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)

Animation Behind the Scenes Video

Math Is Always Better With Cartoons

Turn Around Taxi Pic


I recently finished up a cartoon that will be used in an educational video at AIMS Education Foundation. It’s a 1st Grade math video and this particular cartoon is to help exemplify in visual form what the on-camera talent is explaining to the viewer.

So, being geared to 1st Grade means the art must be simple and fun which tends to make cartooning easier. This is the longest one I think I’ve done yet and it’s not even that long. It’s amazing how much time is needed to draw and ink all the art that goes into a cartoon. The actual animation doesn’t take that long, thanks to Adobe After Effects and the like. Inking is really the longest process, which I do in Adobe Illustrator.

At any rate, this first video shows the rough animation using just the drawn art I did with pencil and paper which was scanned into Adobe Photoshop to tweak and then placed into Adobe After Effects to animate.

That rough was then used as my guide for the final which is below. I used the same After Effects project and just swapped the old art with the new inked art. However, this always poses a few issues in that the images don’t typically swap seamlessly, so tweaking and reanimating here and there often occurs.

I believe this project took me a couple of weeks if not three weeks. I’m not entirely sure, but again, the animating was done around 2 or so days; whereas the inking of the art took 1 1/2 weeks or so. I love doing this sort of stuff and always invite the opportunity to do some animating. I hope you enjoyed watching as much as I enjoyed making. 🙂

Oh, and before I forget, the lovely on-camera talent in this video is Erin Heasley.

Till next time…

David (Cali Dingo)




Art Pieces 1


As a requirement for my job as graphic designer extraordinaire at AIMS Education Foundation, I am to participate in continuing education. It’s a great way to sharpen the skills and know-how and also to do something a little different. I am never asked or push myself to do any real art… you know, the kind you can put up in your house. When I get home from work, if I’m not slaving on someone else’s stuff, I’m working on my music or fixing the house that lacks any art on the walls. The latter tends to be the case more often than not. Not because our house sucks, but because I am Type A when it comes to my house. So, these classes are a great opportunity for me to do something I otherwise would probably not do… create some good old fashion artsty fartsy.

There was a particular assignment in which I was quite pleased with my efforts, so much so, that my wife and I decided to put them up on our walls. I have to recreate it to do so (or pay exorbitant amounts of money to have someone print it for me), so as of right now they are not on the walls.

It was a series of 4 pieces that were to tackle particular elements in art. I won’t go into all that uppity uppity with you, but the great thing about it was we were allowed to use any subject matter. I chose a cat and ball. The can be used to create tension with each other and they also go together like … well, a cat and ball. I used Adobe Illustrator to create the series.

At any rate, I wanted to share. So here ya go.

This was to illustrating balance.
This was to illustrate balance.
This was to illustrating proportion.
This was to illustrate proportion.
This was to illustrating rhythm.
This was to illustrate rhythm.
This was to illustrating unity.
This was to illustrate unity.

By the way, I am happy to announce that I did quite well in the class.. A+. So my efforts were well worth it.

Till next time…

David (CaliDingo)




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)