Modern Vs Traditional Styles

Today I just have to tell someone about a new freelance job that is so fabulous. I can’t wait to execute it. Few jobs are this much fun. I have been requested to create different images of women washing dishes for an advertising layout to sell faucets. One will feature a fifties style wife in a traditional kitchen. The other will be in modern times with an ultra-sleek look. I love these kinds of contrasts. I can have fun with the research and amuse myself by imaging the appliances, fixtures and all the assorted décor items—all characteristic of their respective eras. The housewife is wearing a shirt-waist dress and heels, and sports a hairdo obviously created with rollers. Even at home she wears makeup and lipstick in case hubby arrives early. The kitchen faucet is plain as day, whether you have a modern or a traditional kitchen, at least based on what I found here: There are two handles for hot and cold and no water filter in sight. It looks functional but ordinary. It suits the white porcelain sink and simple wood cabinets.

By contrast, the modern kitchen is white and gray with black appliances and a matching metallic two-tone backsplash. The cabinets are custom and the epitome of machine craftsmanship. The countertops are granite, not grouted tile. The woman is in leggings, wearing a cotton tee-shirt tunic and flipflops, her hair is pulled up into an untidy pony tail with stray hairs sticking out. She doesn’t care when her partner arrives. Everything is state of the art and digital. The faucet, shaped like a chic metal tool is “no touch” and features a special hot water feature. The filter is built in. Only the best design is popular in these times. Now, if you don’t have a farm sink, it is certainly stainless. I must mention that a modern kitchen can also be retro which puts the whole comparative issue into another dimension. Let’s say for now that she can work the stove with her laptop or cell phone. That says a lot.

To make the contrast more dramatic, I am playing with different styles of graphic design. I will give the fifties home a hand-drawn look and the modern one will be strictly computer-generated in appearance. It makes the point perfectly. I don’t often get to work with diverse approaches in one project, so it is a definite challenge. The final result will be spectacular and I can’t wait for it to be shared on Facebook. In the fifties, life was simpler and no frills, and so is my design technique. Now it is all about a fine high-res finish with every pixel possible. In the modern kitchen, every detail is spot on. The analogy is perfect.

I have never paid attention to faucet styles before and now that I am tuned in, I am thinking of replacing my old ones—kitchen and both baths. The new designs add a lot to one’s interior décor and lend a richness and elegance. No wonder people are buying these gorgeous fixtures at every price point.

Big Deadline Coming

I love my work: it is fun, challenging, and creative. I found my heart in graphic design many years ago and have enjoyed perfecting my craft ever since. I have taken side roads to indulge in manga and other art forms that strike my fancy. This has made me more versatile and able to meet various client needs. My artistic influences are thus quite varied but I strive to create original work each and every time. I am proud of where I have been and where my journey has taken me.

I have been working on a huge graphic design project for a favorite client and the deadline is fast approaching. I am in a state of stress and haven’t left the computer for hours. Sitting still this long is bad for you, but there is no time to take and break and do a few quick exercises or go for a walk. They say that a sedentary lifestyle shortens your lifespan, but I don’t plan to be transfixed at the screen too much longer. The deadline is looming and I will be finished soon. Then there is time to relax.

There are many ways to get away from it all. I mentioned exercise and walking. As long as you are moving, you are reviving your spirit. While this works well for me most of the time, the stress level was strong and a friend suggested a professional massage to get my circulation going and the endorphins coming in droves. It was worth a shot. It has been a long time between massages and I had forgotten how wonderful they are. Why did I wait? I am now a devotee for sure.

I can praise massages to the sky to help with sitting fatigue. I got the idea from Higher Massage. Your back and neck get stiff and your legs feel like lead weights. I don’t even know if I breathe that deeply while I work intently. The massage was full body and didn’t miss any part of me. Vigorous yet gentle hands penetrate tired and taut muscle tissue and bring it back to life. You can choose the type you prefer from Rolfing and Swedish to Lymphatic and Thai. Each has a different philosophy behind it and specific procedures and goals. There is pressure, strokes, kneading, and stretching involved. I like them all and a real convert at this point.

A massage is wonderful therapy for a tired brain as well. There is definitely a mind-body connection to consider. Any time of routine work can be alleviated. It is all about friction and stimulation. Deep tissue approaches are great for athletes and severe cases of body fatigue. They say that massage affects mood, muscle strength, and flexibility while it releases tension. Reflexology is a technique that is done on the feet to target specific body organs. I never knew such a range existed. I can see that you could spend a lot of time researching massage, its types and benefits.

Site Building

I am a graphic designer which takes me into many interesting realms. I love unusual art forms like manga (comics created for the most part in Japan). Now I am working on a customer’s website that employs my creativity in new ways. I must make the site supremely navigable, eye-catching, organized, and visually unique. You have to avoid making a cookie cutter site or something reminiscent of others. This makes for a rewarding challenge. I should mention that the client is a local woodworker and custom furniture maker. He specializes in farm style tables fashioned from reclaimed wood. The results are gorgeous once he takes that old wood and stains it to perfection.

The site has many photos of objects for sale including close-ups of the wood grain and different finishes. You can order anything from white washed to medium and dark stains. The designs are what captivate me the most. The farm tables and flat expanses of nature’s best sitting on curved legs. Everything is perfectly proportioned. You can order a table for four to ten. It just depends on your home space. I want the website to highlight his talent and expose the degree of art involved in the woodworking craft.

When I was almost finished building his website, I heard a knock at the door. I wasn’t expecting anyone so imagine my surprise when the client stood there with a smile on his face. “I have something for you,” he muttered and so I let him in. I looked out the door beyond to the street and noticed a pickup parked right in front of my house. He turned simultaneously to point to something loaded in the back, tied with secure ropes. “Come and see,” he beckoned. We both exited the house and walked toward the street. “This is my latest dining room table design. I hope you like it.” Did I like it? Of course. It was gorgeous. I have always liked the simplicity of the farmhouse style and this was an archetypal example. I prefer the way the legs are shapely and robust and not the spindly ones you get with a typical dining set from the factory.

A friend was waiting in the truck and the two of them brought in the table and placed it in my dining room. We moved aside the old hand-me-down from my mother that had seen better days. The new table made the space shine with elegance. The woodworking was superior and nothing I would ordinary find on my own without a recommendation. My client had selected a stain that was a perfect match for the wood beams in my living room. It could not have been a better choice. The table also had an extension so that I could easily seat six to eight. This is the kind of reward you get as a graphic designer. I also got paid by the way so it was an additional perk. It shows you that in life, you never know what is around the corner.

Magazine Launch Party

It’s party time. Unfortunately, it is not mine. I was asked to design some oversized mockups of cover art for a magazine’s outdoor launch. I was happy to attend. In fact, I wanted to get there early to make sure the lighting was right and that my work looked good. Once I was satisfied, I could relax and enjoy the festivities. They had gone all out with live music and wonderful catered food. I ran into the chief executive who had hired me at the hors d’oeuvre bar and we got to talking. He was focused on me such that I felt that another job was in the offering.

Who doesn’t love a good party. I can put up with the speeches and awards, but there is something to say for people in a good mood eating delicacies. Several local officials were invited and a few minor celebs. This meant photographers galore. However, at one point during the event, the Bluetooth speakers stopped working. The venue sent their Outdoor Light and Sound team to the rescue but they seemed to take forever in coming. What could be wrong? These speakers are wireless and portable. I had to take a look. I have seen them many times before. After a few minutes of interruption in the sound system for the band, I had the device up and running. Someone had placed a heavy object on the main cord that attached two speakers. I took a photo and posted it on Facebook, of course.

The party continued in full swing and I loved the music. It was difficult to talk but there was an outside patio for that purpose. The same executive I spoke with earlier approached me with a plan. Yes, it was about another job. He described it in detail and asked about my ideas. I smiled as I said that I would love to reveal them as soon as I had them in my head. He laughed. I had imbibed a few drinks and wasn’t in a position to think about work.

Let me tell you about the new direction of the magazine, he said. I was all ears. He would need a considerable amount of freelance work as his inhouse graphic designer was completely overloaded. Perhaps they would consider a full-time job. I like working on my own, however, and didn’t encourage this topic. I would be flattered, of course, but frankly I loathe giving up my freedom. His wife came over to introduce herself so I was released from the obligation to respond to an employment offer. We talked about this and that and returned to the main room to enjoy more of the music.

You never know what can happen at a party. Each and every one is an opportunity to network. Unless you are just having a gathering of friends, I would encourage all of you to attend business events whenever you can. Get on the local mailing lists in your community. It is a smart career move no matter what field you are in.

Girl Power

What makes you tick? As for me, it varies; but recently I got a new project that really floated my boat, as they say. Some of my work as a graphic designer is routine, run-of-the-mill stuff, so I get pretty excited about something a bit different that challenges my creativity. I crave such opportunities and run with them. This time believe it or not it is a job designing a housecleaning website. They need a strong graphic on the landing page. This will be fun I thought. I want something that represents girl power to the max.

I worked on a couple of samples before I got it right. I wanted the image to please the client at first glance so I would not have to offer others less eye-catching. Picture a superwoman version of the classic, old-school housewife sporting a big skirt and heels with roast in one hand and a vacuum in the other. They used to show these women with perfectly-permed hair and a good dash of makeup.

This is a great retro image that hasn’t been done to death. It will make a cool female logo for The Vacuum Challenge website. It is a modern-day reference that people will get immediately. It is a bit mocking, but that is what makes the point. We used to associate women with the vacuum cleaner, never men. If we saw a man with such a product, he was selling it door to door.

A superwoman is today’s take on people who fend for themselves and don’t hire a cleaning lady. That is for the elite now as it was in the old days. Women are busy now and need to work fast with the latest state-of-the-art appliances. Housecleaning is a chore but one that can be executed more easily with modern products. This is the message of their Facebook community too. A superwoman is in all of us gals. She can sew, cook, vacuum, take care of kids, mow the lawn, and rake the leaves all before work. Ha! This is what people think. But at least we can approach this kind of perfection with help.

I created my version of the actual Wonder Woman since that is a trademark not available to just anyone. It is pretty close, but different enough to pass muster. You can’t miss the reference. It is not too cartoonish and not to realistic either. I have created a good balance to suit the taste of the website viewers. I used the usual colors of red and blue and added the requisite details of the headpiece, ornate body suit, and smattering of white stars on blue high- rise shorts. While this famous lady is pure glamour what with her long flowing locks, gold belt, and red earrings. You will have to see mine and compare. It is not exact, but not a bad takeoff on the original.

The client loved the concept and saw the implication of female empowerment. Ladies, this is the new you.

What Makes You Unique?

Do different personalities require or prefer different alarm clocks. Most certainly, in my opinion. Although not a burning issue for most, I was recently asked this question by my roommate who is contemplating replacing her old one. She thought they were all alike and I set her straight about the various models. Nowadays, they do more than buzz at the selected hour or turn on the radio to a blaring level. They also radiate morning light according to your taste. They don’t have to blare odd noises. In addition to ambient lighting, they also can generate soothing sounds such as waves breaking at the shore or the wind whistling through the trees. Thus, they do double duty as sleep aids and wakeup alarms. I told my roommate to browse on line and see the many choices on offer. It is actually fun to select one as they have become rather sophisticated.

As for personalities, I haven’t done any scientific studies of course nor have I read any, just a blog post on Be Right Light that talked about it. Like them, I am going on the basis of common sense and experience. As an artist, I have worked with many types of people and they are all unique. I imagine that their personalities spill over into food and beverage preferences as well as a fondness for a certain kind of art and décor. Why not appliances, too, such as an alarm clock. An intuitive might appreciate the colored lights that can wake up the sleepyhead. The sensing type might like to fiddle with the buttons and program their clock. An emotional or feeling type would love to rise to the sounds of gentle music. I could go on and on. This is why companies make different models to suit the needs of a given personality. I wonder what my roommate will select. I am betting on a wake-up alarm with colored sunlight simulation. It is their most popular model. It will surely appeal to her artistic nature, as it does to mine. It is “clinically proven to work,” whatever that means. I suppose it has been tested in sleep labs and the manufacturer guarantees that you will rise on time and not miss work or an appointment.

Colored sunlight simulation is a great innovation in the alarm clock field. It wakes the sleeper gradually with natural light and a choice of five sounds. It is a rather nice way to greet the day. I hate being jolted by noise as I tend to be in a deep sleep, probably dreaming, in the early morning. My personality demands a gentle reminder. How about you? Do you love an automatic radio and a “tap to snooze” alarm? Go for the affordable Phillips. I am not trying to sell products, but to keep you informed. That’s what a good blog is all about. You share information and find out new stuff. Sometimes I will write about art, but today necessity demands that I think about alarm clocks.

Girl with the Cool Kicks

I love comics and manga in particular. This doesn’t mean that I can’t get into other styles. As a graphic designer, it’s all art to me. I appreciate this realm and have dabbled in it for a long time. Meanwhile, I use my skills for special occasions. Take my niece’s birthday for example. I was wracking my brain to give her something unique and different so I decided on a hand-drawn comic strip. I made the main character look like her, complete with her youth basketball shoes. She is never without them. I exaggerated their size which added to the overall humor. A cartoon that doesn’t engender a chuckle isn’t worthy of the name.

My niece, in her usual ungainly manner, trots around the house and yard in these clunky shoes. I guess they work well on the court, but not so much in real life. No matter. They are always on her feet. She seldom takes them off to wear something delicate or fancy. You know the definition of a tomboy, don’t you? My niece is the epitome. It makes for a lot of fun times. When I go to her house, we immediately go outside and look for her basketball. There is a hoop and backboard in place and we shoot to win. I can beat her every time but I know better and miss accordingly. We are an amusing duo: a tall uncle and a petite miss.

She loved the cartoon and hung it on her wall right after her birthday party. She invited all the kids in the neighborhood to come and see. “My uncle did it,” she exclaimed proudly. She was so excited that she asked me to draw some additional strips featuring her friends. She gave them as gifts and this gesture added to her existing popularity. It was a simple road to friendship. Art does it every time. It is the best way to communicate with imagination and style. It works particularly well with kids.

I am working on other projects. I hope they get the acclaim that the recent one did. Meanwhile, when I visit my niece, I look for those crazy basketball shoes. One day she was not wearing them and I got worried. What had happened? “They got worn out,” she moaned. “I haven’t gone to get new ones yet. Mom is busy.” I got the message. In seconds, my niece and I were out the door on the way to the mall. There is a sports store that all the kids love. They have just the right apparel and equipment. As my niece raced around looking for sneakers, I surveyed the scene. Every kid was wearing the requisite shoes. It took a few minutes to select the perfect pair and secure the right size. Color is of the essence and I worried that the right one wouldn’t be in stock. But this was our lucky day and everything was perfect.

Inspiration Comes From Almost Anything

Lots of people ask artists and graphic designers all the time the following question: how do we do it? Where do we get our inspiration? The answer is, and I think I speak for a lot of artists here: anywhere. Really: we can get inspiration from anywhere.

I try to keep my visual vocabulary really sharp and I basically work on honing my eye as much as possible. It’s one of the reasons I spend a lot of time on Pinterest or Instagram (or at least that’s what I tell myself). You have to make sure that you’re constantly being exposed to new images and new pieces of visual data, or you’re just going to have a hard time when it comes to actually being able to come up with anything of your own.

The thing about inspiration is that it often seems to come from nowhere at all. It actually doesn’t, though. It happens subtly and it partly happens because of the visual vocabulary of the person in question. You have to really wait for it to strike in some cases. Once you do, you might wonder how it even happened for you or what you’re going to need to do in order to make it happen again.

It’s all about setting everything up in order to make sure that something is at least likely to happen again. You don’t know when anything of that nature is going to strike, but you can be sure that it isn’t going to strike if you’re limiting yourself to a fairly narrow window of visual information.

Ever noticed how almost everything in the 1970’s science fiction and fantasy worlds looks kind of the same? And the same goes for the fantasy of the 1990’s or the 2000’s? It’s because the people in all of their respective eras were paying attention to the visual palates of their days. They were being inspired by all of the visual information all around them that existed at that time. They took their cues from the movies, the art, and the television of their time. Many of them would probably have been better off trying to study the images from all different time periods and all different cultures in order to create a really unique visual style.

I’ve always tried to make sure that I’m familiar with the art and the art history that you’ll find in a lot of different cultures and that has existed in a lot of different times. Sure, I want to just be more knowledgeable and more cosmopolitan in general. The thing is, I actually do believe that it’s made me a better artist. I can’t judge the quality of my own work. However, I can at least compare it to what it would probably be if I had a slightly different level of experience, and I think that my philosophy of making sure that I have a wide range of influences really does make all the difference.

No one is truly original when it comes to artwork or to inspiration, and that should be clear to anyone who has really tried it. They’re going to be influenced by other people and other artists, and that’s just the way that it is. You can try to put your own spin on things, and that’s all anyone can do in this world. I really recommend that people try to give themselves as many influences to draw on as possible, and that’s what’s going to stop you from being the sort of person who seems to draw the same thing over and over again without a lot of variation. People like that are staying in their own little bubble, and you really can branch out of it.

Celebrating a Finished Assignment

One of the greatest feelings in the world is the knowledge that you have finished an assignment. The bigger the assignment, the better. Almost anything to do with graphics can be particularly difficult to finish because it’s not just about working hard and making sure that you get through all of the drudge work. You have to come up with the spark of creativity and the initial inspiration, or it just isn’t going to work for you.

I tend to spend a lot of time thinking about what I’m going to write before I actually start writing when I try to work on my own fiction, which is something that I do in my spare time. As a graphic designer, I tend to do the same thing with a lot of the designs that I’m working on, and it’s the same if I decide that I’m going to try with my own manga art. It’s the kind of thing that really requires a lot of concentration and good timing, and you can’t just jump into it and get going the way you can with stuff that’s more about persistence than actual talent.

Almost anyone who has ever done anything at all knows that it can be really satisfying to finish it, and anyone should feel proud of doing something that took a while and that was hard to do at all. It doesn’t have to be this big artistic or creative work. However, the thing about creative work is that it makes you feel really vulnerable. You worry that you can’t pull it off and that if you can’t pull it off, it means something about you and what you can do in general.

When you manage to push through all of the self-doubt that creative work can create and you manage to get it all done anyway, you should really rejoice. You not only managed to get the hardest part of the job finished by overcoming your sense of self-doubt, but you also managed to get the drudge work done as well.

All creative work is partly going to be drudge work. If you’re planning on doing a painting or writing, you should know that a lot of what you’re going to be doing is still going to be the tough parts that people don’t really dream about when they’re imagining themselves as artists or writers. You have to edit, you have to plan out the project, and you have to do all sorts of other things in order to make sure that you’re actually going to make the artwork work. This kind of thing just isn’t fun, or it isn’t always fun. However, there’s almost no better feeling in the world than actually pulling it off for yourself and for everyone.

Creating a Strong Female Manga Character

Lots of people today want to create strong female characters, and I think that it’s a very noble endeavor. You absolutely should make sure that your character is not stereotypical or sexist in any way. There are certain problems to avoid when creating a strong female character, of course, but I do always try to give people credit for trying. I try to be a feminist who doesn’t look for the bad in everything and who tries to see the positive in characters and not just the negative. However, I think that there are some common traps that people can avoid when it comes to creating a strong female manga character or a strong female character in nearly everything.

For one thing, manga is a visual medium. As such, you need to find some way to avoid the common instances of sexism in the ways in which women are portrayed visually. Your character should not be scantily clad in a way that would not make sense for the character, for one thing. If it’s a romantic scene or something like that, it might make sense. However, if this is a battle scene, she needs to be wearing armor that is actually going to protect her internal organs and not armor that is just going to add to her bust line.

There is also the fact that manga women have a tendency to pose in ways that would actually break the backs of women in real life. Women don’t stand around posing in real life unless they’re models. Have your character go along throughout her normal day and her normal life the way anyone would. She does know that there’s an audience watching her, so she shouldn’t be posing all the time. It’s sexist and it takes you out of the story.

Strong female characters are still allowed to have emotions. Feminists don’t want women to act exactly like macho men: unemotional, non-expressive, and violent. If you have a female character that is like that, you should try to elaborate on it. Don’t just do it because you think that strong women have to act like that.

Strong female characters are also allowed to fall in love. However, that can’t be the whole point of the story for her. Falling in love is rarely the whole point for male characters. They do fall in love in stories, too. However, they usually have some other great goal. Falling in love is usually something that they do on the side, which is more or less the case for those of us in real life. If someone who knew made her whole life about falling in love, you probably wouldn’t find her very interesting. She isn’t any more interesting in a story.

More representation of LGBT people and PoC is also important when it comes to writing strong female characters in manga, especially since these kinds of characters are still so rare in fiction. Obviously, if you decide to write characters like that, then you’re going to have to go through the effort of making sure that you characterized them in the appropriate way as well. However, I always applaud people who try, since we really do need more representation for all of these groups.


Designing a Logo

Designing a logo, in a word, is way harder than it looks. I know that logos look really easy and you look at a logo and you think that anyone can do that, but there’s a reason why just ‘anyone’ doesn’t do that. You don’t see all of the work that went into creating the logo in the first place, and that is one of the biggest and hardest things that’s out there when it comes to the design of logos.

Logos don’t have a lot of obvious information, and that’s one reason why it looks like it’s really easy to come up with them. The thing is, they actually do have a lot of information in them. It just doesn’t look like it at first. Logos that have cute images can say a lot of things about the product at once, like the famous Hello Kitty image.

The lack of mouth makes the character look more submissive and cuter at the same time. The wide, round eyes make the character childlike. The character’s clothing adds to the childlike impression. People don’t know anything about Hello Kitty and yet they know everything about her and what the artists intended for her character right away at the same time.

Lots of the other logos that people are going to design are like that. You have these images that have to strike the right impression with people right away, or it just isn’t going to work and you’re not going to get the message across. You can’t use words. You have to fit your thousand words into this one picture.

Pictures aren’t always worth a thousand words. I could take a picture of a table, and it really would only be worth the following word: ‘table.’ You have to make the pictures that are actually going to be worth a thousand words, a thousand dollars, or just about anything else that is actually large enough in number to make it work. Creating a picture like that or an image that manages to dramatize a certain sentiment is difficult. However, logo artists do it all the time. We just have to think about the emotional effect of an image. We can’t resort to narrative in order to bring it alive.

Putting My Soul into This Project

People sometimes get wary of the idea that you put your soul into any project. I guess they worry that this means that you’re not going to have any soul left if you give it all the way in any project. I always like to say that souls do not divide: they multiply. You have an infinite amount of ‘soul’ to give in any project, and that’s what I try to do with all of my projects.

Some people roll their eyes when other people say that. I just like to tell them that they don’t have any soul and they’re jealous as a result. Of course, it goes deeper than that. These are the kind of people who are basically afraid of how they feel and they’re really threatened by the confidence of others. They want everyone to be as uptight and emotionally stingy as they are, and they’re really threatened by all of the people who aren’t. It’s difficult for people to break out of this. You start to define yourself by being the kind of person who does not emotionally react to anything and you start to get stuck in that mode of operation. However, it is still possible for people to try something different and to actually be willing to give themselves to the world.

Being emotionally stingy basically means that you’re keeping everything to yourself. You have to be willing to give it to other people. For me, that’s what putting my soul into a project is like. It’s about actually being willing to give things to other people. It’s about recognizing that other people will want a part of you and that you have a lot to give. It’s also about not being afraid of what you have and what you have to give.

There’s a certain vulnerability in doing that, and that is why people who do it are actually brave, unlike the emotionally stingy individuals who are constantly guarded. These are the people who really are not brave, and these are the people who are trying to avoid risk at all costs. If you can manage to get past all of the biases that they put forth, you’re going to be that much more likely to create art that people like.

Art that has no soul is obvious. People can usually recognize it right away. They’re going to see it for themselves as the sort of flat machine-produced art that it is. You need to take a risk when you offer your art to the world and if you do, the world is going to thank you for it.