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

Illustration · Life

The Whining Pig

While sitting, stationary, in freeway traffic a few weeks ago after a particularly trying day, I decided that I needed to get off the freeway and out of the heat, so I pulled up Yelp to see what was around. Familiar with a few of the larger chain places nearby, I wanted something smaller, quieter, where I could just sit, cool down, and unwind a bit before I got home.

Yelp showed that there was this little bar three minutes away just off the freeway, and even though I was could see the complex it was in, I just couldn’t place their location. After finding a parking spot in what could be argued one of the worst parking lots in Phoenix, I wandered into The Whining Pig. To say the place was small would be an understatement. With the u-shaped bar in the middle and chalkboard paint on the walls, it was exactly what I was looking for. There are no taps; everything they serve is in bottles (wine too). With the extensive beer menu on the opposite wall I sat down, ordered something cold and started doodling in my sketchbook.

One of the owners was tending bar that day, and asked if I could send it to him. This little guy might be my first sketch that’s made it up on a a wall other than my own!

A photo posted by aaron thomason (@aaron_t) on

Illustration · Observations

I only went out for a walk

While camping, in addition to trying to get back to good old pen-and-pencil-on-paper illustration, I also brought along John Muir book to read. I can’t imagine a better place to read through his real-life adventures that in an area not too far from where he lived and explored.

His book, compiled from his personal notes and journals, is full of quotes that really stuck with me. One of the more famous ones that’s making the rounds now is “The mountains are calling, and I must go,” typically overlaid a picturesque mountain shot, or some otherworldly beautiful location. Just do a Google image search with that phrase and see how many come up.

At any rate, I thought I’d try to illustrate one of the other quotes that really stuck with me:

“I only went out for a walk and finally concluded to stay out till sundown, for going out, I found, was really going in.”

A photo posted by aaron thomason (@aaron_t) on

By the way, those folks who do hand-lettering really know their stuff. My version turned out pretty lame, but considering I was using pen and a sketchbook while laying in a hammock, I guess its okay. It’s definitely going to take some more practice to get that skill where I would like it to be.