Thursday, December 13, 2007

New Illustrations

These are two illustrations I was hired to do for new blogs on Tuneology obviously a music blog and the other is entitled Politics Unplugged. is a lifestyles website for baby boomers, with entertainment news, blogs, and social networking.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

local warming

It is December right? Okay just checking, because the high for today in Nashville is 75 degrees Fahrenheit (about 24 for all you Celsius folks. Ridiculous. My first inclination is to complain, because I like winter to be winter, but it's so gorgeous outside right now I can't. I think I need to get outside and enjoy it. So why am I still typing? Don't worry just about done... okay done.

Monday, December 10, 2007

less pixels more paper

I watched Amelie again last night in bed on my laptop (which is my new favorite way to watch movies these days). I actually bought this movie a long time ago because I loved it so much and hadn't watched it since. It's such a wonderful movie, it makes you feel good and want to fall in love. But actually more importantly to me is it's the stress it plays on the tactile. Throughout the movie we are given very personal insight into each character and their likes and dislikes. These are often the almost comfortingly mundane little things of life like cleaning out a toolbox or the feeling of a sinking your hand into a basket of dried beans. This really could be construed as the true theme of the movie if you ask me. It is so present in every aspect of it, the glass man who cannot touch anything that is not padded, Lucien the handicapped boy at the fruit stand that like to touch each piece of fruit, Amelie's love interest that works at a sex shop, and Amelie herself who is constantly collecting stones for skipping on the water.

I guess the reason this is so great to me is because we live in such a detached and digital world where everything is disposable. I just love the idea of Amelie's world where everything is to be touched, and cherished. I love the polaroids, photo booths, letters, and boxes of cherished nothings. It also sparks in me my desire to collect something. I think as a child I was very apt to do this, but mostly ended up collecting junk like action figures and baseball cards with the disillusioned hope of one day cashing in my collection and making big money.

I know I'm not the first person to realize the value of the tactile in our ever-more digital world, but it does do a bit of good to remind yourself every now and then.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Love / Hate

Okay, I've got a gripe for the design community. I guess it's also a gripe at myself, because I have been just as guilty as the rest of you. What praytell do I simultaneously love and hate so much that it requires me to write a pointless blog about? Well let me tell you.. You see you know you're getting really lazy as a designer when, every time you have a new job request or a new concept to draft up, your first reaction is to go to Yep that's right, I'm going for a full on attack here. It's a two-fold problem
though, and I can't point the finger at any ONE group so...

Fold 1: Designers purchasing from istockphoto
(Full disclosure: I fall into this category) I have definitely gotten better about it lately, but it is really easy to get into the habit of making that your first resource to fuel any project you work on. Here's the deal if you care about doing good design, don't rely on someone else to do it for you. I am tired of seeing lazy designs being churned out consisting of recycled vector ornaments, and generic corporate office photos. Designs that have no concept behind them.

Fold 2: Designers contributing to istockphoto
First off I am a designer and I have no problems with people selling their work, more power to you if you can make a living off of it (I don't really know how much you can make off istock, but whatever). Some designers and photographers out there just seem to be submitting work just to make a quick buck. Not all of course, but some. I mean how many fricking different variations of an email icon do you need?! If you type in "web icon" there are about 50,000 results. Well you only need to look at the first page, because the rest are just duplicates in every shade imaginable. Guess what? We have photoshop and illustrator and can change the color ourselves!

I realize that stock photography and graphics are very valuable, I do not want them to go away. I don't really know how else I would get a photo of elderly couple eating ice cream on a cruise ship, wearing matching pantsuits, I also think that istock can be a good place to get an idea, that maybe you wouldn't have come up with on your own, and I should mention I have seen some really great designs that make really creative use of stock photos, textures and the like. But this goes for both Folds 1 and 2: let's just put some more effort into this whole thing. When you just get lazy and slap a crappy stock photo or vector image into your design without thinking about it, you are only hurting yourself. You are devaluing your design ability.

If you want to be more successful, be more creative, and make more money, slow down. Instead of feeling like you have to grab some quick images from a stock source, sit down and think the concept through, sketch it out, and make the design 100% yours. Make it something the client can't get anywhere else.

And when you need that elderly couple in pantsuits... go to istock.


About two years ago I started a brand that I called Family Tree. My initial concept was to collaborate with friends and fellow artists on fun little projects, and possibly sell them and make a couple bucks here and there. The point wasn't really the money, but to have an actual thing to put some creative energy into, other than wasting it on slack-jawed employers that didn't appreciate it. So anyway, I made some stuff, and sold some of it, but I just ended up letting a lot of other things get in my way and distract me. There were shirts, bags, suitcases, stuff like that. I always wanted to expand it and make more, but never got around to it. Laziness and Fear, my two biggest enemies ended up getting the better of me. But I am happy to say that I'm not going to let those two bastards stop me. Family Tree is back and about to get a makeover. If you click your way on over to you will find some goodies ripe for the purchasing. I have plans to expand what Family Tree is all about, and turn it into my primary source of income, so be on the lookout for that.