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Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Inspiration Post: PIZZA PIZZA!

Happy Halloween everyone!! Just because it's a Holiday doesn't mean I'm not going to post October's edition of "What Inspires Laura." The time I take out each month to compile a list of group of things that inspire me in hopes to inspire YOU as well! This month's theme is "PIZZA PIZZA."

Mmmmm! Pizza!! The tasty treat that in the states is literally just a phone call away from arriving at your door piping hot and covered in whatever toppings you fancy! Pizza was always a treat at my household and it still remains my brother's favorite food. Try not to get hungry as you scroll down!!

Let's start things out with an actual photograph of some pizza; Hello Kitty pizza that is!! I love Hello Kitty so why not? I bet these took a long time to make. And any little girl (or even big girl) would light up if they found these in her lunchbox for lunch! The pepperoni bows are just too cute! I found this photo on Flickr by user LoveBones!

Time to move onto something less edible. A pizza-themed scarf?? Yes, by TwinkieChan and if her name (or photo) doesn't seem familliar to you, I highly suggest you check out her Etsy store or her website. She creates all sorts of crazy crochet creations and is solely responsible for this yummy looking scarf for boys or girls! Not only would I totally rock this scarf it's so creative and unconventional it makes my imagination do backflips!

From pizza scarves to building blocks!! I was never good at playing with LEGOs it was more something appealed to my brother's creativity but I am really digging this promo pizza set for New York Comic Con this year!! Bravo to the people at LEGO for thinking up this blocky little slice in it's own matching authentic pizza carry out box!! For more photos and details of this set be sure to check out the Toys N Brick's blog!!

Pizza is round so where's a perfect place for it to wind up at? On a ring of course! I have to hand it to Catrina'sToybox on making this very realistic looking ring. It makes me want to go out, buy some polymer clay and get to work on making my own itty bitty pieces of food! You can only buy this ring on Etsy so be sure to check out her shop with lots of other Polymer Clay listings!

And last but not least a print piece, something more up my alley. I always adore simple designs. This invitation features a simplistic full color pizza with a slice cut out and ready to eat. All your party info is on the right in white text on a bright green background. It definitely inspires me to create my OWN pizza party invites! You can snag these invites from TinyPrints by clicking this link:

And that is all I have for this month!! Hope you didn't drool too much over these different approaches of the always appetizing PIZZA! I've showed you pizza on a ring, on a scarf and even made of building blocks! Where will you we see pizza next?? That's up to you!! Hope everyone has a GREAT week and stay tuned for next month's inspiration post!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Nananana Pumpkin!

If I said it once, I said it a million billion times but I  . . . LOVE. . . HALLOWEEN. So this post is going to be about another ode to Halloween; pumpkin carving! Almost every year since I've had this blog I've posted my carved pumpkins including an American Psycho pumpkin and a yummy cupcake. But this was last minute, late at night and I should not be able to handle sharp objects past 8pm but I had a hand in pretty awesome pumpkin carving this year!

My friend's family went down to the pumpkin patch and brought home a pumpkin. The problem was what to carve in it? The obvious answer? BATMAN. But who would be able to draw Batman on a pumpkin for them? That's where I came in.

From there it was carved out and we threw in a jar candle. I think the pumpkin turned out pretty awesome. I hope everyone in the states is okay during hurricane "Sandy." I'm ready with Peanut Butter & Jelly Sandwhiches, books and flashlights. Stay safe everyone!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Triana Orpheus Illustration: Venture Bros

Hey everyone!! I know I haven't posted lately but things have been so hectic. Fall and Halloween are also my favorite time of the year so I haven't been sitting around the computer lately but instead going out and doing festive stuff with my and my friends!!

(image via Venture Bros Blog)

Something that makes THIS year's Halloween extra special is that the Venture Bros (probably my biggest television obsession) is premiering a new episode tomorrow in the states, at 11h30PM Eastern Time! To raise awareness of the awesome show that is The Venture Bros and since this is my doodle blog I thought I would share a Venture-Themed illustration I created!!

I created it to enter it into a contest (sadly didn't win). The illustration depicts Triana Orpheus, daughter of a necromancer staring at a her closet in fright. If you're not familiar with the show at all, she has every reason to concerned about her glowing closet because it's actually a dimensional portral!

Shhhhh! Don't question it!! Triana isn't one of my favorite characters but the colors of her bedroom and really convinced me to use her as my muse. If your not familliar of what she ACTUALLY looks like, here is a pic of her I kidnapped of the Venture Bros Wiki (

And a close up of my my stylized approach:

I made sure to incorporate a lot of elements that make up Triana's appearance in the show. And some items that caught my attention in scenes they present of her room. A few things include giant grandma panties, a pudding cup and even one of her signature inappropriately short shirts!

I used (and improved upon) the style and technique of my Crystal Castles Alice Glass illustration. Unfortunately for me I don't have too many friends that appreciate the Venture Bros but I urge you to give it at least a try!! I know I'm excited for tomorrow night!! Hope everyone has a great weekend and GO TEAM VENTURE!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire 2012

Hey everyone!! Just wanted to update the blog with a silly adventure I had at the Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire. Me and all my friends went last year and decided to go back again this year as well!!

Last year, me and fellow blogger KaraKreative were the only two in our little posse to dress up. But this year all of us went all out!! We were quite the party featuring a witch, a peasant, one of the Three Musketeers, "Toon Link" from the Legend of Zelda (Windwaker) and Frodo from Lord of the Rings.

My costume came out pretty good!! I made the sheild myself and my mom, who rocks at sewing helped with the belt and hat. My character really blended in well since the faire sold a lot of merchandise related to the Legend of Zelda like Master Swords, sheilds and other weaponry and I even ran into ANOTHER Link!

The shows were great! We ended up missing human chess but saw a lot of other shows like magic, comedy and a bagpipes drum band called "Tartanic" and of course the traditional joust and the ending ceremonies!

I can't forget how spectacular the food was either! My lunch consisted of a bread bowl of tomato bisque soup even though the bees kept attacking it. All the walking we did deserved a dessert from the bakery; PUMPKIN bread pudding! The bakery which sold all kinds of treats including giant cupcakes and brownies.

I also went crazy and threw some money down on a Master Sword to keep my costume authentic shall I ever choose to re-wear it again.

Once again if you are ever in the state of Pennsylvania or Central Pa, I highly recommend visiting the Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Anne & Steve - Illustrated Portrait

Hey everyone just wanted to update the blog over the weekend with another illustrated portrait I created for a happy couple. A woman by the name of Anne had contacted me when seeing one of my portraits looking for something to commemorate her engagement. She sent me a lot of great photos including some really detailed shots of her engagement ring. My favorite photo of the couple was this one:

And this is the artwork I created for her:

 It really came out great. I got a lot of the details like her ring. They definitly look like one happy couple!! She was super happy with it and I was excited to hear she also will be using them in her "Thank You" cards for her wedding.

I love creating special artwork for couples if you are interested in a portrait of your own, be sure to check out the contact page on my website: And hope everyone has a great weekend!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Laura Cooks: Spiced Pumpkin Cupcakes (w/ illustration)

Hey everyone just updated the blog with another recipe I tried. I have to admit though, I am NO amateur to this recipe. In fact, it is from one of my recipe books at home. I pulled it from the Betty Crocker Fix-with-a-Mix Desserts cookbook. And if I said it once, I said it a million times, everything I've ever made from Betty Crocker comes out good!

The recipe I chose to make since it IS fall is the Spiced Pumpkin Cupcakes. Since I made them before I knew they were going to come out amazing. Long story short they came out . . . . amazing. 

They turned out SO amazing that I don't even have a photo of the finished product!! Everyone who came in contact with them sampled them and gave rave reviews. Which gave me an excuse to draw another cute little cupcake to illustrate the finished product instead:

Okay, I admit, they didn't have little glasses on them. But I am in love with making little nerdy cupcake drawings!! The only thing I modified on the recipe was I didn't add the nuts. And I sprinkled cinnamon on top of the cream cheese frosting. If you want to try the recipe for yourself and don't own the cookbook (which I highly recommend that you SHOULD) you can check it out online on the Betty Crocker website by click here:

Hope everyone in the states is enjoying the start of Autumn so far!! It's my favorite season :) have a great day!!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Out and About won an AWARD!

Hey everyone just wanted to update the blog with some EXCITING news I received a few weeks ago about a publication I was involved in called "Out and About" magazine. It is a FREE local publication I created with my fellow Graphic Designers at the Daily News that got distributed all over area businesses.
(Table of Contents of OUT & ABOUT  featuring my illustrations and crediting all the designers!)

My responsibility as I had posted before was to lay out a few of the stories, create illustrations and bring summer content like recipes and activity lists. I wrote another post about it here and you can even view the publication in it's entirity online over here

Well as you can tell from the title of this post the publication won an award!! It took FIRST PLACE in the Pennsylvania Newspaper Association's Advertising Tear Sheet Contest in the "Special Section/Niche Publication" category!!

We got a plaque for winning. As you can see I was really excited to be holding the glorious FIRST PLACE trophy. The newspaper even ran an article of it for their print edition as well as online at For a full list of winners be sure to check out their website at

Monday, October 8, 2012

Chocolate Chip Cookie Thank You!!

Hope everyone had a great weekend!! Just wanted to share another food-related print project I did. Back when I was working at a newspaper creating ads one of the advertisers needed an a late ad in as soon as possible!! She promised to bake us cookies if we could put the ad in.

(dramatic re-enactment of the heavenly cookies - photo via

Most people make that promise but then not follow through on it (pro-tip office workers LOVEEE junkfood). But she actually did. And she baked the softest, yummiest, chocolate chips cookies I have ever tasted in my LIFE! Mine never turn out gooey and puffy they always turn out thin and flat!!

The cookies deserved a special thanks so I created a thank you card featuring a cute little cookie just for her!! The back was personalized with a message of appreciation for the treat. I am definitely considering using them as my standard "Thank You," card I enclose with any printed works for the post. Now go bake me some cookies!!

Friday, October 5, 2012

Gretna Music - Print Ad

Hey everyone!! Just wanted to update the blog with one of my FAVORITE print ads I had created for the newspaper! It was an ad to be placed on the back of the programs for Gretna Music, a company that brings a broad range of musicians to audiences in Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania.

The initial concept from my publisher was to base the ad around just one quote from someone in the music / theatre industry. First I had to find a quote. So I scoured the interwebs and settled on a quote by Victor Hugo, the French poet, novelist and dramatist who is the mind behind, "Les Miserables," which is not only a popular musical production but is coming out as a movie in 2012.

I came out with a really solid and eye catching layout for the type. If you don't know much about the Gretna Area either, a lot of it is just dense woods so I went with a very leafy background in hues that matched my palette I had going on with my text.

I am a big fan of white space but it still needed something to tie it together so I doodled up a treble cleft in with the pen tool and added a fancy brush stroke and voila! This is an ad that is relied heavily on my skills in typography and demonstrates I am much more than a girl who can just draw pretty pictures. That is what makes it one my favorite ads! Hope everyone has a great weekend!!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Laura Cooks: Chicken Parmesan (w/ Illustration)

Hey everyone! Man I have to say, I am getting pretty good at this cooking business!! This week I made SkinnyTaste's "Baked Chicken Parmesan" Yes, another SkinnyTaste recipe! Why?? Because so far they are really easy to follow and really low in calories!!

I had to improvise a lot on this one but it still came out really tasty. First of all, I accidentally grabbed the 1/3 cup instead of the 1/4 cup for the parmesan. I just grabbed the smallest cup I saw and assumed it was the 1/4 cup. But who can have TOO much cheese? Did not hurt the recipe at all. 

I ALSO didn't have any tomato sauce or mozzarella cheese around but I had the chicken, bread crumbs, and all the other ingredients. I skipped all that stuff. I was more focused on the chicken and I think it came out soooo good! I was really surprised it was like I was eating breaded chicken for the FIRST time. 

My illustration for the recipe started out as a chicken cutlet. That's not fun and cute though!! I focused on the main ingredients instead and doodles up a cute little chicken holding some italian bread and parmesan cheese. I like to think she went grocery shopping and is on her way to make dinner for her family as well :)

If you would like to try the recipe for yourself be sure to check it out on the "SkinnyTaste" blog at

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