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Lisa Congdon: 365 Days of Hand Lettering

Lisa Congdon - 365 Days of Hand Lettering

On January 1, Lisa Congdon began an incredibly ambitious project. She set out to post a new hand-lettered illustration every single day for the year.

I suck at anything that has to be done every single day. Honestly I don’t even brush my teeth every day.

But she did it! Today Lisa posted her 365th hand-lettered illustration.

Check out the entire project on her blog. Here are a handful of my favorites from the project.

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How Ya Feelin, MCA?

illustration by Troy DeShano

There is something that happens when you cross a dark valley.

If you’re lucky enough to reach the other side, you discover all these other individuals who had been in there with you. People you know, some you don’t and some whom you never will. They are all down there together, you just can’t see one another through the pitch black.

But when you’ve made it out, whether by scraping and clawing; being dragged or drugged, the valley leaves you charged with static electricity.

You don’t know it’s there, and you don’t know the next person has it until you come in contact… and then something pops.

Whenever I see or hear stories of cancer, I get really emotional.

I somehow managed to make it through that movie 50/50 recently, despite the knots of familiarity in my stomach, but today when I heard that  that Adam Yauch (aka MCA) had died, it really got to me.

He was my favorite Beastie, and though I’ve always rooted for those guys as underdogs, I’ve been rooting just that much harder for him these past few years.

It’s tough to hear, man.

But little do you know about something that I talk about

I’m tired of driving it’s due time that I walk about

Subterranean Homesick Blues

Subterranean Homesick Blues

illustration by Troy DeShano[/caption]

Illustration inspired by the iconic Bob Dylan Subterranean Homesick Blues music video.

Maggie comes fleet foot
Face full of black soot
Talkin’ that the heat put
Plants in the bed but
The phone’s tapped anyway
Maggie says that many say
They must bust in early May
Orders from the DA
Look out kid
Don’t matter what you did
Walk on your tip toes
Don’t try, ‘No Doz’
Better stay away from those
That carry around a fire hose
Keep a clean nose
Watch the plain clothes
You don’t need a weather man
To know which way the wind blows.

from “Subterranean Homesick Blues,” Bob Dylan

Prints & other (awesome) merchandise featuring this illustration is available in the Strong Odors Society6 shop!

New Print: EAT

Illustration by Troy DeShano

When I left Michigan for the first time I was naively surprised at how many people new nothing of what we call “the U.P.”

Come to find out explaining an “upper peninsula” is more complicated that you might think..

North of Lake Michigan and Wisconsin a magical stretch of forests reaches along Lake Superior’s southern border from Michigan to Minnesota. If you’ve ever wondered what “air” smells like I highly recommend a visit. I made quite a few trips along the U.P.’s southern route in college and more recently have enjoyed camping along the Lake Superior shoreline.

Besides the sheer lack of people, the other thing I love about the U.P. is that when you do happen across civilization, it’s like you’ve stepped into another country.

The pace slows down exponentially; hit “seek” on your radio and it just spins like a vortex; little towns pass by every couple hours that I like to imagine have their very own Laura Palmers and Big Eds and Log Ladies…

and I’ve said before that even though everyone speaks English, they name their businesses as if no one does.

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Paper & Ink

Illustration by Troy DeShano

Will books become obsolete in the future? be the “new scrolls?”

I don’t think so, and it’s not the tactile nature that’s going to save them.. It’s the smell.

Something about paper & ink.. The newness of a freshly cracked memoir or the orthodox of a century-old novel is totally irreplaceable and so subconsciously craved by each of us who’ve ever spent any amount of time on the beach with a paperback, under the covers with the Hardy Boys or (for a few of us) in a hospital with Harry Potter that if it were ever eliminated from the human experience our world would most surely fall into ruin.

So when you pass on your favorite old Newberry winner to your kid, make sure she knows to take a big whiff and soak in the wonder of the binding.

Lest we forget and usher in a premature apocalypse.

Return of the Fudgies!

Return of the Fudgies
Illustration by Troy DeShano

Kind of an inside joke for all my NW MI neighbors.

This is the time of year when hungry hordes rise like the undead from the grave known as lower Michigan to swarm our streets.

It’s an eclectic group — some are donned in red hats; others in rat-tails and stars-n-stripes bikinis.

Yet others come via sea-and-wakeboard beefily shouldering cases of MGD with nary a sleeve in sight—they manage to communicate with a series of grunts, palm-slapping and innuendo.

But it’s not brains they crave… it’s homemade fudge.

Only the bravest or most desperate of locals dare leave our bunkers…

On this day I salute you Traverse City citizens who brave the streets crawling with fudge-smothered phantoms in the hopes of seducing them into purchasing a tye-dyed t-shirt… you gotta find some way to feed your babies after all.