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 1 (MCAD Continuing Studies)

I am really enjoying my Illustration class at MCAD this summer. I was, at first, very hesitant to take such a class because I’ve never considered myself to be a very good illustrator; however, I have found it really great for exercising my creative muscles. I’ve also enjoyed having “assignments” again, because they really do open your mind to other problem solving techniques. See what I’ve been working on so far 🙂 .

“Overheard in New York” inspired artwork in pen and India ink.
My quote went something like this, “Honey, flamingos don’t actually do anything.” It was apparently said from a mother to son in Central Park.

Opposing Point of View on scratch board used Photoshop to add text and text ornaments.
I skipped showing my first opinion piece because I thought it wasn’t my favorite work. My first opinion piece focused on nuns in America being singled out and persecuted by the Vatican. The following week’s assignment was to flip and create a work that displays the opposing viewpoint. I thought about how the Vatican must think of these nuns as rule breakers, not much unlike unruly school children.

Valentine’s Day Card in Illustrator.
I changed this assignment to be an anniversary card. Grant’s and my 1st year anniversary is this July. We met about 5.5 years ago at Como Park in St. Paul in the warming house before a broomball game. I was wearing a red hat.

20 stories in 60 minutes in Illustrator and Photoshop.
My image was inspired by the first 2 minute story in the NPR piece but definitely took some privileges on what I decided to illustrate.

Graphic Design Donation to PADS. – Helping Kenyan Girls Go to School

Since it is summer and class is out, I’ve been itching to do some graphic design. A good college friend of mine, Megan Greulich, contacted me about helping her set up a domain name and WordPress site for a fundraising project she had in mind. Since all the proceeds of her project go straight to the cause, and she was putting her own money into the website, I thought it was the perfect time to donate some design.

Charity Kroeker, Megan’s co-worker and founder of the idea, came across AFRIpads after visiting a town in Kenya. She noticed that girls were not attending school, or even in some cases dropping out, simply because they did not have adequate feminine products. In order to make a direct difference in the town she visited, she started PADS. – Perfect Attendance Dignity Squad – to raise money for the 1,315 female students to have the feminine products they need for a whole year. All the raised donations will go straight to the town through AFRIpads.

Under a very tight deadline, I worked on three posters, cleaned up the logo and put together the graphics for the WordPress site.

Take a look! And donate! It only takes $6.50 to help 1 Kenyan girl for a full year!

Have a good summer!
-Shalanah Dawson

New for 2011-2012 – Youtube

Just yesterday, I purchased a screen capture software – iShowU HD – for my Graphic Design and Digital Photography classes next year. I have created two YouTube videos that will be used for students to follow if they are absent or need a refresher on the project or tools. I’m enjoying it so far! More videos to come as the summer continues 🙂 .

– Shalanah Backus

Photoshop Converts Cake

ctrl-z Shalanah Backus Student Cake

Commercial Art is perhaps my favorite class to teach. Students learn about Photoshop, design and Illustrator. It could not be more fun. I also was blessed in having a great group of students, who became huge fans of the computer programs we were using. It was one of their birthdays and another classmate created this AWESOME cake with “Ctrl – Z” on it. It is the “undo” button on Photoshop, Illustrator and many other programs. Love it.

-Shalanah Backus

Commercial Art Website


I’m happy to announce that I’ve created a website for my Commercial Art class at Waconia High School. This is the first year I’m trying to go all online with the class projects, galleries and calendar. Check it out! It is being updated weekly and sometime this week I’ll be putting up student work galleries!

-Shalanah Backus

Tech Summer

It has been a busy summer. Graphic design, web work, wedding photos, AND I’m teaching at iD Tech Camps! I worked as a counselor at iD once when I was in college and have rejoined the team this year at Macalester College. The staff is fun, the campers are awesome and we make some really cool things! At iD I teach students, in one week, how to create a website or video game from scratch (using Photoshop, Flash, Dreamweaver and Fusion). There are also other courses in coding (C++ and C sharp), robotics, and game modding.

-Shalanah Backus