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A Strange Turn of Events

Remember I sdetailed my plans to use Redbubble.com as an outlet for some of my designs? It turns out the one piece that sells there is a watercolor piece of the Tybee Lighthouse outside of Savannah, GA. It’s beautiful, but not what I’d thought would be my best seller. I guess I need to refocus what I use for Redbubble!

The piece has sold twice as a sticker, which is also not what I expected. I should stop having any expectations like this! I obviously do not know anything about what might sell. That’s why you always put out everything you have until you find your niche! I will have to remember this…

Take it easy and remember to smile!

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Accomplished

What a great day! Work went great! And now I’m prepping for my 1 yr wedding anniversary with a trip to Savannah, GA. I’m feeling more comfortable as a someone in charge of production. I get to use all of my skills.

I have a new chance at being me. I can work digitally and physically. It’s not 3D printing or anything, but stores need window decals right? Company cars need logos on them. Truck drivers need to comply with DOT regulations and have their business license information on their trucks. Little girls need copies of their favorite shirt that accidentally got stained and ruined. Schools need branded uniforms. There’s a lot I get to see and do. Most graphic designers never work physically with printers and produce what they are designing. It’s an asset to my skills that I know how logos are used in the real world.

Trust me. If you need a logo get it in vector format as well as .jpg or .png. It will save you money down the road to have a vectors file that can be made as big or as small as you want! You could hire me – shameless plug- to make your logo because my pricing comes with any and all formats you could ever need. If you’ve read my blog you know what my qualifications are. 😉

Take it easy and remember to smile!

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Eureka!

For my family and friends, it comes as no surprise that one of my sources of creative inspiration is Walt Disney. More specifically, the animation and otherwise artistry of the Studio and Parks is, in my opinion, some of the best work ever done, anywhere in the world. Glowing review right? I don’t work for Disney. 🙁 I’m just not that caliber. At least I’m not yet. 

Inspiration is a funny thing though. Where does copying end and new creation begin? If you trace over a drawing or picture at the start does that mean the end result, no matter how different, is nonetheless still a copy? I personally think the answer is no. I’m not talking about just changing a color or replicating the exact original in a different style (although that can be it’s own work of art, much more of a grey area legally and ethically). For my vector art, I often start with a photo and work it up into something new that sets it apart from a photo. Sometimes I combine photos to get a certain unfindable angle or unique pose. I hardly ever use all the details, and many times I end up running my lines through filters to get a certain type of line. Check out the example below. 


Believe it not, this Phoenix started life as a photo of a vulture. A lot of the work went into making the usually smooth feathers look more like flames. Picking and choosing where the gradients fall is a big part of this illustration too. There are both red and yellow lines to contrast the gradients and, of course, the head is entirely red to stand out from the brightly-hot chest area that I imagined would be the hottest. 

So is tracing really a cheat and a way of copying? When does a tracing of a vulture stop being a tracing of a vulture?

What about the question of collaboration on something like an animated movie? In the following YouTube clip, Walt Disney explains how sometimes and artist has to forgo their preferred style to mesh with other artists in the studio, but on their own they take the same tree and paint 4 very different pieces of art from it. This is why Walt Disney is my biggest inspiration. 

4 Artists, One Tree

Take it easy and remember to smile. 

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Good Clients

It’s no secret that the world of design is full of bad, naughty, impatient, mean…

2 days later

…awful, terrible clients. The nit-pickers want perfection, but refuse to negotiate payment when the project goes over budget due to time wasted on endless revisions. Vague-ists expect mind reading levels of understanding from a brief only 10 words long that says they want a logo.  Worst of all are the clients who give you detailed instructions on what they want, decide to completely change their mind half way through the design process, and finally at the end refuse to pay you anything because you were not able to finish the project in time.

We all know people like those described above as friends and family in addition to total strangers who want to pay for work they can’t do themselves, but don’t want to pay for work they can’t do themselves. Did I just confuse you, dear reader? Sorry. I guess you’ll have to take my word for it that’s its bad. 😉

But I want to talk about the good clients I’ve encountered in the last week. Two of them to be precise.

The first is, of course, the client who hired me for my first design job. Justin went above and beyond by telling me there was a problem with his payment and he had already fixed it. That job should clear with Upwork sometime this week and enter the mandatory 1 week security hold. It’s ok, just par for the course here in designer-land. I can’t withdraw the money until I have $100 in my Upwork account. That’s fine with me too if it avoids fees or ther pitfalls on Upwork’s side and keeps the service free to people like me (not counting the service fees since I set my own rate and the system charges the client the fee, not the designer.)

Good client number two is a repeat contest holder over on Freelancer.com. He held a contest back at the end of May which I won. It was only $25 after fees, but that was enough to set me up with a year’s paid intro membership on the site. I needed it! A week and a half ago the same client requested my entry on another, similar, contest. I read over the brief and decided it was something I could do for him so I submitted an entry. Yesterday, I received a message from him stating he decided not to use any of the submissions, but since he had solicited my entry he was awarding me with the prize. I gave him the files anyway since from my point of view it’s required to get paid and because if he’s paying then the work is his anyway. Maybe he will change his mind or use the illustration for something else. This was beyond my expectations! If you foster a good relationship with a client sometimes they will give you a break. The winnings will be $40 after fees. Again, not that much, but work is work and pay is pay. Repeat clients count for a lot and show that you do quality work at any price.

Two doves perch on the antlers of a deer skull
The winning design that starting it all

Take it easy and remember to smile!

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Persistance

persisto logo

Today – July 5, 2017 – I worked on a logo for a learn-to-code opportunity for kids. I had planned on working on this contest over the weekend, but just got around to it today with Independance Day disrupting my habits. In my email inbox sat a message from 99designs.com that one of the contests I watched had posted an announcement. The client, from a company called Persisto, stated that he/she thought their brief wasn’t as clear as they expected it should be, so they clarified, mentioning the use of graduation hats as a design elements. That made me think of a graduation hat in perspective, as in many illustrations. He/she also stated they didn’t want a letterform logo and we designers should focus on the tech aspect of their business. So…I had a graduation hat and the idea of technology and coding. The diamond shape of the hat matched HTML tags! While HTML isn’t exclusively what the business hopes to teach kids, it is considered a fundamental coding language for web and a precursor language to Javascript, one of the main programming languages for all web- and app-based programs.

Like the name Persisto, persistance and perserverance represent the core values of learning and success. I persist in submitting proposals and contests entries. How else can I learn? I know the fundamentals of design. Lynda.com provided me with a Logo Design class that was a great refresher for Illustrator in general. All that’s left is to continue designing. Practice makes perfect.

Take it easy, and remember to smile!

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First Logo Job!

South Nashville Mosquito Control Logo

This logo is copyright to Justin Mason.

I was hired to make this a week and a half ago. Work started on Monday and I delivered the final files last night.

I learned something new: Acrobat Pro can edit text, but only if it’s on a flat line. It couldn’t edit the curved text in my design! I ended up downloading a program called Inkscape and making an SVG that could be edited with free software. I think under other circumstances a PDF or JPG can be edited in whatever software you like. However, the letting in this logo was hard to select if you don’t have Photoshop of GIMP chops. I felt it was a good use of my unpaid time to figure out how to send clients works that are editable by anyone. I don’t believe in trapping my client into coming back to me for simple color changes. I probably wouldn’t charge them for that anyway and just call it part of good service!

I came in way under budget and time for this job. Maybe that sounds stupid. I’d rather it take a little longer for happy clients. I want them to have the best I can do! This logo was done in 5.5 out of 10 hours. The client was laid back and really liked my initial sketch.

SQUISHED
SQUISHED sketch idea submitted with my proposal.

I think this sketch closed the deal. Ever since I have tried to give simple sketches. I think clients appreciate seeing how I think and having a visual reference rather than only words. Sometimes ideas are best conveyed with images. Now that I have a real job under my belt I feel beter sending out a lot of proposals. Most of them go unread I’m sure. It only takes one or 2 a week to start the ball rolling though!