Category: Work Life

Monsters in Magazines.
Diary of a designer doodler

We’ve all doodled in magazines, unless you’re really into following rules or don’t have a pen handy. And one day after the mailman dropped off the mail, our boss Barb asked if anyone wanted this high-end furniture magazine. I’m not in-the-know about interior design so I wanted to see what prices things were going for. As I was flipping through the pages and comparing how a coffee table was worth more than my savings and checking accounts combined, I got the childhood urge to draw on the pages.

I noticed that some of the pieces of furniture (cabinets, rugs, bed stands, lamps, etc.) looked like creatures, so I began filling in a particularly monster-y rug. I drew scraggly fur around the edge of the rug, added some gnashing teeth, plopped in a big bulgy eye, and scratched on a couple of claws. Naturally this monster looked like it needed a couple of friends so I filled in the surrounding pieces of furniture with other ghouly and spooky critters. Thus my Monsters In Magazines was born.

I continued to draw throughout the rest of the magazine, filling the pages with my little monsters. They began to take on personalities of their own, and this kept me entertained until I realized that I had used up my lunch time on drawing cartoons.

Super worth it. Plus now I have a magazine full of adorable monsters playing on lamps and grabbing cookie jars off of cabinets.

I took my monsters one step further and painted them with bright and whimsical watercolors. Blobs of color were painted first, then after the paint dried an ultra-fine-tip Sharpie was used to bring the beasts to life. I created about twenty different little monsters and am thinking about how to use them. Perhaps a children’s book? Wrapping paper? Pattern for a tote bag? Who knows. For now, they’re living on my desk peeking from behind a stack of project folders and waiting to brighten someone’s day.

-Laurel Fisher    instagram: https://www.instagram.com/morallaurel/

You aren’t as busy as you think:
Guidance on remaining creative and getting sh*t done

BlogIMG_1

If you are like me—or rather, my former self—you’re probably quite familiar with the phrase, “I’m just so busy”. It’s become the ultimate crutch, the perfect excuse to get out of inconvenient dinner plans and a reason to neglect your fitness routine. It’s even become your default answer to questions like, “How has your summer been?”—an otherwise perfect opportunity for you to share something interesting. But most profoundly, adopting the "I'm so busy" mantra is the one thing holding you back from finishing (or even starting) your personal creative projects.

Chase Jarvis, Artist and CEO of CreativeLive wrote in a blog post, “Busy isn’t success, it’s a lack of priority”. His post, and that line specifically, got me thinking about my own seemingly busy schedule and that perhaps, I in fact had the time I thought I hadn’t for creative projects as long as I made them a top-ranking priority. After some re-jiggering of my schedule, and quite a bit of trial and error, I found the following set of steps to be the most successful process in bringing creative projects to the forefront of my day-to-day.

1) Record your time and don’t leave anything out
I started by documenting, hour by hour, the way I spend my time in a typical week. Sure, I work 40 hours and get an average of 8 hours of sleep a night which, together, takes up 96 of the 168 hours in a week. But what was happening in those other 72 hours? To my shame, I found that I was surrendering that time to Netflix, shopping online, checking and BROWSING Instagram (who does that?), perusing Pinterest, yadda yadda. Don’t get me wrong, I was spending quality time with my husband, taking my dog on walks, cleaning, and making healthy meals (also known as “adulting”), but the rest of my time was being swallowed up by the nonsense.

2) Define and list your priorities
Next, I wrote down a list of my top priorities and bucketed them into the following three categories:

Self Relationships Career

This helped me organize my thoughts and highlighted the areas that needed some balance.

My creative goals, for example finishing my illustrated greeting card series and photographing my designed wedding invitations, fell under the Self category—along with yoga twice a week, journaling once a day, etc. Updating my portfolio site was a task I listed under the Career column, and more frequent girls’ nights was mandatory under Relationships. Turns out that constantly scrolling Instagram, pinning DIYs for my hypothetical garden on Pinterest, and watching hours of Stranger Things on Netflix weren’t  even close to making the priority cut (Although, ST is dope and may be budgeted back into my schedule).

3) Rewrite your week and adhere to it
I did this by creating a one-week schedule. First, I filled in the spaces that are absolutely mandatory and don’t vary from week to week like working and sleeping. then I started to allocate the more fluid priorities to the available time slots. Illustrating was now to be done on Wednesday and Thursday from  7-8 pm and photographing my projects would happen on Monday from 6-7 pm, when the lighting was still fantastic.

Looking at a map of my revitalized week helped me realize the amount of time I actually had to do the things I was neglecting for so long.  It became obvious that putting off my creative projects because of time (or lack thereof) was no longer a viable excuse. I HAVE the time, I just need to use it correctly.

Sticking to a precise schedule may be nearly impossible. After all, we’re human and curve balls get thrown at us regularly, but getting a sense of what you really care about, and scheduling those things into your week is a sure way to live a life of intent and to get sh*t done.

For a pdf of the schedule template I used, click here.

-Julia Perry

Illustration styles: Don’t think, just scribble

When it comes to my personal artwork, I constantly experiment with different approaches. Partly because I haven’t identified with a specific style, but mostly because I just like to challenge myself and see what happens. It’s very satisfying to try something different with zero idea of how it’ll turn out, whether it’s successful or not.

I settled on this scribblized style because I was looking for something that didn’t require much conceptualizing and let me just freely draw. The continuous scribbling allowed me to keep my rhythm and pencil moving without much thought or stoppage. It’s pure fun.

Below is a series of illustrations I did of my family. Pictured are my two nieces and my sister (I’ll eventually get through to the rest of the gang). Technique and timing notes at the end.

scribble_blog_2

scribble_blog_3

scribble_blog_4

Total time to complete each piece: 70 mins
Total time drawing for each piece: 15 min

The Setup

After choosing the photo I want to use, I print it out full size in black and white (easier to identify the shade values) and trace the outlines of the face and make markings for the eyes/nose/mouth for placement. I use that same photo for the shading reference for the drawing.

The Drawing

Just old-school graphite on paper. I draw the eyes first. Always. The eyes make or break any portrait drawing so I have to make sure it looks right for my own confidence and peace of mind to continue.

Then after filling in the nose and mouth... SCRIBBLE SCRIBBLE SCRIBBLE SCRIBBLE SCRIBBLE SCRIBBLE SCRIBBLE. I try to keep all the line weight consistent, just having more lines in the darker shades and fewer in the lighter areas.

The key is to set the right value with the middle tones so the drawing doesn’t come out to dark or light. I would take a step back periodically (2-3 times) to make sure i’m not going too crazy and the values look right.

The Finish

  • Scan drawing
  • Light Photoshopping
  • Add color overlay
  • Drink (optional).

-Huy Cao

Don’t think. Just draw.

This past year, I started realizing how little personal art I’ve done. It wasn’t due to a lack of effort, but more a lack of patience and commitment (okay, and some lack of effort too).

I tend to take on these huge projects that I carefully plan out inch by inch. The pieces I want to do usually require over a month of work and they almost never get finished. I get burnt out and ready for something new about halfway through.

I somehow managed to make my greatest passion stressful—I was trying too hard. I forgot the joy I always had just mindlessly doodling, not worrying about every line having to be precise and every element laid out perfectly on the page.

The four illustrations below are what I have done since this realization. They can hardly be called mindless doodles, but I attacked them with the same approach. As soon as I came up with the concept, I went to work, letting my hand move freely and didn’t stop until the piece was finished. Each illustration took me anywhere between an hour and an hour and a half. Much better.

Grandmas Boy

Mitch Hedberg - pastel

Jordan in Motion - graphite

R2D2 screenprint

There’s no end goal in mind with these illustrations, they’re just kind of laying around somewhere in my room. Although, one of them is contributing to a good cause. I’m donating the “Jordan in Motion” sketch to a silent art auction being put on by Philanthro — an organization I’m a member of — in partnership with Art with Heart. You can learn more about the event here and if you have an art piece you would also like to donate, email mary.wu@philanthroproductions.org by March 24.

Doing this reminded me what I was capable of creating when I allow myself to let go of some control. I relied more on my artistic instincts rather than having everything planned out. It has also helped breathe new life in other aspects of my design work. Sometimes, it’s better to not think and just draw.

-Huy Cao

Retail = Rebuild

030610a_headerThough the devastating earthquake struck over two months ago, Haiti is barely beginning to rebuild and will need aid for years to come. There have been many calls for donations, especially through organizations such as the Red Cross, but you can also support the recovery effort just by shopping.

The Haiti Poster Project has launched what they describe as a “collaborative effort by the design community to help effect change through our work. Signed and numbered, limited edition posters have been donated by designers and artists from around the world. All money raised will be donated to Doctors Without Borders.” Browse the stunning collection here.

030610b_haitiposters

Continue reading "Retail = Rebuild"