1. Write a surrealist poem. (Word count minimum = 150, word count max = 300)
  2. Create a surrealist piece of art. (Create using Illustrator–unless given permission–and upload an exported PDF to your submission folder).


  • Surrealism
  • Symbols
  • Juxtaposition
  • Reversal
  • Transformation
  • Dislocation
  • Metamorphosis
  • Paranoiac-Critical Method
  • Double image paintings




InDesign basics


  1. Opening Adobe Programs and create task bar short cuts 
  2. Making a new document (lit. mag. preset–this is different for other publicaitons) and changing units and increments
  3. Short cut (zoom in and out)
  4. Shuffling pages/making a double page spread
  5. Elements of a spread/page
  6. Pinterest/design inspiration
  7. Importance of layers/beware too much inverse type and dark backgrounds


  1. Text – headlines (changing text size, bold, kerning, and short cut “w” preview)
  2. Font combinations (sans serif vs serif, rules, tips, etc.)
  3. Columns for body text (preset margins/columns, connecting text boxes, using placeholder text)
  4. Text – kicker/intro, pull quotes, rotating bylines, using opacity


  1. Changing background color and layers review
  2. Adding color to shapes and making gradients
  3. Drawing custom shapes – using the pen tool (InDesign vs. Illustrator)
  4. (Continued) Using the pen tool, layers, and changing canvas size (Illustrator)
  5. Making art brushes and minimalist style (Illustrator)
  6. Using the trace option (Illustrator)

TBA on the following…

  1. Changing directions of shapes (rotating)
  2. Using pathfinder to combine and manipulate shapes
  3. Tying on a shape or path (pen and text tool)
  4. Integrating files (using Illustrator files in InDesign)
  5. Links (broken links)
  6. Comic book effect (advanced – using Photoshop and InDesign)

Want to be in a comic book?

You can turn a picture into vector art that mimics comic book inking! All you need is Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator.

lauren 3 photos

Here is a picture of my sister-in-law before and after I added effects.

STEP 1 – Select the picture you want to use.

I chose a family tree illustration I made. If you look closely, you can see the hair and fingers intertwine in a form of Celtic knot. The reason I want to turn this into vector art is because the only picture I have of the drawing is very low quality. In order to make it bigger, I need to change it to vector art to avoid it becoming blurry.

family tree 6











STEP 2 – Open the picture in Photoshop, select “Adjustments” and then “Brightness/Contrast.” 

The goal is to create a stark contrast in your picture. Play around with the extremes to see how your picture changes. Make sure to click “preview.” The settings will change based on your picture.



STEP 3 – Go back to “Adjustments,” and select “Curves.”

  • You’ll notice the three little eye droppers at the bottom of the pop up window.
  • Use the darkest dropper to select the darkest part of your picture. You may want to try selecting lighter areas to see how you want your picture to change.
  • The right most dropper is for selecting the lightest shade of your picture. Again, play around.
  • You’ll also see lines pop up in the box above the droppers. Click and drag on these to watch your picture lighten or darken.



STEP 4 – Save your picture as a Photoshop PSD file. Do this by changing the format under the field where you name your file.

STEP 5 – Open up the PSD file in Illustrator.

STEP 6 – Click on the tiny arrow next to “Image Trace,” and you’ll see a drop down menu.

There are many tracing options. You can click on each and then undo to see the different effects. I chose “Low Fidelity Photo” for my example.


family tree 3 JPG

My picture after using the trace option “Low Fidelity”

STEP 7 – After finding the trace option you like, hit the “Expand” button.

This changes the shapes in your photo into vectored shapes, so you can manipulate them.



STEP 8 – Ungroup vectored shapes by right clicking and selecting “Ungroup.”

The expand button automatically groups your vectored shapes together. In order to manipulate your shapes, you need to ungroup them.



STEP 9 – If you want to recolor your image, it will be easier to regroup groups based solely upon like coloring.

  • You can do this manually, but it takes forever! Thankfully, there is an easier way!
  • Click on a shape of whose color you want to change.
  • Click on “Select” and then “Fill Color” or “Fill & Stroke”.
  • Once your shapes are selected, right click and select “Group”.
  • Change the color of your shape grouping.


Here are some pictures of a different tracing effect “Black and White Logo.” I changed the coloring using the steps above.

family 9 JPGfamily tree 9 JPG


STEP 10 – Want to save your image to upload on your blog? You need to export it as a JPEG file.

  • Before exporting, I would recommend saving your picture as a PSD file, so you can change it later.
  • To export, select “File,” then “Export,” and select JPEG under the “Save as type” option.910


Thanks for reading! To see another example of this effect, check out another of my posts “It’s a Bird, It’s a Plane! It’s…”

Art = math? Mathematical implications for the skeptical artist

Elsa board drawing

If you’re an artist, there is a chance that you have a negative relationship with adding, subtracting, multiplying, dividing, statistics or any math concepts at all you may encounter.

You strive to avoid mathematical concepts at every turn, but what happens when you find out the thing you love, art in all its creative glory, is really math, your nemesis and symbol of everything confusing and cursed?

Never fear. Math is not so scary. Bear with me; my husband is a math teacher, and he is slowly making me a believer.

The more you learn about art, you find mathematical traces everywhere:

  • Typography and graphic design are heavily influenced by grids.
  • Composition and nature relies on the rule of thirds (the Fibonacci sequence is proudly sported by pineapples and pine cones).
  • You hear Disney proclaiming mathematical propaganda to our children through strong, female characters.
  • (Elsa sings in her empowering solo “Let It Go”: “My power flurries through the air into the ground. My soul is spiraling in frozen fractals all around”). Even the snowflakes that surround Elsa are themselves fractals.
  • Vi Hart, one of my favorite YouTubers (subscribe to her channel. She will make you love math through her clever doodling and commentary), shows her viewers how the concept of infinity can be demonstrated through elephants.
  • We also know that the proportions of the body and the face can be broken up mathematically.
  • You can even set Pi to music!

Math cannot be avoided but is actually pretty cool.

I find myself singing Disney tunes, drawing on my husband’s white board and looking up inspirational YouTube videos–when I really should be finishing up my grad. homework. I can’t help being obsessed with trying to see mathematical patterns in art and all around me.

I encourage you all to look for these patterns, and as far as your hatred for math, “Let it go.”