Tuesday, May 20

CoffeeShop Gonzales, TX Jail Graffiti Textures and Tutorial!

Last week we went to San Antonio for a few days.  We stayed right next to the Alamo and spent hours there exploring and reading all about the Texas Revolution and the 13 day siege at the Alamo.

While we were reading I realized we were "learning" our Texas history backwards.  We first visited the San Jacinto Battlegrounds (where the Texans won their independence from Mexico in an amazing 18 minute battle) and then the Alamo (where Texas was defeated before going on to win at San Jacinto).  However, we had never been to Gonzales, TX which is the birthplace of the Texas Revolution.

In a nutshell, Texas was a Mexican state in the 1800's and Gonzales, TX  had a little cannon given to them by the Mexican government for defense.  When the Texians started rebelling against Mexico's replacement of the Constitution of 1884 with a centralized government which did not allow Texas to have government representation, Mexico wanted that cannon back.  Residents of Gonzales said "Come and take it," and this led to a skirmish that started the Texas Revolution which eventually led to me living in the US rather than Mexico.

I pulled out the GPS and realized Gonzales was only an hour or so away so we headed out there that afternoon.

It was a rainy day and when we drove into town the memorial building that houses the "little cannon that started everything" was closed for lunch.  So we walked around exploring Gonzales (amazing little town) and discovered they had a free jail (1885-1974) museum on the main square.  Notice the kids are wearing their CapRock Canyons t-shirts from our trip last month.  We really do get around our state.

Talk about spooky!  The minute we entered the very nice guide told us that they had hung at least two people in gallows upstairs.  The kids and I had never discussed hangings before, so I nervously looked over to them to make sure they weren't freaking out, but they were too busy exploring an isolation cell.  The original gallows were gone, but there was a huge monster gallows that had been built for a movie filmed in the jail years ago.  It towered over us and I felt that Hannibal was going to jump out at us and try to eat our livers (liver pate anyone?).

The original jail cells upstairs were really interesting, but the best part of all was the amazing graffiti all over the walls.  Some of the graffiti was new, but we were told that quite a bit is original to the former residents of the jail.

I took some photos as I figured these would be really cool textures.  I have five of them that I put together in a download you can find at the bottom of this post.  Warning:  I looked all over them to make sure I didn't see anything inappropriate, but I might have missed something.  Please be sure to look them over carefully before presenting a photo to a client!!!  

After our amazing jail tour we finally made it out to see the "Little Cannon that Could".  Wow, talk about a really cool piece of Texas history.  This tiny little canon was responsible for starting the Texas Revolution along with the famous words, "Come and take it."

This is how we study Texas history in our house.  Unschooling history ROCKS!  Wish I could afford to study European history the same way.  :-)

CoffeeShop Tutorial:  Adding Texture Backgrounds to Portraits
 I wanted to show you a quick way you can change the background on a portrait.  I am using one of my jail graffiti textures in this tutorial (download them on the bottom of the post).  In this tutorial I turned a simple portrait into a fake book cover.  The beautiful starting image is from Sycamore Lane Photography (Facebook).

1. Open your image.  You can adjust color/contrast now or later after changing the background.

2.  There are so many ways to "cut-out" your portrait, and in this tutorial I used the Quick Selection Tool (W).  It works great for me most of the time.  You can add/subtract the auto selections as you drag by clicking on the menubar above (with the + and -).

I cut her out and then dragged her to a new layer, deleted the original image, moved her to the corner, and added a bit of drop shadow.

3.  Drag your texture behind your portrait by adding it below the cut-out.  Move both layers until you are happy.  Then make any color/contrast adjustments so the images look like they belong together.

4.  For a fun book cover add text.  I used Secret Typewriter for the title, Pea Dag for the description, and Adhesive Nr. 7 for the cool tape images.  I love these free fonts.

I hope you enjoy playing with these new textures. I would love to see your "afters" on my Facebook page.

Download the CoffeeShop Gonzales,TX Jail Graffiti Texture Set. You can also download it here.

Do you want to download my favorite CoffeeShop PSE/Photoshop Actions and Lightroom Presets or Design Elements in one convenient zipped file AND help support this blog? Just click here for my action pack or here for a download of some of my most popular design elements, storyboards, and textures.


  1. I enjoyed hearing about your trip. What an interesting texture from an unusual place! I look forward to seeing the others enclosed. Thank you!

  2. I am so far behind in reading your posts! I just saw this today as I was reading everything that you have posted over the past couple of weeks. Thanks for using my photo in your tutorial!

  3. What a cool trip! We were just in San Antonio a few weeks ago and it never occurred to us to check out Gonzales as well. I'll keep that in mind for next time! The graffiti textures are fabulous!


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