watercolor

Visual Vocabulary: Bivouac

"Old Chap Bivouacs, Enjoys Immensely"

OK, so I have to admit my illustration for this word didn't strictly stick to the definition. At all. According to some dictionaries, to bivouac specifically means to camp without cover. And in most cases, it is tied specifically to an army that is camping. My old chap here with his oriental rug, newspaper, wingback chair, ottoman, firepit, Hoover AND convenient tarp roofing may be a little more glamping than bivouacking.

Visual Vocabulary: bivouac illustration, Julie Rado Design

But a word as fancy as bivouac seems to require all of the finest comforts in life, wouldn't you agree? And don't ask me why he has a vacuum. It just seemed appropriate. Maybe he has OCD and the only way he can go camping is if his oriental rug stays clean. I bet they vacuum daily in expensive glamping sites. 

Tomorrow I'm going to post about the process I use for visual vocabularies, so check back if you're interested in how I work on these illustrations from start to finish. 


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.


Visual Vocabulary: Fubsy

The word fubsy comes to you courtesy of The Goldfinch (again). According to the dictionary, it may be a combination of "fat" and "chub" so now anytime I've eaten a plate of nachos/pizza/cookies, I'll be complaining about how I'm feelin' a little fubsy. 

Visual Vocabulary: fubsy illustration, 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.


Visual Vocabulary: Gallimaufrey

I ran across the word gallimaufrey (also spelled gallimaufry for those captious folks) in The Goldfinch, which is an excellent book that I couldn't put down for several nights in a row. It was also a wealth of fantastic vocabulary words to illustrate, so thank you on both counts, Donna Tartt. (Her other book that I've read, The Little Friend, was also really good. Not to mention the creeper book jacket was designed by Chip Kidd). 

Visual Vocabulary: gallimaufrey illustration, Julie Rado Design

I'm going to now start calling our junk drawers gallimaufrey drawers. It's so much more fun than "junk drawer." Much like what's in this particular one, which I will list out here for your convenience:

  1. South Beach Diet Book ("No Bread - No Cheese - No Fun")
  2. Receipt from Target for "that thing you meant to return but never did."
  3. Random paintbrushes and writing utensils.
  4. Cough drops.
  5. A Hard Rock Cafe pin.
  6. Bonne Bell Dr. Pepper lip balm that's probably more than a decade old.
  7. A gold bracelet with your high school boyfriend's name on it, because you feel kind of bad throwing away a gold bracelet.
  8. A koosh ball.
  9. I Heart Intercourse, Pennsylvania playing cards because you used to live in Lancaster and you have the sense of humor of a thirteen year old.
  10. A stamp for two cents that is the opposite of a forever stamp.
  11. An allen wrench, because you always have to have at least ten of them floating around at any given time.
  12. A postcard from Spring Break 2003 in Myrtle Beach. Wouldn't want to forget it.
  13. A religious card that someone left you in lieu of a tip several years ago when you waitressed at Outback in Atlanta. 
  14. A "Bank of Old Ass Credit" card that you really should cancel but don't feel like arguing with the Bank of Old Ass Credit customer service people about shutting down your account.
  15. Old movie ticket stubs.
  16. Chattering wind-up teeth.
  17. Spare change.
  18. Spare paperclips.
  19. Spare rubber bands.
  20. Spare batteries.
  21. Spare corn on the cob handles (you never know when they might come in handy).
  22. BOGO Unibrow Trimming coupon (great deal!)
  23. $25 gift card to Billy Bob's House of Pork Rinds.
  24. Spare pair of ear buds.
  25. And of course, a whoopie cushion. No gallimaufrey drawer is complete without a whoopie cushion. 

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.


Visual Vocabulary: Captious

Coming up with an illustration for captious was fairly easy. I knew I wanted to do someone inspecting the baseboards for dust (because really, who show me the person who has the time and motivation to dust their baseboards and I bet they need a serious vacation and/or a head transplant). It seemed only fitting that someone like Mr. Carson from Downton Abbey would be a good person to inspect dust on the baseboards. Although if I were to be captious about it, it might technically be one of Mrs. Hughes' duties and not Carson's. Also, if I were to be really captious about my illustration, Mr. Carson doesn't have sideburns. I've made him look like a butler from the 1970s. Oh well, I'd like to see THAT scandal hit Downton Abbey! 

"Facial hair on a butler? Well I never!"

Visual Vocabulary: captious illustration, 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.


Visual Vocabulary: Strafe

The word "strafe" can be filed under the category of "words my husband thinks everyone should know and was taken aback that I didn't." When I asked him about it, he was appalled that I had no idea it meant gunning people down from a low-flying aircraft. Then I had to remind him that playing war-based shooter video games is his hobby, not mine. I'm not as well-versed as he is in war and military terminology. 

Visual Vocabulary: strafe illustration, Julie Rado Design

So I decided to make this an homage to him (seen here as the pilot, SgtScooter) and his buddy Paul (seen here as blonde Rambo, PolishPaul) since they are often playing video games together. Here's a smattering of our conversation while I was drawing this scene:

Me: A helicopter doesn't have a wheel, right? It has a stick for steering?
Scott: I mean it's called a yoke, but whatever.

And then I showed him the helicopter body:

Me: I'm sorry this isn't very badass-looking.
Scott: I'm sure it could report the shit out of the traffic.
Me: Well then, I'm not even going to ask about the anatomic-correctness of Paul's machine gun...
Scott: ...

And that, friends, that "..." of silence is what we call "knowing when to shut up to keep your marriage happy." Just kidding, I thought the helicopter comment was hilarious. He gave me a dose of my own snark. One day I might just quiz him on design terminology. 


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.


Visual Vocabulary: Timorous

Timorous is is a fairly obvious word, even without contextual clues... but still, I couldn't resist using one of my favorite lines from one of my favorite movies ever (if you have to ask—it's a Muppet Christmas Carol. If you've known me long enough, I'm sure I've quoted it in your presence before.) Also, a mouse grasping a wedge of cheese is obviously a mouse after my own heart.

Visual Vocabulary: timorous illustration, Julie Rado Design

On an only somewhat related note, when my sister and I were kids, we had two pet mice. Don't ask me why our parents ever agreed to allow this; I can only imagine that our constant asking for another pet in addition to Wiggles the rabbit must have worn them down. A big part of the reason that we decided to get mice was that they were priced to sell at only $1.50 each (because they were feeder mice), which was exactly one and a half weeks worth of allowance. One of the mice was named Mousers (memorialized in internet eternity here) which is the point of this long tangent. We did enjoy having the mice, but I'm sure my parents regretted them almost immediately after we brought them home. Among the incidents with the mice, we had the time they escaped and wandered the house pooping on everything and eventually wound up in the washing machine (luckily my mom discovered this before dumping the dirty clothes in); there was the time one of them bit my little brother on Christmas Eve and he and the mouse had to go in to the ER (the mouse went "in case we have to do an autopsy on him to see if he has any diseases like rabies"); and then there was the time when my sister went to check on the mice babies (oh yes, we managed to get a boy and a girl and they hit it off, I guess) and she discovered several headless baby mice and a momma mouse that was fat and sassy and licking her chops. Long story short, I wouldn't recommend mice for pets. They are not timorous creatures, despite their reputation. 

Light the lamp not the rat, light the lamp not the rat!


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.


Visual Vocabulary: Panegyrist

Hello again! After a two week holiday hiatus, I am feeling refreshed and ready to draw an entire year's worth of visual vocabularies. I actually drew most of this one while sitting in my car at the parking lot at the gym, killing time before my kickboxing class started and attempting not to turn into a Rado-cicle in the ice vortex or whatever it is they're calling this awful cold weather. Drawing and working out—killing two birds with one stone and all that other new years resolution stuff.

 Visual Vocabulary: panegyrist illustration, Julie Rado Design

I think I came across Panegyrist in Thirteen Moons. Anyway, every time I look at the word it seems like it should involve a man hula hooping (because of it makes me think of gyrating) and excitedly selling something (perhaps a hula hoop?) My husband thinks this is the scariest looking person I have ever drawn. I'm sure I could do worse given the chance. 


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.


Visual Vocabulary: Ambuscade

In the spirit of the season, I wanted to do a holiday-themed illustration for this week's word. I had Rudolph on in the background as I started this, so naturally, I decided to feature the abominable snowman waiting for Rudolph, Hermie, Yukon and the gang. 

Visual Vocabulary: ambuscade illustration, 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.


Visual Vocabulary: Sigogglin

Sorry for the one week hiatus, fellow vocab lovers. I know you were waiting with bated breath for me to illustrate a new wacky word. I was busy completing the seemingly insurmountable task of creating a photo album of three years worth of photos in order to have it wrapped up and under the Christmas tree by December 24th. Since I am a designer and a control freak, I had to design the entire thing myself, which took some time. I originally thought it might be 50 pages. It turned out to be 162 pages. So, yeah. On with the new word!

I ran across the word sigogglin in The Poisonwood Bible (great book if you haven't read it). It is classified as both ancient and with origins in Appalachia, so it makes the most sense for it to be in relation to teeth, don't you agree? Them thar sigogglin Billy Bob teeth. I can make fun of them without feeling bad because I'm from Ohio. 

Visual Vocabulary: sigogglin illustration, 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.


Visual Vocabulary: Oubliette

I like to test my husband with these words when I run across them. He's usually my Siri when it comes to looking up words, because he knows them a majority of the time and then I don't have to find my phone and look up words.

Visual Vocabulary: Oubliette illustration, Julie Rado Design

Once I'd already looked up the word oubliette and knew what it meant, I decided to test his knowledge.

Me: You must know the word oubliette.

Him: Oh yeah, it's a dungeon with some form of entrance that isn't in the front or something, right?

Me: BAH! HOW DO YOU KNOW ALL OF THESE WORDS IN SUCH DETAIL, IT'S NOT FAIR! You probably got it from D&D or from reading all of the Game of Thrones books, right?

Him: Oh, that one? No, I know that word from Labyrinth. 

Me: Oh, forgive me for not being well-versed on all of the dorky wells of knowledge that you have access to. (Cue cursing David Bowie and his creepy crotch-hugging tights under my breath.)

For the record, I love my husband very much and I'm glad he has a better vocabulary for me and I have nothing against dorks (I'm one myself, just in different ways than knowing medieval words). Also for the record, I swear I was forced to watch Labyrinth for the entirety of sixth grade during Library period (ironic, no?) and all I can remember is David Bowie's crotch in my face. So I never actually watched the entire movie and paid attention until I was an adult. I still recoil in horror at his crotch, but at least now I've seen the whole movie. 


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.