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100% Me — From Start to Finish


The Language of Dance

Language of Dance (c2013 TxCowboyDancer Designs)

Language of Dance (c2013 TxCowboyDancer Designs)

This is my design.  100% mine.  From start to Finish.  I did this!  Woot!  Uh-Huh!  [doing that circle in the air thing]  Doing my happy chair dance.  Who da manz!?  I iz!

Ok, ok.  Seriously folks this design is all mine.

Since this is only the third in this new series, here is a reminder about the format.  Each post will have three parts:

  1. A large image of the new design (like the one to the right)
  2. A bit of background on how the design came about (just below)
  3. A few of my favorite products with the new design (just below that)

I hope you are enjoying the “back story” on the designs as I create them.

Even if you don’t visit the store and do some shopping, please hit the share and like buttons so that others can find out about my designs.  Thanks!

Background on my latest design:

The idea for Language of Dance on my "brainstorming" list of design ideas.

The idea for Language of Dance on my “brainstorming” list of design ideas.

Way back when I first had the idea of creating designs for t-shirts, mugs, etc I sat down at my computer and came up with, literally, 14 printed 8 1/2 x 11 pages, double and single spaced…  quotes, quips, sayings, and design ideas.

Yes, dear readers, all nine of you who are reading this, without my usual dramatic embelishments, I can TRUTHFULLY say there is a fourteen page document on my desk right in front of me as I speak and on page ten there is this idea.

So… this was one of the very first “ideas” I had.  I had seen shirts with the word “Dance” in English written in different Fonts and different sizes arranged in a mosaic kind of pattern but I had never seen that done with multiple languages.

This is also one of the very first designs I ever created.  I actually used a word processor to do the design because of the large amount of text.  Using a graphics program really wasn’t working.

I used an online translation program to look up words from languages around the world. I basically just went down the list of languages and grabbed any that “looked cool” or that slightly resembled “Dance” in English.   I tried to choose colors from across the spectrum.  And them when I was done, I started cutting and pasting them into a shape that I liked.

Then I did a screen grab to convert the “text” into a graphic.   I then imported the graphic into a graphics editing program and fiddled with the twiddly bits and Tah-Dah…  I had my first design.

Stressed man pulling hair [CC]And then I fell promptly on my face.  I discovered that designing for t-shirts and mugs is a not an easy process and of all the designs I could have chosen for a “first” effort, doing something like this was NOT a good choice.  There are lots of problems with it from a design standpoint.  The wide range of colors means that it really looks best on a white background but putting a white background on white products is problematic.  And when creating the design I gave no thought to the size of the design area on the products onto which the design would go.

The upshot was that I eventually just threw my hands into the air in frustration and started moved on to something simpler.  And this design languished on the sidelines: even though I had created a few products; even though I had announced this design before (with the earlier) versions of it.

But now, after months of practice and learning more about graphics editing than I ever thought I’d know, I was ready to tackle it again.  Start from scratch and do it up right.  If you compare the “idea” photo to the “finished” design you can see that the idea is basically the same but the arrangement is far different, in order to accommodate the constraints required by the products on zazzle.

Cowboy smiley 110x110And I’m pretty happy with the results.

As with all my designs, it seems as if as soon as I finish, I get an idea for variations to the design.  So watch for future versions working with this concept.

My favorite products with the new design…

Sometimes when I finish with a design and load it onto the products I feel like “Grumpy Cat” who doesn’t like anything.  Because, well to be honest, they just don’t look as good as I had envisioned.

But then, sometimes, when I load a design I just go “WOW.”  This particular design has quite a few “Wows.”   I hope you enjoy them and if you do, help me out by clicking those like and share buttons.  Here are my favorites from the first batch:  (and no… the hunk does NOT come with the shirt… alas plus he might not even be legal!  *GASP* We shall assume that he’s of college age—you dirty minded… …of course I could be externalizing again…. but I digress  *sigh*)

Read the rest of this entry

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Coffee Kitty is NOT a Morning Cat… Uhmmm… Person


Given how sleep deprived I am this morning…

Coffee Kitty is NOT a Morning Person

c2013 TxCowboyDancer Designs

…this design is somehow very appropriate.

Since this is only the second in this new series, here is a reminder about the format.  Each post will have three parts:

  1. A large image of the new design (like the one to the right)
  2. A bit of background on how the design came about (just below)
  3. A few of my favorite products with the new design (just below that)

I hope you are enjoying the “back story” on the designs as I create them.

Even if you don’t visit the store and do some shopping, please hit the share and like buttons so that others can find out about my designs.  Thanks!

Background on my latest design:

I don’t remember where I first saw this cat.  I think it was either on Facebook or maybe it popped up in a Google search.  I’ve slept since then…  😉

Following the trail back to the source of the image lead me to a website called Deviant Art;  a site I had never visited before.  Wow, talk about a different part of the Interwebz!  LOL

I Need Coffee Original sketch by (by YTCyberPunk)

This was the image that I first saw… I Need Coffee Original sketch by (by YTCyberPunk)

If you’ve never heard of Deviant Art, check it out.  It is a lot of fun, but a lot of, well, deviant, in a good “artistic” way.  Basically it is a place for artists and photographers to hang out and share their work, comment and critique, and take a peek at what other artists and photographers are doing.

Some of the work on the site is jaw dropping amazing.  Some of it is amusing.  Some of it, quite frankly, is awful.  Not awful in the sense of lack of inspiration or effort but in execution—sorta baby works by artists who still have “training wheels” on their paint brushes or mouses.  Mice?  Miceses?

Whatever you call more than one computer mouse.  But hey, art is in the eye of the beholder, and all of it is fun.  Think “coffee house” in Soho with local artists works on the wall, and you get the idea… only without the coffee and it is on the Internet instead of in New York… but anyhoo…

Hmmm… coffee must be on my brain this morning…  Slllllluuuuuurrrrrrrrpppppp….  Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhh….

You know you are truly hooked when you are only a third of the way through your first cup of coffee and there is NO WAY the caffeine  can actually be hitting your system yet, but your body reacts physiologically to the mere promise of more caffeine hitting the blood stream soon. *SIGH*

I Need Coffee (by YTCyberPunk) Ink Version

I Need Coffee (by YTCyberPunk) Cleaned up Ink Version

But I digress..   I do that you know…

So… on the Deviant Art website, has a way for visitors to purchase a digital copy of the artwork for their personal non-commercial use like putting it on a computer desktop as the background.  Or printing it off and framing it and hanging it on the wall.

But I didn’t want the image for personal use.  I wanted to edit the design and I wanted to sell the design on products like t-shirts and coffee mugs.  So, having never done this before, I said “what the hey” and took a chance.  I emailed the artist and asked her if she’d consider selling me the commercial rights to her drawing, including the right to edit the drawing and add captions.

It turns out that the “drawing” was just a doodle she had done during class and that she’d never actually ever sold one of her works before and was very flattered that I liked her drawing.

Since we were both “babes in the woods” so to speak, we talked it through, making the contract up as we went.  We eventually agreed that she retain copyright on the original drawing and that I would have copyright on any modifications based on her drawing.

I sent her a payment and in exchange I got a cleaned up copy of the drawing from her and the commercial rights to print the modified versions on  t-shirts etc.  Coolness!  My first official bizness KNEE-go-she-Ayh-SHUN! Woot!

Storyline showing development of the design

Storyline showing development of the design as I edited it

When I got the cleaned up “pen and ink” version, I decided that actually liked the original “messy” pencil version better.

So working with both the original “messy” file and the ink “clean” version, I took a bit of this and a bit of that and did a lot of clean up and editing of the “messy” version.

I added color to it a little at a time.  I did some MORE clean up, adjusted proportions, shortened the height of the steam, and eventually after several hours of work with a graphics program…

Tah-Dah.  I had a design I liked and that was ready to go onto products.

My favorite version is the cream colored cat.  But I am playing around with the colors and will at some point in the future have a black and white version and a grey scale version as well.  Watch for those.  🙂

Or I might change the color of the coffee cup or I might use the ink version.  Who knows.  But I’ll have to have more coffee first.  LOL

I just LOVE the expression on this cat’s face.  Especially since it is so close and contrasts so nicely with the big “smiley” face on the mug!  Woot!

My favorite products with the new design…

I had a LOT of fun coming up with captions for the bumper stickers and mugs, etc for this design.  I’m a coffee drinker and NOT a morning person AT ALL so this is a topic near and dear to my caffeinated heart. Read the rest of this entry

Day Three… and itty bitty steps which feel like hiking Mount Rainier


Doing Better – Not perfect but better

c2013 TxCowboyDancer (Tony New)The photo to the right is one that I took on a trip to Seattle Washington, where I attended the Emerald City Hoedown, which was this year’s IAGLCWDC Annual Convention and where I taught a workshop at the event.

We stayed an extra day so we could go on a bus tour of Mount Rainer National Park which I really enjoyed.   On the tour, we stopped at several points, got out of the bus and was able to enjoy a bit of the scenery.  One of those stops took the tour group down into a ravine created by a glacial melt river full of rounded rocks washed down the mountainside by the water.

The park service had used some of these rocks to create “stairs” on the path down into the ravine for visitors to the park to use to get closer to the water and to a log “bridge” which allowed you to cross the river.  I was toward the back of the group and was doing pretty good, until I saw the steps in the photo.

That’s where I bailed and said “There’s no way!”

Two years ago, I would have happily gone on down with the rest of the group but when I saw these rocks, my self-preservation instincts kicked into high gear and did some fast calculations involving the lack of a hand rail, the roundness of the rocks, the wetness of the rocks, my physical condition, and memories of a fall on stairs during a vacation last year and the result was visions of my dance career flashing before my eyes.

I went back up and watched from the ledge.

It was just one more realization of just how out of shape I am.  And how badly I need to get back into shape.  And just how much my physical condition (or lack of it) is affecting just about everything in my life.

Today is Wed, Day 3 on the path to a new healthier me…

Things I did good yesterday:

Read the rest of this entry

Day Two… Small Steps and Overdoing it on Day 1…


Another short post…

Stuff I did good yesterday.

Tape Measure on a Cat [CC]

Does this thing make me look fat?

“Good” = “better than what I was doing.”  “Good” does not equal “perfection” just “better”

  • One complete day without Diet Coke.  Yay!
    .
  • Breakfast was two eggs, two slices of toast and orange juice and coffee (we won’t discuss that breakfast was around 11am since I slept til 10:30ish)
    ..
  • Lunch (which was actually around 5:30pm was grilled chicken sandwich (mustard and extra veggies) and ice tea at Sonic.  (I didn’t know Sonic sold Ice Tea…  LOL — Note to self and to the six people actually reading this “no fast food” means that if I do have to do something on the run, I do something from the few “good” choices and there are some, a few, at just about every fast food joint.)
    ..
  • Dinner (around 11pm-ish) was a sandwich and potato salad and ice tea. (I was EXHAUSTED when I got home so we went the easy route)

Let the applause commence!

On the “over did it” front:

I used my body WAY too much.  I had dance practice with my partner but before we started dancing we did some cycling and some lifting and stretching for about half an hour.

Then we danced for an hour.

Then I had 3 hours of West Cost Class and social dancing in between.  When I got home, around 10:30ish, after going by Kroger, I was so sore.

I couldn’t get to sleep until almost 2am.  Then I kept waking up all night because my legs hurt; I finally got up around 6 am, so I’ll probably need a nap sometime today.  I definitely overused my legs; they are literally aching right now, even as I type this, especially the big muscles in the back of the legs and the ankles and the arches of my feet.

NOTE to self.  On a big “dance day” I shouldn’t also do “aerobics” and lifting.  I should do those on non-dance-practice days.

Stuff for today:

Cat sleeping in the net of a socer goal with caption that reads "I haz a goal and I iz sleepinz on itz."I’m glad that today is a “computer” day where I update my Squidoo articles and add more products to my Zazzle store, etc.

I am going to TRY to get to the 24 hour fitness near me for an hour today to work on learning the new Smooth Advanced dance for ACDA/UCWDC.

Today, however, is also “laundry day” which for me, at my current fitness level counts as “exercise”.  *sigh*  I really need to take photos or better yet, a short video of the trek up and down the stairs to the laundry room.  You fine folks reading this really do need visuals to truly appreciate the ordeal involved in the simple statement “Today is Laundry Day.”  Ugh.

All in all, day one went well.  Day two is underway and I basically have no choice any longer.  I have to get healthy or else.  We don’t want to think about the “or else.”

There you have it.  Stay tuned.  And wish me success.

See ya on the dance floor.

In search of the perfect night’s sleep…


Perfect?  Did I say “perfect”?  I’d settle for “Mostly OK”

Iz nots sleepinzzz...! I iz "vizualizin' mai dance routeens" ©One of the items on my “10-Point-Plan” to “Transform Tony in 2013” is #1 Get plenty of sleep every night. 

Easier said than done!   However, talking about sleep is a good way to emphasis and reinforce the ongoing theme that Getting Fit and Healthy is complex because “EVERYTHING IS CONNECTED TO EVERYTHING!

Sleep is important and most definitely connected to everything else in your life.  Without consistent restful sleep, getting fit and healthy is almost impossible.

brunostWithout meaning to whine and moan, or act like a pampered diva….  But, since we’re mentioning “diva”  could I please have some cheese with my Whine?  Hmmm?

Oh, did you hear about that cheese truck fire that took days to put out?  I kid you not!!!!

Holy Cheesus!  Who knew?

Anyway in Norway where this cheese is made there was a truck accident in a tunnel and the load of cheese, called Brunost caught fire and burned for days.

But…  I digress…  Back to the whole sleep thing…. Read the rest of this entry

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