McKee Piano Studio is a small studio located in the Greater Vancouver area that offers piano lessons and exam preparation for pianists of all levels. Elizabeth McKee, ARCT, BMUS, MMUS, has spent the last 20 years perfecting her skills as a professional pianist, learning from and performing for top musicians and teachers around the world. Her specialty is working with students who really take their learning seriously, and she desired a brand that would communicate her professionalism – as well as her personality. As principle operator, she wanted a brand that would represent both herself and her skills. I was pretty thrilled that her tastes happen to jive completely with the visual world of pianos and music, and we moved forward with a modern editorial style and sleek palette of black, white and red. She required a complete branding package, delivered primarily as a functioning responsive website and including a photoshoot for head shots.
The McKee Piano Studio brand appeals to serious musicians and would-be musicians, but doesn’t discount those who are just starting out. The classic palette of black and white with pops of red is a not-so-subtle nod to the elegance and poise of a classical grand piano, but also communicates the modern and sophisticated presence that Elizabeth herself exudes. Through this modern brand and responsive web application, we were able to position Elizabeth as a desirable source for musical eduction to both experienced piano players and parents of those who may one day be professionals themselves.
Logo design // brand package // responsive website // head shots
I have this thing from my childhood. I don’t remember when it came into my life – it honestly seems like I always had it. “It” was named Lop, and it was a plastic mouse shaped like an L. It was never a favourite toy or go-to inanimate friend, but for some reason it had special meaning to me. I’d lose it and then discover it in some dusty corner and joyfully cry, “Lop!” and study it with happiness. It always seemed to be smiling and had these weird bubble eyes that seemed like they should be creepy but weren’t. Before long it would get put down again in some other corner or box or drawer until the next time.
When I began refining my desire to open a print shop, it was that memory of Lop that helped me craft my vision. That unexplainable fondness for a random icon of my childhood, and the way it fit perfectly into my world at the time – that is what I want to create through my art prints. The things that were a part of my childhood space helped craft my imagination, and my imagination as a kid helped craft the way I see and interact with the world as an adult. I am a firm believer in imagination and creativity, and how nurturing these things allows us to be critical thinkers and active participants in our world.
I am also a firm believer in fun and beauty, and let those two requirements guide each piece I’ve created for the shop. We’ve got partying pandas, ambitious giraffes, and playful foxes. We’ve also got cozy deer and dreaming babies. The future probably holds some rowdy raccoons and maybe a squirrel or two…who can say for sure? The beauty of this story, like any other, is that we don’t know yet where imagination will take us!
I hope you enjoy Lop + Lore, and that you might find the perfect piece for a little one in your life, or know someone who might enjoy shopping at Lop + Lore. My business goals at this point are very modest, but my seeing these characters find homes and imaginations to encourage would make me happy as a clam (or perhaps an oyster, one that has worked really hard turning that grain of sand into a pretty little pearl…?! ). Thank you sincerely for reading, and shopping, and sharing, and following. You are the best!
One of my favourite yearly projects is the IFLC calendar. This year I got trendy with some customized type and warm tones – I think it turned out great! As usual, I scoured my favourite sources for stock photos and collected 12 of the best that represent the heights of our great country. Its beautiful, inspiring, and write-able (don’t worry, we’ve tested!) … a good start to another new year. (gahhhh!)
Its almost October.
As is true for many who work in publishing or media, I’ve been thinking about thanksgiving since the end of August (yes, it does really mess with you!). So I’ve had quite a head start when it comes to figuring out what I’m thankful for. The list contains the usuals: family, friends, work, opportunity, abundance…
But thanks to the article this illustration is going to be paired with, I’ve been thinking a little deeper too. I’m thankful for a metaphorical table that is laid before me that will never run out of the tasties. For a host that will never stop asking me to join Him. For the promise of eternal parties and an end to the suffering of this world. For a God that uses my weaknesses to remind me that he is sufficient (another post for another day!). For social and moral challenges to my worldview that have forced me to ask and answer tough questions. For people who take the time to encourage me and combat the negative voices I tend to listen to. For my ability to learn – and know that I can change.
So, take a seat. Skip the usuals this year and dig in a bit – what are you thankful for?
We have become “that family.” The family that is SO blessed that our generations are overlapping – I now have a cousin who is younger than my nephew. I’m not going to complain – keep the babies coming! Family is like the weirdest most awesome club to be a part of – people I don’t see very often but love with my whoooole heart. Anyways, I got to create this super duper cute birth announcement for baby Jonah last month – obviously taking some inspiration from the legacy of his name.
I’m pretty excited to be a part of a collaborative new project – We Make Stuff, Volume 2. As their website summarizes the project, “WeMakeStuff Volume 02, the second book in the groundbreaking series, introduces us to a new group of 100 Vancouver and BC based artists and innovators. Through the lens of different creative initiatives, this stunning coffee-table book showcases the amazing work and thoughts of this amazing talent.” The team who has put it together has an awesome vision, and has done an amazing job of getting it all together. Watch a 90-second preview of the book, and see if you can spot my split second spread! :D
After applying to be considered for inclusion, I was short-listed and invited to supply a submission for the second round of curating. I had to choose some of my favourite pieces for submission and ask some deep, probing questions about myself and my work. I decided to focus on my illustrative work, which has surprisingly (to me!) become my favourite.
Here is what I wrote as the “story” behind my work, and why illustrating at IFLC has become such a meaningful part of my life.
For many of us, biblical truth has a stale outer crust. We’ve heard the promises so many times they’ve become theological small talk. “The Lord be with you!” “And also with you!” we chime, because we know the drill. Doves mean peace on earth, rainbows mean promises, and the cross means Easter.
In the 4 years I’ve been designing Insights magazine for Insight for Living Canada, I’ve faced off against these clichés time and time again. The problem is, the ideas aren’t stale – but if they’re presented the same way they always have been, we’ll never be exposed to the freshness of their truths again. We’re apt to forget how life changing it was the first time it touched our hearts, and with an attitude of “oh I’ve heard this before…” we’ll skip over valuable insights.
Illustration is one of my favourite mediums to communicate Christian ideas. It gives me the ability to address an idea without being bound to our physical world in the way that a photo is. I can include only what matters to the “story”, emphasize the funny bits, lighten a heavy topic and use colour to make a point. To be honest, I usually begin with only a vague picture in my head and a clear goal of what I want to communicate. As I begin to sketch, refine, digitize, and add colour, the excitement builds as I begin to glimpse what is going to come out the other end. More than any other discipline, illustration feels like a gift: like something I don’t possess on my own, but get to see God pull out of me as I put in the time to work it into being.