I'm Hardly Danny Gregory or Tommy Kane...

Here are my first postable sketches rendered from my newly found inspiration to sketch again! My office is boring, so I turned to drawing images I saw on cuteoverload.com - Danny Gregory had mentioned that sometimes he will pause his Television and draw what is on-screen so, drawing from a photograph is the same idea...

I've also included the images from cuteoverload.com that inspired my drawings.

Click on the sketch to see the full-size image.

2007 HOW Conference - ATL

HOWies at the Georgia Aquarium Party.
Back: (R-L) Nick (N2), Steph (Delineate), ME!
Middle:Prax (PlushCadillac), Elke (Geegirl), Karma (KSavage), Wendy
Front: Steve (SAW), Patti (Pad Thai), and RJ (LadyLuck)

The School of Hard Knocks - Armin Vit

Armin Vit, designer at Pentagram in NY and design blog guru, focused his session on what he calls the "unglamourous side" of graphic design. The first point made was that we should all realize that we aren't really that good. Of course, this was said in the best of humors, but all joking aside, I think this is a great attitude - an attitude that reflect the fact that no matter what, we always have something new to learn in this industry, and that we can always improve ourselves.

One of the things I enjoyed about Armin's presentation is how he demonstrated that we ALL have hits and misses - even if we work for a high profile firm like Pentagram. Armin presented 10 years worth of logo concepting and commented on the various stages and holdbacks in those phases of development. It was very funny and insightful to see what other designers go through to get to the right concept at the end. He also talked about the fact that most of the files on your computer are "trash" - stuff that never got used. However, sometimes you can go back to those ideas and recycle parts of them for new concepts.

You can read more about Armin's presentation and see some of these logos on Speak Up.
100 Unused Logos and What they Reveal about my Design Inclinations

Other Resources:
Under Consideration
Speak Up
Brand New
The Design Encyclopedia

2007 HOW Conference- ATL

I'm not sure who's camera this came from, but this is a blurry group of HOWies
in the Hyatt lobby. (L-R) Nick (N2), Steve (SAW), Elke (G-girl), Patti (Pad Thai),
Mary (ME!), and Steph (Delineate).

TOAST: How to Make Burnout Delicious

Kevin McConky of Grip Design talked about productivity in the face of burnout. For past conference goers, you may recognize some of Grip's work - they designed the spiffy little 2-way guidebook for the 2005 Chicago HOW conference.

One of the key points to Kevin's presentation : As designers, we need to stop being the "makers of things" and start being the "thinkers of things". Fortunately, I do get the opportunity to be a "thinker of things" as well as a "maker of things". Even in my University setting, we have occasions when a client says they need a brochure and we can then turn around and say "Well, maybe what you really need is a _______. Let us show you how doing something different will help you stand out". Those are the best jobs to design.

Another point Kevin made was "Creativity is not a well...it's an ecosystem". Well's dry up while ecosystems branch out and adapt. As designers, we need to use all the resources at our disposal - our surroundings and each other - for inspiration.

Something that Kevin said helps him keep up with the pace and manage is to list everything. Kevin talked about making lists that prioritize not only job-related tasks, but life-related tasks so that you make sure work doesn't take over your life. If you make sure you cover some of the "fun things" on your list as well as your work related items, you'll reduce the chances of burn out and give yourself the mental breaks you need to maintain a level of productivity.

The last point, of many, that I will mention is "Under promise and over deliver". In his session, he didn't delve too deeply into this topic, but I think we all know the power of this small step in dealing with clients. In my opinion we should take this same attitude with ourselves. Each time we set out to design something, make sure we give 150%! In the end, maybe we surprise ourselves with how much we deliver!

Up next: Armin Vit's School of Hard Knocks

2007 HOW Conference - Atlanta

I just got back from yet another amazing HOW conference! I have had lots & lots of fun meeting up with all my design friends. It is an amazing feeling to be surrounded by over 3,000 designers, and still seeing friends you know around each corner. LOVE MY HOWIES! :) Now that I am back, I thought I would blog each day about something interesting from my sessions.

The Drawing Habit - Danny Gregory

Danny Gregory really inspired me to draw more efficiently! One of his main points was that quantity is more important than quality. I find that my day-to-day doodles and sketches are things that are in my head when what I really need to do is focus on drawing what I see. Gregory's advice is to draw what you see, exactly how you see it. The more you practice the better off you'll be. Instead of a pencil, he encourages us to use a pen because he says we'll find that it forces us to slow the process of sketching down and makes us commit to a shape.

Gregory also mentioned the idea of "sketch crawls". We've all heard of "pub crawls", but he twists that notion into the artistic by gathering a group of friends to wander around sketching interesting places or things. He shared his tips for portable gear that allows him to have all the sketching things he needs at his disposal only in compact miniature form! His mini watercolor tin and aquabrush pens were awesome!

By trade, Gregory is actually a copywriter and his sketch books are journalistic in style. He has the most amazing handwritten illustrative journals! I have already ordered myself some aqua brush pens and I would love to get together a "sketch crawl" in ATL with some of the Atlanta HOWies as soon as we can!

Illustration Friday artist interview
Patti's Notes from the session
Niji Waterbrush
Waterbrush Fan
Elizabeth Perry's Sketching Materials

Illustration Friday - Suit

I may have posted this one before, but this is a little something I was once going to use for the HOWiezine "Naked", but decided to go another route. I am still really fond of the way this came out and always thought it would be fun to turn into a little birthday notecard or something.

Use Your Inside Voice


Check out this new blog about manners by fellow designer, Randy "Ranman" Hill. He recently asked if he could share my "Potty Talk" rant on his site! Check it out!

Pensacola Beach

I can't even find the words to explain how painfully busy I have been the last month or so. Mostly, I've been busy working. When I'm not working, I'm busy trying to have a life and forcing myself to relax. Even that has become a chore.

Part of my forced relaxation was the beach. We went to the beach two weekends in a row! We did a quick trip, but we have had a BLAST! We left friday night, got up the next morning and went to the beach around 10am, left around 3 or 4 to get some seafood before driving home. It has really been fun! I feel alive again, even if it is rushed it makes the weekend last longer.
Image courtesy of coastalrealestatepros.com

Both weekends we went to Pensacola Beach. Memorial day weekend was PACKED. Little did we know that it was unofficially gay-pride weekend, so on top of regular beach-goers, there was a "special event" people were gathering for. It was still fun. We got our little spot on the beach, everyone was friendly, and all was well except for a few white speedos we could have spent the rest of our lives having never seen.

Did you know that white speedos are almost transparent when wet? Ewww...