benefits to waking up early

11 Ways Artists and Designers Can Benefit from Waking Up Early

Jeff Finley’s (VP of Cleveland Web Design firm, Go Media) new book Wake Up: The Morning Routine That Will Change Your Life comes out Tuesday, April 14. In anticipation for the big release, here are 11 ways artists and designers can benefit from waking up early every day.

  1. Time to Draw

    Finally, give yourself some quiet time to draw and let your right brain do the work. This is especially convenient that you can start drawing immediately after you wake up from some vivid dreams. Before you get started with the left-brain, logic oriented work-day, start off the day illustrating your dreams and imagination!

  2. Uninterrupted Time Without Distractions

    As creatives, we flourish when we are left alone to focus intently on our work. What better way than to get out of bed before everyone else and tackle that difficult task without anybody bothering you. Don’t forget to turn off distractions like email, social media, or wi-fi!

  3. The Sunrise is Beautiful

    Take time to bask in the beauty of the planet. Sip your coffee or tea as you watch the sunrise without any pressure to rush off to work. Realize that this happens every single day and you’re missing out most of the time. As artists, we are especially attuned to recognizing beauty and letting it inspire our work. Start the day off by breathing in some fresh air and watching mother nature wake up.

  4. Get Your Exercise Out of the Way

    If you’re like me, exercising doesn’t make it high up our priority lists. I’d rather be making music or working on my creative projects. However, waking up early lets you get your workout in early so you don’t have to think about it for the rest of the day. I found myself enjoying yoga in the mornings as it went well with my other morning routine habits like meditation and journaling.

  5. Reflect on Your Life

    The mornings are a wonderful time to reflect on your life. Are you on track to your goals? Are you happy with where your life is headed or are you spinning out of control? Do you like your job? The habit of journaling is one that has allowed me to become a better writer and pave the way for realizations, aha moments, and astonishing life lessons. I use Day One app for Mac to write in my journals and I’ve logged over 1,000 entires since I started two years ago.

  6. Reduce Stress and Anxiety

    Waking up early sets the tone for the rest of the day. Not only do you get more done, which allows you to feel more at ease the rest of the day, but the early mornings are calmer and more peaceful. Combine this with mindfulness meditation, I recommend 5-10 minutes per day, and you will notice more clarity and inner peace throughout your day.

  7. Establish a Morning Ritual

    One of the best parts of waking up early is creating your own morning ritual. What does your ideal morning look like? Here’s mine. What activities would you do? Would you wake up and check your email right away? Would you make a big breakfast? Go for a walk, ride your bike, meditate, write in your journal, plan the trip of a lifetime? Use your mornings as a launch pad to creating the life of your dreams.

  8. Stop Procrastinating

    The mornings are often the most predictable parts of our day. Look at your current morning routine, you probably do the same stuff day in and day out. If you woke up early, you could add a 90 minute distraction-free focus block to work on your important projects. Finally finish your website that you’ve been putting off! I’ve notice that I get more done when I tackle the important stuff right away before I check email or social media. Check out my 2 hour podcast episode on Procrastination!

  9. Be More Productive

    When you’re not procrastinating, you’re being more productive. Combine this with silence and eliminating distractions and you’ll be getting more done before 8 AM than most people do during an entire day. Spend the morning taking action on your biggest goals and aspirations.

  10. Discover Your True Self

    One of the most life-changing results of my wake up early habit was the discovery of my true self. In other words, I woke up to a deeper sense of meaning and purpose in my life after practicing meditation, journaling, and yoga combined with my voracious appetite for learning – a whole new world opened up. Waking up early can help you begin a path to self-discovery and self-mastery.

  11. Learn Anything You Want

    When you’re up early enjoying the sunrise and sitting in silence, why not read those books you’ve been putting off? I think I read something like 30+ books during the my first year waking up early. It was insane! I also listened to audiobooks and podcasts while I worked out or took walks in my neighborhood. Follow your curiosity, what do you want to learn that you’ve been waiting for “the right time” to learn? Practice your guitar, learn a language, watch 100 documentaries, etc. You get the idea!

Bonus: 12 Get into Lucid Dreaming or Astral Travel

This is a personal favorite of mine. If you start waking up early and keep a dream journal, you increase your chances of having lucid dreams, out of body experiences, or astral projections. Say what? If you don’t know what this is, I’ll let you look it up. I had my first out of body experience by accident. It got me totally hooked on the topic! As creative types, we have a proclivity to explore the dream realm. If this resonates with you, I really encourage you to follow your curiosity here!

Are You Ready to Wake Up Early?

That’s 12 ways you can benefit from waking up early. What if you woke up early for a week straight? Or a month? Or a year!? Imagine what you would get done or how your life would be different? I woke up early for a whole year and it drastically changed my life!

Jeff Finley’s new book ‘Wake Up: The Morning Routine That Will Change Your Life’ comes out April 14th. It will teach you how to establish the wake-up-early habit for yourself, build the perfect morning routine, and help you begin your path to self-discovery and self-mastery. Look for it on his website or on Amazon.

98 Skull Vectors You Need Now


Skull Vectors for Days

When we first thought to create a new skull vector pack, we thought we’d simply update some of our older stuff. Perhaps add a few new skulls, refresh them and polish them up like a shiny new pair of shoes.

After all, we have some great stuff and skulls never get old, now do they?

But here’s what happened – We reached out to some really great friends and kind of got carried away.

What came about was a…


Ninety eight brand new skulls and related vectors. Yes, completely new content created by seven talented folks we know and love, including Jeff Finley, Steve Knerem, Blake Stevenson, Michael Hinkle, Justin Sobota, Scott Fuller and Go Media’s own internal designer Jordan Wong.

I’m sold. Take me there.


The Deets.

With this set, you’ll grab these must-have 98 vectors in total. Here’s how they shake out:

  • 10 vectors from Steve
  • 12 vectors each from Jeff, Michael, Scott and Jordan
  • 20 vectors each from Blake and Justin

Don’t believe me when I say they’re incredible? Well let’s just let the visuals speak for themselves.

Blake Stevenson Skulls
Blake Stevenson Skulls

Buy Pack Separately: $9

Justin Sobota Skulls
Justin Sobota Skulls

Buy Pack Separately: $9

Steve Knerem Skulls
Steve Knerem Skulls

Buy Pack Separately: $9

Jordan Wong (Go Media) Skulls
Jordan Wong (Go Media) Skulls

Buy Pack Separately: $9

Jeff Finley Skulls
Jeff Finley Skulls

Buy Pack Separately: $9

Michael Hinkle Skulls
Michael Hinkle Skulls

Buy Pack Separately: $9

Scott Fuller Skulls
Scott Fuller Skulls

Buy Pack Separately: $9

…See! Told you they were awesome!




Looking for more awesome products? Hop on over to our Arsenal for more!

Go Media Cleveland Creative Studio: Our 2014 in 3 Minutes

Go Media Cleveland Creative Studio: Our 2014 in 3 Minutes

Go Media is so much more than a creative studio.

Small in number, we are mighty in what we set out to achieve each and every year – from our passionate web design, logo, branding and print design projects, to our product Arsenal, our blog, our subscription based mockup sites (Mockup Everything and Shirt Mockup), video series (On the Map) and annual design conference (Weapons of Mass Creation Fest).

Not to mention the other hijinks that ensue throughout the year due to our collective love for design, community, life. Enjoy our look-back on 2014.

We hope to see you in 2015!

Go Media on Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | Google+ | LinkedIn

Weapons of Mass Creation Fest on Facebook | Twitter | Instagram


About Go Media:

What does great design mean to you?
For some, it’s all about sales and results. For others, it’s about winning that next big award. At Go Media, a Cleveland web design, branding and print design studio, great design is the product of passion, purpose, and possibility. It’s a place where the art of communication is expressed in ways that surprise and satisfy our clients.

Our Ohio City headquarters is buzzing with artists, strategists and enthusiasts who approach each new project with an eye for detail and an ear for objectives. The result? Visually stunning concepts that captivate, compel purchase and even earn a few awards.

How can we help you express your next big idea? Get Started Here!

5 Keys to Branding Your Apparel Line Like a Boss (+ 1 Top Secret to a Successful Launch)

Photoshop Drawing Tutorial: Digital Illustration & Drawing Techniques Video Tutorial

Photoshop Drawing Tutorial

New year’s resolutions are always thrilling for me. They breathe a sense of new life into both my personal and professional life. In 2015, I have one main goal – to throw every ounce of my soul into design. To dive into it, roll around, fill my brain with the endless information available and explode with happiness because of it.

Join me?

Digital Illustration & Drawing Techniques Video Tutorial

I’m super stoked about Cleveland Graphic Designers, Go Media’s first Arsenal launch of 2015: a Photoshop Drawing Tutorial by Jeff Finley. This 6 hour video tutorial is for intermediate PS users looking to create some awesome digital artwork. We’ll learn Photoshop shortcuts for killer results while simultaneously enhancing our drawing skills. Who’s with me?

– Heather, ‘ Zine editor

Learn More Now

Buy the Tutorial, only $34.99

Best Spotify Playlists for Getting Sh*t Done – Go Media Staff, Volume 3: Jeff Finley

Resident Partner, Designer, Breakdancer, and one of the architects of Cleveland Graphic Design Firm, Go Media, Jeff Finley, is here to get you in the workflow with his Spotify playlist, “Pop Punk Favs.” So press play, pop open that pen and let the magic begin.

Jeff Finley’s “Pop Punk Favs”

More Go Media Staff’s Spotify Playlists for Getting Sh*t Done:
Volume 1, William Beachy
Volume 2, Bryan Garvin
Volume 5, Aaron Roberts

PS and AI Tutorial: Designing Ultra SceneXCore Apparel!

final design


This is a tutorial or a simple “how-to” guide to help you with your design projects. This is not the end-all, be-all way of doing things. We will try to make what is normally a long and detailed process of creating commercial art into a simple and easy-to-follow guide. We encourage your use of artistic license and creative vision to make high quality work for your clients.

I wrote a brief tutorial on Apparel Design roughly a year ago for Go Media, the source for web development in Cleveland and it received a lot of good response. But it’s a bit outdated now. We’ve done lots more apparel work, including stuff for Avenged Sevenfold, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Evanescence, Atticus Clothing, Strhess Clothing, and tons more notable bands and clothing companies.

Needless to say, we’ve learned a lot about what’s hot in today’s “underground” fashion market. And when I say underground, it’s actually not so underground. Just take a peek into your local Hot Topic or Pac Sun and you’re going to see some great apparel graphics. And this tutorial will show you just how it’s done.

Everything you see in Hot Topic or Pac Sun these days features some combination of skulls, flourishes, splatters, and miscellaneous grunge effects. Why? Don’t ask me, but I’m sure it’s got something to do with the recent rise of popular screamo, metalcore, and hardcore bands into the mainstream. With bands like Avenged Sevenfold and My Chemical Romance paving the way for that ultra sceneXcore aesthetic. Which can look ultra lame if done bad, but hella cool if done right. And I’ll show you how it’s done right.

Before You Begin

How do you make all those flourishes, splatters, and other design elements? Well, some do it by hand and draw their own flourishes, wings, skulls, etc. But what most t-shirt designers are doing these days is using stock design elements and clip art. Old floral graphics and whatnot. It’s a quick and easy way to get that cool look without actually doing a lot of custom work.

We at Go Media prefer to create our own elements. But to make it easy on you, we’ve created a bunch of stock vector elements for you to get started right now. We’ve created custom shapes to destroy and beat up your designs at the highest quality possible. And just about every trendy element today is covered such as wings, crests, tech shapes and more. And they’re freakin cheap as hell. So if you want to skip the hard part and go straight to designing kick-ass apparel graphics, then check out our kick ass stock vector packages – for that ultra sceneXcore aesthetic!

On With the Tutorial!

You’ll need these:
— Photoshop
— Illustrator CS2

So with that said, let’s get on with the tutorial! First you need to open up Photoshop and Illustrator, as you’ll be using both. Mostly Illustrator. So get that Pen Tool ready!