Articles by Month: February 2010
Fonts. What designer doesn’t have too many? And we are always on the hunt for more.
The internet is a goldmine for fonts, but it’s not always easy to find just the font you’re looking for. It’s always good to have another font tool in your arsenal, and with that in mind we’re giving you a heads up on the Adobe Font Finder.
Adobe’s Font Finder works in a similar fashion to many online font tools, but in this case it’s wrapped into a slick Flash presentation that works fast and looks sharp.
Enter a bit of text for the samples to display in, check a few of the many font options to narrow down your search — and voila!
The fonts I checked out from my initial review of the site all seemed to lead to paid fonts, and clicking on any of the search results will take you to Adobe’s online font store.
Of course, you may want/need to purchase on of these fonts, but it’s also easy enough to use the tool to get some inspiration, or even find a font you may already have buried in your own type collection already.
I’ve included some screenshots below to give you an idea of the range of font attributes you have the ability to search by. They are pretty extensive compared to many of the free font sites I’ve used, but then again they do want you to buy something from them.
Have a great font resource of your own? Please share it with us in the comments section below.
We’ve already posted 4 of the video interviews we were lucky to film with attendees of the first Weapons of Mass Creation event last fall. Currently we’re busy planning a much more ambitious festival to celebrate contemporary creative visionaries, called Weapons of Mass Creation Fest. Visit the home page to find out what it’s all about, who will be attending, and how you can participate.
Enjoy this video interview (with transcript below) with incredible illustrator Chad Lenjer (Discordant Art).
Chad Lenjer: My name is Chad Lenjer. I go by the alias Discordant Art. I guess people would know my work if they were into the metal / hardcore scene. I predominately do merchandise designs for bands of that sort.
GoMediazine: So who are some of your biggest clients right now?
Chad Lenjer: You know it sort of varies. I’d say some of the most stable, solid bands would be Job for a Cowboy. I’d say Three Inches of Blood even, I’m just a huge fan so they’re bigger to me than any other thing.
GoMediazine: I guess the better question is who your favorite client is?
Chad Lenjer: Uh right now – I mean, it’s not like I have “favorite clients of the month” or anything, but – probably my favorite client is this band called Irepress from Boston. It’s just nice to actually – when it comes to the music industry – being able to do work for a band that I found myself being a huge fan of before I even knew them or did a doodle for them.
GoMediazine: Why did you come to the Weapons of Mass Creation campaign today?
Chad Lenjer: Well, because Jeff hit me up about it. And I just think it’s a really good thing. Of course there is exposure involved & what not. But at the same time, it does make a big difference. Go Media is just completely flawless in everything they do. Their stock art is… I mean you could go to Half-Priced Books or some used book store & buy one of the twenty page things with a bunch of banners & scrolls printed. But then you have to scan that in, and the quality is not anywhere as good to what it would be. So it’s really worth using.
GoMediazine: What’s your opinion of stock art & design resources?
Chad Lenjer: I mean, I have absolutely no qualms with using them. In the past I have felt a little bit guilty. But I mean, they’re royalty free for a reason. It’s not like someone slaved over it and was super pissed or rolling over in his grave over something we’re using. I think they’re a huge positive when appropriating old ideas in newer work. I don’t know, I don’t feel like there should be any guilt involved honestly. I’d say if you were just creating solely pieces of art in a non-conceptual sense of only stock art – then – you’re doing something wrong. But otherwise, it’s really good.
When it comes to music people use the same drum beat in multiple songs. It’s just whatever fits. Whatever the whole piece comes out looking like or sounding like, each thing has its own feeling.
GoMediazine: Your illustrations have been described as extremely detailed & meticulously done. Can you talk a little about your process for it?
Chad Lenjer: Uh, basically, I dunno. Paper. Pens. Draw pictures. I start with a really lose concept & draw a dozen or so thumbnails of compositions that could possibly work or ones that are really garbage. When it comes to pencils, like the initial sketches… When I’m working on a project sometimes I feel bad because it doesn’t really compute. Like I don’t have very much to show in the very first stages. I’m really loose – it’s just a couple scribbles. But I can totally envision what it’s going to look like once I start fleshing it out.
And then from there, it’s just inking. Which is really fun because it’s when I get to add all the detail. But at the same time it’s a little big grueling sometimes. Coloring is usually an afterthought, but I’ve been trying to have the best possible piece envisioned in mind so that there’s not going to be some snags along the way.
When it comes to tee shirts, I’m guilty of it, that’s almost everyone’s last thought: “Oh, let’s just throw the band’s logo on it.” I guess it works, but at the same time it totally looks completely different. You can add something on top of anything.
GoMediazine: Who would you say are some of your biggest inspirations right now?
Chad Lenjer: Uh, right now… I’m still influenced by illustrators greatly. There’s Horsebites (Richard Minino), Justin Kramer (Angryblue) that are here. Angryblue, he was actually one of the first people, when I was in the sixth grade, I would just look at everything he had up on his website. He would worked for a bunch of my favorite bands. He was honestly one of my biggest inspirations.
I really like John Dyer Baizley from Baroness – he’s a fantastic illustrator. But I feel like I get the most inspiration from people that don’t do exactly what I do. I really like photography, but it’s sort of hit or miss with me. It really all depends. I’m an avid lurker on FFFFound.
GoMediazine: What are you working on currently that you’re really excited about?
Chad Lenjer: A couple of designs for Irepress, which I was telling you is my favorite band to work for. So I’m excited about that. Probably just being able to actually do some personal work. Starting to do some prints. And a little side project that I started a year ago. It’s not even anything gallery-worthy, it’s just for fun. I loved the show “Are you Afraid of the Dark” as a kid. So I find myself rewatching old episodes and drawing little pictures based on scenes for them. I always liked macabre & horror and I feel like it’s the perfect balance between being too gross and still having some really scary concepts in mind. It’s just fun, and a little bit of nostalgia.
Design software ain’t cheap. And for us designers and illustrators using the professional-level software to create such as Adobe Creative Suite, we find a typical 18-month cycle for new releases of Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign and the rest.
GoMedia wants to know: how do you handle your upgrades? Do you get the latest and greatest when it comes out, or do you wait until you have to upgrade?
If you’re on the cutting edge, what compels you? If you’re the waiting type, how long do you usually hold off between releases?
Personally, I am a “latest and greatest” upgrader. Typically there are enough compelling features for me to justify the price. In the past I have skipped some of the versions of Creative Suite, but lately I have been making sure to keep current.
As a self-employed illustrator, it’s a bit easier for me in some sense since I only need to purchase one upgrade license. A studio needs to consider all the machines they own. Students have different upgrade options as well – you get your initial student license, but upgrades need to be full licenses.
I’m a big fan of graphics software so it’s a bit easier for me to justify the upgrades. Since I work almost 100% digitally nowadays, it’s kind of a no-brainer for me as long as the new features are something that I think will enhance my productivity.
Sounds off in the comments below: how and when do you upgrade, and why?
Can you start by telling us about who you are, what you specialize in and where you’re from?
My name is Dan Mumford, i am an illustrator/screen printer and i live in London.
I know you had formalized study in illustration, did you always plan to do band art or was that just a natural progression? How did this shape the way and style in which you work?
It was very much a natural progression for me, i was playing in local bands when i was younger so i always knew people in bands and when i got asked to work for some friends it just seemed like a natural thing to combine music and art, my work has just grown out of that really.
Do you keep a sketchbook? Do the contents typically evolve into your finished work or is it more a collection of loose ideas and doodles?
No, i really should sketch more though, the digital age has made me a lot less dependent on the classic pen and paper, and i tend to sketch out ideas on the computer a lot more than i ever used to. But ideas and sketches do end up being used in final pieces sometimes yes, just not as much i would probably like!
How do you approach a project from start to finish? Are you 100% digital or is there paper involved?
It depends on the project involved, a lot of the time recently my work has been completely digital, but i am heading back to doing more work with pen and pencil in the future, there is something you cant beat about the control, but at the same time working on a tablet is great for quick jobs.
Are your tools any different now than when you started? Do you have any favorites or old standbys?
I use the same sort of pens and paper that i have done for the last few years, i dont really feel the need to change up the technique i use for hand drawing at the moment, apart from the move to working digitally with a tablet and cs3, my techniques not changed all that much over the years, i think i have just got a bit quicker!
Do you work in Photoshop or Illustrator? How has that changed the way you draw or finish a piece?
Yeah i use both for various things. It has changed the process a lot actually, learning how to use photoshop properly and learning how to use a tablet has changed my working times and the way i go about creating a piece quite a bit. If anything it has sped up the process for me, i think the ability to use both is invaluable for an illustrator.
Are there any common obstacles you run into as a result of your process?
Repetition and typography, type has always been my weakest skill, and im working on making my type skills a bit better, but i do still like to focus on the artwork itself. Repetition wise, i just get asked to do a lot of the same thing again and again, and its just a bit boring sometimes, its always nice when a client has seen what ive done and then asks for something completely different, its a breath of fresh air.
What’s been influencing your work lately?
A lot of old movies and ideas from the 80’s, i try not to reference the present too much, im far more interested in sci-fi/action movies from the 80’s and 90’s, theres something special about that time period for film, and growing up it really shaped me, so its nice to revisit those ideas now!
Do you keep a morgue file or any other reference around?
Not really, i tend to use my self or people in the studio for reference, that or there is always google, but its nice to not rely on google for reference images, everyone does it nowadays so you can end up seeing the same images cropping up in designs.
Do you typically work from ideas you already have or do the ideas come after talking with the client?
No, generally its from ideas that the clients have, its always nice to be thrown the seed of an idea, and then be able to elaborate on their idea and put my own spin on it. Even if its just a word or a theme, its always nice to have some sort of idea of where the client would want to take the project.
When you’re working is it a locked down kind of process, chained to your desk, or more casual with friends coming and going?
Well, generally i sketch out things in a big block and get all my roughs out of the way over the process of a week, then i will go through and turn those ideas into final pieces. The sketching process is quite laid back, a lot of procrastinating etc, but when i am locked into the actual design part, i tend to do long 12 hour days in the studio etc, but i dont generally end up working away into the night, its the nice part about working in a studio, i have to go home at some point and leave the work!
Where would you like to be with your illustration 5 and 10 years from now?
I would like to be creating work in the same sort of style, but hopefully have a bit more freedom with what i am doing, probably just creating work more for myself and creating a lot more prints, and at the very least just making a living, i still find it crazy that i can make a living from this, its a great job.
Have you ever had to walk away from a project / client relationship going south? What was that like?
Yeah, a few times. Its not a nice experience, generally its amicable, just because its not going the way the client wants it to, but ive had a couple of jobs where i have just felt like a puppet trying to create what the art director has in his mind, and its just not fun in any way, you have to question your integrity and decide if its something you really want to do.
Do you have anything coming up you’re excited about, or recent favorite projects?
My recent batch of black dahlia murder tees was great fun and came out really well, and coming up i have a new project that im working on thats hopefully very exciting, i cant say much about it, but all should be revealed in the next few months, its a nice change of pace for me.
I think the shark devouring the ship thing you did for Gallows is probably my favorite. How did this come about?
Well, it was the follow up single to abandon ship, so we thought it would be nice to keep the second single in the same style and theme as the first. Thus rather than a giant sea squid, its a giant shark! That and the name of the song was ‘in the belly of a shark’. hahaha, not quite as imaginative as you might hope! but the design came out real nice, and it was definitely one of my favorite projects to work on.
Do you have any favorite things to draw? I see a lot of sharks and tentacles in your stuff. Is that what your sketchbook is full of?
Not really, thats more to do with the client base, its the style and theme that the music scene is essentially asking for most of the time! Obviously i enjoy drawing that sort of stuff, but im far more interested in natural looking shapes, and beautiful linework than the grim side of things.
What have you been listening to lately? Are you an iPod or vinyl kind of guy?
Im most definitely an ipod guy, 100%. Vinyl is great for the artwork, but i really dont care about the better audio quality. I get the feeling in the age of mp3 download codes with vinyl purchases, that most vinyl doesn’t ever really get played anyway, which is a shame. But you cant beat the size of vinyl packaging.
Are there any other illustrators you think we should check out?
Theres too many, Godmachine, Ben Lande, Joshua Belanger, Chad Lenjer, Brian Morries, Drew Millward, The black Axe, Greg Abbot, Wil Exley, Charlie Duck….and many more..but thats a good start!
Plenty of designers out there do their design work not in InDesign, but in Illustrator. If you’re among those, you’ve no doubt been confounded by the lack of a “collect for output” feature in Illustrator. Enter Art Files from Code Line Software.
And be sure to read on for a special discount offer on Art Files for our Go Media ‘Zine readers.
Get it together
Art Files is a standalone program for Mac OS X that gives Illustrator users a “collect for output” or “package” feature, just like in InDesign.
Perhaps because Art Files was created for such a specific purpose, it’s dead simple to use and to figure out what it does. If you need software like Art Files, it does exactly what you want it to do.
After launching Art Files, you’ll be presented with a new document window. Here you drag the .ai files you want to process and Art Files goes to work immediately. All linked images and any fonts used in the .ai document are presented in an easy-to-read folder/subfolder structure. Color-coded symbols inform you of any errors.
Art Files will even scan for fonts in the placed EPS documents within your file. How cool is that?
What it does
Art Files is designed so that each document scanned can be saved as an .artfiles document, allowing you to run the scan again in the future without needing to go back an locate the original files. Very handy.
Another great feature is the slide-out Info panel, which gives you a visual preview of the placed files, as well as Finder file paths to the file, and buttons to open the placed file in the Finder or open them directly in Illustrator. Again, very handy.
When it comes to collecting your files, again Art Files is on top of things. You have the option to save the resulting Collection with a Notes file, very similar to InDesign’s “instructions.txt” file. The Notes text file can contain custom notes (and you can set up a default notes section in the preferences as well), contact info and a log of the collection process.
Again, as expected when you click “Collect”, you are prompted to choose a location for the Collection folder. Once Art Files is done collecting you files you have a nicely packaged Collection folder with subfolders containing your linked files and any fonts used in the document.
The right tool for the job
As with the rest of Code Line’s graphics software tools for Mac, Art files fills a niche and does it just as you’d want and expect it to. If you need a “collect for output” or “packaging” feature for your Adobe Illustrator files, look no further.
Code Line Software has generously created a special offer just for the ‘Zine readers — use this link to get Art Files for 10% off the full $49.95 license. Offer is good until the end of February 2010. And this offer is good for any Code Line bundle that contains Art Files, including multi-user licenses.
Code Line also has a video overviewing the features of Art Files:
Welcome to the fourth interview of the Weapons of Mass Creation video interview series. Not sure what this is all about? Read the kick-off article to get caught up!
We sat down with Adelle Charles & Joshua Smibert of Fuel Brand, Inc and chatted about their background, goals, and views on the design industry. You’ll find both the video interview & the typed transcript below. Enjoy.
Adelle Charles: Alright, I’m Adelle Charles from Fuel branding, and I’m the CCO.
Joshua Smibert: Joshua Smibert, same. I guess most designers would know us through the site Fuel Your Creativity.
GoMediazine: Who are some of your clients? We talked about this before because you guys don’t essentially have clients, so why don’t you talk about that a little bit.
Joshua Smibert: We’re a publishing network, so no clients but lots of readers.
Adelle Charles: No clients is good.
Joshua Smibert: Both of us have come from production world though so we’re used to client work but now we just serve the community.
Adelle Charles: Yea, we serve the creative community.
GoMediazine: How has that been for you guys? How is that better and how is it worse? So before you actually had clients, you had people you were responding to but now it’s a bigger entity.
Adelle Charles: It gets a little crazy sometimes, not gonna lie.
Joshua Smibert: But we don’t have deliverables so we get to respond to more the flow of what’s being asked but not specifics.
GoMediazine: So it’s more organic.
Adelle Charles: Yeah, it’s about building relationships.
Joshua Smibert: With a lot of people at once rather than one on one with a client.
GoMediazine: Why did you come to Go Media today, to the Weapons of Mass Creation campaign?
Adelle Charles: Well, Fuel is really about the community and your brand Go Media and Fuel, it’s what we’re about. And we totally wanted to meet you guys.
Joshua Smibert: We love the fact that you guys are reaching out and doing things that focus on creatives. It’s not about a single vein or a single person or competitive – it’s about, we’re all part of creating things and making things and doing cool stuff. So it seemed to fit.
GoMediazine: I see Fuel and other companies having a single brand name to which they launch a series of related sites. Is this planned from the beginning and why keep all the sites under the same brand? Does this strengthen or dilute the brand?
Adelle Charles: It actually started with Fuel Your Creativity. It just kind of, I met Josh and it kind of went on fire. No pun intended I swear.
Joshua Smibert: Fuel your creativity started as a single entity and as a really grassroots effort to try and share what you were working on with the community.
Adelle Charles: It was about a year and a half ago.
Joshua Smibert: Almost two years ago. So what happened was, we had to discuss what might be the next step for something. We built this community of designers, community of creatives. Where do we go from here with it? Fuel as a concept was about building on creativity and adding to it. So we kind of launched into other areas but still under that same concept. So it made sense to keep it all under Fuel but to build a brand to extend the reach because it meant the same thing.
GoMediazine: So Adelle you are coming from a background where you went to art school and so you have an eye for what looks good and what doesn’t look good.
Adelle Charles: I hope so!
GoMediazine: You have worked on projects where you had deadlines. What is your opinion of stock art and what the Arsenal has?
Adelle Charles: I love what you guys do. I use Go Media’s stuff. It’s a great tool to build on. Amazing things can come from it. I’ve used it on posters, art work, website design, I love it. I’m not just saying that because I’m here.
GoMediazine: What would you say to someone who’s kind of knocking it?
Adelle Charles: Knocking it?
GoMediazine: You would be like “have you ever had a deadline?”
Adelle Charles: Yea, exactly.
Joshua Smibert: What isn’t stock art anyway? Everything is a shape, everything is taken from something.
Adelle Charles: It’s true. It’s all about what you’ve done with it.
GoMediazine: That’s a great overarching philosophical way to look at it. I’ve never thought that way about it.
Adelle Charles: Trademark that quick!
GoMediazine: What is your ideal project? That is an interesting question for Fuel as an entity, I guess it would be what is your ideal situation or what is your ideal vision for Fuel?
Joshua Smibert: To us the concept of Fuel links to it’s name of creative development. Building on or adding to. For us creating an entity which has things that flow through it but uses what we do to add to it. If that makes sense. So information comes through us and other people can come consume that information. Hopefully apply it to their design work, apply it to their illustration, apply it to their motionography, whatever they are doing.
Adelle Charles: The fuel brand network is the umbrella of the publishing sites. So it’s “fuel your”, fuel your creativity, fuel your illustration, fuel your apps.
GoMediazine: In my head I’m envisioning this circle, almost like a cyclical thing, you put out these resources, you’re developing this community, people are responding, and then they are coming back. They’re doing their work, taking from these resources, and they’re coming back and leaving their resources.
Joshua Smibert: Again, back to the name. Fuel doesn’t do anything unless it’s applied to something. So the idea is, it’s a community publishing network where we take people in an industry and allow them a platform to get good quality, good feedback. So for designers working on something, they can come and publish to the community and the community can respond, engage, learn from, take away from, rebuttal, and disagree. It’s a way to be able to bring out the best of and the most interesting and do something with it to create new stuff.
Adelle Charles: The engagement is the best part.
Joshua Smibert: For us it’s about doing and creating new stuff. And hopefully that’s what the resources we provide do. And that’s again why we think it’s kind of a cool concept because you guys can take something and add to it to make something new. And that’s the whole concept of creation for us.
GoMediazine: Do you have any current projects or undertakings that you’re allowed to talk about right now? Or do you have to be kind of secretive about it?
Joshua Smibert: Sure. We have an events circa we’re working on.
We’ll be doing some Fuel workshops and hopefully in the next year second quarter, a Fuel conference.
GoMediazine: Alright I have to go tweet about this right now. I have to tell everyone!
Joshua Smibert: There’s a lot of stuff. Fuel United is another project we’re working on which will be a way for creatives to contribute back more of a hub, a charitable hub where everyone can offer their talents to organizations doing something. Sometimes a lot of freelancers may not have massive amounts of cash to hand out, but still want to contribute. We all have talents; we all do amazing stuff, so Fuel United will be a hub for allowing other organizations access to the creative community. It’s something we’re doing with some other partners. We’re trying to look for ways that we can all as a community give back.
Whether you’re an Apple user or not, it’s been pretty tough to avoid hearing about the iPad. The question here at Go Media Zine: what does it mean for illustrators and designers? It may be limited as far as content creation, but it also may hold huge potential for a new wave of users who want kick-ass visual content — and that means more opportunities for visual artists.
Of course none of us mere mortals have one of these devices in-hand, so much of what I am about to discuss is pure speculation. However as an iPhone owner I think there are some things easily extracted from using that touch device.
Death of the Desktop?
I don’t see the iPad being a replacement for your main computer, at least not for the present. While some may see the iPad as nothing more than an oversized iPod, I see it more as a casual internet-browsing appliance.
I see it more for those who lightly browse the internet as opposed to those who create professional content. It’s for people who really don’t need a full computer, but still want to be on the internet.
The lack of any professional-level creative software for the iPhone and iPod Touch is a good indication that most creative types will not be using this to work digitally, but that doesn’t preclude the possibility that with the larger screen size we might see a new breed of apps developed for iPad. Still, the size in general is going to limit your workspace and I doubt it will be much more than a companion tool — if even that.
There are a few solid sketching apps available already, including Sketchbook Mobile, Layers, and Brushes — all of which support multiple brushes, layers and some even export as a .psd file. Pair any one of these up with a Pogo Stylus, and now you have a digital sketchpad.
This is something I can see myself using, and I am sure we’ll see each of these apps introduce new iPad-specific features once the gadget is shipping. And I’m sure we’ll see some new apps coming in to compete.
Adobe seems to have kept their offerings to the basic Photoshop.com Mobile app, which primarily offers basic photography tweaks. No word yet as to whether Adobe has anything planned for iPad.
The sketchpad aspect is compelling, but serious creators will need a much more powerful device. And I don’t think Apple had any intentions of replacing your desktop computer for illustration, design or web development.
Speaking of Adobe, one of the sticking points for some on both the iPhone and now the iPad is the lack of support for the Flash plugin for the web browser. For all you web designers & developers out there, if the iPad becomes a success it may sway the decision to use Flash or to at least offer an alternative depending on the users browser setup. I suppose it all depends on your audience.
There has been a recent push by some pretty major players to use HTML5 and H264 video, which delivers pretty much the same streaming video as Flash enables, but without a proprietary plugin. If you’re using Google Chrome, Apple Safari or another web browser that supports HTML5, you can opt-in to the HTML5 beta over at YouTube. I’ve done so and the experience has been excellent.
Of course this doesn’t account for the more interactive elements of other Flash creations such as mini games, interactive websites and the like. In my opinion, all websites should offer alternatives to Flash content regardless of the iPhone or iPad. Better to be safe than sorry, you never know the technical level of people visiting your website.
One interesting aspect of the iPad is the introduction of iBooks, which are basically digital books you can read on the iPad similar to Amazon’s Kindle e-reader device. In this arena, I can see a potential boon for designers as that full-color screen is just aching for quality design. Think: magazines, comics and graphic novels, children’s books and the like. This is a device designed to simplify things for the casual user, and these people are your potential customers.
I think there is a lot of potential here for digital content that almost demands a high-quality experience. And I can’t imagine how beneficial this will be for illustrators, creators of comic books and graphic novels. Sure, there will be print customers, but now you have an opportunity to reach a whole new group of new fans.
In general, I think the iPad is more of and end-user device, and while it may not affect how we create content, it may indeed affect what we create content for. There may be untold millions of people who don’t have a laptop or a computer, but would jump at the chance to have an iPad to do the basics. These people are a whole new slew of customers who will want well-designed, graphical content outside of just webpages.
So we want to hear from you: what are your thoughts on the iPad for your creative workflow? Know of any good apps that might transfer well to the iPad? What are your thoughts on the lack of Flash support?