Archive for the ‘freelance’ Category

How to Be More Creative in the Age of Over-Inspiration

Amy Ng
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Amy Ng

Amy is a teacher, writer and a self-taught illustrator. Her blog Pikaland, is popular stop for illustration lovers, students and artists who are looking for answers on how to find a balance between art, creativity and commerce. Amy is also an adjunct lecturer at a local design college and has created online workshops for artists; teaching them how to use their unique strengths to create their very own opportunities. She believes that we each have a role to play and a story to tell –- and her personal mission is to help you discover what that is.
Amy Ng
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Amy Ng blogs at Pikaland, a popular stop for illustration lovers, students and artists who are looking for answers on how to find a balance between art, creativity and commerce.

Neil J Rook

Ah, the internet. What would I do without it? It’s a portal that bounces me from one wonderment to the next – an inspiring road trip filled with jaw-dropping illustrations and illuminating interviews, with sideshow attractions of fun video tutorials to community hangouts for every niche under the sun. The internet is the gateway to inspiration on demand, and it seems like the more sidetracked I get, the hungrier I get for more.

When you have a source that beckons with creativity and inspiration 7 days a week and 24 hours a day, it’s easy to be sucked into a loop. There’s always something interesting a mere click away. I know for a fact that I’m not alone in my predicament. In the age of Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter and the many infinite scrolling art & design websites (I liken it to a bottomless well of beautiful things just waiting to be discovered) – what does this mean for artists?

The National Centre for Biotechnology Information’s research in April 2015 has surveyed that the average attention span of people in 2015 is now 8.25 seconds, compared to 12 seconds in the year 2000. That means our capacity for holding attention is 30% less compared to 15 years ago – and it’s not surprising, given how our brains are hard-wired to crave new information; according to Bruce Morton, a researcher with the University of Western Ontario’s Brain and Mind Institute.

With each click leading to the next and the more information we devour, the novelty wears off quickly, and off we go in search of better, more beautiful, more interesting things. It’s nasty cycle that perpetuates itself; leading to a host of other problems like a lack of productivity (hey, where did the time go?), procrastination (just one more website!) and for some, the inability (or reluctance) to dive deeper; to analyse and synthesise the information they’ve already visually absorbed.

I’ve talked to college students who were confused by it all – there was no lack of inspiration, and yet they weren’t inspired. They grew up with the internet being a very big part of their lives, and yet they seem to be suffering from inspiration fatigue, and couldn’t understand why. One theory that I brought up was that perhaps they’ve been looking at what was already completed and done by other artists, therefore subconsciously they didn’t need to figure out the process for themselves (hey, since it’s already been done!) Replicating something visually without finding out the underlying thought process behind it all is just like skimming the water without knowing its depths. It’s also a little like eating junk food all the time, which tastes great but isn’t very good for you.

I recommended my students to try and be more conscientious of the information they took in. Instead of merely looking at the aesthetics of the many works of art in front of their screen before jumping to the next, how about they pause for a moment and focus on finding out more details about it instead? Dig through archives of the artist’s work, and perhaps catch a glimpse of their process. Maybe it works and maybe it doesn’t (the ails of over-inspiration runs far deeper), but the reminder to dig vertically instead of mindlessly pacing horizontally might just be a good start. I needed the nudge too as I’m sometimes guilty of the same.

It’s times like these that it’s useful to remember Charles Eames’ quote: “Art resides in the quality of doing, process is not magic.”

Maybe we don’t really need more inspiration. We need more doing instead.

[Illustration by Neil J Rook]

Posted by Amy Ng on 07/16/15 under artists,business,freelance
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20 Pieces of Advice from 20 Illustrators

Thomas James

Thomas James

Thomas James is an Illustrator who has worked with The New York Times, WIRED, Pentagram, Wall Street Journal, The Los Angeles Times, and many others. You can see his portfolio at thomasjamesillustration.com.
Thomas James

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In preparation for her awesome upcoming online workshop Building a Freelance Illustration Business, Illustrator Salli Swindell decided to reach out and get some thoughts from other artists. The question was “What’s one piece of advice you would share with other illustrators?” This is testament to the fact that Salli is doing her best to make the workshop as useful and helpful as possible, and she has graciously shared the results with Illustration Friday!

Meet 20 artists below and read what they have to say! Also be sure to check out Salli’s educational and inspiring online workshop: Building a Freelance Illustration Business here.

Coming soon: Part 2 – Advice from art directors.

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Posted by Thomas James on 07/14/15 under art supplies,artists,business,classes,freelance,IF news update
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Elise Gravel :: author and illustrator

Alice Palace

Alice Palace

Alice works as a greeting card publisher, illustrator and designer from her studio in Evesham with her sister Lizzy (the studio manager) and their two dogs, Jemima and Honey (the distractions!).
Alice Palace

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Elise lives in Montreal and draws lots and  LOTS of wonderful monster characters – but the illustrations I love best are her children and animals…

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Take a look at her website

Posted by Alice Palace on 02/04/15 under artists,books,freelance
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a print designer named Aless Baylis

Alice Palace

Alice Palace

Alice works as a greeting card publisher, illustrator and designer from her studio in Evesham with her sister Lizzy (the studio manager) and their two dogs, Jemima and Honey (the distractions!).
Alice Palace

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Aless has just set up her own studio label called ‘This is gold’. Based in London, she is available for freelance surface pattern, illustration and childrenswear graphics. I love her characters…

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See her New Website

Posted by Alice Palace on 01/26/15 under artists,children's art,freelance
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Believing You Can Make an Amazing Creative Portfolio

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Just another day at the art desk I hear you say, starting your sunday with a chipper smile and creative heart filled with enthusiasm you believe today is going to be great. That is however until you sit down to start working on that creative portfolio you aspire to make. Suddenly you’re faced with an extremely sweaty brow and a blank canvas that’s been sitting there for the best part of an hour.

You may start to hear a small voice quoting in the back of your head how you can do this!”. However this then propels into a downward swirl beating yourself up over your lack of progress, whilst creating a rather larger  pile of screwed up sketchbook pages behind you. In all you just don’t know where to start and have an idea of a project’s “end” with no “beginning”.

Generating ideas for portfolio pieces can be tough if you don’t plan and prepare in advance what you aim to create.  Every creative person I believe though has the potential to create some amazing self-initiated projects to really blow the socks off those creative directors and get that commission.  If that’s what you wanna do then here’s a few ways to help reel back your line to the beginning and get started creating amazing portfolio pieces that will help promote what you can do!

1.  Understand what kind of work you want to be doing : Think about the kind of work you want to produce whether children’s book illustration , portrait photography , commercial design and more. By knowing where you want to go creatively this will help you understand the type of work you need to create.

2. Generate project ideas around your chosen work: Now that you’ve chosen your type of work the next step is to generate your own project idea. For example this could be illustrating a page from your favourite children’s book if your aim is a children’s illustration. Create a pattern design collection if your aim is to work within commercial product, licensing and more.

3. Hone your skills and think outside the box : No doubt you’ll have your collection of favoured art materials that you turn to when you create a piece. However be sure to hone your skills will other materials , softwares and processes to as this will help show how versatile you can create pieces and how diverse they can be. Last but not least though think outside the box, take inspiration from other creative is one thing but then take a little inspiration from it and create something unique to you.

Image by Matt Adrian you can find out more about his work here.

 

Posted by Kate Leonard on 01/18/15 under freelance
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Grace Helmer: ethereal oil paint illustration

Heather Ryerson

Heather Ryerson has worked as a designer and illustrator for the past 8 years. She writes short stories and has a keen interest in book arts and self-publishing. She enjoys reading children's stories, exercising her citizenship, and dancing to jangly '60s rock music. Heather splits her time between Portland, Oregon and London, England and has a fine collection of raincoats.

Find out more about Heather's work on www.heatherryerson.com.

post by Heather Ryerson

Grace Helmer

Grace Helmer

Grace Helmer

Grace Helmer

Grace Helmer

Grace Helmer

Grace Helmer uses strong brush strokes to create her rich, ethereal oil illustrations. The expressive color progressions in her paintings give the work a delicate, transient presence; the viewer can’t help but be caught up in the joy and beauty of Helmer’s brief captured moments. Her style is used to especially great effect in her animated pieces. Constantly changing textures and shapes create a depth and dynamism that one might feel could easily be drunk from the canvas. Helmer graduated from the Camberwell College of Art in 2012 and is part of the illustration studio collective Day Job.

See portfolio | Watch an animaton


Posted by Heather Ryerson on 12/05/14 under animation,freelance
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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,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,freelance
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Illustrator & Writer Lisa Congdon

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Rachel Frankel

Rachel Frankel

Rachel is an Oakland-based illustrator and graphic designer with a penchant for hand-lettering and writing. She also plays guitar and sings for the band Phosphene. You can view her work at www.speakeasyillustrations.com.
Rachel Frankel

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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 artists,children's art,freelance,Lettering,master of the month,typography
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“Designy Illustrator” Mikey Burton

Rachel Frankel

Rachel Frankel

Rachel is an Oakland-based illustrator and graphic designer with a penchant for hand-lettering and writing. She also plays guitar and sings for the band Phosphene. You can view her work at www.speakeasyillustrations.com.
Rachel Frankel

Latest posts by Rachel Frankel (see all)

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Self-described “designy illustrator” Mikey Burton is a Philadelphia-based creative with a serious bear preoccupation. His professional work centers around editorial illustration, infographics, and identity design. He’s also been bestowed with awards from ADC Young Guns, Communication Arts, & Graphis, some of the most prestigious organizations in the industry, and has worked with clients like The Atlantic, Converse, Facebook, Fast Company, and Wilco. Mikey values simplicity in principles of color and design, using minimalism and traditionally-inspired typography to an effective advantage. The understated elegance of his work is what secured his spot in the Art Crush Friday Hall of Fame.

Mikey’s aesthetic is identified in the intersection between sharp, geometric vector designs and substantial, meaningful textures. I use the word meaningful not to be an art school asshole, but to say that the textures have strong purpose and intent in his work.

As I’ve learned more and more about graphic design, I’ve started to see the fork in the road that exists between flat and realistic design (this gorgeous Webby-winning site explains this very conundrum in further detail). As I mentioned earlier, Mikey’s process allows real textures to shine through flat shapes, seemingly creating atmospheres within the simplest of flattened shapes. Interestingly enough, he’s referenced his really old HP LaserJet printer as being the very tool that creates these fascinating textures. [More about his process here.]

Mikey swears by two things in particular before starting his design process: coffee and preliminary sketching. He’s a refreshingly real person who needs to participate in real humany things before dragging along on the computer for hours on end. He will routinely post final work to his Dribbble account, modestly seeking feedback from the peers he so deeply respects. I admire his humility, honesty and continual hustle for meaningful work, even amidst his great successes thus far. For budding designers, here’s some of Mikey’s advice: create work that you want to be hired to do, and don’t be a lame person to deal with.

Follow along with Mikey and his adventures to come:

Website

Dribble

Instagram

Twitter

 

Posted by Rachel Frankel on 08/24/14 under artists,freelance,technique,typography
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