Cubanos con El Jefe

Lucy with sandwich

My little brother had an audition in LA yesterday. Which means it's a rock-paper-scissors-you-drive-him match between me and my mom. 

I lost. 

But lucky for us, Jon's audition was only 15 minutes away from another event:

El Jefe ad

For my thousands of readers (haha no) who have not yet seen the movie Chefstarring Jon Favreau (who also wrote, directed and produced), please treat yourself and head to your local movie theatre. 

I'd give you the synopsis, but there seems to be a theme among everyone who saw it including myself: 

"Never heard of it before I saw it." 

"I didn't even see the trailer. Was there a trailer?"

"Someone just told me it was amazing and I had to see it."

My mom coerced me and my sister to the theatre about a month ago and we sat in the dark (figuratively and literally) waiting for the film to begin. 

Charming, sentimental, hilarious, intelligent and holy-crap-the-food. 

So when you hear that the lead actor of your new favorite film is cooking the signature meal featured in aforementioned favorite film... 

You go. No excuses.


We stood in line for... awhile. After some neck-craning and inner-screaming, we briefly encountered El Jefe himself.

Jon Jon Lucy Not Looking

Jon and I agreed that even if they ran out of sandwiches... it was already worth it. 

Luckily for us, there were plenty to go around. We got one between us to split.

Sandwich Pile
Butter Guy

And a Materva. Can't have a Cubano without a Materva.

Materva  Close

There was, of course, that awkward moment when we mentally went through the list of ingredients that a true Cubano is comprised of. Ham, pork, cheese and... um.

"Lucy... I hate pickles.

"I can't stand mustard."

"What do we do?"

"...just try a few bites and we'll go to Del Taco or something if it's unbearable."

I'm such a fake Cuban. I put on a good accent and attitude when necessary and I'm an okay dancer.

But I DRAW THE LINE at mustard.

Jon Eating
Close Up With Materva

Okay so maybe mustard and pickles are actually kinda sorta really amazing...

As long as they're sandwiched together on a proper Cubano. Buen Provecho!


An English Garden - Poster

English Garden Choir Poster L

An English Garden - Choral Concert - Adobe Photoshop CS6

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Finally figured out a template for the choir director that he's happy with. Subtle, old-fashioned, sophisticated and very straightforward. Nothing too crazy... unless he asks for it. 

Sometimes I'm happy that some of these projects don't take long... at all. 

But sometimes I'm craving more of an artistic challenge, ya know? 

(Observation: Biggest emotional hiccup when trying to make some art is thinking and, even worse, believing that "Anyone could do this." )

Cleopatra. Joan of Arc. Aphrodite.


I don't really have any comments regarding Labor Day. Barely crossed my mind today. This post isn't about that. I just have some thoughts and comments. Letters and words. Bits of RGB light gleaming from my screen to yours.

Allow me to talk about perspective.

Waiting for a ride in the famous Great Park Balloon, we sought out some shade near the misters and briefly walked on what I called "the pointless sidewalk."

A random and unnecessary cement path amidst the dying grass. Going nowhere towards nothing.

It wasn't until I was four-hundred feet in the air that my co-conspirator leaned over the side railing and said, "Well, North is that way."

I looked down at my pointless sidewalk. 

Clear and defined and deliberate. Mocking me, practically. 

Dead writers and geniuses worked so freaking hard to convey the importance of perspective and the fault of presumption to their descendents and admirers. 

But life lessons like to nestle comfortably within their namesake: Life.

(Thanks, Tal Bachman.)

Apartment Hunting for the Young, Broke & Fabulous

IMG_0084 IMG_0086IMG_0031
Photos taken March 2014

Do you know how freaking hard it is to find affordable rent in Orange County? 

If you're reading this and you live in Orange County, then ya. Ya feel me. 

I got approved for my very first apartment today. 

To be clear, that doesn't mean much. My things aren't packed and I'm still running the numbers. But at least they like me and put a big, fat smiley-face sticker on my credit history.

I've been looking at places since March. Just the "looking" has been overwhelming my desktop and search history with information and details. Fridge rentals! Renter's insurance! Co-signers! Vaulted ceilings! Pet deposits!

(Let's get real. Unless my cat intends to pay her own $45/month, she's staying home. Sorry, chica.)

Something affordable? Near impossible. Close to my workplace? Not a chance. Plenty of space? Lol. Out loud. own space? 

*happy dance*

Change is terrifying and numbers are intimidating, but at the end of the day it's a small-and-totally-overpriced space I can call my own. 

So three cheers for the broke and lonely!





Spelling Bee Poster

Spelling Bee L Poster

The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee poster - Adobe Photoshop CS6

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Well, here it is. The first show of the season. Experimenting with minimalism (and they let me). 

Next up is Lend Me a Tenor and A Charlie Brown Christmas. 

I need to start doing graphics just for myself again. This whole Saddleback thing has been great, but I feel like I'm getting stuck. 


Speech Collage Poster

Speech Collage XL edited

Speech Collage: The Legacy - Adobe Photoshop CS6

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This was an on-the-side request from the speech instructors. I was so hung up on making it more collage-y. Like, ya know, cut-n-paste with sharp corners and people peeking out behind one another. 

I settled for the tile effect. Much cleaner. I may have picked the wrong typeface... it looks like it hogs a lot of the space. 

Oh well! 


Also, just noticed that it looks exactly like my Instagram feed in my righthand column. Hehehe.

Jazz Events Poster

Jazz Events L Poster

Jazz Events Announcement - Adobe Photoshop CS6

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Difficulty scale! Adding color to a poster.... versus fitting a freakishly large amount of type on a limited space and still making it legible. 

Who would win?

I'm actually quite pleased with this accomplishment. Not the most visually challenging (Metamorphoses still takes the cake on that one) but definitely the most difficult regarding formatting. 

coffee shop musings


I really need to spend some time cleaning up my blog. 

It's like washing my face. I should buckle down and buy the fancy cleanser and wash every morning. 

But laziness rears its drowsy head and just throwing some random CSS coding feels "good enough for now."

I'm more thoughtful and deliberate than my blog looks. Swear.

...on the other hand, I'm definitely as messy and ADD as my blog suggests. 

Selective character traits. Everyone has them around certain somebodies.

*tries to find a readable font to assign to all future posts*

Why I Should Write Photoshop Tutorials


How To Pull Text & Typography from Low-Res Images

It's a week before tech for SCLO's Hello Dolly in the McKinney Theatre. Our scenic painter needs a transperancy of a period window sign for the millinery. The only source image we have is a low-res photo from Vintage Maine Images. 

Note:This fake little tutorial is meant for those who have a decent understanding of masking and making selections. 

1. Open the image in Photoshop. 

Screen Shot 2014-07-02 at 10.20.05 AM

2. Duplicate the layer using cmnd+J and use the marquee rectangle tool to create a marching ants box around the desired text or image you'd like.

Screen Shot 2014-07-02 at 10.21.00 AM

3. Click the "Quick Mask" button (white rectangle with the gray dot) and delete the background layer.

Screen Shot 2014-07-02 at 10.21.37 AM

4. If your image is white on a dark background (like this one is), invert the colors using Image > Adjustments > Invert. Luckily, I'm working with a black and white photo so that makes this step super easy*

*with a color image you're pulling text from, you may want to use the adjustments menu to turn the image Black & White first.

Screen Shot 2014-07-02 at 10.22.15 AM

5. Black text! Now we're getting somewhere. Using the marqee rectangle tool and/or the lasso tool, create a closer selection to the text and mask out the stuff you don't want to see anymore.

Screen Shot 2014-07-02 at 10.23.49 AM

6. Fun part! Separating the light from the dark. Or increasing/decreasing the threshold of the image. Go to Image > Adjustments > Threshold and slide the little arrow down until the junk in the background disappears. As you can see in the example below, the F still has some extra pixels attached to it. But it's nothing we can't mask out. 

Screen Shot 2014-07-02 at 10.24.46 AM

7. Once you've got the clean (yet pixelated) text, save the image as a .jpg and close Photoshop. 

Screen Shot 2014-07-02 at 10.26.32 AM

8. Open a New Document in Adobe Illustrator (whatever size you'd like). I made my document 1000px by 1000px. In your new image go to File > Place and select the .jpg you just saved in Photoshop.

Screen Shot 2014-07-02 at 10.26.53 AM

9. There's your image! All pretty and ready to be vectorized. 

Screen Shot 2014-07-02 at 10.27.21 AM

10.  Go to Window > Image Trace. In the Image Trace window, select "Black and White Logo." Make sure your image is selected during this step. Image Trace creates a sooth-n-pretty vector version of your image. 

Screen Shot 2014-07-02 at 10.28.29 AM

11.  Slide around the Image Trace Threshold until it's where you like it and Voila!

Window SignA sign! 

They're in the scene shop creating the window stencil right now. 

*takes a little bow*

Saddleback Jazz Camp T-Shirt

Jazz camp front model

Jazz camp back model

Jazz Camp 2014 t-shirts - Adobe Photoshop CS6

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Yay for decaptitated models! 

This was an offhand request from one of the other admins. She did a quick-and-dirty design for last year's tshirts and asked if I could whip something up. 

Consider this CoolWhip. 

The Camp Director likes it simple. So simple it shall be. 

Boring rectangle images below: 

Front - 


Back - 


GIF Test

So I'm doing this thing next Saturday-Sunday. 

And I almost passed out when I got the e-mail. 

But I don't want to jinx it. 

To keep as vague as possible, I was asked to report on my proficiency in the Photoshop techniques listed below:

  • layers, including multiplying
  • image size vs. canvas size
  • creating new canvases and cropping
  • creating shapes and barreling images into shapes
  • effects on images, including color overlay and opacity
  • type
  • GIFs!
  • MASKS!
  • collage layouts and overlapping
  • liquify, clone tool, healing tool
  • levels
  • gradients
  • filters
  • actions

Effects, masks, layers are candy. I've been working on creating actions and freshening up my liquify skillz.

But GIFs? I've never made a gif before. 



Thanks, Google!

Graduation Invitation & Poster Series




Back and Front

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Graduation Invitation (Front/Back) - Adobe Photoshop CS6 - Adobe InDesign CS6 - Photography by Lucy Darby

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Look at them, darnit. They're so grown up. 

My mom refuses to throw the standard black-and-white graduation party. So she asked me to do a Ferris-Bueller-inspired invitation and poster set as decor. 

Considering she lets me live in her house and eat most of her food, there was little protest on my part. 

A photoshoot and some editing later, our Costco prints were ordered. 

Grad Group Poster 2


Each of these peeps get their own poster. Which I think is a totally cool and unexpected grad gift.

Grad Jon Poster 4

What's great about photographing Jon, Nathan and Tori is that I've been shooting them for years. They're used to my camera in their faces and they need little encouragement to get them to play along.
Grad Nathan Poster 3

They had fun. I had fun. We all had fun. Grad Tori Poster 5

I realized during this project that I love... not working for other people. Yes, mom said "hey can you do this." and I said "yes." But being in charge of the photography and design and overall feel of each of the prints made me really quite happy. And I know it's not a very elaborate undertaking. 

All the same, it felt good. It's what I would want for my future as a designer and an artist.

Basically, to do good work that makes me happy. Period. 

Godspell Concept

Godspell Concept 1

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Urban. Sophisticated. Smart. Hipster. 

Album cover. 

And then: Banksy. Shepard Fairey. 

These were the buzz words from the Godspell concept meeting last week. As their unofficial in-house graphic designer, guess who has the pleasure of taking on this project?

Above is one of three concepts I've created for the director and set designer to look at. Hipster album cover and street art aren't exactly conflicting ideas... but they're two different cultures. I want the basis or the foundation artwork to be clean. 

Then maybe destroy (improve) it with some spraypaint or sticker logo or something. 

Godspell Concept 2

Concept two. Obviously heavily inspired by Banksy.  Godspell Concept 3This one just looks like a movie poster for a love story between modern-day Judas and Jesus. 

Which, hey, totally could've been the case. 

Yay sunday school!

A German Requiem by Johannes Brahms - Poster

A German Requiem by Johannes Brahms - Poster - Adobe Photoshop CS5

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I don't know if ya'll recall my Mozart/Mendelssohn poster. The director/conductor wanted something "young, funky, and hip" so I gave him "hipster Mozart."

On a tight deadline, I didn't get any direction for this one... so I assumed he wanted the same concept. And I thought it would be kinda neat to make the choir concerts looking like they belonged in the same series of bespeckled dead composers.

Not so:

While I LOVE the quirkiness of this, the “hipster Brahms” doesn’t really speak to the seriousness and breadth of the work. I hate to be difficult (you know that). This has to have an “eternal” feel to it. Earthy. Massive.

So take two, with more weight and infiniteness:

Brahms 2


He loved it.

So it's going to print.

Another one off my list!


Godspell - Poster

Godspell Poster

Godspell poster - Adobe Photoshop CS5

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They gave me the photograph of our outdoor setup for Children of Eden. This was... August 2012. A few days before my 19th birthday. Basically, the hottest three days of my life were spent setting up the stage, the lights, the flats, etc. Two of us almost passed out from the heat.

It was awesome.

This year we're doing Godspell outside under the stars on the campus quad. Usually, the summer conservatory shows don't get advertised very much... very at all. So our fearless leader was insistant that this show got it's own posters, flyers, ads, blah blah blah.

Another two hour design. Everything could always be better, but on a deadline: "it's not terrible."