#100 Milestones & Goals

100 Milestones & Goals

 #100 Milestones & Goals
Click image to view full size or download poster for gallery-quality printing & framing.
This is a high-resolution pdf & may take a few minutes to download.
Find printing tips & framing ideas here.

We did it! We hit the 100 mark! 

Thanks to you, ampersand fan & loyal subscriber, AmperArt #100, Milestones & Goals, is the one-hundredth issue of an AmperArt poster, for which my goal has been one per month since this project began in June, 2011. 

I have issued, without fail, one AmperArt piece per month (even if it meant stretching the month to the last hour in a remote time zone that hadn’t yet reached midnight, such as Baker Island & Howland Island, tiny outlying islands of the US).

Until now.

Ironic, isn’t it?

Ironically, I missed the deadline on this milestone achievement, the one-hundredth creation of AmperArt, Milestones & Goals. This was to be issued during April, 2017. It never made it. 

Why? Because I could not come up with an appropriate title for the theme of “one hundred.” Should be easy, right? A big, important number like that?

On the other hand, I’ve had #101 in the works for months. That one’s easy: black spots all over a white background, alluding to one of my favorite movies of all time, especially for the snappy pencil-drawn stylized effect—and the first to use the Xerox process for animation which gave it that distinctive style.

Isn’t 100 supposed to be an important number?

A title for #101 is easy. But #100? I figured there would have been a surplus of phrases, idioms, themes, ideas that allude to the number 100. But Google was practically dry. There’s the 100th Anniversary stone, the diamond. And the anniversary color, purple (not my favorite color; can’t use that). There are plenty of news stories about 100k marathons. But nothing all that significant about the number 100 itself. I thought & thought & thought, but just could not come up with anything. 

April 30, 2017 came & went, and the string of one AmperArt per month was broken. Frantically, I tried to think of other titles to celebrate the 100th issue: Grin & Bear It, Deadlines & Quotas (that wouldn’t do—I missed the deadline), Day Late & Dollar Short, Slow & Steady, Congratulate & Celebrate…on & on. 

Finally, I had to rely on the philosophies of Live & Let Live as well as Patience & Determination; just let it go until I come up with the appropriate title. I’ll issue two pieces in May.

Finally, a milestone

Yesterday I hit on the word “milestone” and realized that would make a nice title. Not about the number 100, but about an important milestone. So, what to pair that up with? Milestones & Achievements? Milestones & Deadlines? (After all, it was each monthly deadline that kept me on track to achieve this milestone, even though in the course of most projects & business teachings it’s the milestones that lead to meeting the deadline.)

I had Milestones & Deadlines all set to go, when I came across the phrase “goals & milestones.” That sounds sweeter to most people than “deadlines.” And it’s really what I am trying to accomplish: my goal is to keep churning out one AmperArt per month (okay, on average) until I’m dead. So, I guess “deadline” would be meaningful afterall, but I chose to rewrite the title as “Milestones & Goals.” (Goals & Milestones makes more sense, but it sounds weird & looks weirder.) Finally, here’s the April 2017 AmperArt, #100 Milestones & Goals…in May.

Our little secret

I feel defeated about missing the deadline on such a milestone piece, and I hate to be dishonest. So here’s the deal: You, my dear AmperFans, are privy to the truth. But between you & me, no one else has to know that I blew it. It’s just easier to continue boasting “I’ve issued one edition per month since the very first” than confessing “I’ve issued one edition per month since the very first except I missed the deadline for the one-hundredth which was such a milestone piece I feel like a worthless piece of crap.” Or maybe I’ll just admit I’m human. We’ll see how it goes.

 Please comment here.

Why I love Photoshop

Reviewing several photos for Milestones & Goals, I was focused on some sort of rock or boulder…until I saw this beautiful old wood post to which was attached a modern sign, against a gorgeous background. The blue of the sign is my favorite color blue, a cross between cyan, cerulean, turquoise & my all-time favorite, Crayola Blue-Green. So that one got downloaded (and paid for, by the way). I guess it’s also significant that I chose this image to represent Milestones & Goals, as I used to own a sign company. That business was a milestone to where I am today.

I didn’t care for the dullness of the signpost, being it was backlit. Photoshop to the rescue. Here’s the before & after. I toned down the background blue haze just slightly, but really brought up the light on the post & sign:

Original photo
After retouching














You are probably criticizing the lousy “photoshopping” on the edges of the sign, right? Quite obvious that it was plastered on top of the original image, correct? Well, I thought so too—that the photographer did a half-assed job of copy & paste (no, it wasn’t me). Guess what, though—it’s the actual photo. Upon enlarging (see below) I discovered the sign is a piece of sheet metal to which a decal is pasted. With the slight border of the metal showing around the decal, it sure does look like a crude retouching job. But no, it’s real. (Click to enlarge.)

Clever one-piece sign

The final deadline.

Now that we’ve achieved this milestone of AmperArt #100, it’s onto #101, #102, and so on, creating a new piece each & every month (maybe with a little time shifting here & there) for the rest of my life…the final deadline.

 Please comment here.

chaz sez ...

Check out the new “chaz sez” blog at DesimoneDesign.com, my commercial graphic design website. It’s mostly about design, typography, printing, publishing & marketing, but on occasion I’ll divert to a sideways topic that just can’t escape my ranting & raving.

Production notes for #100 Milestones & Goals:
Original size: 12×18 inches

Programs: Adobe Photoshop
Fonts: Bank Gothic, Ebrima
Ampersand: Ebrima
Kilometer Pole Photo: © Afhunta | Dreamstime.com (modified by Chaz DeSimone)
You may repost the image. Please credit AmperArt.com.
To download a full-size high-resolution 11×17-inch poster, click on the image.

For professional graphic design, please visit Desimone Design.

Desimone? Damn good!

#80 Believe & Achieve in 2016 – Happy New Year!


#80 Believe & Achieve
Click to view full-size or download hi-rez image for gallery-quality printing and framing.
This is a high-resolution pdf & may take a few minutes to download.
Find printing tips & framing ideas here.

Happy New Year

First, have a blast celebrating 2015! Then use these tips to keep your New Year’s resolutions.

If you haven’t made any resolutions yet—because you know they are so excruciatingly hard to keep—read this wonderful advice from a friend, Tammi Brannan. You might even want to rethink your New Year’s resolutions and actually look forward to keeping them in 2016!

When choosing New Year’s Resolutions that you want to achieve, make sure you do these 3 things:

  1. Identify 2-3 areas in your life you’d like to improve.
  2. Pick one action item for each area that you can do now to exact change.
  3. For 5 minutes, 3 times a day focus on each action item, whether you’re saying it to yourself as a promise or you’re taking steps towards accomplishing that action.

The 2 reasons why folks fail when it comes to their New Year’s Resolutions is because they:

  1. Pick Resolutions they don’t care too much about achieving, and…
  2. Sit by in hopes their New Year’s Resolution will come to them, instead of taking active steps to achieve them.

If finding the perfect occupation or business is one of your 2016 goals, Tammi Brannan offers career development coaching for individuals & teams. She says, “Live a life that is truer to you.” You’ll find lots of insightful videos & articles at her website, InstinctiveLife.com. I endorse Tammi as a person of high integrity & genuine concern for individuals.

To Do & To Don’t List


featuring the Pantone Colors of the Year for 2016

Here’s a TO DO LIST guaranteed to simplify your life. It’s actually my specially designed TO DO & TO DON’T list. This is brand-new artwork in the two Pantone Colors of the Year for 2016: Rose Quartz & Serenity. Download the TO DO & TO DON’T list here and print out several copies for your friends.

chaz sez ...

My favorite quote about dreams & possibilities is by Walt Disney, who really accomplished some astonishing feats. (Did you know Disneyland was built in less then one year from groundbreaking to opening day?) Walt said:

 “It’s kind of fun to do the impossible.”

And he did. Birdies sing & flowers croon.


#81 Devastation & Despair


#81 Devastation & Despair
Click to view full-size or download hi-rez image for gallery-quality printing and framing.
This is a high-resolution pdf & may take a few minutes to download.
Find printing tips & framing ideas here.

Exactly one year ago—at 11:30 a.m. on the 2nd Saturday of February 2014—my soul was auctioned off. Everything I had from my bronze baby shoes to all my artwork, ideas written on napkins, photographs, my dad’s barber tools and massagers, the last gift my mom gave me which she hand-crocheted (this is so special there will be an AmperArt dedicated just to that precious item), gifts from family & friends, books I was to savor reading after I retire, Disney and other collectibles I had yet to enjoy and pass down to my grand nephews and nieces, family heirlooms (the grand old floor-model wooden radio, the painting that hung over our dining room meals), items that belonged to family and friends, mid-century retro furnishings, souvenir apparel, studio equipment (art, photography, recording, office)–everything I had in storage for home and shop and recreation and collectibles and gifts, which is everything but the few items I have around me at this moment–was purchased by a heartless, greedy asshole who never returned my calls so I could offer him far more than what he paid for my life, and I could go on living.

Devastated and in despair ever since. More to follow as future AmperArt pieces tell the story. I can’t write about it now.

Production notes for #81 Devastation & Despair:
Original size: 20×30 inches
Program: Illustrator (lettering), Photoshop (noise)
Font: None

For professional graphic design, please visit Desimone Design.

Desimone Design

#29 Success & Nothing Less

Click to view full-size or download hi-rez image for gallery-quality printing and framing.
This is a high-resolution pdf & may take a few minutes to download.
Find printing tips & framing ideas here.

Download to print special size for Balboa students’ notebooks: 8.5 x 11 inches

AmperArt #29, Success & Nothing Less, was inspired by Balboa Elementary School, for it is their motto, and it’s where I learned my abc’s, in Glendale, California. (It’s also where I learned the difference betweens it’s and its.)

The typestyle is Aachen, same as used on their school signage. The ampersand is derived from the Z in the team’s name, Blazers. The colors used in this edition are, of course, the school colors.
The phrase was made famous by Snoop Dogg on the show Entourage where he said, “Success and nothing less, man!”

One of my favorite quotes about success is by Jack Canfield: “If you love your work, if you enjoy it, you’re already a success.” I guess I’m a success then, for I love creating AmperArt and all my other graphic design.

That and many other quotes on success can be found here. And there’s a Facebook page called SuccessAndNothingLess.

The Leona L. DeSimone Award

I have always been grateful that I went to three tremendous public schools, all in the Glendale, California Unified School District: Balboa Elementary, Toll Jr. High and Herbert Hoover High School. I even went to Glendale Junior College but didn’t learn much there as I was already more focused on running a graphics business.

It was at Balboa School, during 4th Grade, that I lost my father to emphysema. I was the oldest of four, with a sister and two brothers. Our mother struggled, I mean really struggled, to clothe and feed us, holding down a job at a lunch counter in a vitamin store. Somehow she always had time for us kids and made sure we were to school on time, and helped us with our homework. All the while putting up with tantrums from me, the spoiled firstborn.

I’ll never forget seeing Mom cry when money was short, counting pennies to feed us, going without dinner herself. Or walking five miles to work in the blazing heat when the buses went on strike.

We didn’t have much money but I don’t think there was a family in Glendale any richer than ours with love.

Several years ago my sister Roslyn set up an annual scholarship at Balboa Elementary, in our mother’s name, for a deserving student (especially if their family was in similar circumstances that ours was in), and each year one of us siblings presents the award.

I was honored to present the scholarship at the end of the 2012 school year to a special student who was also raised by a single mother, and who came to school early and stayed late to work on the computers, since the family could not afford their own.

Upon arriving at the school for the presentation, I discovered the school motto is “Success & Nothing Less” so of course that would be an upcoming AmperArt piece.

This year’s Leona L. DeSimone Scholarship recipient is a shining example of one who aspires to achieve the very meaning of her school’s motto, “Success & Nothing Less.”

Production notes:
Original size: 20 x 30 inches
Program: Illustrator
Font: Aachen
Ampersand: hand-drawn, based on school team lettering

If you’re an ampersand fan subscribe to AmperArt here to receive future AmperArt editions. They’re always fun & fabulous & free. Subscribers also receive special bonuses.


#68 Knife Fork & Spoon

68 Knife Fork & Spoon

Click to view full-size or download hi-rez image for gallery-quality printing and framing.
This is a high-resolution pdf & may take a few minutes to download.
Find printing tips & framing ideas here.

This edition should be titled “Larry & Susie” because what these people stand for is far more significant and inspiring than a little piece of artwork with an ampersand in it. But since Larry’s treasure to me inspired this work, I did make it as special as I could (and learned a couple new Photoshop effects in the process).

 Before I proceed with their stories, here’s an invitation to attend Susie’s “Use Me & Abuse Me” party between Wednesday, October 24, 2014 and until all the guests have left or are passed out, which is several days later, where she invites you to shamelessly plug your own website or blog. Go there right now and join in the fun, but don’t forget to come back here. If you miss this party, subscribe to her blog and you’ll get an invitation to the next one.

Mention your own blog or website at Susie’s
“Use Me & Abuse Me” party:

Like I said, this edition is about  two very special people, both of whom I admire greatly for their courage, faith, and inspiration; both of whom I met online somehow; and both of whom I’ve never met in person…but I feel like they’re my next door neighbors.


I’ll start with Larry, because he’s the inspiration for this AmperArt piece. A few years ago my brother Andy gave me very designer-style Mickey Mouse coffee mug, which I love and use every single day (unless I need just a tiny jolt, then I grab my smaller coffee mug from The Original Pantry, oldest restaurant in Los Angeles–just so you know, I purchased the mug; had to, as I examined a case of 60 to find the perfect printing). I thought it would be cool to have a Mickey Mouse coffee spoon, not thinking I’d actually find one. Well, I did, on ebay, from this guy named Larry who I knew was going to send me a spectactular piece after a couple conversations with him. He really wanted me to be happy! And when it arrived–happy I was! For a moment my kitchen was the happiest place on earth! Not only is it the classic “old” Mickey, the spoon is a real teaspoon size, perfect for a cup o’ joe, it’s in excellent conditon, and states the copyright is owned by that revered name of old, “Walt Disney Productions.”

So Larry really made me very, very happy with that spectacular, collectible masterpiece that I stir my coffee with every single day, no matter which mug I use.


Larry also subscribed to AmperArt, and always leaves a nice comment.

We began communicating, and what an inspiration this man is.

What a battle Larry has gone through, having contracted an entire body worth’s of cancer from serving our country for over 20 years–in the proximity of Agent Orange. He’s told me horror stories that are out of a sci-fi movie, but unfortunately he really lived them. He’s been in and out of the hospital dozens of  times for cancer treatment, each time pulling something else out or treating this or radiating that. I was shocked to find out that this poor guy was only the same age as me, when the description of his health has him sounding 80 years old.

But don’t let him hear you or me call him “poor guy,” because just like Susie, Larry lives life to the fullest. He’s a fighter, a believer, and says he wouldn’t trade his life in for anything. He says he’s been in some awesome places, thanks to the service, that people only dream about. And if you enjoy my AmperArt, you can thank Larry: he says each one brings him so much joy, there’s no way I can stop doing them. That sure makes me feel good, too.

Larry is in and out of the hospital almost constantly. And although today he said things are looking positive and he’s feeling better (he says he hopes it’s not a dream), I urge you to please pray for this gentleman. He has been an inspiration to me, and I’m sure to everyone who knows him. I’m sure he’d love to hear from you: Ljvsfc@aol.com



Susie Lindau is a self-professed wild child, and she has her readers in stitches with each and every story on her highly entertaining blog.

Then last year she endured a double mastectomy, and without missing a beat she laughed and joked throughout the entire ordeal, educating, enlightening and  inspiring others with unbelievable spirit. That overwith, Susie continues to write about all her incredible adventures that are daring, amazing, and even silly. But always fun. And wild. There’s even a photo of her double implants on her website. Check that out.

If you haven’t already, join the party at susielindau.com. Oh, and about the midnight curfew…not so, Susie’s guests party into the wee hours and even for days afterwards.

These are two very special people, and I could write a lot more about each of them. But I have a party to crash…


Production notes:
Original size: 10×15 inches
Program: Photoshop
Font: Goudy Oldstyle bold
Lace pattern: obsidiandawn.com (many exquisite Photoshop patterns and excellent instructions on how to install them)
Antique silver cutlery: 123rf.com / photo by martinak
Special thanks to Mike McHugh at creativesweettv.com for tutorial on bending spoons with the Photoshop Puppet Warp tool.
No dinnerware was harmed in the making of this art.