Articles by Year: 2010
We’re all still pretty young here at Go Media. Heck, Go Media founder Bill Beachy is only in his thirties. So yea, it’s fair to say we’ve played plenty of Activision’s award-winning action game Call of Duty. That’s why we were excited to get the call from Activision saying they wanted to use our vector art in the latest installation of the series: Call of Duty: Black Ops.
Activision hand picked images from The Arsenal for use in the Playercard editor of Black Ops. There are more than 480 images, but it’s not too hard (especially for long time fans of The Arsenal) to pick out the skulls, heraldry, or disgruntled suits that came from our library.
Check out the (admittedly lo-res) screenshots of the emblem creator below. Images in the emblem editor can be colored, moved, rotated, resized, and overlapped to create unique playercards.
WARNING! This entire blog article is an advertisement. Wait! I know what you’re thinking – either 1. “This guy is crazy,” 2. ”I’m going to stop reading this article immediately” or 3. “This is all just a clever device to pique my curiosity and keep me reading. Damn it! It’s working!” Whatever you’re thinking, please give me a few moments to explain.
Back about seven years ago as Go Media was just starting to grow, we decided we needed a blog to better market our design firm. The GoMediaZine was the result. The original intention was straight-forward. First, establish ourselves as authorities on design by sharing our design knowledge and trumpeting our accomplishments. Second, gain new design customers through our reputation as a design leader. When the Arsenal was born about a year later our customer base suddenly included fellow graphic designers. Accordingly, the content of the GoMediaZine also changed. We needed to produce content that would drive traffic to our design products (vector packs). The strategy was almost the same. We would build a community of potential customers by sharing our design expertise; this time through amazing (and FREE) design tutorials. We hoped that the community would become customers of the Arsenal. It was a classic win-win. As cliché as that sounds, we truly believe in it.
This concept of marketing through education is nothing new. But, typically, we would write articles and tutorials AFTER our products were already finished and available to the public. Recently, however, Jeff Finley has been working on an E-book to sell on the Arsenal. The E-book is an insider’s guide to the apparel industry. While doing some research on marketing e-books he learned that you should really be posting blog articles long BEFORE you launch your product. Basically, you’re priming your audience so that by the time you release your product, everyone is lined up down the street ready to buy it. I guess this makes perfect sense. Everyone does it. Whether it’s a movie, a video game or a new Apple product, the marketing hits the streets long before the product is available.
That brings us to this blog article, an advertisement. This article is an advertisement for the most ambitious and useful design tool that Go Media has ever produced: Prooflab (prooflab.us). This is the first in a series of blog articles I’m going to write about managing your design projects, posting proofs, tracking time, etc., etc. It’s a series of articles about the logistics and communications side of being a graphic designer. The goal of which, I hope, will be to entice you to try the Prooflab once we launch it.
Of course, one key to the success of educational marketing is that it needs to be genuine and provide REAL VALUE to the reader. It can’t pretend to be valuable, but in actuality be a long article explaining how great our product is. Furthermore, Go Media’s audience is very sophisticated. Our audience can sniff out an ad or some secondary motive in a heartbeat. Whenever we posts anything on the GoMediaZine that is overtly self serving, we are summarily bashed, and rightfully so. If we do not do a good enough job keeping the design community’s best interests in front of our own you let us know! So, of course, I’ve been struggling mightily to figure out how I could possibly write a series of articles about project management, specifically, project management for graphic designers with the punch-line being: “Prooflab is THE solution.” All the while, not being too obvious about it and simultaneously providing you with some valuable knowledge.
Well, I couldn’t think of any. Or perhaps my conscious wouldn’t let me. So, I’ve decided to take a different approach – 100% transparency. I will lay all my cards on the table. I’ve decided to have a true, real, and honest discussion about the various products and systems that graphic designers use to manage the design process. I’ll let the chips fall where they may. My hope is that once we’ve gone through this learning process, the conclusion is that Prooflab is indeed the ultimate design management tool. But if it isn’t, then we will keep improving it until it is. Our goal is to make Prooflab the industry standard.
So, where do we go from here? Well, I suppose I could use your help! I have some ideas of my own, but I would like to ask you – what should I write about? What questions do you have about proofing, time tracking, client communications, project management, design firm management, CRM, etc. Or if you would like to contribute in a real way to this conversation by talking about how you (or your firm) manages its projects – I would LOVE to hear about it. Basically, let’s make this a design community-driven discussion about how to best run a design project. And hopefully, we will all benefit.
You can add comments after this article, you can write me directly at: [email protected] OR, if you have a few minutes to spare, you can take this short survey that we’ve thrown together. I will include your thoughts and survey results in subsequent articles.
I may insert your thoughts directly into my text (with credit or anonymity – whichever you desire) or simply use them as primers to help direct my research. I truly appreciate your help on this. And I promise to remain as impartial as possible – I know you’ll call me out otherwise.
Ever been asked to come up with a type driven design but still wanted to use imagery? Creating text through collage can be an awesome solution. Here’s what you’re going to need to create a successful piece:
1. An open mind. I always find that being noncommittal toward the placement of objects allows you to easily rearrange the elements into a better composition.
2. A solid sense of composition. When you’re looking at the elements you’re going to use, it helps to have a rough idea of where that element will go and how it relates to the elements around it.
3. Lots and lots of royalty free stock photos. You don’t want to just pull images off of Google. That’s always a bad idea. The original photographer may somehow see that you’re using his/her work without permission and seek legal action against you. I find that using sites like istockphoto or sxc.hu are good places to start. Also, flickr can be a great resource if you ask the photographer’s permission.
4. Patience. It can take a long time for the forms to take shape in the way that you want them to. The important thing is to not get frustrated and to keep working until something strikes you.
5. Basic understanding of Photoshop. This tutorial uses the pen tool, blending modes, transformation tools, and other filters and effects.
Before we get started, you need to think through the project and determine whether or not that collage typography is appropriate for your project. It should only be used in a situation where you can use full color or four color process printing. There may be situations where a good color separator can get it down to 10 colors or so if you’re printing silkscreen, but that could be quite expensive.
Preproduction: Type Layout & Editing photos
Okay, let’s get started. First thing we’re going to do is rough out the composition, which basically is just laying out the type that the image is going to be based on. In this case, I’m going to be using Sign Painter, a typeface by House Industries. Let’s go with something short. Fly is an easy three letters. Bird imagery makes sense here, so let’s stick with that.
The next thing you’re going to do is find imagery and remove the background. I’m only going to show one here, but I’m probably using around 30-40 images total for the whole collage. For this pelican image, I’m going to use the pen tool to outline the shape of the bird.
Now I’ve got the outline finished, and I’ve used the right click (ctrl click on mac) -> Make selection to get our pelican selected.
Next, I’m going to go up to the top menu and go Select -> Refine Edge. I want to make sure that the edges of the bird are clean and crisp and don’t get weird edges.
These are the settings that I used for this photo, but it’s going to be different for each photo, so you’ll have to try out each setting on your own to see what photo will work for you.
So now that I’ve refined the selection, I want to make the pelican its own layer, separated from the background. Ctrl/cmd+J will create a new layer for your selection. Now, we’ve got the pelican on it’s own layer, lets see how clean the edges are. Make a layer under the pelican and fill it with a bright color. This helps to see how your edges turned out. I’m not looking for them to be absolutely perfect here because the layering of images will help hide any imperfections in the edges, however you don’t want them to look too weird.
Building the letterforms
I’ve gone ahead and cut out a bunch of bird shapes from various images and dragged them onto the collage canvas. I like to have them all visible, away from the text so that I can see what I have to work with. It’s similar to having a palette of paint. Also, I prefer to make all of my images smart objects so that I can scale them as I please. It increases file size, but keeps your options open in terms of composing the images.
Now I can start to create the letterforms using the images. Analyze your photos, see if there’s a shape that will fit perfectly as part of a letter. For example, using a wing as an arm on the F. Again, don’t marry yourself to a particular image in a particular spot. You may end up finding a better image to use down the line. Also, don’t be afraid to edit the images. You can use just a part of a bird if it fits better. Also, for this image, I’m not worrying about color. I think the random splashes of color from the various birds will result in a colorful image. We’ll talk more about that later in the tutorial.
As I said in the previous step, don’t be afraid to edit the images. The warp tool is a great way to manipulate an image into fitting into part of a letter. Here, I’m using the warp tool (Edit -> Transform -> Warp) to bend a feather into the L shape.
Keep forming the letters using the images, paying attention to how the images are layered on top of each other. You don’t want too many images just floating without something on top of them. Also, I prefer to use larger images to create the letters, but there are always going to be gaps. I like to feel those gaps with colorful pieces layered behind the larger shapes.
You should always be looking for images that will fit a specific space in the letter. For example, the head and beak of this toucan forms the counter of the lowercase Y.
From here, I’m filling in the spaces with images. I’m paying attention to the layering of images, the shapes of the images, and the relation of images to each other.
I’m also keeping an open mind the entire time and thinking if each element is in the best place. I’ve moved a few of them into new places, deleted a few, made a few bigger, etc.
Post Production: Additional Elements & Vintage Effects
So I’ve finished the collage. At this point, I want to clean up and organize the file. I’ll delete layers I’m not using and put the layers of each letter into a group so that I can adjust the placement of each. So now that I’ve got my file cleaned up and saved, it’s time to move onto some post production. I’m going to put some clouds in the background of the image. First, make a layer behind the word and fill it with a light blue. Next, find an image of clouds.
Now we’re going to separate the clouds from the background. It would be insane to try to do this with the pen tool, so we’re going to use the channels instead. First, desaturate the image – ctrl/cmd+shirt+U. Then bring up the levels – Image -> Adjustments -> Levels, or ctrl/cmd+L and make sure that there is very high contrast between the clouds and the sky. It should look like this:
Next, go to the channels palette, it’s next to the layers palette. Ctrl/Cmd click on the thumbnail to the left of the RGB/CMYK channel. This will select the lighter parts of the image, so in this case it will select the clouds.
Next, we need to see how the selection worked. Make a new layer and fill it with a lighter color. Then make another layer, fill that with black and put it behind your new cloud layer.
Now we can drag the clouds over to the collage and color them white. Mess around with the placement, find something that works for you.
To help unify the colors, we’re going to use a color balance adjustment layer. You can access this at the bottom of the layers palette. Because the background is blue, I’m going to slightly shift the colors of the collage towards blue. I’m not saying to make the whole collage blue, just to give it a hint of blue to help bring those colors closer together.
Let’s add in some noise and stuff to give it a slight vintage/aged feel. Yes, it’s super trendy at the moment, but we’re not gonna go crazy with it. It’s just an added flavor. First, you’re going to need to copy all of the layers and merge them together. This is going to be your filter layer. Next, lets add noise. Filter -> Noise -> Add Noise. These are the numbers I used, feel free to mess around with it.
Next, use gaussian Blur. Filter -> Blur -> Gaussian Blur.
Onto smart sharpen. Filter -> Sharpen -> Smart Sharpen. Again, these are the numbers I used. Feel free to experiment. Make sure the Remove: is on Gaussian Blur.
This is the result.
It’s a bit too much for what I’m looking for, so I’m going to knock down the opacity to around 40 or so.
I’m going to make another layer, fill it with a pale yellow, set the blending mode to multiply, and move the opacity down to 60 or so:
And that should do it. Here’s some other examples of collage type:
Go Media has a large student readership. We’d love to hear from you regarding your current classes and offered classes — what’s missing?
I know back in my college days, it was a far different environment than it is today. The school and professors were considered reputable in their field, yet I found some of their approaches to be out of touch. I imagine that situation never changes.
What’s not offered, or not given enough time in the classes you’re taking? What’s not available to learn that you feel are important skills for a designer to have in their arsenal for the future?
Are you missing out on new web technologies like CSS and HTML5? Is designing for mobile computing environments with iOS and Android sufficiently covered? What sort of information do you find yourself turning to design blogs like Go Media Zine for?
And let’s not be completely negative here — if your university is offering some kick-ass classes in areas that you feel are part of the future of design, let us know as well in the comments below.
Simon here, for another showcase of the amazing work posted in the Go Media Flickr pool. It’s so hard to select, as the level of submissions keeps getting more and more fantastic.
If you’d like to see your work featured here, just join the group!
Sorry for not posting this earlier, but you know how it goes: busy, work, life, trying to keep some sanity, etc.
It’s me, Jeff Finley, with a quick video message for everyone thinking about grabbing The Making of Andrew Jackson video tutorial.
You know I still get emails asking about the process & techniques I use to achieve that authentic worn vintage vibe seen on most of the Parachute Journalists posters. I always respond that you can literally watch the techniques develop in real time on the Andrew Jackson video tutorial, which is much better than any description I could write.
Well enough typing, here’s my video message wrapping up The Making of Andrew Jackson Video Tutorial.
Again, thanks to everyone who has purchased the tutorial. If you have lingering questions about the techniques I used in the video tutorial, ask me in the comments! If you still haven’t picked up this tutorial, I promise that it will beef up your creative toolbox, so check it out.
For this installment of Blank Canvas, Go Media Zine would like to get some reader feedback on stock photography. Do you use it? What’s your favorite site? Do you sell your own stock photography?
For the most part, when stock photography comes up for a project, I tend to use iStockPhoto. They have a pretty decent selection of both photography and illustration, and it seems easy enough to find what you are looking for.
That said, I think the primary reason I’ve used iStock is because the prices are low, the quality is decent for what you pay and I’ve just been using them for so long it’s easiest with an account and credits set up already.
I’ve dabbled with some other stock photography sites such as BigStockPhoto.com, but that’s about it. To be honest, I’m not too familiar with any other competitors out there.
As far as contributing, I’ve never contributed photography, but I have done so for some illustration work. I’d be curious to hear from any readers who do contribute photography to a stock photo site — let us know what your experience has been as far as exposure, pay/income and what seems to be the most popular.
It seems to me the way to make any decent money is to have a lot of stuff uploaded, since the royalties aren’t that high.
If you don’t use stock photo sites, where do you get your photography from? Shoot your own photos? Hire a photographer? An alternate resource we may not be aware of?
If you’ve spent any time around here, you probably know about Jeff’s Wacom Illustration Video Tutorial. In this two hour voyeuristic walk through, Jeff shares his process from concept to final coloration & tweaking – and all the meaty hand illustration work in the middle.
Well, what he’s working on in that tutorial is a fictional album cover called “Beauty is a Black Hole”, and we ended up showing the final art mocked up on a vinyl record. In early 2010 when the tutorial was released we actually received quite a few messages from ya’ll asking about the record mockup. It wasn’t until a couple of weeks ago that all the Vinyl Record Mockup Templates were finished.
Buy Jeff’s Wacom Illustration Video Tutorial, get the Vinyl Record Mockup Templates Free
So I think these two tools go together nicely. If you have the guts & skill to make it all the way through the Wacom illustration video tutorial, then you damn well should be able to get the final satisfaction of seeing it mocked up in all its glory on a record sleeve. That’s why if you purchase the video tutorial between now and Friday November 19th, we’ll throw in the 11 Vinyl Record Mockup Templates below for free.
There’s no coupon code necessary – just purchase the video tutorial, and the templates will be included.
If you’ve already purchased the video tutorial and would like the Vinyl Record Mockups too, email me with your order number and I’ll send you a discount code for 35% off.
Welcome to the third and final installment to Starting your own Shirt Line. In this article I’ll be talking about elements of business and planning and the importance of developing relationships.
Quick recap of past two articles. In Part I I talked about Creating your Idea, Research, and Who is Interested? That part answers questions about where to begin and shares my view on originality. Part II talks about my process of creating the actual art and working with a printer. Although you can create art in many different ways I gave you some insight to my process as a guide.
With that said let’s get down to the nitty-gritty of Part III: Business.
In anything you do you need a plan, right? Let’s keep it simple and talk about your business plan. There is something about writing down your goals, visions and dreams. They take on substance. No matter if you think your goals are unattainable, you just need to know where you stand. As I wrote down my plans and goals I discovered more what I wanted my line to become than I thought I would. Ideas poured when I just started writing. After pouring out my ideas I put them into an outlined plan. See SCORE.ORG. I researched every part of business that I didn’t know about and I ended up with a 31 page business plan! I sent my plan to an advisor at SCORE, and I think I sent him into system overload. “That’s ok.”, he said. “It shows you did your research/homework and that you understand the t-shirt/clothing world.”
Send your business plan to an advisor that has experience in the fashion industry. Why? They will know how to guide you and offer suggestions. Fortunately I found someone at SCORE that was a big time salesman for Bobby Brooks back in the day.
WRITE IT DOWN!
This might look insane but I really dove into learning about how to start a shirt line. I can’t tell you how many times I went through this folder.
As you write a thorough and well designed plan you are going to understand what you want with your business and what is needed. Don’t worry, you won’t lose your creativity, you are just going to understand where to put those creative and business energies. Remember smarter not harder. Below are highlighted points to start with as you write your plan. Within these points are the elements of business.
GOALS: What do you want to accomplish? What are your goals now, and in five years? Do you want to just have a t-shirt line or a full-blown clothing line down the road? Do you want to sell to friends and family or do you want to really make money at this?
OBJECTIVES: How are you going to accomplish your goals? Do you need employees and/or investors? By what means will you accomplish your goals?
MARKET RESEARCH: You have to know your market. Who are you selling to? Where does your art fit in? Is it the Hot Topic crowd, the BMX crowd, or are you creating apparel art for pets? What other companies are out there doing what you want to do? Become an observer. Observe the past 10 years of t-shirts trends. What I am getting at is originality again. Do you want to ride a wave or be the wave? Barriers. There are also going to be barriers that will prevent you from something in your business. Is it start-up cost? Not enough designs? What strategy do you have to get people to buy and how will you advertise/promote?
HERE IS AN INTRIGUING QUESTION: What advantage does your product have over the competition? T-shirts are not something new. You have to be creative, not just with your work, but with your advertising, marketing and sales. Don’t be discouraged, you’re not alone.
PRODUCT:You are the face of your product and your product will reflect the kind of person you are. To explain, the more care and attention you give it the more quality of a product you will have. People will notice. Think about the amount of time you put into each piece of art. My most detailed shirts range from 20-30 hrs. I really, really care about the quality of my art and product. I want word to get back to me that people are drooling over my work and can’t wait for the next one. In addition to the man hours of creating the art, I put time into figuring out what kind of tee I will be using and if I want a specialty ink. Remember that the same amount of energy needs to go into the marketing and sales part too.
Probably the toughest question I had to answer in the beginning was: Can I financially do this? For a while it was “no.” I thought, in that case, was it even possible? I had to start small, which meant I had to make smart decisions. Personally I believe unless you are 1000% sure you will be making your money back within a suitable time frame DO NOT MAX OUT A CREDIT CARD!! DO NOT START IN THE RED.
Some of the best advice I received from a sales rep at Jakprints is “go for quality not quantity.” This helped me understand it wasn’t about getting as many printed as possible for the sake of quantity. I knew my budget and I made the most quality product I could afford. My plan was to produce an excellent line where buyers can’t wait to see the next one. I could therefore be strategic with what I put out and not crank out as many as possible for the sake of quantity. On my computer monitors I had around 20 thumbnails of ideas. When I made my first run, only three were chosen.
SALES: I feel sales can be simple. Where and how are you going to sell? Retail stores, on-line, both? Who you are selling to? Celebrities, your friends? You have to sell to people who have money, right? You have to sell at places where people are coming expecting to purchase something too. If a company charges $90 a shirt they are not going to sell to a person who can’t afford it. YOU CAN’T MAKE MONEY OFF OF POOR PEOPLE. The company selling the $90 shirt sells to celebrities, entertainers and those rocks stars who think nothing of it. You have to figure out how much you want to sell your product for and make sure you are selling at a fair price to you and the buyer. If you can sell a higher price shirt and you have buyers, do it! Remember that cash flow is essential in order to stay in business. Produce, sell, invest back into your line and make a good return on your investments.
Alright so this was a lot of info to think about, but do you feel a bit more armed? Do you still want to start a shirt line? Hype can only take you so far but knowledge and understanding will give you longevity. Remember to make a plan for success.
Everyone is in a different spot in life. Some people have wealthy families that can spot them $2000- $5000 to start, cool! Some have to save everything they have (not so cool) but they end up approaching business with a different perspective. DON’T COMPARE YOURSELF TO OTHERS. Yes, you can learn from everybody; the good, bad and the ugly. Remember, whatever you do in life you have to find your own way and your own path. Don’t ride the coat tails of what has already been created. Finding what is unique to you will make your shirt line stand out. My favorite quote is from film director Patrick Tatopoulos: “Create something you have never seen on the streets before.”
Ok so we talked business. You learned, you’re prepared. You rock out amazing art but what else do you need? PEOPLE, RELATIONSHIPS AND NETWORKING. You probably already do this, but, go to art shows, rock shows, events, conventions and most of all hang out with people after the show is over. Here’s my point…
Don’t be a cave artist!
In 2006 I decided to increase my freelance time and build my business. I kept to myself and didn’t go out to gallery shows or hang with people. I stayed in my “cave” only communicating on-line with people in my own city. I worked hard to get my style down and perfect my craft. True, this is necessary, rock your style, but there is a saying that hit me like a ton of bricks a year later: “IT’S NOT WHAT YOU KNOW IT’S WHO YOU KNOW.” It’s all about face time.
Since then I’ve spent more time networking and hanging out after events with people. There is something about a relationship that builds a trust factor. There is something about having a drink with someone and getting to know that person that builds the feeling “I want to work with ya!” When I had my epiphany it was also when I observed art on clothing that sold for big bucks. I thought to my self,” I can do that and even better!” (Please insert a pompous ass..me not you.) The difference was I didn’t know anyone and nobody knew me. It was the reality check and smack in the face I needed for my ego.
So where did my epiphany get me? For one, it got me out of the cave and to events where people I wanted to work with were. This has paid off but you must keep going. It never stops. RELATIONSHIPS ARE THE KEY TO SUCCESS. Yes, learn business, yes, get a degree if you want, make killer art and be the best at it. But don’t forsake the little things like buying someone a beer, lunch, or even their merch. It will show that you are interested. It’s funny how that little act can help launch you to the next level you have been striving for.
Levels of people
Another realization I had is that everybody needs to be carried. Now that doesn’t mean you should sit back and let someone else does the work for you. But there is always going to be someone above you and below you. Think of a sports team. Without fans buying tickets and merch, how will the owners stay in business? Same goes for your shirt business. You need buyers, you need to be on websites that promote you. Get involved with events and with groups that are doing things on a higher level than you. You might just be asked to sell your product to thousands of people for a 3 day event!
As far as the people up and coming or the people below you, it’s a golden rule/karma thing. Don’t burn people, be honest and your personality will count for something. I love illustrating, but a close second is teaching someone and watching them learn. Word will spread about your character, whether good or bad. Better be sure it’s good.
BONUS ROUND: Here are a few bonus points:
ORGANIZATION: Be organized with your inventory. Keep an Excel spread sheet of all your inventory. Take pride in your business.
PRESENTATION: An organized table/booth says a lot. A sloppy table/booth says more.
WHEELIN’ N DEALIN’ BABY! This has to do with negotiating. Negotiating can really be fun, it can also be painful. I would love to sell shirts for the highest cost all the time in order to make a full profit. Does it always happen? Nope. Think of giving deals, price breaks and discounts. For instance, a family stopped by my booth at the West Side Market one afternoon in August 2010. The 3 kids (pre-teens and teens) loved my creatures and skulls. The parents were thinking and talking about it. Yes I could have charged $26 for each, but who holds the money? Dad. I thought to myself “Be cool.” I offered them a little off the top and cash was in my hand. I bagged up the shirts and asked them to be a part of my email list. I thanked them and had 3 sales. When you are confident and feel out the situation good things happen.
FOR REAL: Have some street sense, just be yourself, read people, let them look and feel your shirt and give them hooks. One of the best ways to hook people is to explain your art! Be passionate about it. I have people just liking the art rather than saying “I need a t-shirt.” I love the double takes…reel them in! We wear the “hats of business.” Whether you know it or not you have to wear a sales hat, marketing/advertising hat and, of course, your creative hat.
BE PROFESSIONAL: What does that mean? RESPECT. Be respectful, not a jerk. Be grateful not pompous. You will be amazed how far customer care helps you out. Communicate with people. Nothing boils my blood more than walking into an establishment and nobody says “Be right with you.”
FEAR: Simply put, fear sucks. There is always going to be fear and risk, but if you don’t create a plan for success then you will always be wondering “What if?” Just jump in, there is no perfect time, just a time that feels right.
Give yourself a high-five – you passed the Starting your own Shirt Line class! I’m guessing this series has been a lot to digest. Do you feel OD-ed information? Good! Preparation/homework is a key to success. Do you know where you stand starting your own shirtline? Remember you’re never alone. Just do the footwork and others will help you along the way. I really hope this article and Part I and II give you the confidence and courage to begin or continue business. Keep in mind, Knowledge = Power. Relationships = Success.
Thank you for reading! It’s my honor to provide helpful tips for creativity, originality and business. View my work at www.steveknerem.com
Here is the list of websites I mentioned throughout the past three articles:
Khoi Vinh, former design director of the New York Times website, has a recent post where he opines that the current crop of iPad magazines (and tablet-based magazines in general) “run counter to how people use tablets today and, unless something changes, will remain at odds with the way people will use tablets as the medium matures. They’re bloated, user-unfriendly and map to a tired pattern of mass media brands trying vainly to establish beachheads on new platforms without really understanding the platforms at all.”
What he fails to expound upon is the phrase “the way people will use tablets as the medium matures”. What is this? How do users use tablets now? It seems like he lumps every tablet user into one category. I’d like to know how he sees average or typical tablet usage.
As a recent iPad owner and a voracious reader, one of the most compelling reasons to pick one of those gadgets up was for the extended reading capabilities. Sure, I was using Instapaper on my iPhone (and still do), but having content formatted for a screen closer to the size of a book or magazine makes a huge difference. In fact, it’s increased my long-form reading habits on digital devices. I see magazines fitting into this space.
Later on, Vinh vents: “In my personal opinion, Adobe is doing a tremendous disservice to the publishing industry by encouraging these ineptly literal translations of print publications into iPad apps. They’ve fostered a preoccupation with the sort of monolithic, overbearing apps represented by The New Yorker, Wired and Popular Science. Meanwhile, what publishers should really be focusing on is clever, nimble, entertaining apps like EW’s Must List or Gourmet Live. Neither of those are perfect, but both actively understand that they must translate their print editions into a utilitarian complement to their users’ content consumption habits.”
Magazine apps like the Must List are indeed slick and fit well into the “snack food” category of news/information apps, but the Must List seems more of a glorified sidebar with slick interactive design. Where do extended pieces with some journalistic oomph (and great design) come in?
Pandering to “top ten” list information might be a great sidecar app to the full magazine app or website (or even the print magazine), but I think Vinh is looking towards lowest common denominator readership.
While I may agree with Vinh that shoehorning the print version into a tablet format isn’t the way to go, one can hardly fault publisher for trying to minimize their production times and costs. InDesign Magazine has a free sampler issue out, and I have to say I like the format for a tablet-based magazine. Good content, great design. Perhaps I don’t fit into that demographic Vinh has in mind.
I do agree with Vihn that magazine apps have “an impediment to my normal content consumption habits. I couldn’t email, blog, tweet or quote from the app, to say nothing of linking away to other sources” — however things like these I think will come in time. Let’s start with getting magazines on these devices, working out a delivery system, and then adding some rich functionality. I do have to say that I am surprised this type of functionality isn’t being embedded into the magazine apps already.
To be honest, I find most device-specific magazine apps to be redundant with the coming of HTML5 and the internet in general. Publishers should be able to push out rich content without proprietary formats that work on all devices, all tablets, from all manufacturers. I’m no web developer, so perhaps there are technical limitations I am unaware of. Perhaps a solution can be found through the solutions Adobe is working on. I’d just hate to see content and design reduced to presenting the most inane information just to target Vinh’s mysterious “average tablet user”.
Header image via John Karakatsanis
I thought this would be a fun game. I’m sure you’ve been into Hot Topic and looked up at the t-shirt wall for inspiration on designing tees. You might even have the pleasure of seeing one of your OWN designs up on the wall. Or you might recognize the work of fellow designers. I went in there recently and discovered that I could only identify a couple of designs that I recognized and there were a lot that I didn’t know. I admit, I haven’t been keeping tabs on this in quite some time.
So I snapped a photo of the Hot Topic t-shirt wall and posted it on Flickr so we can all “tag” the photo with the designer who did that particular shirt. I want to see how many designers we could identify on this wall to test our awareness of who is doing what in the band merch scene. It’s pretty tough!
Use Flickr’s tag/note feature:
I’m asking all GoMediaZine readers to click on the photo to go to the Flickr page and add a use the “actions” button to add a “note” with the name of the designer over his/her tee design. If you know the designer has his/her own Flickr account, you can add a “person” so they are notified that they’ve been spotted in the wild.
As I’m writing the “Designers Guide to the Apparel Industry” eBook that I plan to release soon, I started to take notice of WHO are the role models that inspired this book. Essentially, who are the designers who started freelancing and eventually started and now run a successful clothing line? As Steve Knerem’s “start a clothing line” series sheds light on HIS experience doing what so many of us designers want to do: Branch out and release something of our own.
These designers got started working for clients. As you know, you’re mostly working on THEIR ideas and helping them solve problems. I’m sure a lot of designers reading this have felt the urge to work on their own ideas but probably never had the time. Heck, you may have even “started a line” yourself but there’s a good chance your tees are gathering dust in your basement because you were never able to take the line beyond a casual hobby.
The folks I’m featuring here have taken it past the hobby phase and created their own unique brand. Everyone talks about starting their own line, which as we’ve seen the past few years, lots have done just that – started. While I give people praise for starting something on their own terms, let these folks be role models and inspiration to take it to that next level.
Some of these I have interviewed for my eBook and you can read case studies about HOW they did it. You can get notified by email when the book comes out.
Go Media is airing our laundry for all to see!
All GoMediaZine readers are cordially invited to our first annual Design Show “Dirty Laundry.” Please come and partake in our celebration of the past year, and allow us the opportunity to share with you our design process.
Tasty hors d’oeuvres and drinks will be provided.
November 12th 2010
6pm – 9pm
The opening reception will be held at the Go Media building. We are located at the intersection of Lorain and West 45th Street in Cleveland, Ohio. Just look for our laundry line!
Go Media HQ
4507 Lorain Avenue
Cleveland, Ohio 44102
My name is Hatice Bayramoglu and I am a 3D artist and illustrator from Turkey. In this tutorial I demonstrate how to draw and color a character design and illustration for a children’s book. I’m going to explain my choices and thought process throughout the tutorial. My tutorial shows how I build my illustration from an early rough to the final illustration. I suggest that after following this tutorial, you find out what works best for you. I will be using Adobe Photoshop and a Wacom Tablet to create the finished result.
This painting is going to be done totally in Photoshop CS2.
STEP 1: Sketching
Start by creating a new document in Photoshop. It should be about 800x778pixels. I started with some quick sketches about the main idea. And here is the sketch about my main environment for the character.
Well as you see in this sketch there is a little girl character standing near an apple tree with an apple in her hand. She is smiling because she is happy and a perhaps also a little sad.
STEP 2: Setting Brushes in Photoshop
Here is the only brush that I’m using for my character coloring. For my painting I am going to use only standard brushes.
Before you begin painting, you’ll need to set your brush settings. Start by selecting the Brush tool then using a standard brush such as the one shown below.
STEP 3: Color Palette
You must decide on the colors you’ll use before you start on the painting. Here are my colors used for this artwork:
STEP 4: Layers
Create a new layer called “sketch”. You can create this sketch in Photoshop or on paper. After you created the sketch layer, change the blending mode to Multiply and always keep it as the top layer so that you can see it as you’re painting.
Now, look at how my layers are set up. I have layers for all the objects in the sketch. Painting on new layers allows you to easily make corrections later in the painting. It is much easier to fix errors if the main elements of your painting are separate entities. This step is really really very important!
STEP 6: Working On The Background Color
Here, let me show you how I colored the background. Choose the Paint Bucket Tool (G). After you filled the background, it must be like this. Make sure that your layer setup is the same as shown in the images below.
STEP 7: Coloring the Main Shapes
Before continue the painting process let me show you my layer order again. I just changed the order of the layers because sketch layer must be on the top of all layers and its setting must be set to Multiply. At this point, we can start coloring the sketchwork and you can define the main shapes. Using the Brush tool (B), begin painting the character and the tree on their own separate layers. Make sure that your brush has a hardness of 100%. A brush with a soft edge can produce blurry results.
And at this step I would like to change the size of my file because I want to add finer details. So I open Image>Image Size, and increase the file dimensions to 1500×1459.
STEP 8: Adding Details
Now I can start to add the details. In this step, I started by coloring the face of the character. Make sure you have the proper layer selected before painting.
And here I have made a new copy of the tree layer and then I have made some details on the tree. I also closed the first tree color layer.
Now here is a screenshot for the details. I began to add some more details on my painting, like grass and some little flowers. At this step I have created a new layer named “flowers”.
I’m adding some more colours and thin lines of detail on the tree.
Now take a look at all details which I just made. I continue to add more details and opening some new layers when I need.
STEP 9: Special Attention to the Character
Now that I’m satisfied with detailing the scenery and the tree I add some details for her clothing. At this point I realized that my character is looking very simple and not so good, so I thought it was time to make some changes. I tried some out some different looks for the character, and continued to add more details. Again, pay attention to my layer order here. At this step I have some more new layers as you see. All layers have a name.
I’ll now begin to add small details on the character, adding more yellow and green colours. By the way don’t forget at this step you don’t have to over detail everything. At this point I kept working on main details and lights, until I got a nice contrast. Sometimes I have to change some colors. At this point I am pretty much finished painting her clothing and body. I also pulled the sketch layer a little to one side for you to see how the character is looking without the sketch base.
STEP 10: Adding Polish & contrast
I used Color Dodge for the bright areas. This is how it looks once all the adjustments are done with the Color Dodge and Burn tool. I continue to add more details to the tree using various brush sizes and color. Once there are enough details, I begin to smooth it using a brush with a soft edge. I also use the Dodge and Burn tools to shade the branch.
And also I do want to show you how I added those darker areas on my tree layer. I used Burn Tool for this effect. I always use this when I want to add some dark areas on my illustrations.
And I do add some strokes with the Smudge tool too. I use this because I want to add soft blurry areas to the cloud and the background. At this point I saw my cloud is not so detailed. So, I have created a new layer to paint some cloud details using both the Smudge tool and the brush.
STEP 11: Adding More Details
At this point I realized that my painting needs more flowers . So I make a new layer and paint some little nice simple flowers as you see. I continue adding more details. I add some strokes with the Dodge tool, I use this because I want to add some slight light areas on the grass.
Now after finishing work on the grass and the background, I can start to add more details on her hair and face. I choose the Color Dodge and add some brush strokes her face.
Now pay attention at the details which I made using only the color dodge tool.
STEP 12: Color Correction
The painting is all but finished with the exception of color correction. First, merge all layers. Now, from Image>Adjustment>Brightness>Contrast you will change the colors a little. I do want the illustration to have a little more sunny effect.
And from Image/Adjustment/Brightness/Contrast make the settings as I did. Here is how the illustration is looking more sunny and more gleeful and joyful.
And here’s the final image, I hope you found this tutorial interesting. Thank you for reading.
I’m going to let you in on a little secret. I’ve been working on an eBook titled Thread’s Not Dead: The Designer’s Guide to the Apparel Industry. (EDIT: it’s out! buy it here in ebook and hardcover) During my research, I’ve realized that we’ve actually written a LOT about the subject in the past 3-4 years. Articles that I have completely forgotten about myself! So I’ve gone back through the archives of the GoMediaZine to dust off some of our best articles we’ve ever written about the apparel industry. Some of these aren’t directly related, but answer common questions apparel industry designers have (like pricing for instance). If you’ve been following Steve Knerem’s “How to Start a Clothing Line” series on the zine, then you surely find something useful in these links.
Oh and at the end of this post is a sign up form if you want to get notified when the eBook comes out! I can’t wait!
- Tutorial: “Lady Luck” T-Shirt Illustration
- Go Media’s Rapid-Fire Illustration Technique
- How to Design Your Own Custom Hoodie
- Sexy Holiday Vector Pin-Up Girl Tutorial
- How to design a t-shirt on a budget and a tight deadline
- Ornate Lettering Process
- Designing Ultra SceneXCore Apparel!
- Beautiful Vector Illustration
- From Sketch to Vector Illustration
- Apparel Printing: the Designer’s Guide
- 15 Awful Mistakes Made by Designers in the Music & Apparel Industry – 1 of 3
- 15 Awful Mistakes Made by Designers in the Music & Apparel Industry – 2 of 3
- 15 Awful Mistakes Made by Designers in the Music & Apparel Industry – 3 of 3
- Design Process: “Sick” Metal Band T-Shirt
- Anatomy of a Band T-Shirt
- Pointers for Designers Working with Apparel Companies
- A Designer’s Guide to Pricing
- How to Win at Design by Humans
- 10 Tips to avoid designer’s block.
- Starting your own shirt line. PART 1-2
Have fun taking a look back at some of our best articles. Thread’s Not Dead has contributions and case studies from from Angryblue, Matt Wigham, Jeffrey Kalmikoff, Marc Hemeon, Monk One, Horsebites, Glamour Kills, Cure Apparel, Paint the Stars Clothing, Fright Rags, Jon Kruse, Brandon Rike, Go Media, Rikki B, I Am the Trend, Jakprints, Jamie Tallerico, and Maxx242.