Brain Health Fair Photography

American Academy of Neurology puts on an awesome free public event every year called the Brain Health Fair. This coincides with AAN’s rotating Annual Meeting. This year it was held in Washington DC. One of the cool things I get to do at AAN, besides graphic design and front end development, is the occasional event photography. And what a fun event to photograph! Here are some highlights.










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Freebie Textures

This summer, I’m taking Digital Painting with a Wacom Tablet through MCAD’s Continuing Education program with Lindsay Nohl. For one of our homework assignments we were asked to find some textures to add to our digital graphics in class. I took my camera around the house, and really had a great time hunting for textures. When I was done, I thought it would be great to provide them online as well.

Below are the thumbnails and web-quality images, but you can also download them at full-resolution at the bottom of the page. They are not perfect!

Feel free to use them commercially or for your own art. These are not for resale or for use in commercial templates. Do not republish or distribute on the web unless you provide a back link and credit to Shalanah Dawson.

DOWNLOAD Texture Photographs

Two Great Sites on Learning Responsive Design

I was wandering the web looking for some inspiration for my next web design project, and I was amazed at how some sites responded well – and like magic – to any window size I made with my browser. I first noticed it on Smashing Magazine’s site (give it a try) and then very noticeably on CSS-Tricks (really quite well thought out). This is, of course, in reaction to our many tablets, large flat screens and tiny mobile phones. So I dedicated about 30 minutes a day for a couple weeks to learn about it.

I mostly relied on Fluid Grids by Ethan Marcotte and How to get started with Responsive Web Design by Ryan Boudreaux. For Ryan Boudreaux’s article, make sure you follow it all the way with the media queries and the images portion! I enjoyed both of these because they are step-by-step, you can even follow along and make your own test site. Happy coding!

Pattern Making – (Way Harder Than It Looks!) Update 1

I am really enjoying the Pattern Making class through MCAD’s Continuing Education program this fall. It is definitely fun and very challenging/time consuming. I had no idea the time it takes to make a good – or even a bad – pattern! Here are my first attempts in the class. The first one is a “toss” pattern using arrows and the second set of patterns focus on the theme “Female in the White House” which isn’t really a holiday, but obviously something I’d like to see happen. Enjoy 🙂 .

As a reminder… all rights are reserved for patterns below. Contact me if you would like to use them online, for publishing, or commercial purposes.

Grant at the Fineline – Concert Photography

I’m excited to take photos more often at my husband’s musics gigs ( I started with Grant at the Fineline this past weekend. He can be seen here playing keys with John Kurtis Dehn on guitar and August Ogren-Dehn on drums. Fun night of music! It was difficult to get the right lighting for sure! But here are couple I think that turned out. Enjoy 🙂

Package Design – Illustration Class Update Part 3

Ever since my fingers were nimble enough, I have loved making friendship bracelets. It was a summer hobby as a kid and even recently I have stumbled upon finger weaving (which is great as well). So when we were asked to create a package design for an item that had been “neglected” by old or uninspired design, I knew my product right away – embroidery floss. Take a look at the idea below. I know there really is no market for this more elaborate packaging, but it was a lot of fun to create. The artwork was done using scratch board and the mock-up was created using Photoshop.


Illustration Class Update Part 2

For this assignment, we were asked to create a portrait illustration of a 1960’s person and an object that goes with the person in some way. I chose Rachel Carson. She was a biologist who wrote about DDT and its affect on wildlife in her book “Silent Spring”. My first attempt combined both the object and a portrait of her (left) and in my second attempt (right two) I created little “icons” that could work in a website or as a favicon. All were created using Illustrator.

Color Run Photography

I was one of the Color Run photographers this weekend, and they were kind enough to let me use a few of the photos to show on the web. If you want a copy of race pictures by race photographers – who took photos before, during and after the race – go to Zazoosh. They might not be up yet, but they will be soon! Enjoy this small sampling till then 🙂 .