ATP Design Works

ATP Design Works

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The Original Food Adventure

 So I can't say that today began like any other, because it most certainly didn't. Plans that were made last week necessitated that I spend the night at my god mother's house, and I had no idea what today would hold. After SKYPE-ing my god sis in the ATL, chatting the night away with my god bro, and trying to beat the "cooties" (Ah-CHOO!), I called it a night, and went to bed not really thinking about anything other than how good it felt to finally relax and get some sleep.
Awakened by someone knocking on the front door, I started my morning rituals, when my bro came in and suggested we get some pancakes from one of his favorite local spots in Redondo Beach. Not a bad idea right there! I was recently talking to two of my Twitter friends, Shirley and Chantale, about pancakes and crepes, and developed a huge craving for the fluffy breakfast staple, so to hear that I could satiate that desire was definitely some good news!
I had driven by The Original Pancake House a few times, and every time I would wonder what the food was like. I would always take an extra look at this old school architecture style business that boasted originality in pancakes, but because I was usually on my way somewhere ELSE, I could only dream as I watched the edifice wane in my rear view mirror. Not so this time! We pulled up into, what I was informed, a relatively empty parking lot, and proceeded inside.
For me, as for most of you I'm sure, service really make a difference in my overall eating experience. An establishment may have "The Bomb-Diggedy" food, but if the service is sub par, I won't be back. I don't have to be catered to or treated like royalty (If you want to do that, I'm not gonna stop you at all!), but the basics need to be handled. A friendly greeting, promptness, and communication. Those are the things that matter to me service wise. So, as soon as we entered we were immediately greeted by a very cute hostess with enchantingly icy blue eyes who efficiently got our dining information and sat us in a nice booth across the spacious dining area. Thirty seconds after we sit, our sever (cute as well!) comes over to take our drink order and leaves us to continue scan the menu.
Bacon Pancakes
They had quite a few pancakes, buttermilk, whole wheat, and even buckwheat, and their variations, crepes, waffles, omelets, the usual breakfast accompaniments. After taking a long, hard, steely eyed look at the chocolate chip and the blueberry pancakes, I caught sight of a pancake that I had been dying to try for some time. The Bacon Pancake! I've seen one version of this made while watching "Diners, Drive Ins, and Dives", and was blown away that I hadn't come up with this idea before!
I went ahead and ordered the pancakes, bacon and braised eggs, and upgraded the regular pancakes to the bacon pancakes. Now, though the menu said braised, our server told us, with her very alluring Spanish accent, that we could get the eggs any way we liked, so I decided on scrambled this time around. she also told us that the bacon pancake was "very popular" and "very good", just before she left to place the order.
A Rare "during" shot. I love the glistening syrup!
The Bacon Pancake is just as the name implies. Bacon IN a pancake. What comes when you order the meal are three saturated, yet well proportioned, bacon filled cakes. (The cakes by themselves come six per order.) The bacon appeared to have been cooked, then sliced and sprinkled in to the pancake batter as they cooked. Again, simplicity in the technique and I still can't believe I didn't think to do it myself, especially since it makes so much sense! The pancakes definitely exceeded my expectations as I really was thinking the bacon was going to be sparsely placed throughout, but to my delight, I got one meaty pancake! Woo! The combination of sweet and savory is perfect here, especially since I already like to put syrup on my bacon anyway! This definitely does not disappoint.
This surely was not my last visit to The Original Pancake House, especially after seeing our server bring another patron one of the house specialties, a HUGE Apple Pancake.There are just so many things on the menu to try, and, since this post, I've had several people want to come back here with me. So I guess this will be The Original Pancake House run part one!
Oh, and for all my Twitter followers who are in the "Know" Happy Twitter Food Party!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

VOG Flier Project

Each year our "young adult" choir has a concert and invites all of our family and friends to come out and praise God with us on one special night. Being blessed with artistic abilities, I volunteer my services for the choir and do the promotions for the concert each year. This year, with coordinating the volleyball ball team, The SYDe, folks traveling, and a myriad of other activities, all of our concert preparation was pushed back...Way back. I can't believe our concert is in two weeks! Normally I like to get visuals out to people a month in advance, and just give reminders as the date approaches. To give you an indication of what kind of time frame I'm working with, we just came up with our theme last week. The most important part of the concert is the music, of course, and for that portion, we will be ready to go, but presentation is also a big part, and a good visual can go a long way to enhance the whole experience. Besides, who doesn't enjoy a cool visual?

This year's theme is "It Ain't Over". Based on one of the songs we will be presenting, it speaks of hope and perseverance through adverse times and circumstances if we have faith in the Lord. Not having a long amount of time to do a complex illustration, or long photo shoot, I decided to go simple and focus more on typography, and something more abstract. I took some time to sketch out a concept, with type, then looked for a type face to approximate what I sketched out. The closet thing to what I envisioned was the typeface "Dogma", so I set to work in Illustrator to see just how I could manipulate this type. I first played with the size, merged and overlapped some paths, and added a gradient. Then with the the new look, I reversed some of the outlines added a couple of off set paths, then overlapped 3 variations at different opacities.

With the main type together, I went to look for a cool background that I could create that would fit well with what I had envisioned. Thanks to networking on Twitter, I had connected with an awesome designer in San Francisco who posts various tutorials on how to make some cool backgrounds and effects. For this one I used Fabian Sasso's (aka Abduzeedo) Hexagonal Bokeh Background tutorial to give the flier it's overall look, and graphic punch. (Thank you again for sharing Fabian!)

I want you to consider this your official invite to the VOG 2010 Concert. We know you will enjoy the praise, and I hope you enjoy the graphics...I still have to design the actual program, so I'll get to cranking on that so you can have a piece of my work to take home with you. More information is on the flier, or you can visit our Facebook Event Page, or the Inglewood Southside Christian Church Page for the address and contact numbers. Hope you can join us!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Illustrating Joey

Many of you have been waiting to see the latest of my illustrations. This particular one I had to hold off on posting because it was going to be a surprise gift for my dear friend and "sister" Joey, and I didn't want her to see it until she had it in her hands.

Photo Credits: Roger Hung
This particular work was inspired by a photograph that her husband took of her during one of his photo shoots. To me it captured her essence very well. Her playfulness, her "agressive" side, her strength, and her beauty were all depicted in this photo. Immediately my mind flashed potential images of how I could recreate this image in my illustrative styles. Of all the visions I saw, I decided to go with a space scene. Maybe because I used to want to be an astronaut, maybe because the mysteries of space have always intrigued me, or just maybe because that trike could so easily be converted to a rocket, and I have always loved rockets!

I took some creative liberties in the positioning and costume on this one. I transformed her high neck sweater into a armor style breast piece with armored shoulder pieces. I kept the skirt as I felt it made a nice, flowing (and sexy) contrast to the smooth exactness of the torso piece. This was actually my second sketch of this particular piece, that I decided to work up. I will probably do another sketch (or two) of this photo, in slightly different set up and costume. Once I got the composition together, I inked it, and scanned it, then set about to add color to it.

*addendum* So I had been working feverishly on several other projects when I received confirmation that the drawing had reached it's destination, and was in the hands of its intended recipient, so in my haste to post this I misplaced the original sketch. I love showing a progression on these types of things, so I was a bit baffled that I couldn't find it. I even began to second guess my modus operandi when it didn't surface, so I just posted this blog and kept moving. I was going through some drawings weeks later, and there it was in all of its sketchy glory. I love the rough, unfinished quality of this stage of the work, and have often contemplated doing a few "unfinished-finished" pieces. Color fills yet with the flowing guidelines of a rough sketch. At any rate, I found this missing gem scanned it and did some quick levels and size adjustments in Photoshop, not too much, just enough to keep the fluid pencil look, while at the same time removing some of the darker "smudge" areas, and here it is to complete this blog. *

Rocket Scooter Joey
I guess the coloring portion is the real story to this. I did contemplate just scanning it in the computer and then playing with the colors in Illustrator as I had been recently doing with other pieces, but I wanted to do something with a more "hands on" approach. I had not done any hand coloring using my Prismacolor color pencils in a few years, so to be a little rusty with them would be expected. I began timidly. Not wanting to really screw this up, and got bolder as I progressed. I could hear my illustration professor in my head as I worked. "Mr Ron can really draw...*shakes head*...but he can not color!" We all had a good laugh in class that day, but that motivation propelled me to tighten up my coloring skills! Understanding how light affects different surfaces is key to improving with this media. As I continued to work, the colors seemed to blend just right and really enhanced the drawing, giving it another dimension. I definitely can improve on my techniques, but for such a long hiatus from the color pencil, this wasn't a bad "return to action".

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Dodgeball Vid VBS 2010

Okay, so this is my first time actually doing video editing through iMovie. After peeping a couple of tutorials I jumped right in and started. My creative brain went into over drive as I begin to place the video clips from one of our dodge ball sessions during this year's Vacation Bible School. The interface is very easy to manipulate, so having my visions come to life was very easy. I had fun with this. The preset title and screen effects are cool, but I'm not sure how far they can be manipulated to have more of a custom feel to least not yet.. Any way, this is a bit of a comedy, so Enjoy!

Monday, June 28, 2010

The Legend of The Waffle King

Let it be told, I grew up eating pancakes. Most of my earliest memories involved them. From my grand ma making them when I stayed with her, to her getting up early in the morning, picking me up and taking me to McDonald's when me and my mom moved, to my first attempts to make them on my own. It's been about pancakes. Then one day, I discovered waffles. I'm not sure exactly when, but but waffles came on the scene, but since then, I've been all about the waffles! The unfortunate part for me was that, due to lack of a waffle iron in the home, and me being too young to up and run to a local waffle joint (well to be honest, there weren't any waffle joints in my hood. I woulda had to drive to a whole other area for that.) waffles didn't really get to get a hold of me to a little later.
Roscoe's Famous Waffle

Waffle from The Serving Spoon in Inglewood
My first memorable waffle was at my friend's house. His grand dad used to make these out of sight waffles that always had us asking for more! It took me forever to figure out his secret ingredient! :) The next one that really stands out in my mind was at The Rusty Harpoon on the Big Island of Hawaii. It was Belgian style, one of my first since the Belgian waffles, had not as yet, become so popular. What really put it over the top, then, was the chocolate and carob chips! Up until this point, I had not yet realized that so much more can be done to and with a waffle, than just a basic batter then topping it with butter and syrup. There was a whole other world of waffle out there, and I was missing it! Since then, I have enjoyed getting out in this waffle world and experiencing what it has to offer. Some of my favorite spots are Roscoe's Chicken & Waffles, The Serving Spoon, and The Waffle House, with their delicious chocolate chip waffles. The Waffle house being a true food adventure because there are NONE in Southern Cali!

The Waffle House Chocolate Chip Waffle
Since then, and my first waffle iron and waffle cookbook, I've been on a tear making and experimenting with various mixes and flavors, recipes and whispered secret ingredients. I had always had an interest and a knack for baking, so when it came to making waffles, it seemed a natural transition. Being the artist that I am, some of my creations can get quite creative! Once I made what came to be one of my favorite and signature waffles, the oatmeal strawberry waffle, I was dubbed "The Waffle King" by those close to me.

Costco's Waffle doctored with strawberry cream cheese and fresh strawberries and a hint of cinnamon
The moniker really solidified once I got on the irons at the church's Mother's Day Breakfast. The men of the church fix breakfast for all the mothers and ladies on Mother's Day, and waffles were added to the menu about 4 years ago, and I was called into action. All were quite pleased. This past Mother's Day was no exception. All who ate said this was the best batch yet! It featured the signature Waffle King Waffle, the chocolate chip variation, and this year, the oatmeal waffle with the chocolate chip variation! It was a great great time on the irons, but next year I'll be upgrading my Chefmate iron to something that cooks better. That was not a good iron to make waffles with. My first waffle iron, the Toastmaster 222s is still goin strong and making some great waffles, but need a companion for these breakfasts, so more people can enjoy one of the Waffle King's hot ,golden brown, toasty creations!

As time goes on the Legend of The Waffle King grows, and I am already plotting my next batch. Butterscotch chips? Peanut butter? Cookie dough? Which will be next? Stay tuned to this blog and find out!
*Two Finger Peace Sign*

-Photography by me, Ron Tatum
The Waffle King's Signature Waffle

Friday, June 25, 2010

Logo workin

The Basic Logo

So I'm currently on a logo design project. This isn't the actual name of the company, but the comps are similar to what my latest client might choose. I started from a simple sketch in my sketchbook, ( I'll have to get another soon, this one's just about full!) and then took the designs to Illustrator and worked them up. The client gave me some specifics, like the color, sub tag font style and shape, but left the rest up to me. As I worked I realized I had to limit what my mind was spewing out as the variations are almost endless!  This isn't the client"s name, I just used one of my many monikers as a place holder. Enjoy the work thus far! Oh, and YES, I'm for hire!
One of my favorites with the graphic lines
Another favorite, I like the "juicy" look to the gear.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Foodie Run The Slaw Dogs

It has been a while, but I was due for another food run, and I 
couldn't get The Slaw Dogs off my mind since I first learned of their 
existence a couple of months ago. If this us your first exposure to 
one if my food blogs, then I have to say that I like to eat, travel, 
and try new foods. Perfect combo for a foodie like myself with, what I 
like to refer to as, an Inner Fat Man! I know of several good spots 
out here already, and am always comin across more. This one came via 
Twitter. I followed and really enjoyed what they were talkin about, 
and decided I had to try it for myself.
Pasadena is not usually in my circle of driving, but it's not like it 
was horribly far away. After double checking the address, I zoomed off 
to pick up my fave nurse, gf, and wing-girl on this escapade, Ro, and 
we headed out in search of food. Leavin after 12 ensured we would miss 
the lunch rush, and after a nice ride on the 110fwy through scenic 
downtown, LA and its famous skyline, after riding by through South 
, & by Old Town Pasadena, and passing up the parking lot, we 
finally arrived, & with an appetite!
Now, as we walked up I noticed that there was a pretty sweet lookin 
cupcake shop called PolkaTots across the way, but I had to resist, and 
press on. Having dodged the lunch run, there were just a handful of 
patrons inside, so we cozied up with a menu, and looked carefully over 
each item. I decided on the ABLT Dog and we shared a basket of fries & 
sweet potato fries & a couple of Cokes. We sat at a booth against the 
wall, and after a very short wait, our food arrived. Now the ABLT Dog 
is pretty much what it's described as. Avocado double Bacon Lettuce, & 
Tomato, all served on a pure beef Vienna Dog with a pickle & mayo, in 
between a warm fresh bun.
All together, that was one tasty dog! 
There's something about the flavors of BLTs that, to me, just mix so 
well on my tongue, and when added to the pure beef goodness of that 
dog, it was quite wonderful! Needless to say, with the appetites that 
we brought in, those dogs didn't stand a chance, and were gone far to 
quickly. The fries (sweet potato & regular) were a good side, but 
nothing to get excited about, I've had better.
So we thought the end of those tasty dogs were the end of the 
adventure, but the call of PolkaTots was too great, and we stopped in 
for some mini cupcakes. Ro got a pistachio cupcake cleverly named The 
Lucky Charms, and I got the Dulce de Leche aka The Dolcissimo, and 
talk about GOOD! Such flavor packed into such a small thing. Absolute 
I'll have to go back for another, but for now we had to get 
cross town to catch Sprinkles' offer of a free cupcake to all nurses 
for Nurses' Day. After driving, or more like ducking and dodging LA 
traffic, we arrived in Beverly Hills, just in time to get free parking 
right in front of Sprinkles! As we entered their frosted glass door 
the scents of chocolate cake and sweet frosting greeted us, and we 
hurried to the counter to place our order. I went with the lemon 
cupcake, Ro got the red velvet, and her free Nurse Cupcake was the 
chocolate marshmallow with chocolate gnache. The lemon cupcake was 
tasty, not quite as tasty as their seasonal key lime, but still tasty.
The red velvet was as good as always, but that chocolate marshmallow 
was a surprise and a half! It had a nice choco/cocoa flavor mix with 
the cake and ganache, but the marshmallow was added to the CENTER of 
the cake! I was immediately reminded of a Hostess Cupcake, but on a 
whole other level! It was a perfect way to end this Food Adventure.
See ya next run!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Comfort Food- Roscoes Version

Last night (4/23) me and the crew went to one of our favorite eating spots in LA, the infamous Roscoe's Chicken & Waffles. There are various spots around the greater LA area, but we decided to hit the "gangsta stop", Pico & La Brea. We like to refer to this location as the original, as it is both famous, and infamous, and also, it was the first Roscoe's I had ever eaten at. I can still remember hearing about the pairing of fried chicken and waffles, and thinking, "That has to be the MOST odd ball thing ever!" Having the sweet tooth that I have, sweet and salty to me just didn't mix at the time. (My palate has since become more sophisticated) It was a good time with good friends, and I left thinking that was the best experience ever! I can still remember how that butter melted into my two plate sized cinnamon accented waffles as that warm, thick syrup poured so evenly over every square. It was here that I had my first taste of Red Rooster Louisiana style hot sauce, and experienced how it's perfect blend of spice and flavor perfectly mated with that golden, crispy fried chicken. I learned to tap on a coat of Red Rooster, and let it "marinade" for a minute before I indulged in it to give it a little more time to work through and settle on the skin and meat. It creates a flavor explosion with every bite!
I did quite recently, discover a sort of "repressed" comfort food love of mine. The very basic fried chicken, rice, and gravy. This was a dish that I remember from my very young days at Grandma Green's house. After I had reached a certain age, i didn't go to this grandmother's house that often, but I do remember those times after Sunday morning service when my aunt would take me over, and we would sit down to this wonderful meal. I remember the feeling of love as my cousins and I would sit down to eat. The smells of the kitchen, and, if it was the right time of year, the smell of orange blossoms from the trees in the backyard. I would bite into the crispy golden fried chicken, and scoop a fork full of the white rice and light brown gravy into my mouth, making sure to get a little onion in with each scoop, and let the flavors mingle on my tongue while I listened to the family talk about various subjects. We always had Kool-Aid poured in glasses with crescent shaped ice cubes to wash it all down. It's funny, but for the longest time, I thought Black Cherry was the only flavor of Kool-Aid, because that's all we ever drank at Grandma Green's.
When I finally looked past the #2 Dark on the Roscoe's menu, and discovered they had Chicken rice & gravy, I just had to try it. I'll have to say, it's nothing fancy, but as far as simple comfort food goes, it more than qualifies. From the first bite, I was taken back to Grandma Green's kitchen, and all the love that was present during those dinners. The only thing missing was the black cherry Kool-Aid in a glass of crescent shaped ice cubes, but substituting, was Roscoe's Eclipse, a mix of orange juice, lemonade, and fruit punch, so all was still well. I, or maybe more aptly my inner fat man, has more recently added a Roscoe's world famous waffle to the chicken and rice plate. It normally comes with a biscuit, which is good, but the waffle makes it that much better! Now I can eat one of my favorite comfort meals with one of my favorite waffles and double my enjoyment at "Scoe's".

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Website Workin

So this is just a progress report on the development of my website.
I am currently designing my own personal site, and what I'm finding to be most difficult at this juncture is not keep changing my mind on how i want it to look. So far my color palate has been confirmed, and the general layout came to me in a vision a couple of weeks ago, as I sat in my Flash for web design class.
Doing research of other cool websites keeps me brimming with ideas, even though those ideas keep me tweaking my designs more!
The real issue for me though is "To Flash or not to Flash" Flash Websites are the most eye catching websites around, and for obvious reasons. I mean, if one is presented with a static website and a Flash based website, with all of its motion, and changes, the natural draw will be for the Flash site. As humans we pick up motion and follow it. Call it primal response, call it genetic make up, whatever, we still do it. So to work in Flash would seem to be an easy answer, and seeing how I am skilled in it, it would be no problem to do, however, there is one big reason that keeps me close to Dreamweaver as my base. Not everyone can see Flash websites! It seems as though in this time of super computer processors that can fit on your lap, high speed Internet connections, monitors that display millions of colors (even a new one that reportedly has added yellow in the RGB color scale!) and ultra high end graphics, that everyone would be able to see a Flash website, but the sad fact is that, while this may all be true, there are those who cannot see them.  If you doubt my word, just try and view a flash website on an iPhone, or iPod touch. Working with an old Internet browser? No Flash viewing for you my friend.
My solution, therefore is to base mine in Dreamweaver, and sprinkle it with Flash. It's gonna be extra work, but should pay off in the end. In the meantime, my other issue is that since I am a big illustrator, I want the site to be heavy with my illustrations. As i transform more into a perfectionist each day, I find myself creating, changing, deleting, and recreating images to get the pest possible feel for the look I'm trying to pull off. Fun stuff, but very time consuming.
Anyhow enjoy the "sneak peeks" of my artwork, and I'll keep crackin on the site...Just as soon as I eat. My Inner Fat Man is talkin to me!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The Original Texas BBQ King

So it was a great Monday morning that I struck out with my bro Dave in search of something he saw on a TV show. It all started with a text message that asked if I had heard of an eatery in LA called The Original Texas Barbecue King. Being the foodie that I am, he was surprised that I had not yet made the journey there, but I decided to remedy that, so off we went in search of The BBQ King's famous 1lb burger.
As we rolled we talked the usual shop, family, friends, and of course food, and he described to me the technique that was used to cook this great burger. Each one is prepared fresh by hand, and cooked on the second rack of the grill under the ribs and such to absorb a little extra flavor as it cooks. The thought of it was driving me insane, and had I not been recovering from my skateboard injuries (blog for another time), I would have got out and pushed Dave's truck so we could get there faster!

As we exited the freeway on that overcast morn, we kept our eyes peeled for the spot. We soon pulled up in front of the kings "castle" nestled between a shoe repair store and ironically, a place that sold barbecue grills. Had we not been paying attention, we would have passed right by it!

As we got out and walked up, the place looked a bit dark which gave us a bit of a pause, but the siren call of the burger urged us forward. As we entered the place, it looked as though we were the first customers of the day.
The big screen TV called out the day's news as we took a loong look at the menu.
We eventually decided on getting two combos, the 1lb burger combo, and a bbq tri tip sandwich combo that we were going to split. Each combo came with a choice of side and a soda. Dave got cornbread, and I got the mac n cheese. We were advised that the order was going to take some extra time due to the burger being freshly handmade, which neither of us had a problem with, and we took a seat in the sparse dining area across from a mural the let each visitor know that "The BBQ King Loves America."

The News ended, then the daytime soaps began, and sensing this would kill our appetite, we were handed the TV remote, and we promptly tuned in to ESPN sports center, and caught up with the weekend's events.
Before we knew it, we had two gorgeous sandwiches placed in front of us. Our eyes bugged out at the sight of that 1lb beast!
The huge patty came adorned with iceberg lettuce, tomato, yellow onion, dill pickle chips, and two slices of American cheese and was dressed with mayo and a spot of yellow mustard. Wanting to just taste the burger as it was served in it's pure goodness, I assembled it , cut it in half, and me and Dave made the switch. On first bite, I was met with juicy and tender beef, that had a hint of the ribs it was cooking under. It was then that I noticed the combination of all the other "accessories", and how they all danced so deliciously together in my mouth.

Dave had started on the tri tip, and suggested that I take a bite. The tri tip came slathered in the King's special bbq sauce that tasted like it was a molasses based, sweet and smoky complete with tiny onion slivers. The meat itself was tender for the most part, and flavorful.

Although I did admire what I saw, my mind was already racing with ideas on how to personalize it. First, since I'm not a fan of it, I'd replace the American cheese slices with colby jack slices, or at the very least, cheddar. The yellow onions, I'd replace with red. Sauce wise, there are so many options. The addition of ketchup, spicy brown mustard, a good teriyaki, or even the King's very own sauce that was on the tri tip can enhance and transform this wonderful creation.
On the downside for me was the macaroni and cheese. It had the right color, a nice yellow orange. The right look, elbow macaroni with a layer of baked cheese, but the taste was off some how. It seemed kind of powdery, and not totally fresh. Maybe I'm just spoiled by the mac n cheese I've had before (Ronic and Sadie), but this time, I think not. It was just a case of #MacNCheeseFail.

All in all, this was a good trip. It has been a
couple of weeks since we were there, but I can still taste that juicy one pound goodness! There is a lot on the menu still to try, so Texas BBQ King, I WILL be back!