Art

5 Art Competition Shows to Binge

I love art in all its various forms. Here are some shows where the adrenaline gets high and the art surprises. Here are my top five shows in no particular order.

Ink Master

Tattooing is highly challenging. You cannot erase and fix your mistakes quickly. You are working on a human being which brings extra challenges. I love this show because of the different styles, ideas, and challenges brought to the show. It’s creative, and they tend to focus more on the tattoo than on the drama, although there are some.

Portrait Artist of the Year

In this show, artists have to do a live portrait painting. I can’t imagine the pressure of having people watch your every stroke! There is also a time limit which is even more stressful. The artists are quite the champs! I enjoy watching their process.

The Great Big Tiny Design Challenge

Sandi Toksvig and miniatures are something I didn’t know I needed in my life. Seeing miniatures being appreciated and the creation process is magical! There is nothing like this show, and it’s original!

School of Chocolate

Hosted by the amazing Amaury Guichon. He challenges pastry chefs to up their artistic and culinary skills. Renowned for making beautiful art out of chocolate, it’s incredible to watch.

Good with Wood/Handmade

It is humbling to see other art forms and know that there is still so much more to see. Woodworking is one of these. I love seeing people who are experts just do their thing. Also, it’s hosted by the lovely Mel Giedroyc!

Honourable mention goes to…

America’s Got Talent.

I would binge the art talent on youtube. It’s fantastic to see this mixture of entertainment, performance and art. It turns people’s perception that art is boring.

How to restore old photos in Adobe Photoshop

Technology today allows us to do some fantastic and heart-warming acts of service. One of these is the ability to restore old photos. Photoshop is one of the standard tools many use to do this. Here are some of the tools you can use within photoshop.

Clone tool and Content-aware Fill

The Clone tool has been around forever. It is a brush that copies one area and allows you to paste it. Here’s a quick guide on how to use it.

1. Click the clone icon on the menu or click “S” on your keyboard.

2. Hover over the section you want to copy and then left-click. Then hover over the part you want to fill with what you copy with the clone brush.

The content-aware tool is relatively new. Photoshop will attempt to read the file and fill it as best as possible through AI. Here’s a quick guide on how to use it.

1. Select the area you want to fill in. This can be done through the lasso tool, pen or polygon selection tool. Make sure you are close as possible you can.

2. You can go to the top menu, Edit > Content-Aware Fill, or you can click Fill. Either way, you will see the content-aware options.

You will see this one in the full content-aware fill menu. You can choose the sampling area you wish. Auto, the computer will calculate. Rectangular will look at just the rectangle, and custom is when you can specify the reference part.

You will see this if you click edit > Fill. A shortcut to reach here is “Shift + F5”. This is a simplified menu of the above. Click Okay, and the computer will automatically calculate the reference image and fill in the gaps. Photoshop does a pretty good job.

You can see here it filled it.

Using the paint tool

Sometimes the most straightforward tool is needed. Using the brush, you can paint areas. Here’s a quick guide on how to paint.

Taking body parts from other photos

There are times when the photo is degraded to the point that body parts aren’t seen. A fix is to grab the body part from another photo and use that piece. The tricky part is getting the toning and colour grading right to make it look like it was part of the picture. Here’s a quick guide on one way.

1. Cut out the body part you want and place it within the photo.

2. The added body part should be the top layer.

3. Go to menu “Image > Adjustments > Match color.”

4. In the Match color panel. In the Image Statistics section. The Source should be the body part. The Layer should be the background or what you are matching it to.

The luminance is how bright you want it to be, color intensity is the saturation, and fade is similar to opacity. Fiddle with the options to see how it looks. And that’s it!

Also, adding noise to the picture will merge it better into the picture. You can do this by going to Filter > Noise > Add Noise. Fiddle around. The lower the number, the better. Just a little bit helps.

Happy Creating!

Free Options for Graphic Design online

Sometimes all you need is a simple program to edit, and you don’t need anything heavy-duty. Here are some free, easy online options where you don’t have to download anything. You need an account, and you can start creating!

Figma

Although it is known for UX design, it is also handy for simple graphic design. There are a ton of tutorials out there, and you can pick them up quickly. I enjoy using it with my team to create work for clients as they can view and add notes. Best of all they have additional plugins that allow you to customize your canvas.

GIMP

Suppose you want to get into digital painting, more advanced graphic design and manipulation. GIMP is the choice. There are also lots of tutorials too.

Canva

If social media is your Jam, then I highly suggest Canva. It has tons of free premade templates, and it also allows us to do animation! It takes out the stress of figuring out a design for social media. It has saved me time, even if you want to do simple graphic design such as adding text, cropping images, etc. Canva can do it.

Pixlr

It is best known for photo editing, animation, and design, and it is a great tool. I would say it is closer to GIMP. They are also have premade templates, and you can even try premium for free. This program does well in a pinch.

Happy Creating!

How To Create an Infographic

Infographics are one of the richest pieces of content out there. It is informative and is more easily digestible to the reader. Here is a simple guide to creating one.

Choose a topic

Some suggestions for topics are:

  • Statistics on a problem and how to solve it
  • Historical
  • Categorization
  • and more!

Gather actual stats

This can be found in various places, such as google scholar, other reputable sites, and universities.

Layout the information in a logical order

The purpose of an infographic and much visual content is to tell a story. Storyboard it out and see where the stats fit into it. It should flow in a natural order.

Create a draft

Time to design the infographic! Gather any illustrations you need, and this is the fun part.

Refine

Gather feedback and make the adjustments.

Promote

Let the world see your infographic. You can post them via social media, use them in your portfolio, or whatever else is appropriate.

Here are some inspirations from Lemonly, a company specializing in designing infographics.

Happy Creating!

Reddit Subreddits Artists Should Be Aware Of

Reddit is a fantastic place. It has something for everyone. Without further ado, here are recommendations for subreddits I think artists should be aware of.

Crappy Design

https://www.reddit.com/r/CrappyDesign/

This one subreddit honestly makes me laugh when I have a terrible day. Not everyone hires a designer, and we get some pretty funny moments. I suggest checking the top of all time for the top-rated laughs.

SketchDaily

https://www.reddit.com/r/SketchDaily/

Suppose you can’t think of what to draw visit SketchDaily. They give daily prompts, and it’s incredible what people think of on the fly.

I Can Draw That

https://www.reddit.com/r/ICanDrawThat/

You can visit this subreddit if you feel charitable with your time and are in a giving mood. Here you can fulfill the requests of Redditors.

Art

https://www.reddit.com/r/Art/

This one is pretty much on the nose. Art is posted here daily, and they are amazing. I go here to get inspiration.

Crafts

https://www.reddit.com/r/crafts/

For the DIYers of the world! I love seeing people creating amazing things.

Graphic Design

https://www.reddit.com/r/graphic_design/

Graphic Design is a worthwhile subreddit to look into if you are starting in it.

Low Poly

https://www.reddit.com/r/low_poly/

3D is everywhere, and low poly is one of the most popular styles! It has a charm that I can’t explain.

Imaginary Slice of Life

https://www.reddit.com/r/ImaginarySliceOfLife/

People love art because it can ‘paint’ a picture of a moment from this reality or imaginary!

Art Fundamentals

https://www.reddit.com/r/ArtFundamentals/

Get started in art if you are a beginner!

Alternativeart

https://www.reddit.com/r/alternativeart/

Fandoms spark people’s creativity! See alternative styles of your favourite tv shows, movies, comics, etc.!

Ideas for Marketing & Graphic Portfolio if you have nothing

If you find yourself in the unenviable position of having no work for a Portfolio, there is a solution. Do fake projects. Here are some ideas you do yourself to start building your portfolio.

Social Media campaign for a brand you love

Pick a brand that is in the industry you want to work in. It can be makeup, fashion, construction, etc. Whatever you want you can build a social media campaign.

Examples are:

  • New or Relaunch of a Product
  • Contest
  • Spotlight on the company
  • Awards

Influencer collaboration strategy

The influencer economy is growing and you can show you have your finger on the pulse. Choose a well-known influencer in your industry and create a fake campaign collaboration. For marketing, you can outline a strategy to generate leads through the use of discount codes and show a fictitious strategy.

Develop a business pitch for stakeholders/clients

This can be a presentation deck you would create to show how you would pitch a fake company to an investor, partner, supplier, etc.

Make a hypothetical business plan

Use a fake company. There are many business case studies you can use to base one off of. Here is one https://guides.library.ubc.ca/businesscases/free

Rebrand an existing business

This can be a fake company you made up or an existing one. You can go on Behance, and many people have done.
Examples are:

  • Redesigning packaging
  • Redesigning their website
  • Redesigning their logo and branding

Target market consultation pitch

  • For marketing show how you would break down a target audience and your outreach plan for them.
  • For a graphic designer, design for example a post for three different target audience.
  • This shows you understand personas.

Video campaign plan

This can be a variety of things. For example

  • Tutorial
  • Commerical
  • Company spotlight
  • Social media videos

Plan a seasonable/national awareness day campaign

You can use http://unescocenterforpeacenys.org/international-days-celebration/ or https://www.daysoftheyear.com/ to pick a day and build a campaign around it.

Develop your own personal brand

This is your chance to show who you really are and articulate it.

Hope that helps and I wish you the best of luck!

Tips for University Students in Graphic Design or Marketing

Setting yourself up for success in school is difficult. No one talks about it in high school or university. However, the internet is an excellent resource to help steer you in the correct direction. Here are my four top tips to help you do just that.

Get an Internship, Co-op, or Work Study

When choosing a university, many make an obvious consideration is to look at who offers the best program for their desired major, such as the best teachers, equipment, facilities, etc. However, many fail to consider choosing a university if they have an internship, co-op, or work-study for their major. I think this is a significant consideration. Getting experience early is critical in building up your resume and your expertise.

Bonus, you will make some extra money and get a reference. A tip for this also is to look at the internship/co-op/work-study requirements. I had to be a third-year student at my school, have a certain grade average, and take specific courses. It varies, of course, but you need to keep that in mind to qualify.

Some may argue you can get one outside of school. You can, of course! However, there are extra benefits. The schools have agreements with these companies that often, they have to fill those positions with students from a specific school. Your odds of getting that position increases significantly. They also sometimes offer help in interviewing writing resumes and cover letters. Either way, you need to build up experience.

Start a Portfolio

This may be common sense, but it bears repeating. I would advocate having a physical and online portfolio if possible. There are many free websites you can take advantage of. Such as Google websites, Wix, and more. Here is where you can brand yourself, set yourself apart from others, look professional, and a side benefit-you get experience in building websites.

You may find yourself lacking projects. My answer, make fake ones. There are a lot of great ideas online for fake portfolio ideas. However, make sure it relates to your industry. Building a body of work will take time, but it is well worth it.

Start a social media

This is an easy and cost-effective method to get your name out there. Again, it’s building your brand a secondary way to show your portfolio and participate in the community.

Another benefit is that you will become familiar with social media management. This is a skill many companies are looking for in regards to marketing.

Join a reputable registered group/certification

There are many organizations out there that offer certification. Bonus, they often a reduced price for students. Many companies specify a destination or certification for their candidates. Go on Linkedin, indeed or another job board and search for what kind they are looking for.

One I recommend for graphic designers, specifically in Canada, is RGD – https://www.rgd.ca/

It will be a boon for your professional if you can get it. It will increase your prestige, validate your experience and skills, and you again can connect with like-minded individuals.

Volunteer (Optional)

This one is optional because I understand not everyone can pursue it due to financial situations. This is a way for you to build experience, build a portfolio, and a network. I would recommend trying to find a contract or project-based position. Short term is better, allowing you to make a clean break.

These are my top tips. If there are any I’m missing, let me know below. I wish you all the luck in your future development.

How To Create A Custom Brush in Adobe Illustrator

  1. Create your brush. What works best is to make it “line like” and make sure the ends are STRAIGHT Here’s an example one one I did.

2. Highlight/Select the entire design.

3. Go to the Brush panel. This can be accessed by Windows >Brushes
Then go to the bottom and click the + icon.

4. A panel will pop up and choose the “Pattern Brush” option.

5. You will now see a preview of the brush. You can rename it, and the boxes I highlighted further customized the look of the brush. Once you are satisfied with the look, click “OK” at the bottom.

6. Now, it will be in your brushes panel, and you can use the pen tool to create fantastic designs.

7. You can control the thickness of the brush by going to the stroke option.

I hope that helps! Happy creating.

Why is My Wacom’s Pen Pressure Not Working?

When getting a Wacom Tablet second-hand the pen pressure may not be working. It could possibly be due to faulty hardware, but before you throw it out try this.

1. Install the proper Driver.

There are specific product drivers that enable the pen pressure. Check out https://www.wacom.com/en-ca/support/product-support/drivers to find your tablet and install the driver.

This was the problem in my case and now I can do the digital painting!

2. Replace the Nib

Just like a pencil, although not as frequently, the nib does go through wear and tear. You can replace them. Go to https://estore.wacom.com/en-US/accessories/accessories-nibsc.html

Happy creating.

5 resources for non-designers

In today’s world, it’s easy to design beautiful and professional assets easily. There are many resources, both free and paid that are a godsend. Here are my top 5 recommendations for resources to use for non-designers.

Canva

Freemium

The number one resource in my opinion. They are a ton of ree options along premium ones. You do not need to download any design program likes Adobe. You can edit right in the platform, and it has a low learning curve. I highly recommend this resource to start with to learn and play around with.  You can do almost anything from graphics to videos. 

Pricing starts at: Free -> Pro (149.99 CAD) -> Enterprise (Custom pricing) for the year

Envato Elements

Paid Subscription

You will need a design program like adobe to use the templates, but by far they are one of my favorite paid resource. They have so many different types of assets you could use. From Music to even 3D! That blew my mind. The pricing is reasonable, their UI is amazing (Filtering!) and I love the quality.


Pricing starts at Team (129 CAD) -> Enterprise (Custom pricing) for the year 

 

Adobe Stock

Paid

You will need adobe programs to use this resource. This is pricest by far, but they do have unique assets that can be only found on Adobe Stock. They also split their resources in interesting ways. They also offer a couple of freebies if you have an adobe creative subscription. So take advantage!

Pricing starts at: 10 Assets (38.99 CAD) -> 40 Assets (104.99 CAD) -> 750 Assets (261.99 CAD) for the year. Or you can get credits from 5 – 150 ranging from 65.99 to 1600 CAD.

Vecteezy

Freemium

They have a ton of vectors and photos in their library that I don’t see anywhere else. They have a ton of free ones alongside their premium ones. 

Pricing starts at:  Unlimited downloads (109 ) for the year -> Monthly subscriptin at  (14) each month

FreePik

Freemium

They have a good amount of free assets of vectors, photos and psd. Very paired down but they have a vast library. You will need Adobe programs to use their resources. 

Pricing starts at: Free -> Monthly Premium (10.49 USD) -> Yearly Premium (83.99 USD)

See my other recommendations of applications and programs here.

How To Create Numbered Tickets InDesign: Method 2

This method uses the numbered List in Adobe Indesign. See method 1 here. Let’s get to it!

Step 1

Designed your Ticket and then create a text box where your number will be. PUT A SPACE in the text box. Otherwise, this method will not work.

Step 2

Go to Type > Bulleted & Numbered Lists > Define Lists…

Step 3

Clicked “New…” It will then open to give you some options. Name your list, and click all the options. “Continued Numbers across Stories” & “Continue Numbers from Previous Document in Book”.

Step 4

Make sure you click the text tool and click into where your numbers are supposed to be.

Step 5

Click into the top control panel, or go to the Window > Control, to get it to show up. Make sure you are in the Paragraph section, and then ON YOUR KEYBOARD CLICK ALT + THE LIST SYMBOL AT THE TOP. (See circled items below).

Step 6

It will then open up into the “Bullets and Numbering” panel.

Choose:

  • List Type: Numbers
  • List: The list you defined earlier
  • Format: Choose whatever format you want
  • Mode: Continue from Previous Number…

Check the preview to make sure it works, and then click OK.

Step 7

You can see that it now shows the first number! You can remove the period by changing in the Bullets and Numbering Panel “Number:” It currently says ^#.^t. Just take out the period.

Step 8

Copy/Duplicate the elements onto the page as desired. InDesign will automatically count them for you.

Step 9

You can create more on pages, just by right-clicking and either click “Duplicate” or “Insert Pages”.

See more tickets yay!

Hope that helps! Happy creating!

How To Create Numbered Tickets InDesign: Method 1

This is a simple method that I’ve used before and is doable if you have a printer vendor. See method 2 here also!

Before you start make sure you have facing pages turned off.

Step 1

Create a single ticket design on Master Page. Keep the same design on both pages.

Step 2

Create a text box where you want the number to be

Step 3

Go to Type > Insert Special Character > Markers > Current Page Number

Step 4

Get out of master view to normal view. Then add as many pages as you would like either in the document set up or in plus + sign in the bottom right corner of the pages panel.

And tada you should have the numbers on the tickets!

Note: If you would like to change the way the numbers appear go to Layout > Number & Sections Options. Then change the Style under Page Numbering.