Archive for 2013

Ronald Reagan Artwork in Black and White

This is a new illustration of Ronald Reagan I just finished in Photoshop, using Wacom tablet.  I kept this portrait in simple black and white with some texture to give a vintage feel.  You can purchase this print from my shop.

John F. Kennedy 50th Year Anniversary Event

On Friday, November 22, 2013, people gathered before a ceremony to mark the 50th anniversary of the assassination of John F. Kennedy at Dealey Plaza in Dallas and I was thrilled to have my artwork prominently displayed on the banner at the center of the event. It was such a great honor for me to have been asked to have my artwork featured at such an event.
Showcall USA, the company who was responsible for planning the event along with The 50th Committee, came across my black and white drawing of the late president John F. Kennedy from my earlier blog post and contacted me to use the artwork for the event.  The portrait was commissioned to be used on the large banner and for a cover design for a DVD box to house a video recording of the event, which will be given to the Library of Congress and distributed to a very small group comprised of Committee members and donors. I was also surprised to learn that the banner will be permanently housed in the Dallas City archives(***Watch the video "Behind the Scenes of the 50th Commemoration Banner" below).
Below are some pictures of the event that featured the banner with my artwork of the president JFK.

This artwork of JFK was created in Photoshop using Wacom Tablet; 2010

The Dallas Police Honor Guard takes a position on Main Street after the event at the "The 50th: Honoring the Memory of President John F. Kennedy" event in Dallas (courtesy of Star-Telegram/Rodger Mallison)

U.S. Naval Academy Men’s Glee Club

Behind the Scenes of the JFK 50th Commemoration Banner from City of Dallas on Vimeo.

Hang a Froebel Star Upon the Highest Bough...

Christmas is coming soon, which means it's time to start folding Froebel Stars again. I discovered Frobel, or Germanic, Stars last year and spent many hours happily folding as a result. I followed the Youtube tutorials found here and here, which may seem confusing at first, but are actually pretty easy to follow if you pause the video often to avoid getting left behind. The slowest part is cutting the paper into the strips. I used 1/2 inch strips and I would like to experiment with a paper shredder so see if it could be set to that width. However a guillotine for paper would probably work quite nicely as well.

In other news, I am in the process of listing Christmas items in my shop:
Birds of a Feather Gift Tags.
Shining Star Christmas Card, with a Froebel Star to keep it company.
Hand Lettered Christmas Card.

There will be lots more items coming over the next few weeks. For those in the Ottawa/Gatineau area Butterbean Design will be at two upcoming artisan fairs: Idle Hands Art, Craft and Vintage Sale: Holiday Edition On Sunday, December 1, from 10:00 - 5:00 at St Anthony's Banquet Hall, 523 St Anthony Street in Ottawa, and also at the Urban Craft Christmas Fair, on Saturday, December 14 from 10:00 -3:00 at the Glebe Community Centre, 175 Third Ave, also in Ottawa. Both shows are juried and have great vendors with a wide variety of items for sale, so it is definitely worth a trip out. 

First Ride With Clipless Pedals

The Shimano 105 clipless pedals I ordered arrived in the mail yesterday and I was able to mount them onto my bike and tested it out. Before riding the bike with the new pedals, I put on my cycling shoes and while standing still over the bike and the pedal tension at the lowest, I engaged the pedals and dismounted several times with both shoes. I wanted to make sure that I was able to click on and off with ease before I went on any rides. Once I felt comfortable mounting and dismounting the pedals, I went for a short ride around the block just to get a feel for the new pedal system before I went on a longer ride.

This morning, for the very first time, I went on a nice long ride using the clipless pedals and my new pair of cycling shoes.  The Sidi Laser cycling shoes felt somewhat stiff because it still needed to be broken in but it felt nice and tight and was fairly comfortable. I was surprised how easy it was to click on and off the pedals as I had to stop a few times along the way and click back on to resume the ride.  I took a familiar ride along the Los Gatos Creek Trail near where I live; the trail is mostly leveled, covered in asphalt so the ride was nice and smooth except that there were many runners along the same trail so you kind of have to slow down and dodge them every once in a while.  It was about a 20 mile ride and the new pedals and the cycling shoes definitely improved the quality of the ride.

Los Gatos, CA Aug. 18, 2013

Getting A Little Serious About Cycling

I've been riding bicycles for many years but since the beginning of this year, I decided to get a little serious and started commuting to work on my bike. The distance between my home and work is about 11 to 12 miles round trip and it has been a great way to get some exercise while saving some money on gas.  In general, I find myself really enjoying riding more and more and I try to make extra time to ride even in my spare times.

I've ridden many different bicycles all my life including mountain bikes, road bikes, hybrids and others but never ridden one which required a pair of clipless cycling shoes. But recently I bought a pre-owned or used road bike, a 2002 Bianchi Imola that came with clip-less pedals.

What are clipless pedals?
Clipless pedals are actually a system comprised of special pedals and cleats, devices included with the pedals that attach to the soles of clipless cycling shoes. This means that you need to select pedals and shoes in order to upgrade to a clipless system. My bike came with a pair of clipless Ritchey SPD(Shimano Pedal Dynamics) pedals.

With the clipless pedals still on the bike, I decided to just ride it with normal shoes. I did this on a couple of outings and decided I needed to get a pair of cycling shoes soon or change the pedals so that they were more suitable for normal shoes.

I never owned a pair of cycling shoes, so initially, I was somewhat reluctant about committing to  getting a pair.  But once I decided, the quest for finding the right pair became quite a daunting task. It wasn't until I started searching on the internet and learning about different pedals and shoes that I became somewhat overwhelmed with all the choices that were available, not to mention having to convert European sizes to the US; turns out that the same number of European size for one brand is different from another brand if you were to convert to the US size. Once you've narrowed your search to a particular brand, style and the size, you also have to make sure that you have the right type of "cleats" to go with the pedals you have.

What are cleats?
As mentioned, cleats are devices that attach to the soles of clipless cycling shoes. These cleats are designed to click onto the corresponding pedals. When you buy a new set of pedals, a set of cleats are generally included. There are a few different types of clipless shoes you can choose from but most popular clipless shoes use either a 3-hole or 2-hole cleat system. Each shoes are compatible with either one type of cleat system or the other. For example, the cycling shoes that I would need for the Ritchey pedals that came with my bike is a 2-hole SPD cleat system but the same shoes would not be compatible with other pedals that are made to fit 3 hole cleat system such as SPD-SL, Time, LOOK.
Some Benefits for using clipless pedals:
Once you have the cleats bolted to your shoes and the clipless pedals on your bicycle, you simply put on your new shoes and step on the pedals to click your feet securely in place. When engaged, your feet are connected to the pedals for optimum efficiency. And your feet won't come off the pedals unless you want them to. To get out, you swing your heels to the outside as if you're getting ready to put your feet down, and the pedals release.

Because your feet are locked into the pedals when riding, you have more power throughout the pedal stroke both as you rotate down and up. Clipless pedals also give you more control by letting you use your feet for maneuvers such as hopping pavement cracks, railroad tracks and more exciting obstacles if you're riding off road. All clipless pedals are easy to dismount quickly so no worries about your feet getting stuck when trying to get your feet down and land safely.

Eventually, I decided to change the pedals to a 3 hole cleat system and bought a pair of cycling shoes that corresponded. I ended up geting a pair of Shimano PD-5700 105 Road Bike Pedals in silver finish online(still waiting to be delivered). These pedals are not the most lightest nor most advanced pedals out there but I think it would provide a solid ride for someone like myself who's trying it out for the very first time. Besides, all the other components on my bike is Shimano 105 so it fits as a groupset. I was also able to find a decent pair of Sidi Laser cycling shoes in my size from a local Craigslist seller yesterday. Can't wait to try them out!

Shimano PD-5700 105 Road Bike Pedals Silver

Sidi Laser

Lake Winnipeg

Steve and I just got back from a ten day holiday in Manitoba where we stayed with Steve's family in his parents' cottage on Lake Winnipeg. The weather was kind of cold and rainy, but we had a great time anyway. I packed a sketchbook and some gel pens and did some sketches, which I will post shortly....

New Shop Items

I added some new work to my shop recently. The feather rose print has since sold, but I am getting it reprinted and it will be available again soon. 

Yin Yang Fawns Print
Hybrid II: Feather Rose Print
Hybrid II Card
Lichen Heart Print
Lichen Heart Card
Lichen Heart II

Musical Bear

I just finished a commissioned piece for Ottawa area musician Catriona Sturton. Catriona is multi-talented, but harmonica is one of her favorite instruments. I haven't done any vector illustrations in a while and I had forgotten how much fun it can be.
To learn more about Catriona, hear some clips of her lovely tunes, or purchase a harmonica playing bear t-shirt please visit her website. Thanks for sending such enjoyable work my way Catriona!

Brooks Grips for my Public D8

My Public D8 with the Brooks B67 Saddle, Santana Row, San Jose, CA

I purchased my Public D8 bike new in San Francisco about 2 years ago. I received a 20 percent discount on this bike because I happened to participate in a police investigation which lead to locating and returning a stolen bike which a customer purchased from the same store; a long story in it of itself.
Public Bikes is a company founded by Rob Forbes, who is also the founder of Design Within Reach, known for their high-end modern furniture.  After I purchased the bike, I've been wanting to upgrade the stock saddle and the grips with Brooks England products, a maker of beautifully hand-crafted bicycle accessories, to give it a nice finishing touch. I've always been a fan of Brooks England for their classic understated designs. Today I was pretty excited to receive the package containing a pair of brand new Brooks Slender leather grips which I ordered online a few days ago. Brooks Slender leather grips feature vegetable tanned leather and natural cork tape wrapped around an aluminum shell with one side being 130mm long and other 100mm; designed specifically for handlebars with twister shifter on one side.
These grips typically retails for about $90 dollars but I was able to pick them up for a great sales price of $68.94 including shipping at I know what you are thinking, "still quite expensive for just a pair of bicycle grips". But, what can I say? Just let me indulge a little. Well, in order to justify, if I may; just about 6 months ago, I was able to find two used but like-new condition Brooks saddles for $100 and I put one on my D8 and was able to sell the other one recently for nearly the same price I paid for the two saddles and it was more than enough to help pay for these new grips. Anyway, after I put them on, I took a little test ride around the block. Aside from being extra stylish, the smooth leather felt really nice; a huge difference from the stock rubber grips that came with the bike which had the bumpy texture and would dig into my palms. These grips are definitely a real nice finishing touch on a classic city bike. You can also purchase my "Brooks Saddle" print at my Etsy shop.

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