The Mural Project

February 6, 2011 | By Brent Almond | DESIGN STUFF, LESSONS LEARNED

Since before JJ was born, I’ve had grand fantasies of introducing him to all kinds of art and culture at an early age. One of the more ambitious dreams was to paint a mural on his nursery wall. I have a maniacally crafty friend who had painted a cloud fresco on her son’s ceiling, as well as various fantastical creatures on the walls and even the furniture (photos to come) — so I had that inspiring/intimidating me. And of course there’s this wondrous monstrosity:

Yet here we are 15 months later, and nary a brush stroke has been made. So I thought I’d share the process with everyone here for two reasons: 1) So that others could learn from and be entertained by my mistakes, and 2) To hold myself accountable to actually getting it done.

So to start off, here are some photos of JJ’s nursery walls. They aren’t this empty normally — we have a few pieces of art and a cool lamp I took down to see the blank canvas.

Left wall

Back wall

Right wall

My goal is to have the mural completed by the summer, so stay tuned. And please feel free to bug me about it from time to time — I thrive under pressure!

By the way, have any of you created a mural or artwork for your child’s nursery? Or hired someone else to do it? Please pass some photos (or advice) along, and I’ll share them here.

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6 responses to “The Mural Project”

  1. Stephanie says:

    I grew up with an awesome mural on two walls of my room. It’s still there. It will be a big part of his life and he’ll probably like/obsess about parts of it you never expected. But I LOVE this idea. Good luck!

    • Brent M. Almond says:

      Stephanie, what was your mural of? And just so it’s clear, I will NOT be painting Nick and I as angels lounging on clouds! 🙂

      • Stephanie says:

        You two as angels on clouds would be unforgettable though!

        My mural was a farm scene. But it wasn’t utterly realistic. It was on two walls including the corner. In the corner was a huge apple tree with bluebirds in a nest and an owl. On the left was a big smiley sun, a pink horse, a dog, a rooster, a bull. On the right was a pond in the foreground with ducks and frogs, then a couple lambs, some pigs, chickens, wagon, haystack, farmer, big red barn. There were blue mountains off in the distance. I could send you pictures.

        Even when I went through my crazy phase, I still loved that thing.

        Did you hear that piece about the Maurice Sendak mural on NPR last week? It was beautiful.

        • Brent M. Almond says:

          I’d love to see pics! Who painted it? And you’ll have to tell me more about this crazy phase. 🙂

          And thank you for the link on the Maurice Sendak mural — how awesome is that? I almost like it more than the “Where the Wild Things Are” illustrations!

  2. Laura Marr says:

    Hi Brent, your blog is so much fun! I love that mural the guys had done, but it is a bit OTT! I did a mural in our daughter’s baby room while I was expecting her, and FYI, it’s kind of difficult to paint with a baby bump, I couldn’t get as close to the mural as I usually like to get to my paintings. I’m sure my husband bit his tongue many times while I teetered high on a chair in my 8th month, brushes in hand – he knew I was desperate to finish before the big day. Nesting instinct was much more important to me than balance!

    My husband is Scottish was a little sad that his little girl wouldn’t be born in his homeland, so I painted a small mural of Craigievar Castle and the view of Bennachie mountain beside his parent’s home in Aberdeenshire to bring a little Scotland into her life from Day One. The castle has a cute dovecote, and I also painted in sheep and bunnies and ducks. I kept it small-scale ensure I’d finish in time, so just a small-to-medium size medallion on the wall. But I think the circle shape kept the room a little more contemporary vs. a full-scale castle scene. It wasn’t about the castle as much as giving our baby girl a view of a place her parents love and where they fell in love.

    My only regret is painting this on the actual wall. A year later we needed to move, and I MISS her room so much and wish that I’d painted it on canvas or on board. Now that I’m chasing a toddler around, there’s not much time to paint a new mural in her room. So my advice to anyone would be to consider painting it on something you can take with you. It worked out well for us because the couple who bought our house were having a baby girl and they fell in love with the mural (apparently the mural was the deciding factor between our house and another house for sale).

    This is my favorite mural that I’ve ever painted, because it means so much and was painted during a very happy time. I’ll send photos via email if it helps.

    I could see you do something very contemporary in JJ’s room – even using your love of design and typography, with oversize letters in blues and greens and white and turquoise with a sentence or ABC’s. Maybe you could include very sparing some of the characters from his bedding to peek over top of a letter or hang down like from a monkey bar here, sitting in the crook of the “L” reading a book, etc. xoxo – Laura

    • Brent M. Almond says:


      Thanks for sharing the story behind your mural — how sweet! And thanks for emailing me the photos — very beautiful! But I shouldn’t be surprised — you’ve always been such a lovely painter/illustrator! Did you ever think in college you’d be painting something like that? 🙂 Please post the photos on Designer Daddy’s Facebook page if you get a moment. It might inspire someone else!

      I do have some thoughts already on what I want to paint, and hope to share it with everyone soon…

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