Beards and Scrubs YouTube Channel Art!

Over the summer, I had access to Adobe Illustrator, and used it to complete a few logo/clip art projects.

One medical school friend of mine, Shawn Izadi, asked if I could help him create a logo for his new YouTube channel, “Beards and Scrubs.” It may have taken us many nights in the library to come up with a catchy name, but Shawn already had a vision for the logo: a silhouette of his face, with a beard of course.

His vision was to create online videos to give advice to new medical students and prospective applicants. He wanted to include how-to videos, interviews, stories, and fun events. It’s a great and creative idea, and I was very happy to help.

I wanted the logo to be unique and the silhouette so recognizable, that family and friends could easily tell it was him. To accomplish this, it was best to construct some kind of tracing from a photograph.

The first time I ever used Illustrator was in high school, and using it brought up some fun first memories with computers. I remember learning the basics of HTML code, creating my own website in AngelFire, and spending hours playing Chip’s Challenge… I once got in trouble at school for my illustrations using the Paint program: we had to create our own diagrams of the layers of a leaf for science class, and the teacher wanted to fail me because she thought I’d copied and pasted the pictures from a book. In reality, I had drawn them using a mouse and Paint. It’s not the best quality, but here’s another illustration I did using Paint with only a mouse (and at the time, there was no way to trace a photo):


In high school, I was enamored with Adobe Illustrator. I used it to create graphics for the school’s news show. I became familiar with vector art; essentially, bending single lines to make pictures. Vectors are great because they can be easily manipulated, and to a mathematically detailed degree. I hadn’t seen Adobe Illustrator since high school, and although it had changed enough that I had to watch tutorials, I found it comfortingly  the same.

A friend and colleague of mine, Ignacio, showed me an app that can change photos into vector art (Adobe Capture), and I used it to take a photo of Shawn and upload it onto the desktop version of Adobe Illustrator.

Now, all I had to do was erase the background and darken the inside of Shawn’s face and body.



I cropped his bust, added the title in a classic text, and put a circle in the background to make the logo concise. I also added carefully selected white lines to show he was wearing a shirt, and to make his beard more obvious. As we are both University of Texas (UT) alumni, I thought it would be nice to leave his UT ring plainly visible. It took a few added white strokes with the paint brush tool to get the beard and hand just right:



But, it wasn’t quite finished yet. Shawn wanted the logo to have more of a medical leaning, so we decided to add a stethoscope. I wanted the picture to maintain consistency, so I decided to trace a stethoscope from a photograph instead of trying to draw one by hand. I took another picture of Shawn wearing a stethoscope:



I increased the contrast of the vector image so that the stethoscope would be as clear as possible. After uploading to Illustrator, I isolated the stethoscope in its own layer by erasing everything else. Then, I dragged it on top of the existing logo.


From here, I had to make some adjustments. Since the stethoscope was now on a black background, it looked different; the black lines were now gone, and the white lines were visible. This gave it a messy look. I decided to erase some white lines and added/adjust others to make it look clean. To better see what I was doing, I made the stethoscope pink during editing. The green dots below denote vector points on each line that make up the stethoscope drawing. This is vector art:



The stethoscope might have been the most time consuming, but it was great piece to add. Here’s the finished logo:



You can see the it in action on Shawn’s YouTube site, Beards and Scrubs. It’s been up and running since June! Take a look at his videos and subscribe. He’s a charismatic guy.


And he also has a ‘manbun.’


I’m very proud to support this creative project. If you have questions about medical school, beards, or manbuns, his channel is a good one to watch.



“Arrival”: a digital painting for Joseph Alvarez’s album “When We Arrive”

This summer, I’ve had the opportunity to become better acquainted with digital media, and I recently finished my first ever digital art commission- an album cover for a very good friend of mine, Joseph Alvarez.


He’d been working on creating music for many years now, and was finally ready to release his first single, “Redemption Song.” I’ll let Joseph describe his album, “When We Arrive” to you; straight from his Kickstarter webpage:



Born in Austin, TX, he envisioned the Austin cityscape, with a vaquero (Mexican cowboy) walking toward the city. He wanted to mix the old world and new world. Just after Texas became annexed to the US, Mexican Americans,  due to sheer prejudice and pride, were left out largely out of  US urbanization and the benefits that come along with it (education, increased standard of living, etc.). I thought of a painting that depicted the idea that modern Mexicans are still feeling pushed out of industry by gentrification and racism; they perpetually feel left behind, looking through the gaze of their vaquero ancestors, confused and alone in a strange, growing new world… in a land that used to be entirely theirs.

I made a few sketches. Joseph wanted the work to be a black and white, with a charcoal feel. He’d even gotten a friend, Eliana Bernard, another artist, to make a rough draft for him a few years ago, when he was first publicizing the project:


Credit: Eliana Bernard


I decided, in an interesting twist, to use my iPad to create a digital piece. That way, it would match the appropriate digital color codes, and I could play around with adding colors and textures without the worry of permanent marks. I, too, made a rough sketch by hand, before beginning on my iPad:



Joseph liked the overall composition in the sketch, so I set to work on the planning the piece. I would need photos of the Austin skyline, and possibly photos of cowboys or someone who at least looks like one. I took a friend of mine, David Ortiz, out for a small photo shoot. He doesn’t necessarily look like a cowboy, but I needed a model in the shot to have proportions for the body I would add in later.





I did some research on painting apps, and decided to try one called Procreate. I used the photograph of Austin as a bottom layer, and began tracing the outline of the city over it on a top later using a pencil/pen tool. The great thing about digital art, is that you can delete the bottom layer (in this case, the photo), and the top layer (the tracing) is still there. Tracing the city took many hours. I do think tracing is incredibly easy, which one could argue takes credit away from my artistic talent… but, the sheer amount of willpower it takes to spend hours tracing all the details is a talent in and of itself. It took a long time; I wish I would have kept track… but school kept me busy otherwise and time was a blur.




Once lines were drawn, I had to find a cowboy. I used a compilation of some photos I found online. After that, the creativity began… I used various digital tools to shade, paint, and color the composition, progressivly bringing the buildings to life:




I showed Joseph the progress, and we both noticed that the cowboy looked a little too much like an American cowboy, and not particularly like a vaquero. Joseph researched a couple of other photos he thought better conveyed the Mexican cowboy style, and… since I was using digital media, I easily could delete the original cowboy and replace him with someone more suiting. After adding more layers, and blending in a foreboding sky, here is the end result:



I am incredibly proud of the work. I like the new vaquero much more than the other one. He’s more proportional to the background, and better fits the attitude of the scene.


You can hear Joseph’s single, “Redemption Song” from his album, “When We Arrive” on Joseph’s facebook page:


I was delighted to be in the credits, among the many great names. Thank you, Joseph, for the wonderful opportunity.




But, the project isn’t over! I’ll be adding some fun color to the work for t-shirts and posters…