Visual Vocabulary

Visual Vocabulary: Natty & Tatty

Natty: Stylish; dapper.
Tatty: Showing signs of wear & tear.

As in, “Old Joe the hobo went from tatty to natty once he found a job and befriended the nice saleslady at Woolworths.”

Visual Vocabulary: natty and tatty, Julie Rado Design

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I don’t know about yall, but I’m feeling awfully tatty these days. I mean really, the negative temps have me wearing snow boots and hoodies to work and I don’t even care. I have a closet full of nice clothes but it seems like they’re all made of the thinnest material possible. Until May, nice clothes—I see you and raise my hood. Come spring, I’ll be feeling natty.


Visual Vocabulary is a project I created for myself in which I attempt to sear new words into my memory by illustrating them. You can see all of them here, and read more about the process behind them here.


Visual Vocabulary: Stolid

Stolid: showing little emotion; not easily aroused or excited. As in, “The bulldog eyed the fire hydrant, but remained stolid, as was his nature. Frankly, it was unimpressive.” 

Visual Vocabulary: stolid, Julie Rado Design

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I will admit that this week I took a shortcut and re-used this bulldog illustration. I created him (and a bunch of other fun critters) for a client project that never saw the light of day. But I couldn’t bear to keep him buried on a hard drive, so I finally took him out for a walk. He has yet to voice his appreciation. 


Visual Vocabulary is a project I created for myself in which I attempt to sear new words into my memory by illustrating them. You can see all of them here, and read more about the process behind them here.


Visual Vocabulary: Otiose

Otiose: serving no useful purpose, futile. 

As in, “When it’s cold out, it seems a bit otiose to indicate that you want tea, Earl Grey, hot. Of course you want hot tea in the dead of winter, Jean Luc. Similarly, it would be otiose to resist the Borg. Those guys don’t take no for an answer. This concludes Your Guide to Starship Enterprise Basics, Day One.”

Visual Vocabulary: otiose, Julie Rado Design

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Does anyone out there not associate the word “futile” with the Borg? I have a skewed survey sample because I grew up watching ST:TNG and all of my adult friends are nerds. So I’m sorry if it looks like I took the easy way out of illustrating otiose, but now I can say I have illustrated a Borg. That's going under the “Nerdery” header on my resume. 


Visual Vocabulary is a project I created for myself in which I attempt to sear new words into my memory by illustrating them. You can see all of them here, and read more about the process behind them here.


Visual Vocabulary: Frippery

Frippery: showy or unnecessary in ornament, a tawdry or frivolous thing.

As in, “Some people may think that the topping selection at the frozen yogurt store is a frippery, but I say variety is the *sprinkle* of life!”

Visual Vocabulary: frippery, Julie Rado Design

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I must confess, frippery is a word that I discovered last week and it pushed its way to the front of the line past words that have been patiently waiting to be illustrated for a lonnng time. But it was just one of those words that no matter what, I knew would be fun to draw. Casuistry, maybe someday I’ll figure out how to illustrate you the way you deserve to be illustrated. Until then, my choices remain ones of frippery. 


Visual Vocabulary is a project I created for myself in which I attempt to sear new words into my memory by illustrating them. You can see all of them here, and read more about the process behind them here.


Visual Vocabulary: Gelid

Gelid: icy; extremely cold. 

As in, “Every winter I arm myself with my knit hat, giant scarf, snuggie, USB hand warmers, wool socks and snow boots, yet somehow I'm still gelid. I wish a chorus of hairdryers would come warm me up. Guess Ill just have to wait until the spring thaw.”

Visual Vocabulary: gelid, Julie Rado Design 

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Now I know I’m not the only one who feels this way. Which is why I put all of those links in the definition: so you, too, can re-create my winter look in the comfort and privacy of your own home! You may think I’m joking about wearing all that gear, but I’m really not. (OK, maybe I trade the snow boots for slippers, but only because I don’t want salt grime on the carpet). (If only you could see me right now, I’ve been wearing my down winter jacket for the last three hours as I did this illustration). Damn you, polar vortex. Damn you.


Visual Vocabulary is a project I created for myself in which I attempt to sear new words into my memory by illustrating them. You can see all of them here, and read more about the process behind them here.


Visual Vocabulary: Declivity

Declivity: a downward slope or bend (descent, decline, fall).

As in, “Twentysomethings often view their older counterparts as total fuddy duddies who have taken a ride down the declivity of fun. In response, thirtysomethings just chuckle because they know how great life is once you’re neither poor, tired, subsisting on frozen meals or hungover all the time.”

Visual Vocabulary: declivity, Julie Rado Design (click to view full size)

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Inspired by this series, I decided to use declivity to create an infographic exploration of the details of life in your twenties versus life in your thirties (click the photo to see it in full glory). Oh, and the differences between party activities? True story. Like “Go Ask Alice for thirtysomethings. 


Visual Vocabulary is a project I created for myself in which I attempt to sear new words into my memory by illustrating them. You can see all of them here, and read more about the process behind them here.


Visual Vocabulary: Otaku

Otaku: One with an obsessive interest in something, particularly anime, to the detriment of their social skills. As in:

“You couldn’t have torn him away from any movie or TV show or cartoon where there were monsters or spaceships or mutants or doomsday devices or destinies or magic or evil villains. In these pursuits alone Oscar showed the genius his grandmother insisted was part of the family patrimony. Could write in Elvish, could speak Chakobsa, could differentiate between a Slan, a Dorsai, and a Lensman in acute detail, knew more about the Marvel Universe than Stan Lee, and was a role-playing game fanatic. (If only he’d been good at videogames it would have been a slam dunk but despite owning an Atari and an Intellivision he didn’t have the reflexes for it.) Perhaps if like me he’d been able to hide his otakuness maybe shit would have been easier for him, but he couldn’t.”

The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, by Junot Diaz

Visual Vocabulary: otaku, Julie Rado Design

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Not to be confused with seppuku, a form of Japanese ritual suicide by disembowelment, which is also in the original edition of Cards Against Humanity and needs to be explained to at least one player every time. Otaku > seppuku. In my opinion. Mostly because I had so much fun illustrating the Otaku Club card, but also because I would never consider suicide by disembowelment, if you must know. A better look at the card for good measure, why don’t we?


Visual Vocabulary is a project I created for myself in which I attempt to sear new words into my memory by illustrating them. You can see all of them here, and read more about the process behind them here.


Visual Vocabulary: Jingo

Jingo: (derogatory) An extreme bellicose nationalist. As in:

“When the question of Spanish characters came up, the officer at school said no typewriter anywhere has characters beyond those needed for English. But it isn’t true. The one you sometimes leave on the dining-room table has them.”

“Those gringos. What jingoists.”

“That was the problem at school. You can’t get far on a story without the accents and eñe. You begin with Señor Villaseñor in the bath, reflecting on the experience of his years, but instead he is en el bano, reflexionando en las experiencias de sus anos.’

(Translation without the eñe: Senor Villasenor is in the bath, reflecting on the experiences of his anuses. Whoops! There’s a big difference between años and anos). 

Visual Vocabulary: jingo, Julie Rado Design

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This scene is from Barbara KingsolverThe LacunaI loved it so much, I didnt even bother writing my own sentence. Hooray for grammatical correctness in all languages! Yes, I am a nerd.


Visual Vocabulary is a project I created for myself in which I attempt to sear new words into my memory by illustrating them. You can see all of them here, and read more about the process behind them here.


Visual Vocabulary: Redolent

Redolent: having a strong, pleasant odor.

As in, “Baking 547 Christmas cookies for presents left our apartment smelling downright redolent and awakened my husband's inner cookie monster.”

Visual Vocabulary: redolent, Julie Rado Design

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Real talk: yes, I did bake that many cookies and let’s be honest, Scott doesn’t have an inner cookie monster that slumbers. It’s always awake, but then, so is mine. Who else is having a food baby in the new year? Mmm hm. I’m just saying, juiced carrots are not what I would call redolent. 

Oh, and in case anyone wants to know where I get my recipes from: 

  1. Salted (Bacon) Chocolate Chips: use this recipe and add 10 strips of bacon for each batch. I cook it (the bacon), crumble it, scoop the dough and refrigerate, then roll the dough in the bacon before baking. 
  2. Soft Gingersnaps. These were new this year, but a total hit.
  3. Salted Mudslides (one of my favorites).
  4. Chewy Lemon Cookies, a nice palate cleanser. 
  5. And the original Brown Butter and Sea Salt Chocolate Chips.

Who’s got cookies recommendations for next year’s list? Lay em on me!

PS: watercolor visual vocabularies are what happens when I’m on vacation and don’t want to sit at my computer. Then I defeat the purpose of that by going and making it into a gif. 


Visual Vocabulary is a project I created for myself in which I attempt to sear new words into my memory by illustrating them. You can see all of them here, and read more about the process behind them here.


Visual Vocabulary: Approbation & Louche

Approbation: approval or praise.
Louche: of questionable taste or morality. (Pronounced “loosh”)

As in, The old man's major award received the approbation of the Cleveland Street neighbors, even though my mother thought it was positively louche.

Visual Vocabulary: approbation and louche, Julie Rado Design

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I mean, Christmas is almost upon us, so I felt it was ok to keep going with the Christmas theme. And what better way than to pay homage with everyone's favorite sexed-up plastic feat of lighting ingenuity? Fun fact: for the past two years during Christmas time, I would pass a leg lamp proudly displayed in a picture window every night on my way home from work. It made me so happy, and it got bonus points in my book because it was directly across the street from an elementary school. Someone new must have moved in, because now there’s just a flat screen TV and a CFL bulb that burns my retinas every time I look. Nothing like the soft glow of electric sex gleaming in the window from years past. So here’s to you, leg lamp. Keep doing those lunges and staying sassy.


Visual Vocabulary is a project I created for myself in which I attempt to sear new words into my memory by illustrating them. You can see all of them here, and read more about the process behind them here.