Archive for the ‘creativity’ Category

To the creative overthinker …

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Dear Creative overthinker,

No doubt there have been times where you were sat at your desk deep in thought or maybe you were previously to reading this. With your pen , paintbrush, camera or graphics tablet in hand your mind gets caught up in a whirlwind of creative over thought causing you to over think your entire creative practice. As you do this the creative work that you do that was “fun work” begins to feel more like ” hard work” thus bringing the creativity inside you to a halt. Thoughts such as:

” What if I post my design and no one likes it ?”

” What if I post this set of cards, notebooks and prints and no one buys them?”

“What if I go to that design interview and I get turned down?”

“What if I email this client the price quote for a commission and they think I’m really overpriced?”

In a nut shell thoughts like this cause “you” to stop and your creativity will stop with it, all the “what if’s” in our head’s are sometimes enough to stop us doing what we love to do. So my dear creative over thinker try to stop thinking so much , live in the creative moment, make smart prompt decisions that may scare the pants off you and be brave.

Image by artist Tim Bontan you can find more of his work here .

Posted by Kate Leonard on 10/26/14 under business,creativity,freelance
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Creatively managing your time

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We can all be guilty at some time or another of not managing our time as effectively as we could have done. Whether you were running late for a university submission, a deadline for a client that was looming or you just find it hard to keep on top of your to do’s then  creatively managing your time better maybe something you could improve on. Now you don’t need to make major changes to your routine to manage your time better, simply by bringing just some of these tips into your creative day will help you  manage your time making meeting those deadlines more stress free.

1 . Separate your tasks into time chunks of  30 to 45 minute  followed by a break to refresh your mind ready for the next task.

2. Set an alarm to ring when your time is up this will prompt you to move onto the next task and if unfinished come back to the current one later.

3.Use app’s or timers to track how much time you’ve already spent on your project.

4. Pop on a tv series or film is another way of managing your time if you don’t mind a bit of background noise, once the show is over you’re prompted to finish what your doing ( just don’t get to distracted watching it if you’re a adventure time fan it may be best to stick to the gardening channel instead).

5. Use a calendar that’s either paper based or digital to track how much time you have from the start date to finish for your project. This way you can allocate set days and time to progress with your project.

Image by illustrator Kritsten Vasgaard you can find out more about their work here .

Posted by Kate Leonard on 10/19/14 under business,creativity,freelance
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Just say “yes” and seize creative opportunity

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For many of us just saying “yes” can be a huge obstacle to overcome. The feeling of nervousness and anxiety can well up in the pit of our stomachs , our hand’s become sweaty and minds begin to race with the thought ” Can I actually do this and should I even do this?” when creative opportunity comes our way. In any shape, size or form I realise now that creative opportunity is something to be grasped, having been quite the shy and anxious inky illustrator for years I often said no to things that could have lead somewhere because I was afraid of whether I was good enough , brave enough and strong enough the list goes on.

Many of you may feel the same at any point during your creative journey whether you’re just starting out, given the opportunity to exhibit at a gallery, pursue a design internship, go to university, take a commission and more. Sometimes its a little daunting to say yes but here’s why seizing creative opportunity no matter how scary is good to :

  1. You don’t know where it may lead but it could lead to great things
  2. You don’t know who you might meet but you may meet someone great
  3. You don’t know how you will grow but you’ll build experience along the way
  4. You don’t know until you try

 

Try to think less about why it might not work and more about what you have to gain because this will help put your creative thought in a much more positive mind set to pursue each opportunity 100%. If you’ve been brave enough to seize a creative opportunity how did you deal overcome the fear and just say yes? 

Image by artist  Sean McCabe you can find more of his work here .

 

Posted by Kate Leonard on 10/12/14 under creativity
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Create Your Own Inspiration Mood Board

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There’s nothing better to get a new creative project started than by making  your own inspirational mood board.  Creating your own mood board of idea’s and inspiration will help you to build a collection of concept base ideas to build a new art piece from whether a series of illustrations, photographs or painting. It’s not all that hard to do and once you get started creating a mood board can actually be a really enjoyable part of project building,  although if you’ve not made one before here are afew easy tips to help you get started on making your own.

What do I put in a mood board?

A mood board can contain anything from doodles, words, photographs, textures , colour swatches, fabrics and much more based around a chosen theme for your project. So for example a theme maybe “ocean” to which you’d include images of its inhabitants , sea blue colour tones and meaningful words tied to the theme etc.

What do I need to make one ? 

Its really down to personal preference but you can make a mood board easily in anything from the pages in your sketchbook, sticking them to a piece of artboard or a cork board with pins. There’s really no right or wrong way because your mood board is personal, there to give you idea’s and pull together concepts for your project that will help it grow.

Putting a mood board together.

  1. To begin putting your creative mood board together collect a series of images and inspirational materials linked to your chosen theme.
  2. On an a3 blank sketchbook page ( or any page size of your preference but bigger is less limiting to your mood board ideas) begin to add your mood board research to your page.
  3. Stick bits down with patterned washi tape or masking tape to make it more visual and allow you to change things around.
  4. Make it personal and have fun.
  5. Keep your creative mood board  in sight throughout your project to stay visually inspired and consistant to your project theme to prevent getting creatively lost along the way.

Image by  illustrator Katt Frank  you can find out more about their work here .

Posted by Kate Leonard on 10/05/14 under creativity,technique,tutorial / how-to
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Illustrator & Writer Lisa Congdon

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This Art Crush entry has truly been a long time coming. I first came across Lisa Congdon by way of Meighan O’Toole’s former art blog and podcast, My Love For You (which is post-worthy in its own right–it was an enormous source of inspiration for me during my college years). While I definitely gravitated to Lisa’s work on a visual level, it was her personal story that drew me in. Freelance illustration had been her second career. She didn’t start painting or making art until she was 31, and here she was, participating in museum-level shows, working with clients like Chronicle Books, and just being a genuine, successful badass. Lisa is not only someone I look up to artistically–she’s also a prime example of a human being.

Lisa’s art career was secondary, after she accumulated over a decade of experience in the education and nonprofit industries. By pure chance, she stumbled into a painting class and began making art of all kinds from that day forward–fueled by pure joy instead of the desire to succeed quickly. Having always been an avid collector, her random ephemera would find their way into countless collages as well as a series of photos, drawings and paintings that would eventually make up her A Collection A Day project. As she continued to develop her craft and share it with the ever-expanding Internet, people began to catch on. Today, she is an accomplished and prolific working artist, blogger, illustrator, public speaker and writer. Some of her most notable clients to date include The Land of Nod, The Museum of Modern Art, Harper Collins, 826 Valencia and Martha Stewart Living Magazine.

Lisa unabashedly tackles the subjects she is most passionate about, and that fearlessness is expressed effortlessly in the execution of her work. She describes herself as a “visual junkie,” and is deeply inspired by patterns, travel, architecture and vintage packaging, just to name a few. A faithful blogger, Lisa writes about her own process in addition to other artists whom she admires, as well as her life “outside the studio,” which includes swimming, biking, sewing, and traveling. In other words, she’s just making all of us look bad! (I only kid.)

One of the reasons I relate to Lisa’s work is due to the versatility and ever-evolving nature of her aesthetic. Certain characteristics like neon hues and her penchant for all things Scandinavian are mainstays, but she continues to branch out and explore all kinds of mediums (block printing and calligraphy, to name a few). These explorations fuel her work and expand her direction, which is most recently geared towards abstract painting. She’s a wonderful example of why you don’t need to narrow yourself down to one specific style (something I often grapple with).

Lisa is quite a unique artist in that she is not only a creator, but a mentor as well. Breaking into freelance illustration can be a challenging and solitary undertaking, and she continues to give her generous time to those who wish to pursue and learn more about the field through classes, speaking engagements and conferences around the country. I first met Lisa at her first Freelance Illustration class at Makeshift Society back in December 2012, and it was one of my most pivotal learning experiences to date.

Lisa recently released her new book, “Art, Inc.: The Essential Guide for Building Your Career as an Artist,” which is a revolutionary and timely answer to the starving artist stereotype. It covers all areas of the freelance artist’s domain, such as photographing fine art, finding printing services, copyright, and diversifying income. It sits on the shelf above my working desk (I like to call it my “VIP” shelf) as I reference it constantly.

On that same note, I’m very excited to be taking Lisa’s “Become A Working Artist” class through CreativeLive next week! You can follow along with the class virtually by RSVPing here.

To listen to Meighan’s podcast with Lisa, click here. I also highly recommend her feature in The Great Discontent.

Follow along with Lisa below:

Website

Twitter

Blog

Instagram

Purchase Lisa’s books below:

Art, Inc.

Whatever You Are, Be A Good One

A Collection A Day

Posted by Rachel Frankel on 09/28/14 under abstract,apparel / products,artists,children's art,children's illustrators,creativity,design,digital,freelance,Lettering,master of the month,pattern,pen/brush and ink,typography
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Finding where you left your inspiration

 

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Do you find you’ve been staring at that blank page for ages, your fine liner’s or paints have began to dry and your idea’s just seem to be at a standstill no matter how much you want to get started. Well my creative friend I think you may have dropped your inspiration somewhere, but don’t panic I’m sure its laying around somewhere waiting for you to find it. All creative people get stuck with art block from time to time and although the frustration can be extremely annoying to the point you may want to scream into the nearest pillow, never fear because here’s a few easy solutions to help get your creativity and inspiration back to where it used to be.

  • Get out of your studio space: Sometimes too much time at your desk or computer can cramp your mind along with your legs, so the best remedy is to get out of your space to clear your head. Go for a walk, drive or run for a change of scenery to promote new idea’s and thought.

 

  • Visit somewhere creatively fuelling: Galleries, degree shows, museums or places of wildlife are perfect places to feed your visual appetite. Whether you’re viewing someone else’s work this may help you visualise different concepts, composition styles, patterns or colour palettes you might not of thought of using before or if you’re out sketching from things in real life making studies may give you the grounds for a specifically theme project that can help you gather idea’s as you go.

 

  • Take a break from the drawing board: The old battery need’s a recharge and despite many of us wanting to be an invincible creative machine that can churn out endless amazing drawings, photos and painting that will dazzle all it’s not physically possible although we can dream.

 

  • Work with a liked minded creative: If the creative juices just aren’t flowing with a pending project often the help of a like minded creative can help pull you out of your rut. Talk with a creative friend about your project in confidence and ask them for points or tips on where to get started, sometimes two heads are better than one.

Image by illustrator Dana Svobodova you can find out more about their work here .

Posted by Kate Leonard on 08/31/14 under creativity
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How to develop your own style?

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Whether you’re an inky illustrator, a passionate painter, daring doodler, pro photographer or more finding that one of a kind style to be known for can sometimes seem a tad tricky to find. No doubt I’m not alone when I say that we can sometimes find ourselves gazing in amazement at the many other creative people in our field and think to ourselves “how am I going to get where they are”.  There may be a creative in particular whom you find yourself admiring both for their style and success acquired because they’re so individual, niche and unique at what they do. So your next head scratching question maybe “how can I develop my own style?” and develop it in a way that is going to make you different to all the other talented creative people in the world, because you yourself are one of a kind and have your own creative imagination to share. Well to answer your question here’s a few points I came up with to think about that may just help you creatively along the way;

  • Know that your style is forever developing and changing along the way

 

  • Your style will have characteristics, textures and a uniqueness of its own so don’t be to concern that it’s nothing like the next guy’s because originality is important

 

  • Discovering your own taste and stick to those tastes this can be anything from techniques to materials or the subject’s you draw, but don’t be afraid to explore beyond that ( don’t get scared to go out of your comfort zone).

 

  • Your style will reflect the kind of work you may want to be commission for, for example do you have a love for the human form, creating portraits of little characters or maybe alternatively you prefer to create sophisticated patterns with lots of colour.

Deep down your style is there you just need to create more to see it and then you can share it with others. Image by designer Lindsay Letters you can find out more about their work here.

Posted by Kate Leonard on 08/17/14 under creativity
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Making the most of your sketchbooks

 

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Being creatives we all get lost in the blank pages of our oh so faithful sketchbooks, before putting pen to paper we’re filled with anticipation of the ideas we have within our creative minds that are yet to spill across our page.  As they begin to fill with endless inky pieces of potential and piles of scribbled sketchbooks are formed over time they can often become lost sat within a draw of your studio out of sight. Although sometimes it’s breaking out those old books that can help you creatively in ways you don’t always quite realise. So here are a few reasons to brush the dust off your sketchbooks and reminisce a little in past potential you’ve made.

 

  1. They’re proof of how far you’ve come: Your sketchbooks are filled with your thoughts and scribbles and it’s these that also make them memories of your creative growth.  You might one day find yourself thinking “My illustration/design/painting/photography isn’t quite as detailed or good as these creatives” and sometimes we take for granted just how far we have come on our creative journey.  So look back on your own childhood, high school, college or university sketchbooks and see just how far you’ve come, just how hard you’ve worked and you may even surprise yourself with how talented you really are. In turn this is sure to boost your belief in yourself and blow your little inner critic away.

 

  1. Fruits for new inspiration : If at times you’re feeling lost for ideas or aren’t quite sure where to find your inspiration for a new and exciting project then flipping through the pages of your sketchbook might just help you find it. Sometimes we can forget where we found our fruit for ideas but in that little sketchbook may be a scribbled motif that can help you grow a collection of beautiful patterns, illustration for a book, painting and much more. Recycle your old ideas and make them into something amazing and new because your style and skills are forever growing it’s sure to look different than it did before.

 

  1. Rediscover old techniques:  I remember during college days we were encouraged to experiment as much as we could with a vast array of arty materials and techniques to expand on the potential of what we create. Combining watercolours, print making or markers with ink might have helped you to create a beautifully detailed project or give you a texture or effect you’re looking for. It’s little things like these that may just be the finishing element needed for an upcoming project or simply for you to try something a little different.

 

So it just goes to show how good your sketchbooks can be after all and gives you an even better reason to treasure them and not throw them away. Image by designer illustration  Elizabeth Caldwell you can find out more about her work here .

Posted by Kate Leonard on 08/10/14 under creativity
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The Australian Graphic Supply Collective: Tuts and Type

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In my journey towards becoming somewhat of a graphic designer, I’ve gone through many bouts of chocolate-fueled rage, cursing when I can’t figure out how to line up my beziers correctly, or how exactly to create a seamless repeat pattern. Although there are loads of tutorials online, the Australia Graphic Supply Company is set to become the “square one” learning source for budding designers and typographers of all types (pun not intended).

Self-described “pixel-wranglers,” Dave and Laura Coleman are a husband-and-wife team working out of Sydney, Australia, focusing on a wide range of visual services from photography and branding to illustration and tattoo design. While Laura mostly manages operations & finances, Dave handles the creative side of their shared business–and both of them share a serious passion for design, photography and lettering.

They host a selection of their own client work on their website, but the primary focus is on their community and growing tutorial section. What’s neat to see is that their tutorial aesthetic matches up perfectly with that of their professional projects–the aim is clearly to give the viewer proper insight into the process of creating high-quality design and typography while simplifying the process down to layman’s terms.

One of my favorite tutorials was Creating a Hand-Lettered Logotype from Beginning to End–I’ve included some screenshots and a video below.

Dave and Laura were briefly living and working abroad in Oviedo, Spain, but are now in the process of returning to their home base in Sydney. To follow along with their adventures, check out their travel blog.

I’ve also included a couple links to my other favorite tutorials below:

No Pain, No Grain (How to Create a Seamless Vector Wood Grain Pattern)

So What’s the Big Deal with Horizontal & Vertical Bezier Handles Anyway?

I can’t wait for more exciting tutorials and developments from the AGSC. Thanks so much to Dave and Laura for sharing their knowledge with us! Follow along with them on theirwebsiteTwitter, and Pinterest.

Posted by Rachel Frankel on 07/29/14 under creativity,design,digital,links,resources,tutorial / how-to,typography
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Dealing with Your Creative Expectations

 

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Following the creative path to live a creative life isn’t always an easy instant road to success.  You’re going to put in the effort and hard work so you’ll no doubt get there but like any journey there will be challenges to face and obstacles to overcome to become who you want to be.  Whether you’re a current art student at college, just graduated from university or are bettering your creative practice in your own time with the aspiration of running your own business there’s one teeny tiny obstacle we all have niggling away inside called “expectations”.

Expectations can be anything from aims you set to accomplishments and standards you may put on yourself or those that people around you may have of you themselves but today I’m going to cover self expectations.  Having expectations in general isn’t a bad thing as they give you points to work on and creative insight into ways you’d like to grow.

However sometimes when we set such high aims to reach and aspiring results to follow, when we fall short it can really knock us down and sometimes make you second guess what you’re doing and why you’re doing it. You may find yourself questioning whether you did something right, whether your skills are at their best , if you met the brief you were set and whether you can be as good as the next guy the list goes on and you’re not alone in thinking so.

 However amongst all this expectation you also need to be your biggest motivator and you need to brush yourself off and tell yourselfBelieve you can and you will achieve all you set out to”.  I believe you can achieve anything if you put the effort and the hard work into all that you do, although one thing you must truly believe in is yourself.  Remember these few things when you feel your inner expectations are clouding your creative motivation;

1. Your work is surely to be at its best when you are as well. 

2. Everyone’s story and journey is different don’t compare your beginning to someone else’s middle.

3.  A success is to be perceived through your own eyes, however if you don’t try you’ll never know how far you could have gone. 

Featured image created by designer Stephanie Ryan and you can find out more about her and her beautiful designs “here” .

Posted by Kate Leonard on 07/16/14 under creativity,freelance
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