All posts by LSA Recas + Creative Outlet

Create Unique Frames in Adobe® Illustrator® 10

Step 1

Time and efficiency are important when it comes to design. One method of maximizing your time is to take advantage of the Distort Effects in Adobe Illustrator. One quick and useful effect is called Pucker & Bloat. This effect can be used to create two unique looks by adjusting a slider.

To begin, create the basic shape of the frame. Using the Rectangle tool, make a square box. Hold down the Shift key to constrain proportions and create a perfectly symmetrical square box.

Step 2

Next, you need to create a smaller box inside the first box. To do this, select the box and go to Object > Path > Offset Path. Enter a negative number in the dialog box to make a smaller box.

At this point, you should have two boxes. Select the inside smaller box, cut and paste in front, then change the color to white.

The two boxes will be comprised of four points—one point in each corner. To maximize the effect, you may add points to the boxes. To do this, select both boxes and go to Object > Path > Add Anchor Points. Repeat this process one more time.

Step 3

At this stage, you should have the two boxes with many points around the edges of the boxes. To create a unique frame, select the boxes and go to Effect > Distort & Transform > Pucker & Bloat.

In the dialog box, adjust the slider to the right to “bloat” the boxes or to the left to “pucker” the boxes. Be sure to have Preview clicked so you can view the effect before applying it.

Step 4

When you’re happy with the result, click OK to apply the effect. The result will be a unique and fun burst or frame to use in your designs.

To adjust the frame further, try rotating it 45 degrees or experiment with the Scaling tool to achieve a different look.

Advertising Ideas for February: Dental Health

February is National Children’s Dental Health Month and National Pet Dental Health Month. February 1 is also Give Kids a Smile Day. Needless to say, let’s see some ads about dental health this February.

Ad Ideas:
* Sponsored coloring page or other kid activities with a dental health theme
* Signature page listing kid-friendly dentists
* Sponsored series of tips to help parents
* Advertising section featuring reader submitted tips
* Focus on what to do in a dental emergency such as a broken or knocked out tooth, toothache, etc.
* Feature teeth healthy foods and kid-friendly recipes
* Create a photo contest for healthy smiles (kids or pets)
Businesses to Contact:
* Dentists, pediatric dentists, orthodontists
* Doctors, pediatricians and hospitals
* Organizations focused on kid’s health
* Stores catering to kids
* Stores that sell toothbrushes, paste and floss
* Dieticians and nutritionists
* Zoos, museums, etc.
* Libraries
* Veterinarians
* Animal hospitals
* Stores catering to pets




14 Valentines Day

18 Presidents Day


Day Events

01 Bubble Gum Day

02 Groundhog Day

02 Take Your Child to the Library Day

03 Superbowl XLVII

06 National Girls and Women in Sports Day

12 Mardi Gras

23 Open That Bottle Night

28 Floral Design Day



03-09 Children’s Authors and Illustrators Week

10-16 International Flirting Week


Monthly Events

Bake For Family Fun Month

National Black History Month

Library Lover’s Month

National Time Management Month

Return Shopping Carts to the Supermarket Month

Spay/Neuter Awareness Month

Youth Leadership Month


Canadian Holidays

01-18 Winterlude



National Cherry Month

10-16 Jell-O Week

10-16 National Pancake Week

28 National Chili Day



American Heart Month

Create a Candy Cane Using Adobe® Illustrator®

Step 1

You can create a simple candy cane icon in Adobe Illustrator using the Ellipse and Pen tools. Begin by creating a stroked ellipse. It does not need to be perfect. In fact, if the circle is a little wider than it is tall, it will produce a better shape for the candy cane. Make the stroke size around 13 points and make sure the corners and caps are set to “round” (the middle icon) in the stroke options palette. Color the stroke red.



Step 2

To begin reshaping your candy cane, remove the bottom half of the circle by selecting the bottom point on the circle and deleting it. You should now be left with an upside-down semicircle.



Step 3

Now you need to complete the vertical part of the candy cane. To do this, click on the right side of the semicircle (there should be a midway point) with the Pen tool. Without clicking anywhere else, hold down the Shift key and click approximately an inch below the right side of the semicircle. This will create the vertical line of the cane. Pull the bottom point down or up to adjust the length of the cane (Example A). The stroked shape must be converted into an object instead of a stroke. To convert it, select the candy cane and go to Object > Path > Outline Stroke. To make the white stripes, select the Pen tool and click on your screen to create a point. Then, click again (in a slightly different area, but not too far from the first point) and slowly drag out the handlebars on the point, which will allow you to give the line a slight curve. You have just created a path, and you will need to apply a stroke to it. Apply a weight of 8 pt and assign it a white or light color. Duplicate the stroked path and position copies of it around the candy cane (Example B). Use the Rotate tool from the tool palette to move and position the white strokes around the candy cane. When you’re happy with the result, select the white stroke paths and convert them to outlined paths.



Step 4

To trim the white shapes that overhang, start by making a copy of the candy cane. Place it on top of the white shapes and give it no fill. Then, select it and all the white shapes and go to Window > Pathfiner. In the Pathfinder dialog box, click on the first icon on the bottom (Divide). Now you can delete the overhanging white shapes. You will also end up with shapes between the white shapes, which you can fill with red. This will give you the option of giving each shape a filled blend for a shiny look or changing the color of the candy cane.


Advertising Ideas for February: Chinese New Year

The Chinese New Year begins on February 10, 2013, welcoming the Year of the Snake. A few noteworthy traditions that could tie into advertising include (most of which should be advertised before February 10):
* Gift giving, especially money in red paper envelopes, but also sweets such as fruit and chocolate
* Cleaning the home
* Focus on good fortune, happiness, wealth and longevity
* Family meal that includeseating pig, duck, chicken, and sweets
* Firecrackers and dragon dances
* Wearing lots of red and other bright colors
* Taking a family portrait
* Getting a haircut before the New Year
Businesses to Contact:
* Chinese restaurants
* Chinese and international grocery stores
* Accupuncturists
* Businesses owned by Chinese families who may do related specials
* Cleaning services
* Fengshui consultants
* Book stores
* Farmers markets and grocery stores
* Banks and credit unions
* Clothing stores
* Photographers
* Florists
* Home décor stores
* Hair salons and barber shops
* Fortune tellers
* Candy shops, bakeries and other sweet treat sellers