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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: Ossify

Ossify: cause to become hard and bony; petrify. As in, "Little Ollie didn't believe his mother when she said his face might ossify if he kept contorting it in an unnatural and ugly manner. Who's laughing now, Ollie?"

My options for the word ossify were either to draw a gnarled old witchy woman (see example A) or to draw little Ollie with his face stuck like this for all eternity. Do they teach this in mom school? I'm pretty sure everyone I know has been told this by their mother (or someone else's mother) at some point during their childhood. I should also mention that Scott's reaction to little Ollie was very visceral—he recoiled in disgust and said, "Ugh! I can see all the way to his BRAIN!" Mission accomplished. 

Visual Vocabulary: ossify, Julie Rado Design


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: Saturnine

I came up with this idea for the word saturnine two weeks ago, at about 4:18 AM, when the power went out in our apartment and I was woken by the sound of my phone vibrating ("I'm not charging anymore, nanny nanny boo boo"). I knew it was going to be bad because we were in the midst of an ice storm. So I laid awake wondering how long we were going to be without power and wondering what I was going to do all day since if our apartment was without power, then surely my office would be as well (and it was).

Visual Vocabulary: saturnine illustration, Julie Rado Design

Instead of dwelling on the fact that I would probably sit in my cold apartment all day reading A Storm of Swords under several blankets and a snuggie (which is what I did for many hours, along with napping) I tried to use my time not being able to sleep to think about how to illustrate the word saturnine. I kept kept imagining this grim old lady who looked like a Puritan. And then I started to try and remember some of the phrases from the New England Primer, and if any of them would rhyme with "saturnine." A Google search told me that they didn't, but you can see I didn't let that stand in my way. 

Another interesting tidbit: when Scott and I first met, he said that I scared him because I had a pierced nose and tattoos and when I didn't smile I looked, and I quote, DOUR. So when I was finished drawing this picture, I sent him a text: 

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So yeah. An easy word for me to remember. Also, she could be sisters with this lady


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.