Behind the Scenes Graphics Illustration

Packaging Illustration and Logo Case Study – STEM Box Cars

Not too long back, California Dingo Media was approached by STEM Box Cars, an educational organization specializing in STEM education, to create a packaging illustration and logo design that ties-in with their unique hands-on activities and targets an educational demographic. This excellent organization seeks to begin children on their journey to become Globally Competent by exposing them to engaging and cognitively appropriate STEM activities that are perceived through a children’s narrative promoting literacy skills as well as embracing diversity.

Quite a mouth-full, huh? In other words, they help children excel at Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) by putting them in a children’s narrative which also helps them read and learn about their surroundings. Pretty neat, huh?

The founders came to California Dingo Media seeking  particular goals to achieve when developing their imagery; it must reach the proper demographic, encompass the founders’ individuality, and represent the hands-on activities included in each product box purchased by consumers.

Let’s sit down with the founders of STEM Box Cars and have them share their experience working with California Dingo Media in accomplishing these set graphic design goals.

Thanks for viewing and we’ll see you next time!

David (Cali Dingo)

Graphics Illustration

Beautiful Golden Spiral, Oh How I Adore Thee.

I’ve always struggled with the Golden Spiral in graphic design. I always felt I never really understood it, but yet, I knew it was a powerful beast. I worked and worked on understanding it, getting lectured by my instructor over and over on using it more and then one day… it clicked. I got it. It’s all about finding the sweet spot for a design. Lead that eye and get it where it needs to go and make the eye enjoy the ride. I’m Disneyland for the graphic design world essentially. My job is to make sure you enjoy looking at the material provided before you so you don’t turn away… AND make sure you know about the company behind the material and what they offer.

The Golden Spiral is a perfect machine which is utilized by God himself in everyday life. As I understand it, it was derived by humans looking at nature and wondering to themselves “why is that so adorable”. And lo, the Golden Spiral, Golden Circle, and Golden Ratio were born. Golden meaning it’s pretty darn cool.

Golden Spiral in Nature
The Golden Spiral Found Naturally

I’m by no means an expert on this topic, but there are many out there that are and can explain the math behind it much better that I ever could. One place is here. Essentially, its about thirds. Everything looks great when there is tension. Just look at your relationship. Relationships wouldn’t be fun without a little tension. Now, I’m not talking about burning down a house tension, I’m talking about tit for tat tension. Tension is something humans desire and the Golden Spiral delivers. It’s not an even numbered type of thing.. it’s a odd type of thing.  Literally.

The Golden Spiral, Circle and Ratio all play off of the thirds (1/3). For instance, when you take a picture, you should always use wide screen AND put your subject to the right or left… never in the middle.. if you want to look like a pro. Why? Our eye desires it! WE WANT TENSION. This is why soap operas have been around for way too long. TENSION.

I recently worked on creating a poster for a friend of mine who is making a movie. He already had the idea of what he wanted for the poster and laid it out.  It was up to me to not just take his approach and make it look professional, but to make sure the eye is drawn. Welcome: Golden Spiral.

The idea is to lead the eye to the title of the movie (or whatever your desired landing place is) while giving the viewer a Disneyland ride toward it. As you can see below you are naturally drawn to start at the top left as this is where we begin to read. Your eye is then brought down around the characters of the movie and centered into the title. Job done.

Golden Spiral Poster
Golden Spiral Poster

This could easily be mistaken for hierarchy design, which is based on the Golden Ratio, but in this case it was all Spiral. Oh, Spiral is gorgeous, isn’t she?

Go! Do some design stuff using Golden Spiral or look for it in nature. It’s there in your local park. Just look. It’s fun.

Cali Dingo (David)

Behind the Scenes Drawings Illustration

Drawing In Illustrator (The Radio Edit)

Hello All,

I’ve occasionally come across those who would like to see my method to drawing/inking in Illustrator. You see, I don’t really draw/ink on paper very well due to me having a very unsteady hand. Technology helps me realize exactly how I see the illustration in my head and… makes me actually look like I have talent. :)

Many folks don’t understand how I can literally “draw” in a software program, let alone Illustrator… which tends to have a misconception as an unfriendly drawing program. But, to that I say, “Au contrair!” -Not sure if I spelled that right, but you see what I’m getting at. Illustrator has proven to me to be THE drawing program. Each version is more user-friendly than the last. I highly recommend it and despite popular belief, there really isn’t much of a learning curve.

My method is to scan in my roughly drawn sketch, make adjustments in Photoshop, then place the art in Illustrator and go to town. This is a sped up version of that very approach. The background song is “Yakety Sax” by Boots Randolph.



Till next time…

David (Cali Dingo)



Animation How To Illustration Video

Animatic for Music Video

Hello World!

As I’ve stated in previous posts, I’ve been blessed to be involved in many awesome projects that I never thought would come my way so quickly. I am at a point now that I feel I can start sharing some samples of these projects and hopefully some of these will shed a little light on how some projects are realized. In my line of business everything starts with an idea and it’s my job to realize this idea or make it materialize into something tangible to be taken in by the mass populace. It’s troubleshooting in it’s most creative form.

Today I want to share a project that has been on-going for several months now. I was approached about making a music video. I’ve never made or been a part of making a music video in my entire life, not to mention, video is not truly my forte. Regardless, the project was too intriguing to say no. My first line of business upon agreeing to take part in this was to find someone who actually is a whiz at video and video editing.  Enter: Dojo of Cool. First obstacle taken care of.

Second line of business was to create an animatic showing our collaborative efforts in sequencing this video. A… what? … you say.  An animatic is an animation tool to help show and demonstrate the sequencing of events for a movie, scene or, in this case, an entire music video. Essentially a storyboard that comes to life. It’s one thing to verbally describe the order of events and how they are to look and feel, but we all know too well that verbal description tends to get lost in translation. Animatics make up for this handicap.

So, we meshed my animation/graphic design skills with Dojo’s video editing skills and we created a great (and I really mean great) animatic. The client was head over heals and totally understood what we mean to accomplish with this video and they were all in. This means we accomplished our goal.

I would like to share a small :30 sec sample of the animatic and also share the graphics that went into the animation. Now, the animation is rudimentary on purpose. We aren’t going to waste our client’s time and money making an Oscar-worthy cartoon. Our goal with this animatic is to help set up the general feel, scene shots, sequencing and timing for the video. So, our main time and attention is spent on editing rather than good animation.

Here are the elements we used in creating the animation you’ll see in the sample. I’m staring from the first scene to the last.

This is a backdrop for an entrance shot.
This is layered onto the backdrop and animated to show the character’s approach toward the camera.
The backdrop of our closeup.
Foot illustration which is animated on the closeup backdrop.
Closeup of face. Animated to show walking.
The backdrop for the head shot.
Close up of his mid section.
His hand carrying the telescope. This is animated over his body.
Another backdrop for the next scene.
This is animated over the leg backdrop to show he has stopped and is setting the suitcase down.
Looking through telescope.
Character’s POV through telescope.


These elements were used to make the following animatic.

The animatic was a blast to work on. But the fun doesn’t stop there. We have since shot the actual video and are in the process of editing as we speak. More posts to come regarding this music video and the creation of it.

Till then…

David (Cali Dingo)