I was so excited at around 21:30 this evening. Some yummy “me” time was bubbling inside and it was time for some fun. Beginnings are so exciting. Aren’t they. The middle is a bit muddily. So this post is refreshing for me in the sense that it was so pleasing to quickly illustrate this character. To enjoy the beginning of this creative process which depicts the actual contrast of what it represents.
I’m in the midpoint of a novel I’m working on. half done and half more to go. The main character is Aora. She is a work in progress. It’s so enjoyable to describe a character in words, when I’m so used to describe a character in color and form.
This girl is inspired by the looks of the beautiful Marina Nery. I sketched her in pencil first, just to get the feel of her. Color was done in Photoshop. This is a speed painting in my standards. by 23:30, 2 hours later I was happy to put my Wacom pen down and complete this “wip” version of my main character.
So This is a little sneak preview of my inner world. I love books. I love getting wrapped in a good story. I love science fiction. I love fantasy. I love dystopia. I love evolving with new ideas. I love a good journey. i’m on a journey here, venturing into a whole new realm.
There will be more work in progress art of this yet to be written book as it comes along.
Designing character Mascots is a long winding process. The race to the finish line is full of sketching and going back and forth.
The brief can be an endless list of character traits , style, properties or what ever the client has a vision for. The end result is symbolizing the brand successfully. The process is the incubation period and the result is a cute little baby mascot. All shiny and new, ready to represent and reflect what it’s company stands for.
Sketching the first shapes and colors, the inspiration was from water creatures and balloons.
And then after a bit more exploring and doodling. It looks like we found her.
And then we get more specific and add variations, expressions and poses.
After the emotions are approved, comes the time to bring in the big guns. Maya and Photoshop combined. There you have it. A new Mascot is born!
I hope you like the process of my bubble girl. I sure had a blast.
Do you know that feeling. When your tummy twists in painful excitement. When your tongue is dry and it’s a nuisance to swallow…I’m talking about the torments of trying something new.
Now imagine being a designer and working a certain way for ages. Imagine having a comforting professional routine. Then imagine turning your world upside down and working differently. Different hours. Different design projects. Different deadlines and most importantly different clients. Some of you may have a boss. So now imagine having loads of different bosses, and now the catch! You may or may not get payed for your hard work.
No, I’m not talking about freelancing with bad contracts and cheeky clients, although it may sound the same. That’s a post i’ll write some other day.
I’m talking about 99d – 99 designs. Yes I have been testing this thing. love it and hate it. What is 99 designs? I like to think of it an international design bidding platform.
I first heard of it when I was still employed full time and daydreaming about freelancing. I thought to my self. “Here’s a seductive concept. I just log in. Look for a cool project and submit my design/ illustration/ sketch and get payed”
There may be over 300,000 happy customers. But there are even more designers and the playground is a jungle of hungry predictors circling a juicy brief.
Why do they do it? Why do I do it?
It’s not the pay. The money is not guaranteed and you may find your self working hours and hours and the client tosses your beloved piece of art out the window.
What?! You put your heart and soul into your creation and someone has the nerve to say they don’t like it and won’t pay for it?!
Yes. And it’s Horrible. But it is also awesome. It’s all about accountability. How many times have you vowed to yourself to start a personal project. How many times do you have an itch to boost a certain aspect of your portfolio. I think most of us have the “want it” part but not the “work it” part. Not all of us are type A people who put our mind to a project and just give it our all even though it’s off hours and totally unpaid for. It’s hard to work for yourself when you don’t have accountability. You lack the motivation. You suffer from procrastination. “Shall I design a cool retro poster?…oh..look…Back to the future trilogy”
As a designer & an illustrator I log on to 99d to look for cool briefs to enhance my portfolio and shake the dust off my wacom. I essentially go into a deadline and critique simulation of the real world. Iv’e been submitting projects on and off for about two months. Iv’e been a finalist a few times. Which means the client likes what I did but wants to choose between me and a few other designers after eliminating tens of others. The first time I was chosen as a finalist I felt great, I did a little victory dance in my office/ bedroom. The joy was short lived. I pulled an all nighter . I remember sitting red eyed from fatigue and looking at the clock closing in on the deadline for all finalists. Submitted my final final final design at the last minute only to be informed in the morning that the client went with another designer. “Thanks for all the hard work, but no thanks.”
It was discouraging, I admit. But the sooner I tried again the pain got a bit more bearable with the second rejection. The pain of failing and getting a bad critique is hard on any designer. It is also a school of life. It taught me something I forgot. The real world has many opinions and many tastes. I might not be the right taste for those clients. It also taught me not to get too attached to my baby. Yes I gave birth to it. But as soon as I put it out there, it’s on it’s own. Elizabeth Gillbert said it and I concur.
And as soon as it’s out there, In the words of the very wise Seth Godin “it might not work”.
Up until this very moment I have been trying and designing and working against the clock. Each attempt makes me stronger in some ways and discourages in others. I feel like a student again. I have a few years of experience behind me and yet I feel like i’m at square one. To be perfectly frank. The internet is a much more vicious arena than the university. No one is nice and they don’t always give a hoot about the right critique etiquette. Even in my fully employed days I have been given softer sugar coated comments and remarks about my work. People on the internet don’t see me. They don’t see my gender, my religion or my country if I choose not to show it. They see my stuff. They are less sensitive to my efforts and in some ways I’m sure they feel the same. They are the client and they are not seen. All they are to me is a message. I don’t try to please them with my personality, but rather with my ideas | designs | illustration. It’s a whole new way of working.
They might be in the US or somewhere in Dubai. I don’t care who they are. I just care about the project. I don’t even care that much about the price they’re offering. I see designers working just as hard on low paying projects.
There are other ways of finding good briefs, sure. Pro Bono projects, charity, Online challenges. But 99d is another way. It may not work for most, it may be a bloodsucking creativity monster. But for now…it brought something alive in me. I was reminded why I love the field. I have yet to see the fruits, but I’ll keep harvesting just a little tiny bit longer. Winter is coming.
What about you? Have you tried it yet? I dare you. I double dare you!
A few months ago I was approached by 2 lovely ladies from Oregon, Melanie Loveland and Virginia Neil. They were working on a very personal children’s book and wanted me on board. I was pretty excited at the prospect and the project began with establishing how the main star…a ginger tabby cat, should look like. Guess which one was eventually chosen?
Well. Classic tabby was chosen for the lead “Coconut Jack” – the coconut loving, playfully curious, stubby tailed, ginger tabby. So to avoid spoilers here are a few selected spreads…
The book is available and you can buy the book here. so go on! and don’t forget to write a review.
She does your hair, but do you really trust her with a pair of scissors? It’s the perfect weapon. Stylish, elegant, sharp and fit’s right inside her pocket. I may be watching too much Dexter and Sherlock ……Anyway she looks like a mix between Christina Aguilera and Leona Lewis, or maybe it’s just me. What do you think?
The sketch took about 3 hours kinda…can’t remember because i did it while i worked. Color took 2 evenings so perhaps 7 hours in total. pretty quick for me…i’m practicing 🙂
Prior to my final wedding invitation design…i had loads and loads of attempts. I would go to bed thinking about it and wake up with new ideas which i would execute right away and then scrap just as fast. This sketch was inspired by Norman Rockwell
I’ve been pretty busy lately. designing…arranging…producing my wedding. It was a pretty small wedding, not a huge production. but I still had some stuff to do. There is nothing harder for a designer/illustrator than designing his or her own invitation. I had a few ideas bouncing around…it drove me crazy, but i was happy with the final result. My guy is a skater, our worlds came together and mixed up, i wanted the invitation to express some of the world clash we felt (it was actually partly his idea:)
The text on the bottom says: 1985 “Oranim” Primary school
As part of the DIY, I had some disposable cameras available for the guests….to just have fun with.