May 5, 2013

A Color Changing Mug, with Sketches

In February an acquaintance hired me to design a coffee mug (a color changing coffee mug!) for his coffee shop. My art was focused then on the local wildlife of Santa Cruz, and his logo is a sea otter holding a coffee mug. He wanted a design that was colorful and bright, which is exactly the kind of art that I love to make. I am also very interested in working with local businesses, so all in all, I felt blessed to have this opportunity.

I sent him the following first round of sketches:

My client loved the underwater scene, but there was one issue: The coffee shop is surfer-themed, and he wanted a surfing theme for the coffee mug. Santa Cruz boasts legendary surf spots; surfers come from all over to compete and ride the waves. While everyone in my upstate New York hometown grew up playing soccer or baseball, in Santa Cruz the kids grow up surfing (and skateboarding, and riding dirt bikes). Surfing is in their blood.

So although I liked the underwater scene I had to scrap that idea and create a new batch of surfer-themed sketches. I got loads of inspiration from this surfing art Pinterest board:

And came up with these ideas:

Now the issue was how to give everything a local vibe. I thought of Steamer Lane, one of Santa Cruz's popular surf spots. Surrounded by cliffs, it is located near a very cute red brick lighthouse. There is nothing more thrilling than walking along West Cliff Drive and watching the surfers as the sun sets in dazzling hues. The ocean waves turn every color of the rainbow. So I tried to capture that moment and those colors in this final design:

Click to zoom.

I am waiting for the coffee mugs to get printed up, and I'll try to post pics here when that happens. I hope this mug will be one of those cherished mugs that is a mainstay of morning coffee long after the ink has chipped away.