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Seed Your Creative Career

Recognizing that evocatively named crops such as Long Island Cheese Pumpkins, Double Yield Cucumbers, and Mammoth Grey Stripe Sunflowers are ripe for illustration, the Hudson Valley Seed Library created Art Packs, recycled-paper seed pouches that feature the work of artists from New York's Hudson Valley. Now, the company is expanding the popular product line and inviting creative types from neighboring regions (metro NY and areas that border New York State, including western Connecticut, western Massachusetts, western Vermont, eastern Pennsylvania, and northern New Jersey) to apply to become a seed pack artist. Those working in everything from paint and paper to textiles and stained glass are invited to submit two images of pieces that best represent their style. Garden-related work is not required. "We are looking at your work -- originality, craftsmanship, composition, medium, consistency -- not necessarily the subject," note the judges. The deadline for entries is April 29.

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Will Eisner’s New York

Marvel at the career of Bronx-born comics pioneer and graphic novel master Will Eisner (1917-2005) in a new exhibition at the Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art (MoCCA) in New York. Opening Tuesday, March 1, "Will Eisner’s New York: From the Spirit to the Modern Graphic Novel" will showcase work inspired by and featuring the legendary artist's hometown. From his trailblazing comic superhero, The Spirit, to his autobiographical novels, Eisner portrayed New York as only a native of the city could know it, according to curators Denis Kitchen and Danny Fingeroth. Adding context to original comic art and paintings by Eisner will be works by creators who were influenced by him, including Art Spiegelman and Harvey Kurtzman.

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20 Awesome Billboards

Sick of boring advertising? Get inspired by 20 eye-catching billboards. Swiss designer and blogger Mirko Humbert rounded up these standout specimens, which range from IKEA's three-dimensional ode to joy and a bright idea from The Economist (a giant light bulb that illuminates when someone walks under it) to chameleonlike IBM billboards and Adidas's literal take on going green: a giant Samba shoe comprised entirely of plants and flowers. "Most of the time, billboard ads are an annoyance, filling the side of the road with cheap design and poor concepts," says Humbert. "However, these billboards are funny, creative and/or well-thought ads that really stand-out."

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Etsy Teams Up with NASA

Etsy in space? The online craft marketplace has teamed with NASA to creatively commemorate the Space Shuttle Program, which will take its final flight early next year. Behold the Space Craft Contest, for which Etsy is scouring the cosmos for designs inspired by NASA, its programs, and the wonders of space exploration. Entries will be accepted in the categories of 2D original art (painting, drawing, hand-pulled print, mixed media, flat collage), 2D art reproduction (photographic or computer-generated print), and 3D art (anything not 2D, including wearable art and soft sculpture). One grand prize winner will receive a $500 Etsy shopping spree and an all-expenses-paid trip to attend the shuttle launch at Kennedy Space Center as NASA's VIP guests. Unfortunately, you don't have light years to enter, only through Tuesday, November 2.

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National Design Week

Tomorrow marks the beginning of National Design Week, an annual initiative of the Smithsonian's Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum, to spread the word about fields ranging from graphic design and architecture to fashion and product design. Among the week's highlights will be the National Design Awards gala, and the celebration is not limited to those on the star-studded guest list. Tune in online this Tuesday, October 12, at 7:00 p.m. EST as graphic designer Stephen Doyle hosts a panel discussion with his fellow National Design Award winners, including Lisa Strausfeld (interaction design) and Tom Dair (product design). Wondering how good design can also be good business? Don't miss the museum's live webcast of its "Business of Design" event on Wednesday morning.

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Old-School Posters Revealed

A team of workers renovating London's Notting Hill Gate subway (tube) station recently unearthed walls of colorful posters that have been there since the last round of major repairs—in the late 1950s. The postwar posters include highly stylized advertisements for films of the day (Around the World in 80 Days, Too Many Crooks), events including the Daily Mail's annual "Ideal Home" exhibition, and consumer products such as Pepsodent toothpaste ("You'll wonder where the yellow went"). Don't bother crossing the pond to examine the treasure trove of vintage graphic design, which remains inaccessible to the public. Just head to Flickr, where you can view the London Underground's photos of the inspiring posters.

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Recipics

Make your Labor Day delicious and easy on the eyes with Recipics.com, a collection of "visual recipes" created by Lauren Bugeja. The Australian user experience designer developed a system to translate written recipes into a diagrammatic form that simplifies the preparation of labor-intensive dishes ranging from Eggs Benedict to rigatoni sardi a mari—even if you've never poached an egg and would be hardpressed to pick rigatoni out of a pasta line-up. We recommend kicking off your long weekend with a "Jug of Danger," Bugeja's pictographic take on the famous and fruity British summer drink known as the Pimm's Cup.

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Stories from the Deep

What do a rotting steamship, a fleet of ice cream trucks, and a runaway giraffe have in common? All three have been discovered in the waters that surround New York City. A new blog explores these soggy specimens and many more through the stories they evoke. Created in the wake (get it?) of a 2009 article in New York magazine, Underwater New York (UNY) aspires to be an online anthology of stories, art, and music inspired by the underwater objects and phenomena that surround New York City. A recent UNY post detailed a haul from Brooklyn's Dead Horse Bay that included a pair of lizardskin handbags, a headless Dutch boy figurine, and a mysterious object resembling a fossilized baguette. Those bound for the Big Apple are advised to bring scuba gear and a sharp eye, as the site is currently seeking submissions "in any genre."

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Photoshop Seeks Superfan

Photoshop turns 20 this year, and Adobe is celebrating with a search for the "Next Photoshop Evangelist," one among the legendary application's legion of multilayered fans. (Admit it. You have a Photoshop window open right now.) The company will select a primo proselytizer of all things Photoshop based on video submissions. Your mission, should you choose to accept it: create and upload to Vimeo a two-minute Photoshop video tutorial demonstrating why you should be the Next Photoshop Evangelist. Your video must use Photoshop CS5, a new Photoshop CS5 feature, and, to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Photoshop, incorporate the concept of "20" somewhere in the final image. The winner receives a fresh copy of CS5 Design Standard, a trip to next spring's Photoshop World, and the chance to demo his or her tutorial at the conference. Plus, all finalists will be showcased on the Photoshop YouTube channel. Ready to spread the Photoshop gospel? Entries must be received by Tuesday, August 24.

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Through the Pinhole

Pinhole cameras: They're not just for watching solar eclipses anymore! The ultimate low-fi imaging device gets its close-up in this Flickr pool of traditional and digital pinhole photography, which includes some jaw-dropping shots of people, places, and (yes) penguins contributed by "pinholers" from all over the world. Trying your hand -- and eye -- at the age-old technique is easier than you think, with a wealth of webpages offering step-by-step instructions for creating your own pinhole camera out of an empty, light-tight box (scarf down those Pringles and you're in business). Be prepared for exposure times that are more than a snap, particularly if you're using your lensless wonder in low light, and with a little practice, you'll see firsthand why pinhole photography is getting its day in the sun.

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