Family & Friends & Ampersands…our greatest holiday gifts

Family & Friends includes my cats!

#75 Family & Friends
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This is a high-resolution pdf & may take a few minutes to download.
Find printing tips & framing ideas here.

First, to my own family & friends:

I love you, I appreciate you, I respect you,
I enjoy you, I thank you.
But most of all, I love you.

About this edition

I got the idea for AmperArt #75, Family & Friends, featuring our friend the fun & fabulous ampersand, about a month ago, after a friend & a family member came to my rescue. More on that later. (Thanks, Joe. Thanks, Roz.) 

Family & Friends is a very special AmperArt title to me & hopefully to you. I went through several iterations to bring you a meaningful, elegant piece that you might want to send to others with your own sentiments, or frame for your family room (or Family & Friends Room) wall. It was issued for Thanksgiving 2014, but let’s face it, Family & Friends are timeless.

First, you’ll meet my own family & friends (including my pets, of course). I am blessed with a loving family &  friends that are the very best. That includes you, too, my awesome readers & subscribers—you’re my AmperArt family!

Then, you’ll see how the Family & Friends edition was created. In response to several requests from subscribers who want to see how I create AmperArt, or how I even choose a topic, I’ve explained the process in the next section. (This particular Family & Friends piece posed several challenges even though the design is quite simple. It’s a perfect example of why each AmperArt piece can take 20 hours or more.)

My own family & friends

I am blessed with a wonderful family:

Mom & Dad (both gone but always in my heart)—both of my parents are the definition of integrity.

My sister Roslyn & my brothers Andy & Robyou are the epitome of love, friendship, honesty and generosity. You’ve always been there when your eccentric black sheep of a brother needed a helping hand or a hand-out. Thank you.

Mary Ann, you helped me get my very first van so I could start my business. You took care of us kids when Mom nearly died. And today you comment on every one of my AmperArt pieces. You’re very special to me…cuz you’re my favorite cuz.

My friends are so plentiful there probably aren’t enough gigabytes on the server to list them all, so I’ll mention the oldest and dearest, in the order they came into my life: Gary R, Gary S, Joe R (we’re talking elementary and junior high on those three), Lande WGregg & Jill, Mardy D, Deborah T, Lisa S (& later Sean), Jim B (if it weren’t for him I’d still be designing with a T-square), Mark H (& later Crystal), Pat B, Tara K, Marty K, Sandy J, Denis W, Jeanette F. Those who have departed, whom I miss dearly: Gilbert (the one & only!), Joe F, Preston H.

My furry family: Tiger, Bulldog, Donald (yes, a duck), Woofer (my very best friend for sixteen years), Briquette, Amos & Andy…and my current awesome creatures, Jeepers & Bebe.

I feel like I’m at the podium for the Oscars! Well, you see, that’s what my family & friends do for me.

Now back to what inspired this piece: Last month I had a serious circumstance, and between my best friend Joe Rinaudo and my best sister Roslyn (she’d be my best sister, I’m sure, if I had a dozen but she too is the one & only) they did something for me as a complete surprise, saving me from being homeless for the second time in my life. Immediately I thought of combining “Family & Friends” into one piece of art—to me they are often one and the same. My brothers & many friends & even a few clients have also helped me in need—tremendously. If I didn’t have to get this sent out right now I’d tell you about those Family & Friends experiences, too. Instead, I’ll come up with some new ideas to illustrate those episodes in future editions.

How this project began…and wouldn’t end

This Family & Friends piece encountered so many obstacles and morphed through so many changes I figured it’s the perfect example to explain how I create my AmperArt pieces. (more…)

#61 Father & Daughter

Click to download hi-rez image

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.

I wish my sister could have experienced that special occasion called the “Father-Daughter Dance” when she was in elementary school, but our father died from emphysema when she was 7 years old. The father-daughter dance, also called “Father & Daughter Dance,” “Daddy Dance,” or “Dad & Daughter Dance,” is usually held in 5th or 6th grade.

According to this article,

The first strong male bond girls have is with their father’s and this event teaches young girls what it means to be treated with love and respect.  The goal is that father’s will continue to be positive role models and that these girls will have healthy relationships as teens and adults as a result.

Fortunately, my sister did have a positive childhood and married a wonderful man who proudly took his daughter to their Father-Daughter Dance . . . or should I say, she took him?

One last thing about this AmperArt piece, is that our dad was a barber, so I selected a lock of my sister’s brunette hair (via computer graphics) as the ampersand. Daddy would have surely been proud of her hair.

listen up!Shoebox Letters: a precious gift for Father’s Day

I had the privilege of setting the type in a very special book for author Clayton Brizendine. This book is a collection of actual letters written from daughters to their fathers. It is pure raw emotion, stating everything from admiration to fun times to bitter upsets, but always mentioning love.


Shoebox Letters: Daughters to Dads

Every review is 5 stars, including mine:

I didn’t buy this book, and I didn’t read it as a normal person would. I set the type.

As I was designing this book for the author, I found myself laughing out loud at some of the experiences the daughters relayed about the dumb things their dads would do, and found myself sobbing at tear-jerking moments of deep love and bonding, or of loss and hurt. The most endearing part was retouching the precious old photographs and placing them next to words that described the daughters’ most cherished moments with their dads. Finally, in proofing the text, I did read the entire piece front to back, and it was a truly astonishing compilation of letters that range from the greatest love and devotion and pride for fathers to sorrowful accounts of resentment and brokenness. Every letter, however, does express a love of some sort for each dad from his daughter.

Clay Brizendine’s profound essay for each set of letters—and his passion for enlightening his readers, showing how to heal and bond relationships through the power of letter writing—makes this book a real joy to read and to learn from. This is the ultimate Father’s Day gift.

Finally, in working with Clay I have realized he is truly a man of character, honest and sincere, and wishes most of all to give his readers an enlightening, entertaining and memorable experience.

This could have gone to press sooner, if tears hadn’t clouded this designer’s workspace.

Am I promoting Clay’s book? You bet I am! This book  is one of the most precious gifts you could give your dad this Father’s Day, whether you’re a teen, mid-age or a senior daughter yourself. There’s bound to be a story that both of you relate to.

Read all the moving testimonials, or order a copy for your dad, here.

To all fathers, Happy Father’s Day. And to my sister and brothers, you turned out real good, even without a dad for most of your childhood. (Fortunately, our family was rich with friends and relatives who stepped in when needed. Thanks especially to Gilbert. He deserves his own AmperArt piece!)

Original size: 20×30 inches
Programs: Illustrator, Photoshop
Font: Vladimir Script
Bow image: (a blog by a student in Sweden about “kawaii, unicorns, flamingos, rainbows, and cupcakes…cute and fun in any shape or form”)
Hair color reference: (My sister’s a brunette; I think I got the color pretty close.)


#50 Fifty & Fabulous

#50 Fifty & Fabulous
#50 Fifty & Fabulous
Click image to download full-size print suitable for framing or giving to that special person turning 50 — er, 30.

Chaz DeSimone’s 50th AmperArt release is appropriately titled Fifty & Fabulous.

There’s nothing all that clever in this design…the ampersand is the AmperArt logo, a modified Garamond italic, & the words are set in the AmperArt brand identity font, Helvetica.

What is special, though, is you—for taking a look at each of my portrayals of “the ampersand as fun & fabulous art” every month.

Whether you’ve recently subscribed or have seen all 50 from the start, thank you for joining our community of ampersand afficianados & thank you for mentioning AmperArt to your friends who are fans of the ampersand just like we are.

Fifty & Fabulous is usually heard around the time people are nearing the half-century mark in their lives. (Of course, we don’t see them as “old,” today’s 50 being the new 30.) So it might be a nice & simple birthday gesture to frame a print or make a card for the Birthday Boy or Girl featuring the new Fifty & Fabulous AmperArt design.

FREE 11X17 ART POSTER: Download to print a POSTER here. It’s an impressive 11×17 inches, easily printed at a copy or office supplies store. Same size poster frames are readily available, too.

FREE 50TH BIRTHDAY/ANNIVERSARY GREETING CARD: Download to make a CUSTOM GREETING CARD here. Prints on standard letter-size paper or card. For best presentation, print at highest quality on photo card stock. (The card does not mention the word “birthday” so it can be used for any 50th celebration. The inside is blank.)

Look at these ideas: Framing & Displaying Your AmperArt Print

Original dimensions: 20″ x 30″
Program: Illustrator, Photoshop
Fonts: Helvetica, Garamond (modified as AmperArt logo)

Thanks for subscribing to AmperArt. Please invite your ampersand-fan friends & colleagues to subscribe–tell them it’s fabulous & free.