Something you don’t see very often

These days it’s rare to see nice, big infographics on any page of a paper, let alone on A1. So you can imagine my delight when I saw the Wall Street Journal this morning.

A1 and above the fold. There have been some nice infographics explaining the nuclear reactors in Japan. What are some of your favorites? Cuales han sido sus graficas favoritas de la situacion en Japon?

Arizona Graphics

Viewpoints illustration

A while ago, the Daily Show did a hilarious segment about how the state of Arizona was going to sell its Capitol and other government buildings (and then lease them back) in order to crawl out of their enormous budget deficit.

Then a few weeks ago, we were presented with the idea of doing some sort of illustration about the topic, mainly emphasizing what a big mess Arizona lawmakers have on their hands. After several meetings in which a variety of ideas were tossed around, @jacysmith suggested doing a puzzle. After all, it’s literally puzzling how the state will ever figure out its budget. The idea just grew from there, and the whole package ended up having several components with the same ‘puzzle’ theme.

I did a puzzle box for the cover of the section while Jacy took the helm on the inside puzzle. Here’s what the front of the section looked like…

And here’s the inside puzzle. Click on the thumbnail below to see a larger version.

Arizona Graphics Phoenix Random

Good things happen

First update in some time. I haven’t had any concerts to shoot lately due to the fact that… well, we won’t get into that, but I assure you I will try my best to claw my way back to doing them, even if I have to offer a sacrificial medium-sized, porcelain Baby Jesus. 

Speaking of Baby Jesus, Grandma Lapadula (keeper of all-sized Baby Jesuses), The Matriarch, Da Original, is coming to the the United States of America, and she has a scheduled visit to Phoenix (scheduled meaning, Stand-by tickets with my dad’s airline). What to do with a 70-year-old lady who doesn’t even want to be taken from her house, let alone sent to another country? Who, when asked if she wanted to come to Phoenix while she was visiting my dad in North Carolina, asked “can we drive there?”. No ma’am. My point being that she doesn’t even know what or where is Phoenix. So if you have any ideas, do pass them along. Are there any Church Tours, with an optional Salvation package? 

Salvation or not, I think it’ll be interesting for her to see the Phoenix area. It being such a different landscape than anything she’s ever seen before (did you know that the ONLY place in the world with Saguaro Cacti is the Sonoran Desert?), particularly Sedona. It’s just breathtaking for anyone, let alone someone who has lived in the jungle all their lives. 

“Abuela in the Desert: Why am I here?”. That should be an interesting photo story. 

I finally got some of the Matt and Talat wedding photos printed out. Yes, it’s a slow process. I have to let them simmer in their own Photoshop juices for some time for maximum impact. I reluctantly took them to the local Ritz Camera. Reluctantly because I used to work for Ritz in NC for years, and let’s just say we weren’t the most conscientious when it came to printing. Come on, would you really want to go editing one by one, 500+ BAD digital photos from someone’s trip to Mexico? At least with film there usually was a limit to how many BAD photos a person could take. With digital cameras and inexpensive giant memory cards, people feel the need to take a photo of EVERYTHING… TWICE for good measure, that oughta show ’em. 

As an aside, during my days as a lab technician, I color corrected some of the most ridiculous photos. Yes, we see them. Keep that in mind next time you decide to drunkenly take photos of things best left unrecorded for posterity.

I really have to give props to the guys and gals at the Phoenix location (the only one that survived after they declared bankruptcy). Since my monitors at home or work are not calibrated to their printer, the photos were coming out somewhat dark. They went through each photo and even printed some three, four times, to make sure they came out looking great. I will definitely be returning there soon. 

On a graphics note, here’s a Double Truck project I worked on for a special Good News section at work:

I’m particularly proud of the railroad tracks! Combination mad Illustrator and Photoshop skills! Although I sometimes feel like I overuse drop shadows. Thoughts?

I think this drought in concerts will give me a chance to catch up with re-editing and posting the photos from my photojournalism days. I’m excited to show you some of those and relive the good ol’ days. Like the photo of me hanging out with the long-bearded, one-toothed bikers at a redneck bar. God, I hope I can find that one. Good times!!

Graphics Photography Travels

Going to the Wal-Mart and…

Meant to post these along with the Matt and Talat wedding photos, but then got caught up in other things and never got around to resizing and editing. It doesn’t help that my laptop at home is increasingly slow and useless when working with Photoshop. It won’t even open Photoshop and Illustrator at the same time without crashing one or the other. 

After the wedding ceremonies in the cabin, we all headed to dinner and, obviously, to the local Wal-Mart. Because who wouldn’t do that on their wedding day? It was fun times roaming around the beer aisle with a party of dressed-up people and, oh, is that person wearing a WEDDING DRESS?!


Other projects— My dad asked me to design some business cards for him, and I thought it would be a good idea to use one of the many old family photos that he uses on his website. The font was meant to match the old/historical theme of the photos. The quote says “Memories are the only paradise from which we can never be expelled” or something like that, but again, we thought it fit perfectly with his theme and website, which does focus on “uncovering” these photos from past. The photo and quote are powerful enough to get people’s curiosity going, hopefully encouraging them to want to find out more.


For printing, I used this shop in Tempe called Think!, which I recommend to anyone needing printing services in the area. Great quality, price, and quick turn-around (even same day!), and awesome customer service. The only thing I was kinda ‘eh’ about was that the old paper, rustic effect on the text size didn’t print out too well. The color didn’t match and it was far more faded than I thought, so you can barely see it. I don’t think that’s their fault or anything. It’s just so tough to know what printers are calibrated to. I’ll have to look into that for next time. 

For those of you on Twitter, I succumbed to the mob mentality, and @jacysmith’s bullying, really, so feel free to follow me. I’ve come to realize it’s true value for sharing links and updated info, so don’t expect it to be full of TMIs and details about what I ate for breakfast (no offense to anyone who does, ahem, Jacy…). Anyways, here goes nothing @patriciaelenie

Graphics Multimedia Sailing

Online projects

This website has always focused on my photography, particularly my concert photography, but I also work on online projects here and there. We’ve had a few trainings at work to improve our multimedia skills. Until recently we were working with HTML and CSS. I particularly started playing with JQUERY.

I wanted to share a project I undertook, mainly to have something to practice on that, in the end, could potentially have some applicable use. I would like to have a more comprehensive portfolio of online work. I have the skills to put together portfolio-type personal websites, so I figure, why not market those skills? Since lot of people nowadays are interested in having their own .coms.

So I combined three things I like: photography, web-design and sailing into one project:

Click on the image to go to the site, or HERE. It’s not really ready to “go live” as they say. The text is mostly just whatever, but it gives you an idea of what the website could look like.

Now, moving onto Flash. For years, I’ve been stuck with ActionScript 2, but we’ve just started learning AS3, and hopefully I’ll have a few more project coming my way to develop those skills further. Here’s an interesting project I worked on last week, about what’s probably the WORST marathon on the face of the planet. It’s 135 miles right through Death Valley, in JULY. Check out the photos, soundslides and story. It’s just fascinating that people, sane people, willingly choose to do something like this. You have to give ’em mad respect though.

I worked on the interactive graphic part, but I also had to do quite a bit of research and (gasp!) math to get some of the time averages. Overall, an interesting project, but hopefully next time I’ll be able to code it with AS3 and save me a variety of headaches.

Anyone need a website? I’m what you’d call, cheap labor.



I’m happy with the response from the wedding photos, particularly glad that Matt and Talat liked them (p.s., I’ll be mailing you two some actual prints). 

Moving onto non-wedding things. 

Last week I got the chance to work on a pretty cool graphic for the Phoenix community paper. The reporter wanted an infographic to show how a new exhibition at the Arizona Science Center worked. It’s something called the SkyCycle: pretty much a bike on a high-wire cable, suspended over the first floor.  Ever the investigative journalist, I popped in to check it out and do some ‘research’. 

Not sure if you can tell there, but the bike is not harnessed to anything. The rider is harnessed to the back of the bike, and that line you see there at the bottom is just so if someone freaks out, the staff can pull them back. Obviously there are all these physics aspects about how/why the bike doesn’t flip over, and I had to understand those in order to then turn around and explain that in a simplified way. So I talked to a few people there, took notes, slept on it, and hopefully I was successful in at least conveying the basics to our readers. 

I did everything in Illustrator, using another photo as reference, and a lot of people around the newsroom seemed to like it. 

When I get to do stuff like this, I realize that my job doesn’t always suck, and sometimes I forget to mention that because, yes, there’s a lot of crap that goes on (case in point: the upcoming layoffs were officially announced today). I suppose with the impending and very real possibility of losing my job, it’s easier to see the things I’d be missing out on. 

Arizona Graphics Random


A speed cameras map, which I like to think of as my area of expertise (my beat if you’d like), ran on Friday’s A1. Cool to see my name on the cover of the paper, and I’ve yet to receive any angry emails about mistakes, though it is the weekend, so maybe I just need to give people some time.

Update: AtlasRider just asked for a link to a speed cameras Google map, which is totally helpful for us speeders! Here is it: Now kids, just remember these are only DPS cameras (basically only the ones on the highways). Every city has it’s own separate set of cameras, not shown.

Thanks go out to Chris George for refining the look of the map. I think often times designers go unrecognized, since they don’t put their names in credit lines. But they truly deserve as much credit as reporters or graphic artists.

Something I’ve also been pretty excited about is the growth of my html and css skills, learning how to use jquery. More on a project I’m working on for the sailing team once I have it further along.

Nothing much going on… the heat is getting up there, but that’s not new.

Ever since I housesat Manny’s place, where I caught a random episode of Showtime’s The Tudors, I’ve been hooked. Granted, I can’t afford Showtime but that’s what the internet is for, so I’ve been catching up with previous seasons. Just as good as the show is the Pop Tudors website that they have as a sort of “modern” day companion to the series. Hilarious. Check out the video recaps. Oh and the pie charts! Too funny.

Arizona Graphics Random

License plate inspiration

A few weeks ago I did this graphic explaining how, from now on, frames around cars’ license plates cannot obscure the word “Arizona” at the top of the plate. This is another one of these ridiculous money-making scams that the lovely state of Arizona has decided to adopt. Do not get me started on the photo speeding cameras. 

Wrong— you’re a bad Arizonian. 

Wrong— I’m calling Sheriff Joe. I hope you like camping, because he’s got a spot for you in Tent City. 

Right— Now go drive on our roads so we can catch you speeding on camera and fine you outrageous amounts of money for a violation that a live police officer would have never pulled you let alone ticketed you for. 

“If a witness can tell us that a vehicle has an Arizona plate because they can clearly see it, that helps us immensely,” said Harold Sanders, a spokesman for the state Department of Public Safety.

Yes, because the purple cactus is so overused by other states. 

You see, here in Arizona, we care about the details. I feel much safer knowing that valuable police resources are being spent patrolling the streets for license plate frame criminals. Interestingly enough, at the beginning of December, half of the 26 cars in the Arizona Senate parking lot had illegal frames around their plates.

At any rate, while I was working on that graphic, I was inspired by the Arizona plate, and well, I’m a sucker for grungy Photoshop brushes, so that’s how the new banner/masthead came about. I also thought the font was slightly “western” looking without being too obvious and corny. I’m thinking I could’ve done a bit more with the typography, like a stroke or a shadow or some sort. Eh, I can always update. 


Photoshop tutorial

Here’s a website with a compilation of good Photoshop tutorial. Courtesy of the blog at work.

USB key below is proof of my ability to follow instructions, although that’s debatably not a good thing. My only complain is that, well, it tells you in amazing detail what to do, but it doesn’t really explain why you do certain things. Still, pretty cool stuff.

Also, people on the comment board were bitching about how it’s not a vector graphic. Point taken, but if you do it big enough to begin with, you should be fine. Now if I was doing it for a client, yeah, maybe I would build it as a vector in Illustrator, just because you never know.


Biodiesel infographic

Infographic about how to make Biodiesel at home…

The version that ran in the paper was slightly different, since we (Techinically, Buddy Golfen, car master who will be dearly missed after he volunteered for the recent layoffs) found a different photo of a car that uses diesel, instead of a random car. I needed it to be a certain angle and show the little gas door, so props to Mike Meister (beloved photo God) and Buddy.

Things are slowly but surely falling apart here in good ol’ Phoenix. A shame really, because I was having a good time till now.