Double Guitar, Birdy Drawing, Musée Mécanique

Episode 05 of The Programme is here. It's Saturday Morning entertainment for adults that were shaped by dial TV. This week we have a couple new twists. There's a double-guitar soundtrack, an iPad Pro coloring of a (IRL) brush pen drawing and a slideshow of San Francisco's Musée Mécanique.

The music this week is a guitar piece i've had on hand for a few years. Its something that I eventually would like to flesh out with a melody, lyrics and record into a proper song. For now we have a mini-production recorded at my parent's house this week in Redwood City. The electric guitar was recorded in the back yard and the acoustic (hi strung) guitar was recorded in the kitchen. I'm super happy with how the warm, mellow electric guitar is complemented by the bright, jangly sound. 

I feel very lucky to have a new iPad pro which makes an appearance this week. I drew a bird with a Pentel brush pen,scanned and imported it into the iPad and then did some digital coloring. The iPad will automatically record a screen capture video of all projects, so I used it an an extension to the bird drawing. I did a few musical note drawings, looking for the right placement next to the bird - drawing, then erasing, then drawing. My searching looks like a bit of an animation, in the screen recording. This is a happy accident. 

A number of weeks ago we went out for my mom's birthday and took a detour through the Musee Mecanique. I've always loved this collection of arcade games which was originally part of the Playland amusement park on Ocean Beach. The park closed in the early 70s, but the arcade lives on as its own attraction down on Fisherman's Wharf. I've included some of my favorite letters that, for me, are the real attraction of the museum.

I'm open to ideas and suggestions, so feel free to tell me what's on your mind

pro bono hand-crafted logo for the right nonprofit


Through Tuesday, August 8th (2017) I'll be collecting entries from interested nonprofits for a new, custom, hand-crafted logo.  At this point I can only commit to working with one organization, so after collecting submissions, I'll pick a single winner. I'll choose based on a combination of the organization's needs and how much value I feel I can provide to the project. 

Once I choose the winner, I'll come to a full understanding of the nonprofit's goals and then work independently to design a single solution that the company is free to own and use.  

There will be a contract outlining healthy boundaries, and respectful communication for the duration of the project. 

Please head over to the nonprofit page, fill out the form and I'll send you a questionnaire to find out more about what you're doing! 

San Francisco Kaleidoscopes, Grumpy Tigers

When you commit to creating on a schedule, the emphasis shifts to finishing instead of creating something perfect. This is so liberating. You learn to take a macro view of your creative life instead of obsessing over each creative move. The path starts to open up. You set you eyes far beyond your current situation. Each step is a sure step towards the horizon. You stop judging your output on your current effort and realize that so-called mistakes are merely an unexpected path toward depth. You start to recognize the beauty in each step. This is how YOU do things - without comparison to anyone else's standard of perfection. It's the entire point. It's giving yourself freedom and permission to simply be the unfiltered you that's starving to get out of the shadows and into the sunlight. 

It's with this spirit that I approached episode 04. I'm starting to relax any expectation for what this show is. I want to leave the door open so it evolves and becomes something unexpected. I'm open to a flexible structure, unusual footage, interesting or otherwise imperfect sound and editing. The only thing I want to concern myself with is that it remains interesting for as long as it lasts (and the duration is totally flexible). And to that end, I feel the freedom to draw from just about anything to make that happen. 

And to that end, we have lots of curiosities this week . The feel of this episode is more about throwing a bunch of ingredients in the pot and trying to make them work together. It's a bit of a daydream and a more accurate reflection of how I tend to operate day to day. There are Kaleidoscopes fashioned out of San Francisco footage, a possible recurring "where in the world" segment with a view from a specific location pin. There's also a tiger drawing that wouldn't have happened without a conversation with my sister about the closing of Redwood City's Marine World in the 80's. We reminisced about an "ark" that transported the park's wildlife up their new home in Vallejo. The tiger was not particularly happy about moving. 

The music also has more range this week - from a "live" performance of a tune I've had floating around for a while, to an old, fuzzy iphone song sketch, to a more produced tune from my archives. There's a distinct difference in song completion and sound quality, but I like the clashing together of the contrasts. 


Here we are at episode three of an exploratory video programme. It's one where I'm throwing in the kitchen sink, looking for interesting combinations of drawing, music, video, letters, numbers and accessible scenery, which, gladly, is San Francisco. It's a mission-style burrito of design with the goal to inspire people of all ages into a daily mindset of curiosity, adventure and creativity. Not to drive the similarity too hard, but I'm looking to tap into a sweet place like the best of Sesame Street and Bob Ross with a bit of a vlog approach.

This weeks episode pushes into some new territory with an unprecedented amount of footage, edits and bad guitar takes. After dozens of tries trying to create a live and original guitar soundtrack I just wasn't feeling it and grabbed a happy, already-completed groove out of my archives. It turned out much more energetic than it would have with the acoustic guitar. The hard part was knowing when to quit (In fact, I feel like I really should have changed course long before I did).

This one actually took much longer than I expected to create - to the point that felt overwhelming - like I felt certain I couldn't sustain this type of project indefinitely. But I also know that things get easier, processes develop and I should probably just keep going until it literally becomes impossible.

All the footage was taken last Sunday on a stroll from Hayes Valley down to the Ferry Building - except for at the end, there's a healthy dose of historic, public domain footage of the Ferry Building which seemed to round out the video and give it some depth - making it feel more unified overall.

The Ferry Building Drawing came as an afterthought and a happy discovery to bookend the whole episode. The original drawing is at my store which is available for purchase HERE.

If there's a personal takeaway from the experience of creating this episode it's to remember to take time to have fun and replenish my soul. The move to San Francisco has been probably the most beautiful time in my life, but it also comes with unique stresses and anxieties. It's easy to want to tune everything out and just get down to work - to assume a business-only, survival mindset. But the truth is that a sense of wonder, play and freedom are the most fruitful places from which to create or grow or evolve - whether that's art, a relationship or recognizing long-forgotten, yet happy sides of ourselves. 

Taking a photo stroll is one of my favorite things to do. I love picking a destination and then giving myself permission to lollygag and snap photos or video along the way. Sometimes it turns into a focused collection (like last week's trip to the Model Yacht Club).  Sometimes they're more scattered and random observations like this week, but the spirit is the same. No pressure, no rush, no judgement, just observe and capture. It's one of the things that will feed this programme - threading together moments in an unexpected way.

Thanks for tuning in, watching and listening. 

If there's anything you'd like to see or if you want to share thoughts or ideas, let me know.


I'm a sucker for good fonts, especially if they're from San Francisco's Ohno Type Co. When I saw that the first person to film themselves wearing the new "Death To Weak Fonts" T-shirt while listening to The Boys Are Back In Town" would receive a free copy of Hobeaux Bold, I couldn't help myself. This is my submission. I got the font. 

Episode 02: San Francisco Model Yacht Club

To catch up, I’ve been changing tack a little bit. To continue the work of finding my unique place in the world as an artist/designer I’m working on combining different things that I love to do to see what I get. I’m tired of making lettering simply in isolation. I’m tired of playing guitar by myself and for myself. I’m more eager than ever to embrace what I've got, define my purpose is and zero-in on where I’m going.

What I’ve come up with is the idea for a burrito of a YouTube show. It's something packed with original music, hand-drawn letters, animations, field trips, goofs and sweet nostalgia. I’m aiming for the neighborhood where Bob Ross and the Sesame Street gang hang out. The question “Can you tell me how to get to Sesame Street” is no longer rhetorical.  

Now, this is a not necessarily a kids show. Though, the truth is, I’ve slowly come to appreciate the approval of a child over the nod of a cynical art critic. It’s a show that I hope will resonate with anyone who wants to escape to a place of calm and creativity. It’s for anyone, at any age, wanting to move through the world with a sense of child-like wonder.

This week is episode 02 and we find ourselves on a field trip to the City’s headquarter for miniature model yachts. The San Francisco Model Yacht Club is not only a model model yacht club but a model model club. From a guy who’s been in a club or two, I'd go so far as to call it a model club. 

Bu and I stumbled upon the yacht HQ while walking from the Golden Gate Park Pan Handle all the way out to Ocean Beach (about 5 miles). The door to the club was propped open and we couldn’t resist poking our heads in. I snapped a little bit of footage, but at the time didn’t have too many schemes for it.

An old friend and FCPX Grill Host Chris Fenwick, after seeing Episode 01, said it might be cool to cut in and out of the live guitar playing with some drawing footage. Its in this spirit that I edited the yacht footage. The guitar video became the score and, uh, anchor for the field trip.

I hope you enjoy!

Pulling Things Together

Since I started taking custom lettering seriously a couple years ago, I've come to value the idea of intense focus.  It's a pill to swallow - you can't do everything you want to do. But If you want to succeed or become proficient at something, sacrifices are in order. It requires setting some things on the back burner, patiently waiting for the chance to come back to them.

Its been tough for me to focus. I've been such an intense music nut for so long, it was challenging to simply set that dream aside to focus on something totally outside my comfort zone. I'm thankful for supportive, encouraging friends and family that keep me accountable and on track.

The question that's been eating at me lately is - how do I do more of the stuff I love? How can I combine multiple things into something unique, and in order to serve one clear purpose? Lettering, guitar, drawing, recording, photography, video editing... it's something I fear might be a "Jack of All Trades" syndrome. But considering the position I'm in, how can I pull them together and combine them so they're not isolated streams of attention? What is my purpose and how can all these things come together to support it?

My answer is to experiment with a simple variety show. I imagine releasing on Saturday Mornings in conjunction with the weekly newsletter. It's intended to be a fun way to start the weekend - bite-sized creative sketches, education, inspiration and warm fuzzies in the spirit of Bob Ross, Sesame Street, and any other childhood Saturday morning TV show that made getting up early worth it.

In addition to the performance sketches, I imagine doing profiles of friends and colleagues and documenting trips to beautiful or otherwise interesting places and events.

I'm working through how much time and effort it would take and if I could pull it off every week. So for now, this is a stand-alone episode until I can commit to the logistics.

Let me know what you think.


Here's a video for a new instrumental called "Summer 76". As always, headphones are recommended. The footage was taken a couple years ago in Tahoe and I've been waiting for the right time to use it. Two complementary guitar parts were recorded on my iphone and then lined up on the computer layered with some simple orchestration. 

I'm coming to dig the sound of acoustic guitar recorded on the iphone's built-in microphone. It's got a good enough vibe to get ideas down - and good enough to remove the excuse of currently not having a real recoding setup. I'v always been a fan of using gear lying around and then making the most of it. The iphone has a crisp sound with nice natural compression (smooths out the soft and loud dynamics of a performance) and even gives a subtle, pleasant fuzzy distortion without sounding harsh. The EQ in Apples Logic program helps control some of the fret squeaks and ambient room noise too. 

One of my new goals is to create more music and make it available to YouTubers, video producers and film makers. The music would be free to use for personal-use projects while commercial projects would be handled case by case. More on that as I get rolling.