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Pixelmator, Coca-Cola, And A Total Immersion Learning Experience

November 23, 2015

Gosh! That last post was pretty exciting. Let’s see– where’d I leave off?

Oh, right– my old iMac had died, and I’d lost Photoshop because my new iMac can’t run Photoshop CS2, which is my obsolete version of the program.

I didn’t want to pay $240/year for Photoshop which now requires a subscription and has to be accessed via “the cloud.” Instead, I paid $30 for Pixelmator, a graphics program developed for the Mac OS X operating system that I could download onto my computer.

I also ordered a new scanner. Why? My old scanner worked with my old iMac, but was incompatible with my new iMac.BlankVertSpace.4pixelsBlankVertSpace.4pixelsBlankVertSpace.4pixelsBlankVertSpace.6pixels

I bought Pixelmator and ordered the scanner on Monday, October 12th. Coca-Cola Journey offered me an assignment the same day. They would need the final art by Wednesday, October 21st.

I explained the situation to editor Jay Moye. He asked if I thought it was doable. I said yes. I’d done two previous assignments for Jay. He said: “Let’s do it!”

The post was called 10 Things That Go Better With Coke (Fall Edition!), written by Charles McNair. The new scanner and Pixelmator both came thru for me. Here’s the final art:blank vertical space, 32 pixels high
fall fun activities foliage Halloween trick or treaters football tailgating truck piano bob apples guillotine corn maze scarecrow Coca-Cola Amelia Earhart pig roast barbecue carve pumpkin jack o'lantern pine cone turkey touch football pull hamstring burn leaves bonfire Smokey Bearblank vertical space, 32 pixels high

You did spot the 10 things, right? Well, let’s review them just in case you missed any:

  1. Halloween (“What’s scarier than six McNair children coming up a driveway on Halloween night?”)
  2. Tailgating (an elaborate Southern football tradition which might include “a dude at a classical piano playing the college fight song.”)
  3. Cornfield mazes (after getting lost, you might encounter “a woman in aviator goggles who looks like Amelia Earhart.”)blank vertical space, 32 pixels high
    fall fun activities foliage Halloween trick or treaters football tailgating truck piano corn maze scarecrow Coca-Cola Amelia Earhartblank vertical space, 32 pixels high
  4. BBQ (“Let a pig get one inkling of why you’re spreading out hickory in that pit and sprinkling on lighter fluid, and you’ll see just how fast and mean a pig can get.”)
  5. Carve a pumpkin (“Neurosurgeons get started this way… They draw a line atop the smooth round head. They saw through the skull. They scoop out brains.”)blank vertical space, 32 pixels high
    fall fun activities foliage pig roast barbecue carve pumpkin jack o'lanternblank vertical space, 32 pixels high
  6. Touch football (“Did you know Coca-Cola is medically proven to repair hamstring injuries? (Drink it, and) in 6 to 8 months, your hamstring will feel as good as new.”)
  7. Making a pine cone turkey (“Just find one pine cone. Put pipe cleaner legs and other stuff on the pine cone so it looks exactly like a turkey. Voila!”)
  8. Bobbing for apples (“Hands behind you, assume a kneeling position. Think: Prisoner. Guillotine.”)
  9. Raking leaves (which is implied in my illustration. I mean, somebody must have raked them into that pile, right??)
  10. Bonfires (“Coke, vigorously shaken… will forcefully fizz in any direction… and extinguish slowly spreading lawn fires around burning piles of autumn leaves.”)blank vertical space, 32 pixels high
    fall fun activities foliage bob apples guillotine pine cone turkey touch football pull hamstring burn leaves bonfire Smokey Bearblank vertical space, 32 pixels high

There’s a little inside joke in the illustration, and it centers on the “six McNair children.”

Author Charles McNair is a very funny guy. He’s also a very accomplished writer. Does he really have six kids? I have no idea. But here’s how he described them in the Coca-Cola Journey 10 Fall Things post:BlankVertSpace.4pixels

Charlie’s dressed as a werewolf, ketchup drooling out his mouth. Clay’s dressed as a ghost, ketchup drooling out its mouth. Robin comes buck naked, smeared with ketchup from head to toe. (He’s an Indian, stupid!) Melody and Marella share mama’s big skirt and blouse – Siamese twins, ketchup drooling from their mouths. Carole dresses in green and sticks out her tongue a lot. (Iguana!)BlankVertSpace.4pixels

I thought the McNair kids should look like their dad. That’s why I gave them all red hair and round glasses. (Clay the Ghost also has red hair– but you’ll have to take my word for it.) That’s Mr. McNair on the left, below.blank vertical space, 32 pixels high
fall fun activities foliage Halloween trick or treaters kids all have red hair and little round glasses like their father author Charles McNair

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    *       *       *       *       *       *       *       *       *       *       *       *       *       *       *       *blank vertical space, 16 pixels high

Have you ever gone to a Halloween costume party?

Do you have a favorite fall activity that Mr. McNair might have missed?

Editor Jay Moye took a big chance on me. It meant a lot. Nothing could have motivated me more. Have you ever received a similar vote of confidence?

Hope you’ll leave a comment.blank vertical space, 24 pixels high

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Other Posts You Might Enjoy:BlankVertSpace.8pixels

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Don’t Write Your Congressman– Draw A Cartoon!
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8 Comments leave one →
  1. Robin King permalink
    November 25, 2015 4:24 PM

    Wow! Terrific! You pulled so many amazing things together and made them sing one wonderful song! Subtle, smart, seamlessly integrated.
    LOL…I’m glad you didn’t ask us to choose a favorite part bec there’s no way I could. But I do love how that pig’s moving.

    In awe, here. Truly. And not only bec this is a killer result, but also because of the situation you were in.


    • December 2, 2015 8:42 PM

      Blush, blush! Well, I couldn’t have done it without that pig chasing me. There’s something about a 500-lb sow hot on yer heels with a big knife and a meat cleaver that’s wonderfully motivating somehow. I ran so fast, I was able to get the last Reeses coupon at Walgreens, good for 5 cents off my next purchase of a 50-lb bag. (I used to get the 25-lb size, but they never last very long, if’n ya knows what I means… : )

      I do learn best under pressure, but it’s always a stressful experience. Perversely, I tend to dawdle if I’ve got no pressure and lots of time. I should be able to employ my vast intellect to solve this dilemma, but it’s hard to think with that pig chasing me… 😓🐷😱

      Thank you for your lovely comment and super support! ::dodges pig, jumps on skateboard, hits fire hydrant, lands in dumpster::


  2. November 29, 2015 4:35 PM

    Mark … You’ve just given me ten hilarious activities for next fall. Love the illustrations and all six of the McNair kids.

    Glad you got your techy stuff back in working order. 😉


    • December 9, 2015 1:46 PM

      Ha! Thanks, Judy, and sorry for the delay replying to your comment. The McNair Kids inspired me, and I decided to try some ketchup experiments. The experiments didn’t take long, but the cleanup was a killer… 😩

      Techy stuff… it’s gonna drive me to drink! as young Billy Gates used to mutter in his garage. Yup, his mom used to find him passed out next to an enormous pile of root beer bottles… thanks as ever for your kind support!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. December 4, 2015 9:09 AM

    My position at Mt. O. is in jeopardy and rightfully so! I am late on my visit to master Armstrong’s page! And speaking of the master… it takes a very talented person to adjust to new tools so fast and so …well, perfectly! Bravo, my friend! The transition to a new tool is not at all visible and if I dare say, it’s even better [pepper in my mouth – did I say ‘better’? can an Armstrong get any better? How can perfection get better? Well – as it seems, it can!]
    Thank you [again], my friend.
    ps great to know all these tips, they will probably be very useful in the future. The …Cloud is bound to visit here too, sometime.


    • December 11, 2015 10:10 PM

      Your position at Mt. Olympus remains secure, my dear Marina!! Without you there to give it mystique, it would be sold for condominiums, and soda-drinking philistines with bluetooth devices in their ears would sully the paths where once immortals walked!! Ugh!!– the thought makes me furious!! Thank goodness you’re there to preserve its beauty and grandeur… : )

      Your comment makes me blush– but that’s good: I need some color in my cheeks after spending way too much time at the computer, learning my new tools!! Your comment also helped me get some much-needed exercise. When I read: can an Armstrong get any better? How can perfection get better? Well – as it seems, it can!, I was knocked out of my chair, out the door, and down the stairs. I landed on a little doormat, and lay there for a long time with a happy smile on my face. And I’m still smiling, despite all my internal injuries… : (

      Beware The Cloud!! It’s not global warming, it’s techno-swarming!!– but it’s no match for the Painting Goddess, and the thunderbolts of color that shoot from her brush!! : )



  1. Stop Telling The Same Old Story | Mark Armstrong Illustration Specializing In Content Marketing Advertising Editorial Infographics Animation Videos and Social Media

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