’ve discovered some top-notch nuggets in KinderGuides — a book series that retells classic literature in kid-friendly* text and gorgeous illustrations. The imprint includes 4 contemporary classics — Breakfast at Tiffany’s, 2001: A Space Odyssey, On The Road and The Old Man and the Sea — with many more planned for future publication.

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R.I.P. R2-D2

August 14, 2016 | By Brent Almond | POP CULTURE

RIP R2-D2

Kenny Baker 1934-2016 Rest In Peace

While the character of R2-D2 will be around for a long, long time, I wanted to pay respect to the actor who played him in the first six Star Wars films. Special effects aside, Kenny Baker was the one who brought everyone’s favorite droid to life.

In October 1977 I was eight years old, and my dad took me and my younger brother to see Star Wars. There were so many moments in that first viewing that have stayed with me ever since. Certainly the adventure and fantasy are incredible, but the characters are what make the films more than just a thrill ride. Luke was the everyman I related to most; Chewbacca, the furry bodyguard I wished I had; and R2-D2 was the loyal friend — filling the screen with mischief and humor, all without a face or uttering a word.

Not long after seeing the movie (maybe the same day?), we got our first Star Wars t-shirts. My brother got the one with Sand People; I chose R2-D2, and I never really stopped…
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‘Snapdad’ Creates Adorable Masterpieces While Baby Sleeps

January 12, 2016 | By Brent Almond | DAD STUFF, DESIGN STUFF, POP CULTURE

One of the first things new parents learn is the art of getting baby to sleep. And by “learn,” I mean reading books, scouring the Internet, texting your friends, calling your parents… and then winging it out of panic. Whether it’s naptime, nighttime, or OMG-WHY-IS-HE-AWAKE-time, getting an infant to sleep (or back to sleep) can be a harrowing, tedious, mind-numbing experience.

Then there are new dads like Lukas Costeur, AKA SNAPDAD. Since the birth of his son Felix, Lukas has been using Snapchat (and his creativity) to capture the special moments spent lulling his wee one to sleep. With nothing but the Snapchat drawing tool — and a willing subject — Snapdad has begun a whimsical gallery of pop culture baby pics.

snapdad

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