How to Become A Professional Artist with Lindsey Jo Scott
Have you had to urge to leave your full-time position and pursue your love of art full-time? Today, with the help of local artist, Lindsey Jo Scott, we explored what it means to be a professional artist and what taking the plunge involves. Here are some lessons learned from both our and her experiences that we’d like to share with you. Make sure to take the time to watch the Facebook Live chat with Lindsey Jo before you leave, as well as to follow Lindsey Jo on her official site, Facebook and Instagram.
Understand that there may not always be a clear path.
It’s romantic to think that there will come a day when you’ll know it’s time to burst out of the office and into your new creative career. But things aren’t often so cut and dry. Some artists blindly take a leap when they feel inspired, while others are much more cautious about transitioning to full-time artist. The recommend is often that you hold onto your day job until your client base is so full that it forces you to quit. The more cautious you are with your business moves and finances, the better off you will be in the long run.
mural work by http://www.lindseyjoscott.com/
And while you’re still employed full-time, take notes.
You may very well be working ten jobs, counting down the moments until you can go off on your own and “do this thing,” but until then, you have a golden opportunity. You are working for another entrepreneur / business owner, so take notes. Be mindful of how they are running their business. What is working? What is a big old disaster? If your boss or manager tasks you with some big responsibilities, take them and run with them. This is a fantastic chance to get in the trenches early and learn what it means to run a business before having full responsibility. Whatever you do, do not waste this time simply hating on your job and watching the days pass you by. Ask if you can learn about how your boss runs their metrics, how they invoice. Ask if you can sit in on the hiring process and if you can try your hand at designing some of their social media graphics. They’ll be impressed and you’ll be learning on their time. Win, win.
Reach out to other artists for support, to share resources and to mentor/to receive mentor-ship.
Once you’re out on our own, it is important that you reach out to other artists in your community for support, to give and receive resources, and to mentor or receive mentoring. Here in Cleveland, our artistic community is thriving and events pop up every other evening for artists, designers, dancers, musicians, poets, writers and more! Look out for these resources in your city on sites like Meetup.com. You can, of course, also find them online – Facebook is a great place to start.
In a pinch, as Lindsey Jo will mention below, podcasts are also a great way to find inspiration without even leaving the house. Some of favorites include:
Art + Biz type Podcasts:
Podcasts she listens to while working:
Good luck, friends! Now, let’s meet Lindsey Jo!
We are thrilled to announce that we are throwing our annual art, design and music conference, Weapons of Mass Creation Fest, at Mahall’s in Lakewood, Ohio, this year. The party goes from Friday, August 18 through Sunday, August 20th, with speakers on the main stage on Saturday and Sunday. A few cool things about our new venue:
- Doors to this historic bowling alley/concert venue opened in 1924.
- It’s got that hip, DIY Cleveland vibe you won’t to miss and is in a city ranked top 10 most exciting suburbs in the United States.
- Menu highlights include fried chicken, housemade cornbread and curry popcorn to name a few.
Even cooler are the folks that will fill our venue, including the speakers we’d like to introduce you to today. Before we start, we’d like to remind you that our new venue is pretty cozy and will fill up fast, so we encourage you to purchase your tickets now!
Jamal Collins, a Boys and Girls Club Art Instructor will be speaking about his experiences influencing the lives of the children he teaches at the club. His talk, “Design for Social Change,” will be focused on using design for social change through mentorship, promoting entrepreneurship skills, and guiding youth into becoming smart creatives.
Dustin Lee, graphic designer and founder of Retro Supply Co., was one of the first designers on Creative Market to make a full-time living of selling design goods. Dustin will take on an intimate journey of how he went from $35,000 in debt, creatively frustrated, with his first child on the way to making $125,130 in one year on Creative Market (and making a full-time living selling digital products reviewed by Productexpert every year since.)
Painter Frank Oriti‘s work has been featured in The New York Times and in London’s National Portrait Gallery. In his talk, “Work,” this outstanding artist will be discussing his career since his return to Cleveland in 2011 by highlighting the evolution of his work and also sharing some of his experiences in the art world.
Stephanie Irigoyen is a designer and media specialist hailing from Tallahassee, Florida. Founder of Design Week Tallahasse, Stephanie believes strongly in community and in building a better city for yourselves. She’ll take the stage and proclaim: “Nobody Knows What They’re Doing (And That’s Okay.)”
Laura Wimbels, a photographer known for her book, ‘Faces of Cleveland,’ is also a frequent contributor on the popular NPR storytelling show ‘The Moth.’ Having just gone through the arduous process of publishing her first book, she will have so much to share when she takes the stage for her talk, “How to Quit Your Job and Make a Book, It’s That Easy! (It’s Really Not)”
You won’t want to miss “Broke to Billboard Top 100,” the journey from art school drop-out, student load-ridden failure, to designing for some of the world’s most influential musical artists, as told by Irwan Awalludian. This inspiring speaker-to-be is a Singaporean immigrant, a former resident of Cleveland, Ohio currently based out of Atlanta, Georgia, where he provides art direction and design for major label recording artists and producers. Most notable clients include MikeWillMade-It, Rae Sremmurd, Gucci Mane, Ludacris, Wiz Khalifa and Metro Boomin.
You may recognize Marshall Shorts, award-winning entrepreneur, artist, and designer as Founder and Creative-N-Chief of Soulo Theory Creative, co-founder of Creative Control Fest and from his work throughout the creative community. This agent of change’s talk is entitled, “Manifest,” and we encourage you to be in the audience to hear his wise words.
Perspective-Collective is the studio of Scotty Russell, a freelance lettering artist, and illustrator based out of Cedar Falls, Iowa. Scotty will be closing out Saturday’s festivities with his talk, “You are Not Invisible.” This inspiring speaker and artist will be speaking to the times when we as creatives feel as if no one is paying attention to the hard work we put into the work we pour our souls into.
Naomi Schulze is a professional t-shirt slinger/designer who, due to a whirlwind of events, fell in love with the world of embroidery. Currently, Naomi owns and operates Maeke Apparel, a screen printing/embroidery shop in Campbell, California, and travels frequently with her own sports apparel sub-brand. Naomi will speak about her experiences falling in love with the apparel industry, and pass on her insights on the world of embroidery when she takes the stage.
Corey Favor is a senior graphic designer at The Ohio State University, as well as an entrepreneur and co-founder of Creative Control Fest alongside Marshall Shorts. Corey will be sharing his perspectives on the agility needed navigating life and work, and appreciating the process of building a unique and creative career when he takes the stage for his talk, “Some Assembly Required.”
Cleveland Artist Erin Guido is best known for her brilliant and colorful work around the city, as well as her contributions to the LAND Studio, where she works as a designer. Her talk is entitled, “Surprises and Nice Things in Public Spaces,” and will certainly be as bright and colorful as she is.
Lisa Lorek is a lettering artist, muralist, and designer born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio named Cleveland.com’s Top 29 Cleveland Visual Artists to Follow on Instagram. Her talk, “Forever a Work in Progress,” will cover the winding road she took to find her passion, including following multiple curiosities and saying “yes” to everything thrown at her.
The dynamic screen-printing duo Snakes and Aceys, otherwise known as Hannah Manocchio and Anthony Zart, met during an odd collision of life’s events when they combined a quarter-life crisis and the beginning of a nervous breakdown, respectively. These two will hilarious review their harrowing first year in business, the bloody details of lessons learned, provide lists on what not to do, and offer advice on starting a fantasy company in a real world with a partner who drives you batshit in their talk, “Oh No! We’re in Business…”
Sarah Yeager is a graphic designer with a focus of User Interface and User Experience Design. As an avid lover of hack-a-thons and design competitions, Sarah has won awards such as “Most Aesthetically Pleasing Design” and “Most Market Ready Product” for her work on the security wearable, EmpoweRing. We look forward to Sarah educating us on how we can all get involved in her world during her talk, “How Hackathons Built My Design Career.”
Shannon Okey is both the founder of Cleveland Bazaar, Northeast Ohio’s longest-running indie handmade show, and publisher at Cooperative Press, an independent publishing company which has published over 50 books since 2010. She’s currently serving on the board of the Independent Book Publishers Association and has given talks on niche publishing at South by Southwest as well as O’Reilly’s TOC digital publishing conference. Her talk, entitled, “Find Your Niche,” is one not to be missed.
Reina Takahashi is a paper artist and illustrator living in San Francisco. Currently, she creates cut-paper artwork at Facebook with a team of illustrators and fellow paper artists. She also uses paper to create window installations, film props, and art piece commissions outside of her full-time work. Follow along Reina’s weird path of creative side projects for the last (almost) ten years that has led her to a full-time gig as a paper artist at a giant tech company and beyond. Hear some of her lessons learned, tips acquired, and adventures in making pirate ships out of paper in her talk, “Full Time/Free Time.”
That’s it! Now grab your seats to see all of these incredible artists, designers, screenprinters, makers and more this August 18 – 20th at Mahall’s in Lakewood at this year’s Weapons of Mass Creation Fest >>
Hello current and future friends of Weapons of Mass Creation Fest,
If you have yet to hear of us, we are the premier art, design, and music conference in the Midwest. We welcome you to join us for this year’s festivities, August 18 – 20th in Lakewood, Ohio. Mahall’s, a west-side Cleveland landmark for bowling, good music, good times, and good fried chicken will be our host. If you love design, music and bowling – get ready to party with us!
If you need a little more convincing, here are some reasons we believe a design conference like ours should be in your future:
Conferences are the perfect place to meet like-minded people. While it’s often difficult to put yourself out there and attend an event, especially solo, it’s so well worth it. After all, there aren’t many opportunities to totally geek out with so many folks that love the same things you love, in one space, all at the very same time. It’s the ultimate time to bond, build friendships and find your tribe. When you come back the next year, it’s your opportunity to renew those friendships and it feels oh so nice. (*Hearts*) I’m biased, but there is something special about our own conference, Weapons of Mass Creation Fest, that brings our attendees close, quickly. Since we provide time for lunches, dinners, meet-ups and parties, there are many opportunities for folks to get to know one another on a personal level. And because the feel of the fest isn’t corporate, people let down their guards instantly. This results in friendships that have lasted since year one.
If you’re looking for feedback on your work or advice about building your business, get yourself to a design conference now! Next, attend as many of the talks, panels and workshops as you can and take notes! Attend meet-ups, hook up with fellow creatives for lunch and dinner. Head to the parties and not only talk, but truly listen. Soak up all the information you can. Don’t be afraid to raise your hand during the Q and A’s and be brave enough to ask that speaker you admire the question you’re dying to have answered.
Up Your Game
Did you just create a new poster series, start a sticker subscription service or launch a new apparel line? Attending a design conference like Weapons of Mass Creation Fest is a great way to get the visibility you’re looking for. You can do this by setting up a vendor booth, hooking each attendee up with promo items (by way of their swag bags), or simply working the room like a champ, all weekend long.
If you’re looking to be more visible as a public figure, put in the effort by showing up to as many design conferences as possible. Put yourself out there and show the design community that you’re a creative that “takes up space.” Make an effort to get to know the conference coordinator(s) and have conversations with them about possibly speaking at a future event. (In person if possible.) Show them you genuinely care about their event.
Most of us have faced some amount of burnout at some point in our careers. When you put your heart and soul into what you love to do, it seems inevitable. If you’ve experienced exhaustion as it relates to your creative career, attending a conference can help. The authentic conversations are really what have helped many of us pull through. At this year’s Weapons of Mass Creation Fest, we’ll even be holding a panel on this very topic, “How to Battle Creative Burnout.” So, there you go.
Paving Your Way
Design conferences are filled with talented, connected creatives that are more than willing to befriend you and help you become a better creative or entrepreneur. If you attend, take the time to form meaningful connections (face-to-face) and then, in turn, give back, opportunities will abound. You do, however, have to put in the work, so make sure you go in ready and willing to chat up speakers, vendors, attendees, and absolutely anyone who is willing to exchange in a conversation. In this creative environment, you never know what magic will come of it.
Kick in the Pants
Inspiration is an overused word, so we’ve decided to use “kick in the pants,” as a way to describe what Weapons of Mass Creation Fest does to us. The three days are so jam-packed with activity, friend-making, and just plain fun, that we come out on the other side a tad bit exhausted, but mostly motivated unlike ever before. We feel like we’ve gotten a big old kick in the pants to go achieve, pursue our path and ya know, dance like no one is watching.
So yeah, we’re pretty into design conferences for many reasons, which is why we started our own. We’d love to see you at Weapons of Mass Creation Fest this summer, so please make it a point to come, squeeze every ounce of content out of it and enjoy. Have any questions before you come? Please ask. Hope to see you there!
Princess Leia Fan Art
Our hearts are broken over the loss of Carrie Fisher, so today we’re honoring her in today’s Inspiration of the Day post. Please enjoy this work we found on Dribbble and Behance created by artists we admire, which honors her and the characters she played so eloquently.
Hero image, Princess Leia, by ttya on Dribbble
Album Design Inspiration
If you’re a fan of the ‘Zine, Cleveland’s best website designers, Go Media, and Weapons of Mass Creation Fest, you’ve heard the name Troy DeShano. No stranger to the design community, Strong Odors Artist and Illustrator, Troy is constantly creating, collaborating.
A few of his projects include the Old and New Project, a growing biblical art and design collection he runs with fellow artist and designer Jim Lepage, a photography project highlighting his cancer diagnosis and journey, and speaking engagements including his recent time on the Weapons of Mass Creation Fest stages.
Troy’s most recent work, a collaborative design project called FUTURALBUM, invites top international graphic designers to contribute re-imagined cover art for any album they choose. The goal of the project is to give the artists an opportunity to design something “just for fun” – a rare treat for those of us often bogged down with design work tasks.
Let’s check in with Troy, as well as some of his contributors, who will tell us a little more about this exciting project.
I’m not sure exactly what “inspired” FUTURALBUM, other than the fact that when I first discovered Flickr’s Internet Archive Book Images it blew me away.
I definitely wasn’t planning to start another personal project. The last thing I needed was one more distraction with no paycheck to show for it. But some recent soul searching had shifted my focus into music design, and here was this super cool resource I wanted to share with all my peers—so the idea just kind of grew out of that.
I had enough experience running Old & New with Jim LePage over the past few years, I knew how much time a project like that requires from both organizers and contributors. So I decided to keep it very, very simple. Invite friends, collect designs, post designs. That’s it.
I just wanted FUTURALBUM to be fun.
With constant anxiety around client approval, and growing peer pressure to always create hand-drawn lettering, illustrations or even your own fonts for every single project, I thought this could be a great outlet for a bunch of us to create something just for fun—like we did before graphic design became “work.”
I give each contributor great freedom to create the art they want. They choose the album, and can do multiple designs if they feel inspired. Some get a kick out of throwing a bunch together in an hour, while others invest major time into a single album cover design. By adding a few simple but strict “rules,” it challenges each to exercise that creative muscle in the way only possible when working with limited resources.
My favorite Milton Glaser quote: “The next time you see a sixteen-color, blind-embossed, gold-stamped, die-cut, elaborately folded and bound job, printed on handmade paper, see if it isn’t a mediocre idea trying to pass for something else”
When I set out to do a painting, I know it would be easier if I had this nice big canvas with which to begin, but I have the extreme limitation of my non-existent budget. In fact, I’m totally broke and can’t justify spending even a dollar on paint or brushes or especially canvas. So I draw from that folk-art spirit and just create the best work I can using whatever happens to be nearby.
What is really amazing, and I know most fellow creatives can attest is how those limitations naturally force me to be creative. We just sadly forget it sometimes, because we imagine eliminating the frustration with added resources will make the work easier—and therefore better.
Here’s another case where “life imitates art,” right? We imagine the benefits associated with more money, fancier phones, faster food, and less work will make life easier—and therefore better. What we’re really doing, however, is robbing ourselves of the conflict, the struggle, the wrestling that makes life interesting and fun and exciting and worth living. It’s in the act of overcoming (or struggling with others to overcome), in which we discover purpose and joy and satisfaction.
It would be a lot easier to paint on an actual canvas, but would that resource miss the inspired quality I might unearth by nailing a bunch of boards together for mine?
Of course for all this talk of the valuable impact of limitations to spur creativity, I’m a firm believer that rules are obviously made to be broken. Can’t wait to see the exciting ways the rules of FUTURALBUM are challenged by these incredible artists this year!
Check out the designs and short interviews with the designers below:
Tame Impala, Lonerism
Design by Karen Kurycki
Go Media: What inspired you to create your piece?
“I love this album by Tame Impala. Their music is defined as “Psychedelic rock” and reminds me of something you might listen to while tripping on acid in the 70s (not that I’ve experienced an acid trip in the 70s) but you can imagine what it might be like if you did. I wanted something that conveyed the idea of floating through space or a tunnel; or like the way a kaleidoscope works—with multi-colors and dimensions—so when I was searching for an image in the Flickr album I was looking for something that might reflect that idea. I stumbled upon this picture which was actually some sort of cellular/amoeba structure and thought it might work perfectly, so I combined it with some of my watercolors and multiplied the layers in Photoshop. I had a lot of fun working on it, thank you Troy for inviting me to participate!” – Karen Kurycki
Youth Lagoon, The Year of Hibernation
Design by Liz Schaeffer
Go Media: What inspired you to create your piece?
“I think the nostalgia, that listening to this album always give me, was my first source of inspiration. The album, The Year of Hibernation, totally brings me back to a winter where I was hibernating in my apartment and binging Trevor Power’s (Youth Lagoon) music.”
In what ways does music inspire you as a designer?
“I have tendency of indulging in genres of music at a time and what is most inspiring while doing so, is how an on going playlist can help me get into a flow state while I am designing, drawing, whatever the task at hand may be – it helps me lose track of time, in the best way.”
How did limitations spur creativity in this project for you?
“I actually love having limitations while designing – it is like solving a puzzle. Troy’s limitations, especially, I think prompted some really great and unexpected results, which leads me into the next question..”
What what most exciting for you in this process?
“Using Flickr’s Internet Archive Book Images was exciting for me. First, to search around through what in the collection resonated with me and my nostalgia with the album. Then, figuring out a way to manipulate these photos of concrete things (in my case, old landscape photos) into the abstract disposition that the album and winter, gives me.” – Liz Schaeffer
Flaming Lips, Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots
Design by Anne Ulku
Go Media: In what ways does music inspire you as a designer?
“Music creates a visual language in my mind. When listening, I imagine abstract graphics, colors, or patterns that might associated with the sounds or story of the lyrics. Music is a way to stretch my imagination as a designer. Even if the design may not be fully executed, listening is still a good creative exercise.” – Anne Ulku
Ellie Goulding, Bright Lights
Design by Christine Gerhart
Go Media: How did limitations spur creativity in this project for you?
“The limitation of this project pushed me to strip away all that was unnecessary and get to the essence of what I felt the album was about. It was harder than I expected, but once I finished once design, I couldn’t wait to do another one.” – Christine Gerhart
Radiohead, In Rainbows
Design by Margot Harrington
Go Media: What inspired you to create the piece?
“I actually got stuck on the idea of Radiohead being such a mecca for designers, like it was an obvious choice. BUT. The title “In Rainbows” immediately felt like it could be all sorts of images, and I was excited to play with something colorful like a rainbow, so that’s why I decided to work with this album in the end.” – Margot Harrington
Gregory Alan Isakov, Songs for October
Design by Nick Evans
Go Media: What inspired you to create your piece?
I have such a wide scope of music taste that it was hard to really nail down an album cover that I wanted to refresh with my design. So what I did was cycle through my Spotify list and found some artist that I have been listening to for a while and looked at their artwork and was like, “Hey, this could look a little better if we went with this.” One of the things about this project was that there were two things that were required, using the photos from the Flickr album and the font Futura, which is one of my all time favorites. So with that in mind it was a matter of finding those images that I thought could go together and really go great with the album of choice. It took a while to search through the site, but I landed on a couple that I knew in my mind that they would work. I put the album on and started putting it together. The music really helped in the process as well, especially in the coloring.
Go Media: In what ways does music inspire you as a designer?
Music does a LOT for me when I design. It really sets the mood and pace of my creative runs. Like I said I have a wide range of taste of music and so it really kind of depends on what mood I am in. Right now I am in a rock funk, so its a lot of hard hitting stuff, and that really gets the juices flowing. I would say it’s a big part, because there is not a time that I am not doing work and not listening to tunes. Its not cool not having music playing…just not right.
Go Media: How did limitations spur creativity in this project for you?
I think it really helped narrow the focus a TON. Not saying that I don’t like creating something new, but with this one, it harked back to one of my favorite design “genres” of using classic or old artwork. Growing up and becoming a designer I always enjoy seeing how other designers used classic photos and images with album art or ads, or whatever. So this was like a dream project for me. I embraced everything about this project’s limitations.
Go Media: What was most exciting for you in this process?
I think it was being a part of a community of designers that I look up to or envy and see my work next to theirs. You have to respect those who inspire you. It made my day when I had some fellow designers recommend me for the project, I couldn’t thank them enough for doing that. So I just am so honored to be on this page. I have always wanted to participate in a community design project, so this has been an EPIC experience. I also really loved the part when they tweeted out the link and said that the artwork was up on the site. I was like, YES, and the other great thing that they are doing is including the artist of the album as well. Very sweet! I think that is great of them to do that, might lead to other opportunities for the artist to maybe get noticed or be able to do some work. Two fold.
Killer Mike, R.A.P. Music
Design by David Sizemore
Go Media: What inspired you to create your piece?
“My inspiration was primarily informed by the volume of visual assets I needed to acquire. Because I wanted to do more than just a cover, I needed a series of images that would compliment each other.”
In what ways does music inspire you as a designer?
“I normally can’t listen to albums I’m not extremely familiar with unless I’m doing rote production work. I only have a dozen albums I “design to,” augmented by songs I’ll listen to on repeat for hours. So when music inspires me, it happens distinctly away from the design process. I like it that way.”
How did limitations spur creativity in this project for you?
“Limitations are great. When you don’t have to consider your typeface, you can focus on layout and composition. I was able to find base images and produce all my pieces in just a couple hours because the boundaries honed and expedited the process.”
What was most exciting for you in this process?
“Freedom from client input combined with a clear brief excited me. It was an exercise, and exercises can be very rewarding when approached with the right mindset.” – David Sizemore
Rancid, ...And Out Come the Wolves
Design by Alex Griendling (alexlikesdesign)
Go Media: What what most exciting for you in this process?
“The most exciting aspect was Troy allowing me to make three separate covers for Rancid’s “…And Out Come the Wolves”. I enjoyed making my first cover so much and thought it’d be an interesting challenge to make two additional versions, much as you would with any design project. It’s great that Troy designed Futuralbum to have a minimal amount of requirements, allowing designers the room to bring their own ideas to the project.” – Alex Griendling
How to Design the Perfect Rock and Roll T-Shirt
When creating a rock and roll tee, nothing comes to mind more than a perfectly illustrated, bad ass skull and crossbones with snakes and chains thrown in for good measure. Am I right or am I right?
Get ready to craft up your own original masterpiece with a little help from Marketplace Artist, Steve Knerem, rock and roll tee expert. Steve has created this, the Skull and Snake T-Shirt Design Pack to help in your process. The possibilities are endless with this pack!
- All 10 Illustrations including snakes, a skull, angel wings, illuminati eye, flower, brass knuckles, chains, horse head, and more.
- the Original .AI file of this design
- Men’s Triblend Ghosted mockup template
As a bonus, we throw in a sample of Jeff Finley’s popular eBook, Thread’s Not Dead, the Designer’s Guide to the Apparel Industry.
Use the elements in the skull and snake t-shirt design pack in Adobe Illustrator to create your own unique work of art.
You can either use this design as-is without changing a thing or mix and match. We recommend using the detailed snakes, skull and wings to create brand new designs.
Here’s what you get:
Now go off and create something great!
Here at Go Media, we’re passionate about all aspects of design: web, print, branding and illustration. Some may say we have too much fun, but we’d disagree. It’s just that we believe it’s really important to love what you do. Recently, we were tasked with yet another awesome project – packaging design for Dirty Energy, a brand new energy bar packed with all sorts of goodness. We enjoyed building upon its core theme, “built from the ground up,” incorporating earthiness into our design. We’ve been collecting packaging design inspiration for our next design – and thought we’d share with you. Enjoy!
Packaging Design Inspiration
Click on the image for its source
Tips for Comic Book Designers
Dei G of Deisign is a master of comic design. A provider of unique character and creature designs for the entertainment industry, as well as a generator of character driven covers and promotional illustrations, Dei has won numerous awards and has produced work for Paramount Pictures, Stone Circles Pictures and ToonBox Entertainment, to name a few.
His work is captivating, his characters jumping off the page with a refreshing sense of life, movement and vitality.
Just how does Dei animate his illustrations so exceptionally? Here are some of his pro tips for comic book style graphic design:
Designing Creatures & Characters
Move beyond emotion.
It is not so much about “the best way to depict emotion” but about the best way to emote. What I mean is that the goal shouldn’t be to draw great facial expressions that are identifiable, but believable and relatable ones. To achieve this, I try to abstract myself from the fact that I’m just drawing lines on a piece of paper, and believe that I am in fact revealing a character that was already there, who is genuinely alive in its own little universe and therefore, has got real emotions that I need to stay true to. Ideally, when looking back at the character, you wouldn’t go “boy, that’s a good sadness expression!”; you should say “boy, this character is heartbroken”. In fact, another thing that helps is to be precise with the vocabulary of emotions you are looking to express. Never go for generic emotions like sadness, happiness or fear. Instead, think in terms of specific shades of emotion, like feeling melancholic, bitter, defeated, thrilled, glad, anxious, terrified, etc. When you do all of the above, it becomes a matter of drawing with emotion (I frown, grunt and smile at my drawing table all the time) and asking yourself if you can truly empathize with the character’s expression you just drew. Drawing great expressions is not so much an exercise of draftsmanship, but an exercise of emotional honesty.
Evoke a sense of movement and life.
My background in Animation taught me that every pose and every drawing is not an isolated instance in time. Every drawing is coming from somewhere and going somewhere too, like a single frame from a film sequence. To evoke that sense of life, motion and emotion in drawing, one should be mindful of what precedes and follows the instance that is being depicted, both physically and emotionally. Additionally, a good base of anatomy and life drawing can’t hurt. Being aware of these things helps inform the drawing choices and ultimately increases that sense of dynamism and life in the illustrations.
Mind your composition.
I don’t use any actual grid systems when creating cover illustrations or character designs, but I am very mindful about composition, which does have some inherent guidelines. One example could be the famous rule of thirds: This particular rule states that when the canvas is divided in three equal vertical and horizontal segments, the top left and bottom right line intersections (and vice versa) are thought to be the most restful and comfortable for the human eye to settle on. However, one may also choose to set the focus at the very center of the page for a striking effect, etc. Composition is a very powerful tool that’s worth learning about and the possibilities it offers are endless. The only general recommendation I could give when it comes to planning the composition of a drawing, is to strive for clarity and to know beforehand which is going to be the focal point of the image.
Know your Focal Point.
As a character oriented illustrator and character designer, the focus in my illustrations is usually on the character, but it could be any element in a composition. What’s important is to know what that focal point is (could be one or multiple) and to use the background and other compositional elements to direct the viewers attention to it. This doesn’t necessarily mean keeping the background plain, but using it to compliment the main element of the composition. This can be achieved through subtle directional lines/elements, but also through contrast in tone, color and detail.
Lastly, Dei reminds, always be prepared when inspiration strikes.
“For my professional work, for efficiency’s sake I usually use Photoshop all the way from initial sketch to final color. However, I always bring a sketchbook with me to doodle and sketch out ideas. Nothing beats the feeling of pencil on paper.”
Life as a designer can be completely overwhelming. With projects constantly coming through, work piles up and never-ending revisions make for long days and late nights. It isn’t like we’re not completely thankful, but let’s be honest:
Sometimes we just need a break.
Thankfully, we know of a little shortcut sent from heaven. This shortcut cuts precious hours, saves us money and basically makes us look like rock stars.
Introducing the t-shirt design pack.
This little gem of a product is a designer’s dream. Why? It includes everything you need to design a great customized t-shirt in no time flat:
- All of the vector illustrations (no need to create your own!) by the amazing OK Pants (otherwise known as Aaron Sechrist)
- All original .AI files (including 4 color variations masterfully chosen for you)
- A tri-blend ghosted t-shirt mockup .PSD (professionally present your artwork)
And looky here you even get:
- A free chapter of our popular ebook Drawn to Business by William Beachy
How do you start saving your own sanity?
Just click here:
Go Media Approved
Here at Go Media, we’re custom template creating machines.
Disclaimer: Creating these nicely organized and layered files is far from easy for that matter, even for us after all these years. So sit with us and stay awhile. We want to make sure we do this the Go Media way.
Follow along with me as I create this custom hamster jumpsuit template, from high resolution photograph, to clean and crisp PSD file.
A white/neutral background: This will make tracing the garment much easier.
Red Garments: Red is a great middle value color, which means it shows relatively equal amounts of shadows and highlights. * If you’re not shooting a red garment make sure there is enough contrast between shadows and highlights. In the end, we’ll want to be able to change the garment’s color while keeping it’s natural look.
Sharpness of Image: Sharper images will contain more pixel information. This is crucial editing shadows and highlights.
Duplicate your background.
This is the layer that you’ll be working on. Right click on your background layer to duplicate it then double click to rename that new layer. Once you’ve done this, hide your original background layer.
This will save you time later. Clone tool out any unwanted fuzz, spots, creases, or tags.
Using the pen tool “Paths”, trace just inside the edge of the garment to ensure that you’re not including part of the background. Tracing every detail/fold in fabric will keep it from looking stiff. This is one of the most important steps, and it can take some time. Be patient.
Once you have traced a garment, it will automatically be saved in your “Paths” palette as a “Work Path” – double click to rename it to something more specific. this will allow you to add more paths to the garment later.
Right click on your path and “Make Selection” (click OK on the dialog box that opens). I’m a firm believer in keeping as much of the original photo in tact as possible. To do this I use “Layer Masks”. Ultimately it will make your file size larger, but will save headaches if you need to change something later.
Now that you have your garment selected, go back to your layers palette and click the layer mask button at the bottom of your layers palette to isolate it. If you ever need to show or hide parts of this garment you can do so in the mask layer without actually deleting any pixels. Add a solid color background to be sure you didn’t miss anything. I usually stick with a middle value gray.
Shadows & Highlights Setup
Duplicate the garment layer twice. These will act as your shadows and highlights. Rename the layers accordingly “GarmentName – Shadows” and “GarmentName – Highlights” It’s good to get in the habit of organizing your layers. At this point I’ll create a main Garment folder, in this case “Jacket” as well as “Shadow” and “Highlights” folders.
After that, move the layers into their respective folders. Select the Shadows layer and change its blending mode to Linear Burn. This will set your shadows to show a good amount of contrast and vibrancy.
Adding Hue & Curves Adjustment Layers
At the bottom of your layers palette, click on the black and white circle to add a Hue & Saturation adjustment layer. Change the Saturation to “-100”.
Add a Curves adjustment layer above that.
Currently these adjustment layers affect the entire document. We will need to make them only affect the shadow/highlight layer they’re above by creating a clipping mask. Hold shift to select both the Curves and Hue adjustment layers then right click and “Create Clipping Mask”. You’ll see two arrows appear next to the adjustment layers to indicate that they’ve been clipped into the layer below.
Next, move onto your Highlights Layer and change its blending mode to “Screen”. This will knockout the shadows of the garment and allow you to focus on the amount of highlights that are visible
Repeat steps 4-6 to create the Hue and Curves adjustments for your Highlights Layer.
One of great uses a mockup template is the ability to change the color of the garment. These next steps will ensure that shadows and highlights are consistent no matter what color you apply.
Our next step is to add a White color adjustment layer and clip it into the original garment layer. (you can also apply a color overlay blending mode to get the same result)
*Photoshop automatically adds a mask to that layer – this will come in handy should you need multi-colored sections.
Make sure your Highlights folder is hidden then move onto the Curves adjustment layer that is clipped into the Garment-Shadows layer.
On the left side of the Curves palette, click the button with the exclamation point to get a more accurate view of the histogram. This will show you the brightness values of the image.
Plot points around the three highest values in an arch as shown. From there you can adjust each point to optimize the amount of shadows will appear. Shadows will become lighter the further away from the brightness values you are. If the points are plotted too far away, you run the risk of the shadows looking pixelated and blown out.
*Every garment’s brightness values will be different, but this arch will serve as a general guide to plotting points.
Once you have the shadows to a place that looks natural, hide your Shadows folder and add a Black color adjustment above the White layer. The same rules apply to editing the curves of the highlights only they’re opposite of the shadows.
Once your shadows and highlights are set up correctly, any color you apply to your base garment layer will look natural.
*If the amount of layers you have is overwhelming and you’re confident with the shadows/highlights you have set – you can always select the Curves, Hue, and Garment layer – right click and merge those layers.
If you’re looking to customize a whole outfit just repeat all these steps for each garment and you could create your very own hamster jumpsuit.
-or clip your artwork into the base garment layer to make some wicked snowboard gear!
Hard work, huh?
Pick your pleasure
Shirt Mockup is a free tool used to realistically mockup your designs on tees. The Pro Version is available, offering you a larger variety of t-shirt templates. It’s super easy. Upload your art, receive a jpeg snapshot of your design. Try it free for 7 days!
Mockup Everything, similar to Shirt Mockup, provides designers with an easy-to-use platform for applying graphic designs to a growing variety of print products in multiple categories including technology, apparel, print, outdoor and food & beverage. Also like Shirt Mockup, both free and Pro versions are available. Mockup Everything is similarly super easy to use and designers receive jpeg snapshots of their designs. Try the Pro version free for 7 days!
Want the very best in Mockup Templates, wrapped up in neat and clean Photoshop files just like you saw Aaron create above? Look no further than the Arsenal. Our Mockup Template packs come in all varieties, from tees to hoodies, posters to tanks and more.
Well hello again.
You all know how obsessed I am with freebies by now.
Nothing like a delicious download that costs nada, am I right or am I right?
Hold up Go Media faithful!
Let’s be honest. There’s a time and a place for everything, so having said that, a couple of things:
1. Use at your own discretion and follow the permissions set by your fellow artists. Give credit where credit is due.
2. If you want high quality textures guaranteed to make you drool, stop here. Go directly to the Arsenal.
Here you can grab texture packs like these (including some by yours truly thank-you-very-much)
I mean, come on.
Okay, okay. Enough about me.
Onto the finds!
Texture 89 by Sisterslaughter on Deviant Art
Grungy Square by Mercurycode on Deviant Art
Golden Rusty Bits by Mercury Code on Deviant Art
Blue Grunge by Mercurycode on Deviant Art
Splatters by Kikariz-Stock on Deviant Art
Leaf Texture by Kikariz-Stock on Deviant Art
Rust Texture XIX by Mercury Code on Deviant Art
Texture 64 by Sister Slaughter on Deviant Art
00741 by Glass Through Skin on Deviant Art
Coffee Texture by Kikariz-Stock on Deviant Art
Wood Texture by Kikariz-Stock on Deviant Art
Wood 3 by Photoshop Stock on Deviant Art
Glass Texture by Alecca on Deviant Art
Moss on Stone II by Rockgem on Deviant Art
Psychedelic Stained Paper Texture (1 of 12) on Lost and Taken
5 Colored Grunge Textures from our friends at Lost and Taken
Texture 2 by Dirk Wüstenhagen on Flickr
Wooden Boards (1 of 5) from Stock Vault
Color Wall Texture 03 by Limited Vision Stock on Deviant Art
Old Paint 10 by Limited Vision Stock on Deviant Art
Cracks 09 by Limited Stock Vision on Deviant Art
Handstained Paper (1 of 18) on Lost and Taken
Wallpaper Decay 5 by Jay Hilgert on Flickr
Rubber 4 by en11 on Deviant Art
Glass Texture on Texture King
Concrete Texture on Texture King
Blue Wave by GreenEyezz on Deviant Art
Texture by Mat Textureonline on Flickr
Texture by Mat Textureonline on Flickr
Rust 6 by Caleb Kimbrough on Zen Textures
Fabric by Caleb Kimbrough on Zen Textures
Unaciertamirada texture 87 by Luis Mariano González on Flickr
Texture 266 by Sirius-sdz on Deviant Art
Texture 264 by Sirius-sdz on Deviant Art
Distressed Wall Texture 6 by Design Instruct
Gary Texture by The Shutterbug Eye on Flickr
Old Film from Bitbox
Paint Splatters from Bitbox
Peeling Paint (multiple!) on Design Beep
Concrete 008 by Robert Scott on Flickr
Childcare on Textures of Italy
Free Metal Texture (Rust) from Texturez
Rock texture by bstocked on Deviant Art
Brick and paint texture by super chicken stock on Deviant Art
Rust by SuziArt on Deviant Art
Rust Stains by Bea-Voyager on Deviant Art
Big Water Drops on Metal on Mayang.com
Green cracks texture by Dirk Wüstenhagen on Flickr
Texture wt2 by Angela Wolf on Flickr
Texture by David Gunter on Flickr
Texture by Steve ..”Puppy Eyes” hits… on Flickr
Origami Paper 36 by Alexabexis on Deviant Art
Head to Arsenal awesomeness…
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A These Are Things Tutorial:
Flip through your favorite newspaper or magazine and you’re bound to find a lot more than just words on a page. Alongside many articles, you’ll find art that helps to illuminate key concepts from the text. These pieces are called editorial illustrations.
From tiny spot illustrations to multiple page spreads, these informative works of art are sprinkled throughout each issue. Political cartoons are a classic example of editorial illustrations, but today’s publications use the work of contemporary artists to visually interpret a wide range of topics.
As editorial illustrators, our job is to create an engaging visual that both supports and explains the accompanying text copy. A successful piece carefully balances the art director’s vision with our own ideas, all while clearly communicating the article’s core idea to the reader.
These projects an exercise in creative problem solving. From the super-quick turnaround to the varied subject matter, each assignment is a new visual puzzle for us to solve.
Today, we’re going show you how we created an editorial illustration for Southwest Airlines’ in-flight magazine, Spirit. We’ll walk you through the entire illustration process, from our first client conversation to seeing our work in print.
Ready? Let’s get started!
1. Discussion & Research
Each editorial illustration is a collaboration between the client and the artist, so the first step of every project is to have a conference with the magazine’s art director.
First, we discuss the topic of the piece. We’ll be creating art to accompany an article about four business tips. We’re given a preliminary page layout along with rough copy to refer to during the design process.
Next, we talk about the creative direction of the piece. After conferencing with the art director, we’re given some specific guidelines. The piece will consist of four individual illustrations, each mirroring the tall, elongated shape of the four existing columns on the page. The art director also has a fun idea: to model each individual illustration after a classic motivational poster, like these. This information, along with the article itself, gives us a great starting point as we begin the process.
2. Initial Sketch
It’s time to start drawing! Since the “motivational poster” concept for this piece is already set, our goal is to come up with one solid sketch to present to the client. For projects that are more open-ended, we’ll usually come up with 3-5 different concepts during the sketch phase.
Working with the actual page layout as our guide, we use a Cintiq 13HD pen display to start laying down rough ideas for each component of the illustration in Adobe Photoshop. Using a pen display allows us to work directly inside the page layout, ensuring that our sketches are drawn at the correct size and proportion. For a more budget-friendly option, simply print the page layout on paper and use it as a template with tracing paper.
After working through a number of ideas for each individual poster, we land on this sketch as our initial concept. Each poster visually depicts the concepts of teamwork, innovation, preparation, and fairness. The article talks about the benefits and disadvantages of each business concept, so each poster will show an example of the idea both working and not working.
3. Revised Sketch
Before submitting the sketch to our client, we sit down and review our work. At this stage, our primary goal is to create a piece that is both visually and conceptually strong.
During our internal review, we notice that two of the four “poster” concepts involve hands. We like that the hands introduce a human element without showing a face. Incorporating hands into all four posters also creates continuity throughout the entire piece.
We revise the drawing to reflect our new and improved concept. Each poster now feels more similar in complexity and is visually easier to read. Once we’re happy with the sketch, we paint in a few layers of gray to explore the value structure of the piece and help the client envision the final piece.
4. Client Feedback & Revisions
Next, we send our sketch off to the client for review. The feedback is positive. We’re on the right track! The magazine’s art director has a suggestion for the first poster. Instead of drawing pointing fingers, what if we create a network of intertwining handshakes to represent the benefits (and pitfalls) of teamwork? We love the idea, so we hit the drawing board to create a new sketch for the first poster before we move on to the linework stage.
Once the revised sketch is approved, it’s time to turn our rough drawing into a finished illustration. Using the sketch as a guide, we begin to draw individual elements in Adobe Illustrator. Using many of the standard shape tools coupled with the Pathfinder palette and pen tool, we begin crafting geometric hands, lightbulbs, and other items.
Where our sketching process is fluid and loose, the linework stage is methodical and meticulous. It’s a balancing act of capturing the energy of the initial sketch while cleaning it up for it’s final form.
With the linework completed, we begin to add color. In this case, the client had a rough color palette to work with, so we jumped right in and started applying color. With other projects, choosing colors is up to us, so we’ll typically do a few exploratory color studies before deciding on a final color scheme.
You’ll notice that some of the design elements changed at this stage. When we start working with color, we almost always find a few things that can be improved upon from our first pass at the linework. In this case, we changed the positioning of the lightbulb hands, added some editing marks to the papers, and drew some fun trophies to go with the medals.
After the color is finished and we’ve made our final tweaks to the design, we jump into Photoshop to add our signature texture treatment. This final step adds dimension, contrast, and interest to the flat vector artwork.
To bring our vector art in from Illustrator, we copy and paste major element groups into a new Photoshop document as Smart Objects. Next, we use various selection tools to isolate individual colors. Finally, we use a dissolve brush, multiplied layers, and our Cintiq pen display to paint in areas of shaded color.
Here’s a before and after view of our texture treatment. The effect is subtle, but goes a long way towards making the piece feel finished.
8. Submit & Wait
With the texture treatment complete, we export a high-resolution version from Photoshop and send it off to the magazine, where they’ll drop it into the page layout along with the final text copy.
Now comes the hard part: waiting! Editorial deadlines tend to be a few months in advance of the publication date, so it’ll be a while before we get to see our masterpiece in print. Eventually, when the day comes, we run to our favorite bookstore, crack open that new issue, and see our work right there on the page. There’s nothing quite like it!
Editors note: If you haven’t yet, we highly suggest you watch their highly acclaimed talk from WMC Fest!
More These Are Things | Shop | Blog | Facebook | Twitter | These Are Things Instagram | Jen’s Instagram | Omar’s Instagram
On the GoMediaZine:
WMC Fest 4 Speaker Videos Release
An Interview with Jen Adrion & Omar Noory of These Are Things
Episode 9: Myths of Owning Your Own Design Firm plus an Interview with These Are Things
Inspired by Music
I do a lot of website design work, but I often find that looking at different mediums can help to fuel my creativity a bit further. I find that looking at product packaging design, physical print design and posters can all help to improve how I look at and work on design for the web, and helps me to come at design decisions from a different angle. Album artwork is one of my favourite things to look at when I need to give my creativity a boost. There are so many different design directions that you can go in when crafting an album cover that it’s refreshing to see how different artists have done it.
I’ve collected some of my favourite examples of stunning, unusual and interesting album artwork to help get you inspired too. Some of these pieces are genuine covers, while others are fan made reimaginings – but in each case they’ve been designed with great care and attention, and each one has been designed to suit the mood and theme of the music.
Have you found any examples of creative, inspiring and interesting album artwork that you’d like to share? Let us know what you’ve found in the comments!
We slept with “How to Draw Comics The Marvel Way” underneath our pillows.
We’re responsible for 41,052 of these 141,053 some YouTube views.
Needless to say, we love comics. They’re a part of who we are as illustrators here at Go Media.
We have a habit of collecting comic book illustrations that will inspire our own future work.
On our Pinterest board, you’ll find a whole board dedicated to these illustrations. Follow us!
We’ve also published a couple of posts about this very subject:
Comic Book Style Graphic Design by William Beachy
Some Like It Dirty: Comic Book Inking and Coloring Tutorial by Alex Singleton
Now onto the Show!
Need a hand crafting some superheroes for your own designs?
Our Superheroes Vector Pack is available now on the Arsenal!
Superheroes is the skilled handiwork of master illustrator William Beachy & includes 10 easily customizable superhero templates in dynamic, foreshortened poses, plus 24 speech bubbles. Add your own costumes or use them just the way they are!
Jon Burgerman is not just an everyday artist. Armed with Amsterdam paints, Posca pens and Sharpies, Jon can be found at the spot where art and improvisation collide. On any given day, you can find Burgerman on the streets of New York City, doodling, drawing and delighting in art and life. Recent works including Hot Girls and Hot Dogs, Tumblr Girls, and I Want To Eat Myself illustrate a sense of humor and talent as sprawling as his imagination.
I chatted with Burgerman, of whom I am a huge fan, about life, craft and the adventure of art.
Comfort Kills Creativity
Burgerman recalls with fond memories his studies of Fine Art at University, where he was encouraged to create without limitation. Experimenting with different forms of media, Burgerman integrated performance based art into his vocabulary.
“When I graduated, laden with debt and little idea what I was going to do with my life, I started making a variety of work which had to be quick to make and cheap. Some of this work was performance based. As my art career started to pick up I dropped out of working with my friends on events and performances. I’ve always liked the immediacy of live work and it’s something I’ve retained through-out my career. I consider my murals and drawings live works and performances even if there’s not an audience around to see them. The artwork being a documentation of the creative act.”
“Recently, for a few years with my band Anxieteam and some works I’ve done on my own, I’ve purposely put live action and intervention into my practice. Live work, be it a performance, a mural, a talk, a workshop or a gig all require some degree of improvisation and fast reflexes, the great and awful thing about the ‘moment’, is not knowing what might happen next. This is equally good and bad for the performer and audience and invites a special degree of excitement to the event.
I think the live works sharpen these responses and and keep me ‘creatively fit’.”
Comfort is the killer of creativity!
Live works invite participation (although it can be unwelcome participation at times) and that connection can be really interesting. You can never really predict what people will come out with, and that can be an adventure all of its own. Comfort is the killer of creativity!”
“If I’m not having fun overall with a project, the project will no doubt suffer as a result. I can’t help that, it just shows in the work. When I’m inspired and have great energy the work benefits. I’m in a super lucky position where my work, my job is fun. I’m in that position because I tried as hard as I could to make it happen. There’s plenty of room for improvement, of course, but I want to have fun and live a fun life, as much is possible.”
“Play is a bit of a gamble. When you play you’re not 100% certain of the outcome. There’s parameters you have to go up against to achieve whatever it is you want to achieve, it could be a defined goal or just the act of playing. I have this in my work. When I draw there’s a number of limitations such as paper size, pen, ink, time, surface etc. I then do everything I can to achieve my invented goal. During the act of play obstacles may arise or unpredicted ‘ferret events’ may occur. Maybe you spill your paint, or someone calls your phone and interrupts you. Perhaps you run out of a certain colour, maybe you smudge a line, or the paper reacts to the ink in a certain way… Who knows, often it’s pretty subtle things, but they all influence the work, and you adapt and navigate around them. The game starts to change as you play it. I like playing, there’s no guarantee of a particular outcome, there’s always the chance of surprises and disappointments.”
Passion and play hasn’t come about easily, Burgerman admits. As with any career, there come challenges.
Don’t become an artist to earn money.
“The competition to be successful in the arts is really tough. You face many years without any sort of guaranteed income. And even if you get some sort of critical acclaim that doesn’t mean you’ll be financially any better off. So one hurdle is paying your way. Don’t become an artist to earn money.”
“It can be tough carrying on when you feel like you’re not advancing. I feel this all the time but the only solution is to keep going. You become stronger because of it. You have to push yourself. It’s exactly like exercising. Each time you have to go a little further or lift a little more weight to eventually push on to the next level.”
The reward for pushing is the way Burgerman feels every time pen or brush touches paper.
How does it feel, I asked? Burgerman answers quite vividly.
“The great Kurt Vonnegut wrote in a forward of one of his books that when he went swimming he felt beautiful, as opposed to when he was going about his day to day life. I think when I’m drawing and completely submerged within that process I feel weightless and transparent and happy. I cease to be a body, flesh and blood and grease and kneecaps, I feel like a lovely perfume emanating above a flower bed.”
Now that, my friends, is an adventure.
Jon’s Burgerman shares: Supplies I Use
Amsterdam paints – I use these for quick, fast painting and even have used them on walls and the pavement in Manhattan.
Edding – I like these little pens, perfect for stowing away in your pockets for drawings on the go.
Krink – Krink go on anything, leaving a heavy, thick, gooey trail where-ever they go. These are great, a bit stinky and come from Brooklyn.
Sharpie and Pilot felt pen – These are my go-to pens for drawing in my sketchbook. Nothing is better than writing with a fresh felt pen on a blank page. The sketchbook is the place where all my ideas are born.
Posca – It can be hard to find Posca pens in America, I shipped a whole box of them over with me from Europe when I moved here. The colours are flat and solid. I use Poscas in a lot of my work, including my project Tumblr Girls
I sketch in Muji plain paper sketchbooks and have done so for over 12 years now.