Design · Illustration

Pabst Blue Ribbon can design contest

Every year, after the submission deadline is closed, of course, I hear about the Pabst Blue Ribbon Art Can competition, and every year, I say “I’ll enter that next year.”

Well no more.

This year, thanks to the magic of Twitter and my ability to read a calendar reminder, I am finally on top of things. Pairing a my newfound enthusiasm for pen and ink drawing with a surprisingly difficult-to-honor commitment to draw every day, I’ve managed to carve out some time to work on my concept of the Happy Hour Superhero, submitted to last night. With hidden references to the Pabst brand throughout the illustration, I can say this was a blast to work on…so much so that this was actually my second version. The first had some fundamental issues that I could have probably fixed in Photoshop but I wanted to keep the art as authentic as possible.

The chance to have my design featured on something as iconic as the PBR art can is enough of a draw that I may even try to come up with another design to submit before the August 31st deadline.

Fingers crossed!

A photo posted by aaron thomason (@aaron_t) on

Arizona · Design · Life

Arizona Backyard Brew & Boil

I recently had the opportunity to design a logo for and then attend an awesome event that I never even knew existed…the annual Arizona Backyard Brew & Boil. For a first-timer, this event is a little difficult to describe, other than to say it’s one big yard party.

Given a collection of previous years’ logos and a “go nuts” directive, the only real constraints were that it needed to fit in a 3-inch square and work in one color, as it will be used on the beer glasses.


Incorporating as many of the cajun party elements I could from previous designs, it seemed like wrapping them in the outline of the state of Arizona (which is almost a square anyway) was the way to go. Varying sizes of custom type contributed to the free-for-all attitude I was going for. Even though the logo design was out of the way, I still had no idea what the event was really about.

What it is: a back yard in a swanky suburb in downtown Phoenix, transformed for a day into a cajun food and music fest, complete with a real crawfish boil. A giant cauldron of live crawfish are boiled with corn on the cob, garlic, sausage, potatoes, and who knows what else, then strained and poured onto tables set up around the yard. Attendees jump in, elbow to elbow, vying for position, suckin’ dem heads and pinching’ dem tails, with juices and butter and sometimes the less-than-appetizing insides of the crawfish dribbling down chins and forearms, while another batch of ingredients are loaded into the cauldron. This is done without changing the water, intensifying the flavor with each round, filling the air with the sweet peppery scent. Washing it all down with a home-made strawberry beer, then when that runs out, whatever beverages attendees bring, this traditional cajun feast borders on hedonistic.

Crawfish, new potatoes, corn on the cob, garlic, mushrooms and sausage: the colors of the big easy.

And it’s fantastic.

“Can you eat this part?”

Live music is played, Cornhole challenges are issued and accepted, food and beverages are spilled, shoulders and faces are sunburned. A stage in the corner of the yard becomes an open invitation, and when the official musician breaks for food, anyone who brought an instrument can get up provide entertainment. At the end of the night an impromptu group is formed, and the open jam session becomes the backdrop against which conversations are had and laughs are shouted.

Cornhole Shark Adam putting the smack down.

At some point, after dark, large trays of traditional Beignets are brought out, deep fried and handed off to any attendee brave enough to grab the hot dough as it comes out of the fryer. Wait too long though, and someone more brave will snatch it up.

All in all, it’s a great experience, I sincerely hope I get invited to attend the next one and work on the official “logo” as well.


Design · Illustration

Lucky Me

For the past couple of weeks I’ve been working on a design for a vintage BMW get together in San Diego over St. Patrick’s Day weekend, but I’ve been stuck in a total creative block. Now that St. Patty’s Day is a little over three weeks away it feels like I’m getting closer now…at least I’ve got the elements I need in some kind of layout: