Wapuu Design for WordCamp Atlanta 2019

I am pleased to have had the opportunity to design the Wapuu for this year’s WordCamp Atlanta. Thanks to Diana Nichols and Kathy Drewien for roping me into it!

Wapuu Design for WordCamp Atlanta 2019

I want to share some of the design process for arriving at this little guy. But first, here’s a little background for the uninitiated.

What is a Wapuu?

The Wapuu is essentially a mascot for WordPress. It’s supposed to appear inviting and make web development seem more accessible. According to

This cute little Japanese monster had its start in 2009 at the WordCamp Tokyo after-party. Matt Mullenweg asked Japanese users for ideas to promote WordPress in Japan. One suggestion was to make a mascot in Japan for WordPress.

Once unveiled, the Wapuu mascot grew in popularity. Now, meetups, conferences, and brands within the WordPress community create their own Wapuus.

The Atlanta Wapuu Design Process

The theme of this year’s conference is “Tech City South”, but we decided it would be a good idea to create a Wapuu design that would represent Atlanta more generally, as opposed to the conference specifically, and could be re-used for future WordCamps in Atlanta.

First Round of Sketches

Original sketches for the Atlanta Wapuu (version 1a)
Original sketches for the Atlanta Wapuu, including Phoenix Wapuu, Wapuu in Pheonix Costume, Peach Loving Wapuu, Peanut Loving Wapuu, and Rad Street Artist Wapuu.
Original sketches for the Atlanta Wapuu (version 1b)
Original sketches for the Atlanta Wapuu, including Chill Street Artist Wapuu, Atlanta United Wapuu, Cyber Wapu 5000, Kaiju Wapuu, Wapuu Injected with Peach DNA, and Wapuu in Peach Costume.

After discussing these sketches with Diana and Kathy, we decided to try and take this in a more peach direction. However, Diana and Kathy also liked the Phoenix Wapuu and the Kaiju Wapuu, so I decided to try and explore those designs further.

Second Round of Sketches

Original sketches for the Atlanta Wapuu (version 2a)
From the second round of sketches, including Peach Loving Wapuu, Street Artist Wapuu, and various combinations of hats.
Original sketches for the Atlanta Wapuu (version 2b)
From the second round of Wapuu sketches, including Phoenix Wapuu in various forms, some kind of borg-peach, and a new Kaiju Wapuu hugging an ATL.

Everyone’s favorite ended up being the Kaiju Wapuu hugging the “ATL”, so I’m glad I decided to keep working on that idea!

Vector Illustration of Wapuu Design

After selecting an idea, the next step was to create a polished, vector version of the illustration. Once I completed the vector version of the Wapuu, it became a lot easier to iterate through different color variations.

Kaiju Wapuu with Dope Color Palette
Kaiju Wapuu with Warm Color Palette
Kaiju Wapuu with Square Color Palette

My personal favorite was the “dope palette”, but we were having trouble selecting one to use. Then we had the realization that the Wapuu should employ the color palette of this year’s WordCamp, allowing a revised Wapuu to be created every year with the new palette.

So, I updated the color palette, added the year “2019” onto the ATL blocks, and an annual Wapuu template was born.

Wapuu Design for WordCamp Atlanta 2019

Enamel Pins of Wapuu Design

James Tryon from helped us put together the enamel pin order. Thanks, James!

Enamel Pin Print Layout for WordCamp Atlanta 2019 Wapuu

And here are the completed pins:

Enamel Pins for WordCamp Atlanta 2019 Wapuu


I committed the design to the Wapuu API on GitHub. You can find the Atlanta Wapuu specifically in this repo.

If you’d like to see more of my illustration work, check out these other projects I have worked on.

Interested in working on an illustration project with me? Let’s talk!

Android Encryption

I decided to enable encryption my Android phone this week (at the urging of an acquaintance).  I don’t know why I haven’t pursued this in the past, but it’s never too late to start.

The process seems simple enough on the surface.

Settings > Generals > Privacy > Encrypt Phone

It warns you to have 80% battery. No problem. Hit encrypt. Phone restarts After about 30 seconds. Where’s the encryption? Wasn’t this supposed to take an hour?

A google search reveals that I’m not the only one having this problem on Android. Possible solutions people discuss on the intertubes range from “force stop all third party apps before encrypting” to “set your phone to landscape orientation at the encryption settings screen and turn wifi off before proceeding”.


None of these seem to work for my specific model. More troubleshooting is in order, but I find this a little disconcerting from a privacy standpoint.

25 Years Later…

So I was clean for about seven months — but I relapsed into one of my addictions this week.


Doom: Kicking it old school.
Kicking it old school.

Don’t worry, I’m just playing a few WADs. I can quit whenever I want to.

It never ceases to amaze me how the fan community for this game just never seem to fade away. Every time I revisit this game, I think to myself, “I bet Doom World is completely dead now”.

I’m always wrong, of course.

There’s something kind of refreshing about this. The game industry as a whole seems to be centered around constantly improving graphics capabilities with every new title that is released. I speak for myself here, but the graphics, while nice, are not what keeps me playing a game.

The Doom fan approach is completely different: “Let’s take the same game, and find ways to constantly improve it and supplant it with fresh content.”

There’s something kind of refreshing about that mindset.

I’m at the point where I’ve stopped playing new games. I’ve got plenty to occupy my time as the director of an indie film, and the newer game titles generally fail to interest me. But it’s always nice to know that when I do want to kill some time, the Doom fan community is still there cranking out fresh content.

My Current Jams

I’m working my way through a couple of titles from Doom World’s 2017 Cacowards.

Shadows of the Nightmare Realm by Alexa “YukiRaven” Jones-Gonzales

These maps are absolutely gorgeous. It feels a lot like Quake, but it has a very juicy color palette, while still remaining eerie. The textures and enemies seem to pull from Doom, Heretic, and Hexen. I’m loving this one.

Get sotnr.pk3

dead.air by Xaser

Wow. What the heck is going on here?

I don’t know, but I love it. The story revolves around a cable news station, and the level seems to alternate between traveling through a ruined city and the RGB channels of a television.

I’m not going to look too deeply into it, however, it makes for a cool aesthetic and a refreshingly interesting environment.

Get dead-air_v2.pk3


Adventures in Indie Film Compositing

I’m working on an independent sci-fi film right now called Salvage Mission 9. It’s a good fit for a micro-budget movie: ambitious enough to be a fun challenge, but simple enough to be actually achievable.

I’ve had the film in the works for about a year now (January 2017 was when I initially conceived of the idea). I spent many months writing, re-writing, and editing the screenplay. The past several months have been about casting and pre-visualization.

I decided to shoot a short film last July that acts as a functional prequel to SM9. It’s completely unnecessary from a story-telling point of view; however, I wanted to do something that would give people a taste of what to expect  from the final SM9.

I’ve been in post-production with this short film for a while now. I’ve got a small group of very talented friends helping me out with it. The edit is complete and our main hurdle now is finishing VFX.

That means I have to put on the compositor hat for a while.

<Begin Shop Talk>

I typically use the After Effects 3D camera tracker for most of my match-move, but I’ve run into a lot of limitations with it on this particular film. One particular annoyance is that it constantly tries to re-solve the camera, even while you are editing the 2D track points. This makes it very clunky when tracking scenes with complicated motion.

Enter: the Cinema 4D motion tracker.

Cinema 4D Camera Tracker in Salvage Mission 9
Now that’s how you camera solve.

I’m not sure what took me so long in giving this particular tool a try, but I’ve tried it now and I love it.

I’m still learning a lot of the finer points, but even so, this thing works great — and there’s no more AE to C4D and back to AE round tripping with the camera.

</End Shop Talk>

Hello world!

[EDIT] For the very first time in my life, I’ve decided to edit this post instead of delete it outright. Hey, there’s a first time for everything, and I’m not shutting myself off to new experiences. Not just yet.

Welcome to WordPress. This is your first post. Edit or delete it, then start writing!