Posting from the iPad about Persimmons

Thanks to our local Asian grocery store, Asian Pacific Market, Sarah and I have been all sorts of interesting new fruits and vegetables. When we first saw the bin of persimmons we wondered to ourselves, “what are these yellow tomatoes?” We had only been looking at the fruit for a minute before a man walked up with his wife and told us that they were tasty just like apples and this variety was not nearly as astringent as some of the other persimmon varieties. His wife’s advice on picking persimmons was “get the big ones,” with no mention of color or ripeness, though I assume that color does have something to do with it.

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The persimmons we were purchasing that day are known as Fuyu Persimmons and the have a light sweet taste and can be eaten just like an apple or pear. We ended up taking home a few and thoroughly enjoying them, thus leading us to purchase more upon our return to the market.

Once again Sarah and I find ourselves at the market and what’s this? Not one, but TWO different types of persimmons for sale this time! We’re feeling adventurous so we don’t think twice about getting two of these new “Hiyachi Persimmons.”

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Fast forward to today when we are ready to try our first hiyachi persimmon. I slice it up into nice thin pieces and I take a big bite. “Sweet” I think to myself as my mouth begins to contract on itself as though I’ve just taken a bite of black hole. To say this was astringent would be an understatement. Turns out that Hiyachi persimmons have to be fully ripened to the point of being a mushy jelly before that astringency goes away.

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Fuyu, notice how it is short and flat bottomed compared to the more elongated Hiyachi.

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The Hiyachi persimmon is often hung out to dry in Japan and then served as a delicacy.

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I also made a delicious pesto-ricotta pizza for lunch.

That’s all for today. These post on the iPad tend to be a little less polished but that’s just the nature of the beast I guess. Adios muchachos.

Painting and Modding Nerf Blasters for our Halloween Costumes

Sarah and I have been working on our Halloween costumes for this year and things are coming along nicely. Earlier in the year we decided to be Gotham City Impostors since the costumes would be easy to make and super fun. Since it’s a first person shooter our costumes needed weaponry and it just so happens that Nerf makes a great line of toy “blasters” that can be easily painted and modified.

While searching around on Amazon I started noticing mod kits from a company called Orange Mod Works that were custom made for certain Nerf models that effectively doubled the power and range. Being an awesome adult I decided that I must have one of these modded “blasters” since “one never knows when or where they may need to “blast” someone.” Dr. Dre said that I think.

Of course if you’re going to open a Nerf gun you might as well paint it and it might as well resemble a paint job from the game. Sarah’s is the Coveted “Snowflake” pattern that’s only unlocked through community challenges.

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Album Covers in Cheap Marker

I’m all about technique building; from cooking, to gardening, to art there’s always new skills to learn and build upon. That being said my current interest has been in markers, specifically really cheap markers that you’d send an eighth grader to school with.

Marker set purchased in Taiwan

I believe I paid less than $5 for this whole set.

I purchased said cheap markers in Taiwan with my good friend Alan Openshaw

Alan Openshaw sitting on a concrete fish in Taiwan

I love the look on Alan’s face in this picture.

Here we find Alan sitting atop a fish in the Port of Kaohsiung (gow-shung) when we traveled to Taiwan in 2010. It was a fantastic trip and I can not thank the Openshaw family enough for allowing me to go with Alan.

Let’s take a moment to talk about Alan and I’s friendship. It runs deep ladies and gentlemen, you’d do well to remember that.

Alan Openshaw and Devin Gustafson preparing to skydive

Long before Felix decided to come along and break our record Alan and I went sky diving for our birthdays (We’re only 12 days apart). Alan look thrilled while I’m trying to look hard to hide the fact that I’m terrified. #Tru-facts.

You see that photo? That was from the day Alan and I celebrated our births and our lives by jumping out of an airplane (Thanks Openshaw family ((again)) and getting the whole thing on video. If you ever want to see my video I’ll gladly let you watch it at my house, it’s only 8 minutes long.

Taichi Sato and Alan Openshaw in Tokyo Japan

What a great night that was.

Here we find Alan with another of my good friends, Taichi Sato. He lives in Tokyo and is just finishing up his schooling to be a seamen. Fishing is really big in Japan, which makes sense for a country that’s a large chain of islands.

As usual I set myself a few rules to abide by as I worked on this project. The first being that I had to listen to the album I wanted to draw as I drew it. Sometimes I finished the album before the drawing was complete and had to listen to it again. This happened with Abandoned Luncheonette: I did not mind in the least.
Second parameter, rule, what-have-you was that each album had to be a 3″x3″ square. This made getting any amount of detail into the picture almost impossible. This is where stylization comes into play and as you’ll see some styles worked much better than others.

I made 12 when I originally planned on 15, which I guess would have been the third rule but I filled up a full page with ink and this way I can keep it all together.

Here we go!

jamiroquai_dynamite_marker

Cross hatching for black. Disappointing results.

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Jamiroquai “Dynamite”

I tried using cross hatching here and there on this project and found that for large flat colors the best rendered with patience and in solid blocks.

Tennis, Young and Old markers

Yay for bands from Denver.

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The cross hatching here came out nicely since it’s in isolated pockets.

stVincent_actor in marker

I made her face too wide. Scaling mistakes pop up periodically in this project. 

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Skinny face is skinny.

Scaling issues will ruin a piece.

theymightbeGiants_joinus in markers

This one is pretty close.

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Whoop Whoop.

howler_americagiveup

Cross hatching ruined this piece to hell so fast. I’m tempted to just go in and fix it by blocking out the rest of the color.

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failing grade.

hallandoates_abandonedLuncheonette in markers

I love this album and this cover.

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Headshot!

thelonelyisland_turtleneckandChain

Scaling issues again. Notice how I realized that markers can be layered to increase opacity on this piece (turtleneck shadows).

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The Lonely Island “Turtleneck and Chain”

This album is hilarious.

suckers_candysalad in marker

Proud of this one.

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Suckers “Candy Salad”

Good album, well done cover.

drdre_thechronic in markers

This album is incredible from beginning to end.

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Dr Dre “The Chronic 2001″

Blaze up some chronic and then go draw with some markers…

rickross_portofMiami in markers

ROOOSSSSSSSSssss

rickross_portofMiami

He’s the CEO of Ross stores, btw.

Erreday I’m hustlin’

sleighbells_reignofterror in markers

This may be the best cover in terms of matching the original.

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Sleigh Bells “Reign of Terror”

Pump this album through your headphones for brain melting guitar riffs and vocals.

dandeacon_america in markers

I’m pleased with this one as well.

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Dan Deacon “America”

So there’s that. I’d like to do this project again on a larger scale and see what the results look like but it will have to wait since I’ve got a bunch of other stuff to create in the meantime.

Now I’ve got to go disassemble Sarah’s nerf gun so I can paint it for her Halloween costume.

-Devin

Working at the Colorado Springs Independent

Indy Insider cover

I recently picked up a gig at The Colorado Springs Independent (henceforth referred to as The Indy) laying out ads part time. Long story short it has been an incredible learning experience. I’ve gotten 10 times more familiar with Indesign than I was a few weeks ago, and I now have a much deeper understand of just what goes into the creation and delivery of a physical newspaper.

Friday I was offered a position with the paper as a full time Account Executive, which I must admit came as a shock. After I texted Sarah the news I called Grant on my walk home and talked about what I should do. His vote was yes. Sarah’s vote was yes. My vote was yes.

So I accepted the position. Once I know more about it I’ll let you all know.

-Devin

How to make Sweet Iced Tea like a Boss

Welcome back to “Cooking with Gas” the blog segment that teaches you how I prepare some of the awesome food in my kitchen. You could follow these directions and make your own amazing things one day too, but for now you should probably just sit back and enjoy the pictures until you’re ready. Don’t worry, these things take time. You think I got this awesome in a day? Hell no, took a few years at least! Now, on to the part where I show you have I make Sweet Tea.
Some of you may know I deeply passionate I am about Sweet Tea, for the rest of you, just know that I believe any restaurant in Texas should serve sweet tea by law. That being said I try and always have a fresh gallon or three of tea in the fridge.

The method I’m going to show you if easily scalable so if you find yourself needing more tea at once you can do that.

Luzianne tea box and bags

These are not the tea that I prefer but this was all Safeway had. BOOOOOOOO

Obviously to start this process you’re going to need some tea. I prefer Tetley Iced Tea Blend, but Safeway doesn’t carry it at my store. I will be requesting that it be added to the next set. To make 1 gallon I use 4 tea bags, you could easily use more if you want, but any less and you’re going to have pretty weak tea.

Pan full of water on the stove

put 3/4 of your total water in the pan to boil.

At this point put 3/4 you final yields worth of water into the pan to boil. IE if you want to make one gallon in the end, but 3/4 gallon in the pan.

Gas range on high heating a stainless steel pan

Crank that heat up to the max

Start heating that water to boiling. I put the burner on high, and since we have a gas range the water boils in about 2 minutes. Take that shitty electric stoves.

Tea bags with the strings cut off

Screw you strings, we don’t need you.

Here’s one of the main reasons I like the Tetley Tea bags better, Tetley bags are circles with no strings on them. These bags have strings which suck and add ink, paper, and metal to your tea if you leave them on. That’s why I cut them off, and shoot them the bird so there’s no confusion as to how I feel about them.

Tea bags immediately after being added to the water

Toss in those bags.

At this point of the process some people will have some objections about tossing the bags in too early and “burning the tea” which is a reasonable concern when you’re dealing with nice green teas, rishis, and others, but for my tea I like it strong and this method works. Toss the bags in as soon as they’re ready (even if the water isn’t boiling).

Devin's custom tea Spoon with tea leaves skorched into it

The Tea spoon is only used for Tea.

I have two wooden spoons that are only ever used to stir tea. They are then rinsed off with hot water, air-dried and put away. This results in a nice seasoned spoon that only ever tastes like Tea vs a spoon that imparts a tomato paste flavor since it was used to make Spaghetti the night before.

Tea brewing and getting nice and dark

Tea brewing and getting nice and dark

Once your water reaches a nice boil turn the heat down and let the tea brew at a low boil for another 5-10 minutes. If you think your tea needs more time let it brew longer. Careful with stirring and boiling these tea bags too much as they have tendency to rupture mix little leaves all in your tea. This isn’t the end of the world though.

1 1/4 cup sugar in a pyrexyt measuring cup

1 1/4 cup sugar per one gallon.

Take the tea bags out of the pot, pour in your sugar, and give the whole brew a good stir with your teaspoon.

1 Gallon pitcher with 1/4 gallon of water in it

Here’s where you use the other 1/4 of your water.

Fill you final pitcher with the rest of your water. It’s important that you put this water in the pitcher now before you pour that hot brew into the pitchers lest you melt your pitcher and ruin your tea.

Pitcher full of tea sitting in a stainless steel sink

Looking good!

Once you pour your brew into the pitcher with the water give it a good stir and then set it aside on a counter to cool down before you put the pitcher in the refrigerator.

Glass of sweet iced tea with a lime round on the rim

Perfection.

Once the tea has cooled down in the fridge you’re ready to serve it up. I usually don’t bother putting ice in the glass but I did this time for the photo. Now it’s time to take a sip and enjoy the delicious brew you’ve just made.

Sweet Iced Tea Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 1 gallon water
  • 1 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 4 large tea bags

Pup sketches, internships, and dinner party menus.

Well hello again everybody! It’s been too long between posts so I’m going to try my damnedest to get two of them up and written today.

I recently started interning at CoPilot Creative and have really been enjoying it. I honestly had to think long and hard about whether or not I wanted to take an unpaid internship, but in the end I decided the experience and free lunches were worth it. The very first day I was doing things that I would have never done on my own, liking making banner ads,editing large brochures in Indesign, and creating Ebooks.

CoPilot Creative logo

I get to look at this as often as I want.

On Tuesday, Austin shot me an email from a lady at the Colorado Springs Independent who was looking for a part time graphic designer to help with ad layout through the end of the month.

Colorado Springs Independent building front

By the end of the day I had myself a job at the newspaper! I’m pretty damn excited to be quite honest.

Chardog

Look at his Eyebrows!

After seeing a post on Pinterest that Sarah found a while back we randomly add eyebrows to Char god. Doesn’t he look great?

Chargod's brows making him look concerned

I mean come on!

Pad Se Ew

Pad Se Ew. I’m getting pretty good at making Thai food and using my wok.

I’m also getting quite good at making Thai food in the wok, as you can see by the Pad Se Ew pictured above. Protip: The trick to getting authentic tasting Pad Se Ew is to really crisp the noodles. You want to get a nice toasty flavor on everything.

Devin and Sarah menu for lunch with Fixer Creative

We had Fixer Creative at our house for lunch one Sunday. We had New Mexico style green enchiladas and lemon brownies.

We had Fixer Creative over for lunch one Sunday. It was lovely and we’re looking forward having lunch with them again.

Watercolor pug in a kimono performing a Japanese tea ceremony

I painted Theo in a kimono performing a Japanese tea ceremony

I’ve wanted to do an art piece like this for quite some time and I finally got around to doing an early sketch. Looks pretty good eh?

Marker and watercolor pug shooting a lazer beam.

Markers and watercolors!

I’ve been working with markers more as a start for later illustration work. See the following.

Hall and Oates marker drawing

I love Hall & Oates

You seeing those handsome mugs? I’m thinking of doing a series of marker drawings of album covers that I like.

marker drawings and sketches of dogs

Drawing those pups

I’m working on developing a style that I like. It’s always a work in progress.

Vase of flowers drawn on Paper on the iPad

More work on Paper.

Paper is fun/frustrating with its color limitations. You have to mix colors and pens to get the desired colors. Notice how I made two different purples by using the wash with a white pen stroke and a purple pen stroke.

Vase of Flowers on a table

Here are the flowers IRL.

Ok. That’s about it for now. Catch you on the flip side (later)

-Devin