Art for Van Sessions by Nicki Bluhm and the Gramblers January 20, 2015 09:24

Gnomie just finished up a fun job, a new t-shirt design for Nicki Bluhm and the Gramblers.

But before I get too far into it, I’m happy to say Nicki and the Gramblers just released their new album the other day!

Nicki and Tim Bluhm are two nice and uber musically talented people whom recently have had a viral video hit with this cover of  Hall and Oates – I Can’t Go For That- performed while in their trusty van en route to a show in Pioneertown, CA. You know how we all like to sing along to the radio in the car while driving across America’s scenic highways? Well, they do it really well! But then again Tim is from from the iconic Californian band, The Mother Hips, and Nicki has an amazing voice and records “vintage-tinged rocking country soul” along with her husband Tim and the Gramblers. Here is the vid-

Nicki and Tim asked Gnomie to create a Vans Session illustration for a new t-shirt. My goal was to capture the good times and spontaneity they have while singing on long road trips. I wanted to design it so the illustration conveyed the pureness of the moment, and crop the illustration much like they filmed it (by setting an iPhone on the dashboard) so people recognize the scene from the video quickly.

Here is some of the process of the work.







Here is a screen shot from the video that Nicki emailed me to get started, for the first sketch. I wanted to get them all singing and or performing, and prepare a rough sketch to see if I was going in the right direction in preparation for the first meeting with the two of them.







From the first meeting, they seemed excited about the direction, and most importantly I found out I was missing Steve- one of the band members whom was not in the van at the moment. So I put Steve back in there where I could fit him into the composition (sketch on left), and started to arrange the copy. In the color picture I am around 80% complete with the illustration. I use water color paper that I cover in acrylic gesso, then I use acrylic paint and Pigma pens. I’m not sure how I arrived on this process, but I like the textural effect it has. As we neared completion we discovered Michael the drummer also needed to appear in the scene, so I prepared a illustration of Mike and then using Photoshop moved Steve over and back a little bit and squeezed Michael in there. I had a good time working on this project while listening to Nicki Bluhm and the Gramblers, this job has me inspired to take a road trip!

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With Michael squeezed in the van! The tees should be available soon!


Gnomie talks with Ben of Woodchuck (Wood cases for your iPhone and iPads) January 20, 2015 09:24



I am ALWAYS dropping my iPhone!
I hear it ring, quickly pick it out of my pocket, often to fumble it right out of my hand- or I leave it in my lap while driving, and of course forget about it until I hear it slap the pavement as I get out of my car. Always anxious while picking it up, then turning it over to see if the force of the fall cracked the screen.

So I have had my phone overdressed in a case that resembles a mini Michelin Man.

Recently, I got to meet Ben of Woodchuck, and see some of his awesome cases for phones and tablets. I’ve always wanted a wood case. My new Woodchuck case has a slim silhouette that fits the outline of my phone perfectly so it feels comfortable in my pocket, and in my hand the wood grain gives it a perfect grip so it does not go flying- to the pavement, in the sand, or worse yet into the toilet!

So I wanted to ask Ben a few questions about his products and help get the word out to people whom might want an awesome wood case for their phone or tablet:

Ben please tell us a little about how Woodchuck came about, and how you come upon this space in the market?

You bet Gnomie!  WOODCHUCK started as a late night college idea to put some wood on my iPhone. I’m a big nature guy and loved the look of the wood on my phone! I got a ton of comments on it and then started selling them to friends! After the demand was too big to keep up with I brought on my Buddy to help me start selling the cases in retail stores! We got our business filed, and then started selling to college bookstores and local shops. Now, just a year and a half later you can find WOODCHUCK on, and now in Target Stores starting October 6th!

What is your function (a more interesting way of asking what is your work/school background) Did you work with wood/furniture previously?

I worked in my uncle’s cabinetry shop and as an Architectural intern in the past. I’ve always been a builder/ creator and love to come up with new ideas. Being a big outdoors guy myself I thought this was the perfect solution to cover my electronics! Now at WOODCHUCK i’m the design guy and work on selling the product into big box stores like Best Buy and Target!

How is wood the right material for protecting such electronic devices?

Currently, most people can only find plastic cases that are made in china. We’re offering a beautiful, and way more awesome way to protect your devices. Our motto is “A World more connected to nature”. Although we’re just protecting your electronics, WOODCHUCK is a daily reminder to get outside, enjoy the outdoors, and put some nature back into your life!

I and I know others love products designed and manufactured in our country- expand a little more on your reasons for being made in the U.S.A?

“MADE in the USA”  is a deeper phrase than just the simple words. It means jobs for people in our country, supporting the US economy, and pride for the people that use it! Although it costs more more to make WOODCHUCKS in the US, we believe in supporting our country and the jobs that make it run!

Thanks to Ben and Woodchuck, To look at some of Woodchuck’s cases simple do a clicky!

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Technovation- Inspiring Female High School Students to Pursue Careers in Technology. January 20, 2015 09:24

View the winning pitch from 2013's Technovation Challenge.

Recently I got to view a program I am really excited about and want to help encourage!
Long story made short, I’ve been beta testing our Gnomie apps in their various stages of development with my friends Genia and her daughter Zoe.

I was excited to hear that Zoe had enrolled in an awesome program called the Technovation Challenge. Once a week Zoe and four of her friends along with other groups of female high school students from the Berkeley and Albany areas have been meeting with mentors and coaches at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, where they have been conceptualizing and developing mobile applications in the fields of science and education.

Technovation’s aim is to get girls interested in areas such as computer science and entrepreneurship by offering a 10 week mentorship and work development program, where teams develop an application prototype, design the overall business proposal, and create a multi media presentation to a panel of judges whom have technology and venture capital experience (also of course a lot of supportive family and friends). The winning team will have the support needed to execute and distribute their app on the Android market.

According to Iridescent , the non-profit educational organization that created the Technovation Challenge program, “there is a generalized perception that many women do not have equal access to or feel comfortable pursuing careers in the technology or business fields. Though there are exceptions to this rule, Iridescent hopes to encourage girls to become involved and to acquire necessary skills to be active, participating members of the technological and business fields through the Technovation Challenge.”

Here is what Zoe had to say about her experience in the program:

“The Technovation program was a really great opportunity for me as it gave an insight to a career path that I most likely would have never learned about or considered for later in life.

Being a sophomore in high school everyone is now encouraging me to think about college and a career. By being a part of Technovation not only was I educated that women can pursue careers in technology and science, but I also got hands on training on how to build a mobile phone app and how to start my own business.

Over ten weeks myself and four other teammates (Rosemary, Hope, Sylvia and Zareen) came up with an app idea and business plan, then we got to start making a prototype of our app on AppInventor (an application currently in beta testing that create apps easily for the android market). Each week our team would meet twice, once on Tuesdays with all the other teams from Berkeley High School ( my school) and the teams from Albany High School. At these meetings we would often have a guest speaker who was a woman in the technology, which was always cool and interesting to hear their struggles and their accomplishments. Then there would be lesson on learning a new skill like how to present to investors or learning how to call a command for pressing a button on our app. After our big meeting our team would meet at school or at Hope’s house to work on our app, business plan, and presentation for pitch day, where we would actually present to judges from the industry.

On pitch day our team was up against all the other teams from our Tuesday meetings. The winning team (A team from Albany) would go on to the national competition where the winning team will have their app actually produced and sold on the android market. Although my team lost it was a great experience to be part of, and though I do not think I’m going to pursue a job in the tech industry, there were so many great skills I learned that I can take away from it and apply to what I want to do- although I am not completely ruling out a tech job because me and my friend Hope are thinking of trying to get our app made and sold anyways!”

Learn more about Technovation HERE
And follow their blog HERE

Making Gnomie Farmland Adventure January 20, 2015 09:24

 Making of Barnyard iPhone Application

Like so many of my ambitious projects, Gnomie Farmland Adventure started out with a pretty simple concept and goal, to make an educational yet fun app for kids. It was all about telling a good old fashion story, like the kind I grew up with as a kid, using today’s technology. I wanted this to be an app where kids could explore, learn and interact with the story and its characters. Developing Gnomie Farmland Adventure has been, well… an adventure, but well worth the time, effort and energy.

Creating an app has many parts, from the first idea to completion… way more pieces and parts than I ever expected. Gnomie Farmland Adventure started as an idea that quickly filled a huge sketchbook and then some. Turning all of those ideas into a finished app in a way that combined classic story telling on modern devices was a labor of love.

I was lucky enough to work with the talented San Francisco-based bands Lucky Cloud and El Capitan to record original music for the app. Sander, our lead developer, used Corona SDK to build Gnomie Farmland Adventure, which helped us create a visually rich application with lots of interactivity. Tim Ott did all the top-notch graphic design work to help bring this together. Helping this app to stand out in its class and finding the correct market approach is Chris Halcon and Kiernan McGuire.

We hope you and your kids enjoy Gnomie Farmland Adventure as much as we enjoyed making it!

Gnomie Farmland Adventure- Behind the Scenes January 20, 2015 09:24

Post image for Gnomie Farmland Adventure- behind the scenes

Here is a step-by-step documentation of the illustration for the inside of the barn. In the application kids will be able to put the animals to sleep and then hear a wonderful lullaby by the San Francisco based band Lucky Cloud. Alright here we go.


Finishing the filling in of the walls and moving on to the hay beds...



All basic colors are completed, time to go in and work on details. Also we see the outside illustration of the barn.



A closer view to see some of the detail.


Creating A Tide Pool & Ocean Window Display January 20, 2015 09:24

Post image for Creating a tide pool & ocean window display.

When Gnomie is not too busy working on various book projects, he likes creating fun window displays for Aqua Surf Shop, Gnomie approaches this kind of project almost as if he was creating a set for a play- building cool environments and settings to merchandise the cool product that Aqua Surf Shop sells. Gnomie will be updating the blog with various window displays. Here is one filled with Northern Californian sea and tidal animals.

Gnomie has seen a Great White up close, and what an amazing animal it is- It brought Gnomie back to what is must of been like in the time of Dinosaurs seeing such a mighty creature!

An almost finished Great White Shark-

The tide pool area with various shore birds-

A very happy Harbor Seal!

Country Gnome Visits the Big City January 20, 2015 09:24

Fellow gnome and artist Matt Beard recently came all the way from Humboldt county to visit Gnomie in the big wonderful city of San Francisco. Matt came down to work with Gnomie on creating a fun benefit for Surf Aid International. Surf Aid International provides Malaria prevention, community based health, and clean water to people out in remote Indonesia. They are a wonderful organization, please learn more about- SURF AID INTERNATIONAL. Gnomie was lucky enough to once visit and surf the fantastic waves in Indonesia, the land and people were warm and kind!  Gnomie has also had the pleasure of meeting many of the doctors, founders, and staff at Surf Aid and greatly appreciates the humanitarian work they do. So Matt and Gnomie gathered a bunch of artists together to create paintings (mostly on hand crafted surfboards) that will be auctioned off with the proceeds going to Surf Aid International. The event is called the Board Art Benefit, Matt has put together a great website filled with stories and imagery of the processes HERE. We worked with Anthony and Camille of Driftwood Salon Art Gallery and had an amazing event and time! Thank you to everyone whom came out.

Above, City and Country Gnomes with their art.


       One stoked grom- Kai Williams wins the raffle board and is now ready to shred some waves!

Welcome to Gnomie- a very brief introduction. January 20, 2015 09:24

Photo by Andria Lo


I’m Gnomie, and along with my friend Devin, I run a small blue (aqua blue, to be precise) surf shop in San Francisco.

Before I got too busy running a retail store, I used to draw- like all the time! My obsession with drawing started out as a wee gnome, I drew upon everything!

Drawing was my way of communicating, and it is still easier for me to communicate visually than by using words. When I was very young I was fascinated and inspired by picture books for children, so much so, that a very early age I decided that is what I was going to do. Much later, I illustrated some projects you might know, like the Tallest Tree and Light House Stacking blocks for the Golden Gate National Parks Association, and many other illustrated projects.

Then I stopped drawing. Running a retail job needed my full attention, I had a lot to learn. The challenges of running an efficient inventory, managing others constructively, and continually getting along well with my business partner all required a lot of practice. So I stopped drawing for five years!

Picture by Andria Lo

It was unlike me not to draw. I began to think about how I could get back to illustration projects. Around the same time I noticed children enjoying tablets and smart phones, and what really stood out- for the most part, was that they were far more proficient at navigating between apps than their parents. So in 2009 I founded the digital publishing brand Gnomie, where I could self publish my own children’s books (soon other talented creative’s too) on the iPhone and iPad. The first goal was to bring the hand drawn style of the books I loved as a kid to these modern devices- so when you can’t always travel with a printed book you can still read your child an enchanting story with art and story both child and parent can connect with.

 So welcome to the world of Gnomie, please take a moment and check out some of our apps. Currently we are working on many exciting projects so stay in touch.

Most of all thank you for your support and encouragement!- Gnomie