Light Painting, Digital Art, & Prizes

strip_ten_collection_fb_pare_campauSeason 3 of Fotolia’s TEN Collection has begun! They are doing it a little different this year. Instead of featuring 10 individual digital artists, Fotolia has put together duos, one digital artist and one photographer. Just like in previous seasons the Photoshop file of their work will be available for download (sign-up to get a reminder to download for free). I’m so excited that they’ve included photography and the artists they’ve chosen to kick-off season three are phenomenal!

Eric Paré is a Canadian artist who specializes in light-painting, bullet-time and stop-motion photography.

Work by Eric Pare

Work by Eric Paré

Mike Campau is an American artist who is an expert at combining photography, illustration and cgi.

Work by Mike Campau

Work by Mike Campau

What I love even more, Fotolia has provided an in-depth video of their creative process. I’m the behind-the-scenes type; you know the one who watches all the DVD extras. I like to know how and why. This video gives some excellent tips. I highly encourage you to watch.

Another change Fololia has implemented is that instead of having just one competition at the end of the season, we now have the chance to “challenge” the artists after each PSD release for some excellent prizes. Learn more on TEN Collection’s Facebook Page.  Here is Mike and Eric’s wonderful creation and below is my contest entry.

mike_eric_work

Final Artwork by Eric Pare & Mike Campau

Using Mike and Eric’s tips, I wanted to create a powerful image with flow. My inspiration not only came from them, but from the video Born To Die by Lana Del Rey. The interior scenes were lavishly ornate and I wanted something similar in beauty and detail for my background without detracting from the main female figure. I’d also like to highlight Midnightstouch for her realistic Love Me Tendril brushes, used for the vines.
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If you like my entry, show it some love by clicking the like button.

Customized Graduation Invitations

grad_invitesYour little one has reached a milestone in their life; they’re graduating. (I guess they’re not so little anymore). You’re a proud happy parent who wants to celebrate. That means a ceremony, party, food, family, friends, fun, music, and maybe even a disco ball. It also means that you need invitations. If your family is huge like mine, then you will need more than a few invites to cover everyone including friends. Several sites offer stellar options to showcase your graduate i.e. Tiny Prints (love their style choices), Shutterfly, or Zazzle. For my family though, we went a alternate less expensive route.

Both of my cousins are graduating from high school the same year, so as a gift to them I designed their invitations. I also took the pictures for them. We had our own little photo-shoot in a local park and raided the dollar store beforehand for quirky props. A large amount of invites were needed and the reason why it was cheaper was because I did everything myself and I used an online printing service, specifically Vistaprint. Instead of paying $1 or more per card, I was able to order my design in bulk paying around 22 cents per card. This price could vary depending on what specials Vistaprint has available. I also added envelope seals, using elements from my design.

Note: Vistaprint has their own section for graduation invitations. This is NOT what I’m referring to. I sized my invites according to their Rack Card specifications in Marketing Materials and uploaded my design. You could use their Post Card specs as well.

Do I recommend doing everything yourself?
If you are artistically inclined with a photographic eye, then I say go for it! Do you have to choose Vistaprint? No. Check out Printaholic’s Top Online Printing Services. However, I usually get great deals with Vistaprint (check for online coupons), excellent customer service, and quality results. We had so much fun together taking photographs for the invitations, that alone makes them extra special to me. If you do personally take the pictures, keep these basic tips in mind from PC Magazine and be a little adventurous. Don’t be afraid to attempt a weird position, prop, or pose. It could be a dud or photo gold, but you won’t know until you try.

Let’s face it though, not everyone enjoys taking pictures. Many parents will opt for a professional photographer. Consider hiring a Graphic Designer as well. He/she could provide you with an even more customized invitation. Depending on the amount you need and the designer’s fee, it could work out to cost around the same as using a site like Tiny Prints. If you decide to take pictures yourself and hire a designer, it is very important that you provide them with high resolution images. Make sure your camera is at it’s highest or second highest quality setting.

Whatever option you choose, Congrats to You and Your Grad!

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TEN Collection Contest – Vote Please

promo_ten_collection_fbRemember my previous post? (No. Click here) Well I entered the TEN Collection Contest Season 2 and it was a fun challenge. My time to design my entries was limited, so to reduce creation time in Photoshop, I thought A LOT about how they would come together. I also wanted to make the most of the images provided by Fotolia. These were the images I worked with.

fotolio source images

Unknown Destination by Shavanna Pinder

Unknown Destination by Shavanna Pinder

My first entry Unknown Destination was actually intended for the category Myth in Motion. After completion and a pause to contemplate I decided it best portrayed a strange world. It was actually inspired by this image below. At first I was drawn to the scale. The bear is so menacing and gargantuan when compared to the girl, yet she seems not to care at all. I wanted to capture that sense of scale. After I was done, I realized that I had subconsciously picked up more design elements from this picture.

'BRUMAS' by Schiszophrenia

‘BRUMAS’ by Schiszophrenia

Mixed Messages by Shavanna Pinder

Mixed Messages by Shavanna Pinder

With my second entry I simply wanted to convey Mixed Messages. Most of the arms are from fotolia’s resources. After I submitted it, I wished I had added a tear to the girl’s face for further emotional impact. Que sera. Que sera. If you like my entries PLEASE VOTE for them by liking their respective facebook pages.

Vote for Unknown Destination

Vote for Mixed Messages

Details and screenshots of the design process are provided in my Behance portfolio. I’m also happy to announce that Fotolia will be starting Season 3 of the TEN Collection in March 2014. This time they will feature dynamic duos! Learn more.

Have You Thought About Entering A Design Competition?

Maybe you think you don’t have time. Maybe you think it’s a waste of time. “Why bother? Those design competitions are rigged!” To be honest, I believe some can be unfair. That’s why I suggest staying away from the ones that depend solely on the amount of social votes to win. “It’s a promotional gimmick.” To some extent, yes it is. Hosting a competition is a great way to promote a company or product, but the promotion can work both ways. This is also an opportunity for you to showcase your skills. Imagine the exposure (and bragging rights) you will receive if you win. Getting the grand prize probably won’t hurt either.

Even if you don’t win, there is always a chance you can get some new fans in the process, those other artists in the competition who admire your style. Become inspiration and be inspired. Find artists that intrigue you too and that you want to connect with. Some platforms allow you to create profiles and follow other artists. Start a design dialogue. Some artists are eager to discuss techniques and processes.

Use the competition as your creative outlet. Take a break from the usual rigor of work and make something fun, just for you. Even if your daily job is creative (lucky you), sometimes it’s nice to be your own client. Of course you have to adhere to the rules of the competition, but even those tend to be really liberal. You can even take this opportunity to experiment, try a new style or technique. Right now Threadless is hosting a competition Art Without Concept where anything goes; the only requirement is that you make something that looks nice.
threadless_artwithoutconceptWhatever you do, put your best effort forward. You can end up with amazing pieces to use in your portfolio, as personal artwork, or even retail. Check the terms and conditions of the competition. If you are unsure of the company hosting the contest, do a little research.

Bottom line, there are many benefits to entering design competitions. If you follow me on facebook, sometimes I post ones I find interesting. Right now I recommend the TEN Collection Contest by Fotolia, deadline February 10, 2014. Choose a theme and challenge their artists using at least three of the images Fotolia provides. There are prizes worth thousands up for grabs.
ten-contestHere’s my piece from a contest I entered last year, Veer’s Bad Stock Photo Monster Mash-up. It was a part of a Halloween promotion and their campaign to rid the world of bad stock photography. You had to use at least two of the bad stock provided to create something scary with a touch of humor. I used these three:
veer_badstock3 veer_badstock2 veer_badstock1

To create:

badstock_veer_entry_spinder

Happy 2014 with a Free Wallpaper

wallpaper_promo_christmas2014Happy New Year Everyone! May it shine bright and be filled with lots love, laughter, and learning. I’m going into my fifth year of blogging (I don’t count that one random post from August 08′) and it’s fun to look back on my posts. My design skills have definitely grown and I’ve come across some stellar artists. I’m looking forward to another year. It seems like it’s my tradition to post my goals for the next 365 days, so here it goes!

  • Be happy as much of the time as possible. Read The Happiness Advantage by Shawn Achor
  • Be grateful – find 3-5 things to be thankful for each morning
  • Get a shirt design printed on Threadless
  • Work 40 hours a week (freelance or full-time) and have fun doing it
  • Post once every two weeks (or more)
  • Pick up at least one new technique a week
  • Become a whiz at coding (html, css, js, wordpress etc.)
  • Finish Tomb Raider – Hardcore gamers don’t laugh, I don’t play that often and when I do it’s for about an hour and a half and I progress by 2%
  • Take more photos
  • Sketch more

and of course design stuff that kicks butt!

beadstutorialSpeaking of designs, here’s my wallpaper celebrating 2014. It was inspired by this Illustrator tutorial: Create a Mosaic BBC Inspired Text Art Effect. It’s said to take 1hr 45 mins. It took me longer because I had some issues and deviated a bit. Here are some tips. I messed up a few times by going to the Offset Path in the Object panel, instead of the Effects panel. Also I don’t know if this is because of the version of Illustrator that I’m using, but in Section 2 – Step 2 you may have to drag the Offset Path into the correct fill in the Appearance panel (see image in that section). I also didn’t use the provided build-a-font method. I chose the font Bauserif and filled in its shape. I also broke up the shadow effects into different sections based on my placement of the number and my light source. Again Happy New Year and Enjoy!

PrintA special thanks goes out to my cousin Cara, who always gives great feedback. My background was originally purple, which she was not too fond of (surprising since it’s her favorite color). I made some adjustments and voila!

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