Kay Nielsen’s East of the Sun and West of the Moon

One of the illustrations from Kay Nielsen’s book East of the Sun and West of the Moon
Designed by STadeoDesign

Kay Nielsen's East of the Sun and West of the Moon
So she rode a long, long way, till they came to a great steep hill. There, on the face of it, the White Bear gave a knock, and a door opened, and they came into a castle where there were many rooms all lit up; rooms gleaming with silver and gold; and there, too, was a table ready laid, and it was all as grand as grand could be.

Above is an illustration redesign of one of the images from Kay Nielsen’s book East of the Sun and West of the Moon. I added colors to a black and white image found on the public domain. You can read the book online or download the ebook from Gutenberg.org. Please don’t forget to add a reference link to this blog if you would like to use the image.

I recently learned of Kay Nielsen while doing research on fairy tales, myth and folklores, illustrations, and picture books in general. I came across a copy of Hans Christian Andersen’s Fairy Tales (copyright 1924, printed 1932) at a local used book store and I just could not believe my luck! Kay Nielsen “illustrated books with the publication of Fairy Tales by Hans Andersen in 1924. That title included 12 color plates and more than 40 monotone illustrations.” (Wikipedia.org) You can view or purchase a copy of the same Fairy Tales here if you are interested.

East of the Sun and West of the Moon, Illustrator: Kay Nielsen
Here is the original illustration from Gutenberg.

Nielsen’s illustrations are categorized under the Art Nouveau movement from the early 1900s, which I am obsessed with. Naturally, I am now obsessed with Kay Nielsen’s work. I am however in search of the original copy of East of the Sun and West of the Moon, if not, I can settle with the newer edition, which still looks very good.

This project allowed me to accomplish several tasks all at once. First, I have been meaning to practice my drawing/painting skills using digital tools. I have only used acrylic on canvas and doodled on my journal using a pencil whenever I get the chance. I have been creating illustrations for years but they were mostly logos and marketing materials. Second, I wanted to finally use my Wacom tablet that I received as a gift many years ago! I was very glad to learn that it was still compatible with my computer. Finally, I am fortunate to have Photoshop CC from my job and able to use it while I’m off work. I am also going to be using Krita, “a professional FREE and open source painting program,” which I’ve found only recently and I am excited to learn and start using it.

My goal is to continue drawing and painting in order to hone my skills and also to imitate Nielsen’s illustrations. Eventually, I would like to come up with my own designs and publish them as well. I will continue updating this blog with more of my version of Nielsen’s artwork as soon as I have them.

You can follow me on Twitter @stadeo17 and IG @santadeophoto.

Flag Contest Entry: Monongalia County Commission

Monongalia County Flag Contest (October 2017)
Entry for the Monongalia County Flag Contest (October 2017)

In August 2017, the County Commission of Monongalia, WV announced a contest in designing a new county flag to be flown at the courthouse square after its renovation this fall.

The commission requested that designers observe the following rules when submitting their proposals:

  1. The design should be simple and colorful using up to three colors (and possible other symbols)
  2. Use meaningful symbolism: images, colors, and patterns should relate to what it symbolizes
  3. The overall design should be distinctive to distinguish it from other flags
  4. Submissions are required to include the county seal and the year the county was formed

The first three rules appear to be taken from the Five Basic Principles of Flag Design of NAVA.org. However, the last requirement completely ignores one of the principles:

4. No Lettering or Seals; never use writing of any kind or an organization’s seal.

Thus, my design did not follow all the rules demanded by the Commission. My conscience did not allow me to plonk down the county seal on my design 😉 . Below is my entry to the contest, submitted on August 30, 2017. Read underneath it for the meaning and symbolism of each item on the flag, as well as the final results!

Monongalia County Courthouse is the most distinctive and recognizable symbol of the county. Incorporated on the county seal, the courthouse is one that is loved by [county] residents and enjoyed by visitors. The year 1776 was included to signify the county creation by an act of the Virginia General Assembly on that year.

The golden rope encircling the courthouse is also derived from the county seal representing unity, continuity and connectivity of the “mother county” and its surrounding areas; including the northern West Virginia and several Pennsylvania counties.

The blue background represents patriotism and harmony. Blue is the color of water and the sky which is harmonious in the county landscape. It represents Monongahela River where the county takes its name. It also represents the first native settlers of the area, the Mound Builders (or the Adena people).

Alas! My entry did not take the price. A local Morgantown HS student won among 85 applicants of the design competition for the Monongalia County Flag. You can view the winning entry on one of my tweets. Nonetheless, I actually received an award for an honorable mention with a certificate and a small prize, so thank you Monongalia County Commission.

For your musings:

United States Space Force

United States Space Force Logo - stadeodesign.com
United States Space Force Logo – stadeodesign.com


The logo above was based on the existing Shield of Air Force Space Command (no copyright infringement intended.)

The centrally dominant globe represents the earth as viewed from space, the earth being both the origin and control point for all satellites. The emblem is provided its distinctive appearance by two symmetric ellipses representing the orbital paths traced by satellites in earth orbit, the satellites themselves being symbolically depicted as four-point stars. The 30-degree orbital inclination and symmetrically opposed placement of the satellites signify the worldwide coverage provided by Air Force satellites in accomplishing space-based surveillance, navigation, weather, missile warning and communications missions. The slight tapering of the orbital ellipses represents the characteristic eastward motion. The centrally superimposed deltoid symbolizes both the Space Force upward thrust into space and the launch vehicles needed to place all satellites in orbit. The distinctive dark blue background shading and small globe and stars symbolize the space environment.

The enlisted rank designs below were entirely of my own conceptualization and did not mean any copyright infringement from other designs. Basis and reference of designs are indicated on links below. When using images, use “Copyright: stadeodesign.com” and to include the link to this blog. Thank you for viewing!

These two sets of insignia are similar except for the color schemes: gold/black and blue/white.

United States Space Force Enlisted Ranks - stadeodesign.com
United States Space Force Enlisted Ranks (Gold)
United States Space Force Rank - stadeodesign.com
United States Space Force Rank (Blue)


The design of the enlisted ranks are based on the U.S. Air Force enlisted rank insignia.

The rank structures and pay grades are based on and a combination of both the

United States Marine Corps rank insignia and the United States Air Force officer rank insignia.

(As of June 2018) The U.S. Space Force (USSF) (if approved by Congress) is a proposed sixth branch of the United States Armed Forces intended to have control over military operations in outer space. It would absorb the operations and duties of the Air Force Space Command, a major command of the United States Air Force that currently handles and supports most of the country’s military operations in space.

My previous design for the US Space Corps logo/seal:

United States Space Corps Seal
United States Space Corps Seal

Reference and latest developments can be found on Wikipedia: United States Space Force.

Flag of Howard County

I redesigned the flag of Howard County, Maryland to depict a cleaner and more modern design. No copyright infringement is intended.

It is described as “a red and white design which incorporates part of the Maryland flag.” The colors also reflect the exact colors of the flag of Maryland, including the red and gold.

Howard County Redesign Flag, Maryland
Howard County Redesign Flag

The top left quarter, a “sheaf of wheat in gold symbolizes the agricultural heritage of the County” which can also be found on the original seal of Howard County dating back from 1840. The bottom left quarter depicts a golden triangle “symbolizing the unique position of Howard in the future development of the eastern seaboard.”

The flag of Howard County, Maryland was established in 1968 through a contest and was designed by Jean O. Hannon.