Getting to Know the Locals: Cassie Genc

the last traveler portrait

I had the great opportunity of talking with Cassie Genc, a local Milwaukee illustrator living in the Bayview area. Her work is full of whimsy, wonder, and robots. I have looked up to Cassie as an artist for many years and have always appreciated her use of vibrant colors and attention to detail. The pieces she creates transport to magical other worlds that leave you thirsting for further exploration into her work.
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The making of a mural, in chalk

Day 1: Setting the scene
One of my first assignments at Composure was to create a wall mural. It was the largest piece of artwork I’ve ever done. It was slightly intimidating at first, but I was ready to take on the challenge. Here’s a behind the scenes look at creating my first chalk wall mural!

First, you must do the research. Pulling inspiration pieces is not only a great way to get your creative juices flowing, but helps create a starting point for what will become the finished work. As an inspiration point, I began to gather pieces from past projects, a wide mix of different works. I wanted to incorporate designs from all different clients and find a way to integrate them all together.

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Creating a cohesive layout is like solving a puzzle. You start out with individual pieces and begin to find which pieces fit together, which pieces don’t.

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Our Kids: Childlike Creativity

Anyone that knows me will tell you I talk about my two daughters—a lot. In my defense, it’s pretty much “Dad Law” that I have to brag about them whenever I get the chance and think everything they do is amazing.

All joking aside, my kids’ imaginations never cease to amaze me. Whether they are creating incredibly detailed plots for stories while playing with their toys or making up random lyrics to songs, I find myself often times just watching and smiling.

What I am most in awe of, however, is the way I can give them a stack of paper and just watch them create page after page of drawings. They’ve spent entire afternoons with nothing but their imaginations, a binder of loose-leaf paper and crayons—so many crayons.

Layla bear

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Cast of Characters

Portraits have always been about more than ink and paint to me. Part of what sparked my interest in them was finding ways to show the idiosyncrasies of the people around me. Things like the curve of a nose or how someone’s chin sits against their cheek, or in this instance, how much they really do look like their pet.

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A Few of Our Favorite Things: LL’s Illustrators

Jim_Madson

Jim Madsen

http://www.shannonassociates.com/artist/jimmadsen

Madson has been illustrating for the past 15 years, and has 75 illustrated books to show for it! His work has a soft, dreamlike quality. He uses subtle humor which brings charm to a lot of his pieces. There’s warmth through his color palette that helps create a sort of comfort to the characters he constructs. I really enjoy his work, and he is fantastic to work with.

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Personalized Learning in Practice: How a Risk-Taker Tailored Learning in Her District

Wales, Wis.

A magic wand sits high on a shelf in Patricia Deklotz’s office. It was a gift in 2005, the day after she accepted the Kettle Moraine school board’s challenge to “transform the educational delivery system to better and more efficiently meet the needs of all children.” But the board had just cut about $1 million from the budget for the 4,100-student district.

What “transform” meant was undefined, except Deklotz knew that they needed to do something different for less. Innovate on a dime.

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A Few of our Favorite Things: LL’s Illustrated Children’s Books

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The Great Paper Caper by Oliver Jeffers

Described by Oliver Jeffers as “A thrilling tale of mystery, crime, alibis, paper planes, and a bear who wanted to win.” This book is illustrated beautifully through humor, Jeffers ‘childlike’ type and lovable characters. I love the animals stick figure legs and the sky always changing bold colors. It was nearly impossible for me to choose a favorite among Jeffers books-so I must cheat my “3” favorites list here and mention two more titles by Jeffers, The Incredible Book Eating Boy and This Moose Belongs to Me. Though lets be honest, they are all great!

Purchase here!

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A Few of Our Favorite Things: KR’s Type Artists

Christopher WoolChristopher Wool

Wool is an American artist famous for his black and white stenciled letter word paintings, Wool forms words and phrases in a grid style that breaks typography and word pattern rules, removing space, punctuation and vowels leaving the viewer to make sense of it. Known also for his abstract work, Wool pushes the limits of painting using of a variety of mediums and tools for mark-making. I am inspired by his ability to move beyond the standard rules and create art that grabs your attention and requires thought to decipher the work.

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Generating Effective Website Content

Regardless of the size of your company, having a functional website is a critical foundation. Whether you’re working on a redesign or developing your website from scratch, you should pay attention to and focus on the content of your site. Having a functional and attractive website will only get you so far. People often neglect the importance of having pertinent and well-written content.

What you should write—be clear and quick

When writing for your website, make sure it is clearly written and conveys consistent messaging for your brand and personality. Although it’s important to incorporate a personal touch, you should avoid getting too wordy. People have a short attention span when it comes to browsing a website versus reading a blog or online article. With articles, people have a preconceived idea of what they will be doing and expect to dedicate some time to reading. With most websites, on the other hand, people want to be able to get in and get out. It has been reported that people will spend as little as 20 seconds on your site to determine if it’s worth their time or not. If they can’t find what they’re looking for quickly, they will move on and look elsewhere.
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