The Old Tire Swing

Never once, did I imagine,

What a joy it would bring

When I hung an old tire,

To make an old “Tire Swing”.

All of my grandchildren,

Played with great delight,

From their first rising,

On late into the night.

Their joy, displayed in laughter,

And songs that they had learned.

Others waited, impatiently,

Asking, “When is it my turn?”

Then they’d climb upon it,

And shout with boisterous glee.

How could I refuse their call,

“Swing me, granddaddy, swing me !”

The tire cost me nothing.

The rope was also free,

And God our loving Father,

Provided a very special tree.

Those moments, I’ll cherish forever,

For the pleasures that they bring.

I hope that your grand children

Will have their “Old Tire Swing”.

~ Grady L. Duncan ~

Little Free Library Reseda Promo Materials

The facebook cover image used by the Little Free Library Reseda

The facebook cover image I created for the Little Free Library Reseda

I’m jumping the gun on this post. I’ve only designed a logo, a bookmark, a banner and a facebook cover image (above) for the Little Free Library Reseda, and there are other projects to be done for them yet. But I’m so pleased to be working with them that I just couldn’t wait to write about what we’ve done so far.

The Little Free Library Reseda in the morning light.

The Little Free Library Reseda in the morning light.

The Little Free Library Reseda is shown above. It’s not that building in the background. It’s just the thing that looks like a big mailbox full of books to borrow, and the bench. That’s what Little Free Libraries are – grassroots community book exchange gathering places where neighbors share their favorite literature and stories. (You can go to http://littlefreelibrary.org/ for more information about Little Free Libraries.)

Stewart and Heather

Stewart and Heather

Heather and Stewart began their Little Free Library when a dog water bowl that they had set out in front of their house turned into a meeting place for neighbors. Stewart (stewart@tireswingideas.com) is an excellent carpenter, so he built a bench for dog walkers to rest with a carabiner for them to attach their dogs’ leashes.

The carabiner Stewart attached to his bench to welcome dog owners.

The carabiner Stewart attached to his bench to welcome dog owners.

Heather is an accomplished educator, which provided the impetus to get involved in the national Little Free Library movement. Stewart built the Library box and decorated it with the interests of their two young girls in mind.

Stewart constructed his library with flowered windowboxes!

Stewart constructed his library with flowered windowboxes!

They stocked the library with a variety of books, with the help of donations.

Now Stewart and Heather were ready to get the word out about their library! They set up a dedicated phone line, facebook page, and Goodreads registry. They set a goal of getting everything ready in time for the “Thanks, Reseda” community event in their city.

That’s where I came in. Heather liked the style of a poster I had made for her at another business previously:

The life cycle of the Monarch butterfly, illustrated by Michelle Leveille for the 2nd-graders of Los Angeles.

The life cycle of the Monarch butterfly, illustrated by Michelle Leveille for the 2nd-graders of Los Angeles.

So she asked me to make their logo, bookmarks and a banner for their booth at the event. (She wanted brochures too, but there wasn’t time or funding.)

I spent some time researching the best deal on quick printing, and was pleased to find that the most inexpensive online printer was physically located just a few miles from Stewart and Heather’s house! (We chose PrintRunner.com)

Stewart and Heather were very open to whatever I wanted to put on the bookmarks and banners. I considered the Craftsman style of Stewart and Heather’s house, and the importance of children in their lives. I suggested we go with Maurice Sendak–style designs for the promotional items. Sendak’s work was marked by Arts & Crafts era influences.

An illustration from one of my favorite Maurice Sendak productions: The Nutcracker.

An illustration from one of my favorite Maurice Sendak productions: The Nutcracker.

The only things Stewart and Heather were firm about were the text that should go on the logo, bookmarks, and banner.  It was really fun having so much flexibility with the rest of the design.

Here are some early sketches of the logo.

First draft of the logo, with revisions.

First draft of the logo, with revisions.

We joked about the adult’s long neck.

The fourth draft.

The fourth draft.

We were juggling to get a dog in there, because the dog bowl is how their library started.

The final black-and-white logo!

The final black-and-white logo!

Once we all approved of this final black-and-white logo, I went on the internet and researched colors for an Arts-and-Crafts era palette, to compliment Stewart and Heather’s house. I found some historic Roycroft colors by Sherwin Williams and colorized the logo:

The final color logo for the Little Free Library Reseda

The final color logo for the Little Free Library Reseda

After that logo was approved, I moved on to the banner that would grace the show booth at events. Fortunately, Stewart and Heather loved my first idea, which featured a girl and her dog at the Little Free Library.

This was the first sketch I made, proposing a girl and a dog.

This was the first sketch I made, proposing a girl and a dog.

I drew it in the Sendak style: the girl had a big head and hands, with thin, protruding lips, and a high waistline, illustrated with crosshatched pen and colorized with gouache paint.

Maurice Sendak didn't draw many females. This is one of his typical representations.

Maurice Sendak didn’t draw many females. This is one of his typical representations.

The dog is based on Sendak’s beloved Sealyham terrier, Jenny, who starred in his book Higglety Pigglety Pop.

Maurice Sendak's illustration of his beloved dog, Jenny

Maurice Sendak’s illustration of his beloved dog, Jenny

However, the Sealyham breed is nearly extinct today, replaced by the currently fashionable Westhams.

A Sealyham terrier. I almost think this one is stuffed.

A Sealyham terrier. I almost think this one is stuffed.

I made the dog a Westie instead because it is easier to see their facial expressions.

This dog is more of a Westie than a Sealyham.

This dog is more of a Westie than a Sealyham.

Other things we like about the banner design are the dark sky with lights which could be interpreted as fairies, stars, or the lights that Stewart installed to make it safe at night.

The area is nicely lit at night.

The area is nicely lit at night.

There’s also the fact that you can’t tell if the dog is giving or taking the book. It is a reflection on the Little Free Library’s “Take a Book, Return a Book” motto.

The ten-foot banner design for the Little Free Library Reseda

The ten-foot banner design for the Little Free Library Reseda

The only revisions we needed to make on the banner involved resizing it to fit the pop-up tent and some fine-tuning of the text to make it appear deconstructed, yet legible.

The printer made the banner exactly as specified!

The banner has been printed and now the booth is ready for the event!

The banner has been printed and now the booth is ready for the event!

Next, I designed the bookmark front and back.

The hardest part of this was finding a speedy printer to make custom bookmarks at an economical price.  We wanted glossy, laminated bookmarks with ribbons an tassels, but they would have been so expensive that they would have had to charge people for them!

Expensive bookmarks with tassels!

Expensive bookmarks with tassels!

Heather was going to sell cookies at the event to offset the cost, but we came up with a compromise. We got the bookmarks printed without rounded corners or holes punched for tassels, or even lamination, to save money.

I designed the bookmarks so they will look fine as they are, but there is an area where Heather and Stewart can punch their own hole to string them with their ribbons if they feel so inclined.

The top of the bookmark features a yellow bellflower, marking where a hole can be punched for a ribbon.

The top of the bookmark features a yellow bellflower, marking where a hole can be punched for a ribbon.

I suggested we take the information that was on the booth banner, and add a map so that people could refer to it when returning books.  To make the map fit on the bookmark and also match it’s style, I started by pulling up the library’s address on MapQuest. By zooming in and out and taking screenshots for reference, I could see what freeways, roads, and cross-streets would be relevant to someone who was trying to find their library. I laid these all out in Photoshop, with labels.

The first draft of the map.

The first draft of the map.

Once Stewart and Heather approved the map layout, I made it match the hand-drawn style of the rest of my work.

map

The back of the bookmark contained all of the information that we thought people needed to know to contact or visit the library.

The design for the back of the bookmark

The design for the back of the bookmark

The front of the bookmark was drawn purely for aesthetic reasons, because I know I like my bookmarks to be pretty and I think other people do too.

One of the most popular and influential artworks of the Arts & Crafts movement is William Morris’s “Tree of Life.”

Tree of Life by William Morris

Tree of Life by William Morris

It is a stylized reference to the Tree of Knowledge. William Morris added birds of his native England to the tree.

Native birds in William Morris's Tree of Life

Native birds in William Morris’s Tree of Life

I added birds and animals of Reseda instead.

Tree of Reseda, with Eastern red squirrel, raccoon, and cat.

Tree of Reseda, with Eastern red squirrel, raccoon, and cat.

I wanted to put a wise old man on the Library bench, but during the Arts & Crafts era, men were usually depicted as knights or prophets. It would have seemed incongruous. So I rolled out Sendak’s dog, Jenny, again.

The dog might be reading Alice In Wonderland. See the Cheshire Cat in the tree?

The dog might be reading Alice In Wonderland. See the Cheshire Cat in the tree?

The finished bookmark, in Stewart’s hard-working hand!

It came out nicely!

It came out nicely!

bookmark back photo

I look forward to designing the brochures for the Little Free Library Reseda. In the meantime, Stewart and Heather are selling promo items to offset the costs of their labors. If you are interested in purchasing any of these items, please contact them using the links below. And thank you for supporting a good cause.

A mug available from the Little Free Library Reseda. 100% of the profits go towards supporting the Library!

A mug available from the Little Free Library Reseda. 100% of the profits go towards supporting the Library!

A canvas bag available from the Little Free Library Reseda. 100% of the profits go towards supporting the Library!

A canvas bag available from the Little Free Library Reseda. 100% of the profits go towards supporting the Library!

phone: (818) 584-6885

on facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LittleFreeLibraryReseda9139

email: LittleFreeLibraryReseda@gmail.com

A group of mothers and children gathers to read at the Library.

A group of mothers and children gathers to read at the Library.

By Michelle Leveille