drawing

*GUEST* Visual Vocabulary: Dilettante by Scott Davis

The last illustration of our guest series almost didn’t happen. Let me back up and explain: as I was putting together the roster of guest posts, it looked like there might be a gap in the schedule. I started to worry that I would need another illustration, so I put on all of my wifely charm while also sounding my silent, internal Type-A panic alarm. I did the unthinkable: I asked Scott (“I don’t draw”) to be a pinch hitter and do an illustration for me in case something didn’t pan out with the schedule. 

Me: So, I know this wasn’t in our wedding vows, but I have a huge favor to ask of you. Can you please, please, please draw a word for me?
Scott: Silence. Panicked look.

The look of sheer terror that glazed across his eyeballs made me feel like a terrible person for asking him to do this for me. I thought to myself “This would be like him asking me to defend our constitutional rights before the Supreme Court. Or something.” I gave him my notebook of future-words-to-illustrate. He reluctantly picked one, but wouldn’t tell me what it was.

This morning, I got a text message with his illustration. I couldn’t stop laughing. It’s perfect. 

Dilettante: A person who cultivates and area of interest, such as the arts, without real commitment or knowledge. 

Visual Vocabulary: dilettante illustration by Scott Davis

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I now owe Scott a sushi dinner and several hundred reiterations of my thanks. (Now to hope that I never have to go before the Supreme Court on his behalf...) And on that note, thank also to all of the awesome friends who contributed to the one year celebration of Visual Vocabulary: John Saal, Sarah Rado, and John Breakey. I’ll let Kermit take us out: 


Visual Vocabulary is a project I created for myself in which I attempt to sear new words into my memory by illustrating them. I'm celebrating the one-year anniversary this week with some guest illustrations (hooray!) You can see all of them here, and read more about the process behind them here.


Visual Vocabulary: Atonic

Atonic: lacking muscular tone. As in, “When Popeye traded in his canned spinach for fresh kale, his once whopping forearms became atonic, and Olive Oyl began to use them to play double dutch with Bluto.”

Visual Vocabulary: atonic, Julie Rado Design

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It's ok Popeye, I don't trust kale either. Come to think of it, nor do I trust canned spinach, so I guess I should be safe from either extreme.


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: Weltschmerz

Weltschmerz: Sadness on thinking about the evils of the world. As in, “Some days, the sense of Weltschmerz when listening to the news is just too much for me, so I have to turn on some mind-numbing fluff music to keep myself from feeling all the feelings.”

Visual Vocabulary: weltschmerz, Julie Rado Design

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I think we’ve all felt some Velt-shmerts with the news lately, haven’t we? Thankfully, there are things like Mommy unicorns giving birth to triplets at the zoo to keep us hopeful. 


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: Cachet

Cachet: an indication of approved or superior status; the state of being respected and admired. As in, In 1986, Tracy's linebacker shoulder pads were an marker of her cachet at the office. The middle managers had sad shoulder pads from Kmart, and the new hires let their shoulders go naked. The horror. 

Visual Vocabulary: cachet, Julie Rado Design

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I can't be the only one who immediately thinks of that store at the mall when I hear the word “cachet.” Right? Tell me I'm not alone. Anyway, I never shopped there, but I remember they always had sequined dresses and I imagined that they outfitted wealthy, middle aged divorcees. And always with lots of shoulder pads. Side note: the Caché store logo has to be one of the ugliest custom type jobs I've ever seen. On the other hand, I give them credit for creativity. 


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.


I just thought you guys should know...

...that this week's visual vocabulary was inspired by cartoon lips. Specifically, the guy on this birthday card Scott recently received. This one's going up on the bulletin board (thanks Aunt Susan!)

Many thanks to the art director at American Greetings that approved this card. 

Many thanks to the art director at American Greetings that approved this card. 

If you've been following visual vocabulary for just about any amount of time, you may have noticed that I like to draw people with...extreme (?) / creepy (?) / schnozzy (?)  / Mr.-Potato-Head-esque (?) facial expressions (deformities?) I couldn't pick just one adjective, so I went with them all. The more ridiculous the face, the better. 

But what you may not know is that I pretty much always draw these after making the same face myself and either taking a snapshot at the computer or just keeping the reflective camera on my phone as I draw. Sometimes I hesitate to take photos of myself because I worry that I might forget to delete them, and then they will live in the cloud and could potentially be hacked along with naked celebrity photos. Personally, I think I might be more horrified about a photo of me with a triple chin and crossed eyes getting loose on the internet. But then I'm no Jennifer Lawrence, so what clout do I have in that argument?

Each of these looks was painstakingly developed in the Rado mirror lab. 

Inspiration is everywhere. Including on a birthday card about a poop cake from your husband's aunt. 


Visual Vocabulary: Barmy

Barmy: informal or slang terms for mentally irregular. As in, "When mom came home from work and put on her magenta toga and started to walk like an Egyptian for no apparent reason, we knew she had gone completely barmy."

Visual Vocabulary: barmy, Julie Rado Design

Apparently, "balmy" can also mean mentally irregular. Tomorrow's forecast? Balmy with a chance of nutjob. Better take your umbrella. 


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: Bellicose

Bellicose: Having or showing a ready disposition to fight. As in, "The old geezer certainly was angry when he noticed me walking my dog on his lawn, and he became downright bellicose when Mr. Wiggles answered nature's call a moment later. We almost got into a fistfight over some errant dog poop!"

Visual Vocabulary: bellicose, Julie Rado Design

Visual Vocabulary: bellicose, Julie Rado Design

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RIP, Wiggles the rabbit. You live on forever by becoming a good dog name for my sample sentence. 


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: Torpid

Torpid: in a condition of biological rest or suspended animation; slow and apathetic. As in, "The idea of being torpid reminds me of the mosquito in Jurassic Park—one minute you're gorging yourself on delicious dinosaur blood, and the next minute your tubby self is becoming permanently torpid in some ill-placed dribble of sap. Let that be a lesson to all you young mosquitoes out there."

Visual Vocabulary: torpid, Julie Rado Design

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The other thing torpid reminds me of? Me sitting on the couch watching (insert name of show here) on Netflix. With my snacks. Oh, can you relate?


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: Marplot

Marplot: A meddlesome person whose activity interferes with the plans of others. As in, "That grandma who poked holes in her son's condoms so that she would get a grandchild is a real marplot!"

Visual Vocabulary: marplot, Julie Rado Design

I've been sitting on this one for a while, trying to come up with the perfect scenario for a marplot. I didn't want to have to resort to drawing Scott and I watching our ridiculously loud neighbors move out trashbag-by-trashbag and gleefully giving each other the play-by-play from the couch (though that did happen this weekend, and yes we are turning into old marplots—but hey, it's going to be a lot quieter now that they've moved out). Luckily, I remembered this fantastically insane grandma story on Dear Prudence and the day was saved. (Wipes sweat from brow).


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: Febrile

Febrile: Of or relating to or characterized by fever. As in, "When she came down with a febrile reaction to something she ate, Ms. Bumples dutifully tried adding more cowbell to her regimen per her doctor's orders."

Visual Vocabulary: febrile, Julie Rado Design

OK, OK, I could have come up with a more original interpretation of this, but why mess with a nugget of pop culture gold? I'm sure that Bruce Dickinson would agree. 


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.