What’s health got to do with it?

matcloud_luciaRound 2 of Season 3 of Fotolia’s TEN Collection revolves around health. This time Fotolia paired photographer Lucia Giacani and artist Mateusz Chmura (MatCloud) together to create a surreal piece. Both having backgrounds in industrial design, their concept involved displaying organs as products that look more artificial than biological. If you are curious about their process (or them) watch this video.

Their portrayal of artificial organs, got the gears whirring in my head for the design challenge. What if in the future replacing organs became as commonplace as walking into a grocery store and buying a new carton of milk or switching out parts to your car? Hearts, lungs, livers etc. are easily and artificially made. Organ donor lists are a thing of the past. So I came up with the “Body Shop.” Walk in, purchase the part that you need, and have it installed onsite. My idea did take on a darker tone as I searched for additional source images to compliment the ones provided for the contest. Here’s my result and if it intrigues you, you can vote for it here by clicking the like button.

matcloud_health_tencontest_close3 matcloud_health_tencontest_close2 matcloud_health_tencontest_close1

animation_matcloud_healthP.S. I was already a fan of artist MatCloud, so I was truly excited that he was chosen to be a part of this series. You can follow him on Behance or Facebook.


DIY Chocolate Labels

DIY Chocolate Labels - Image Strip

Ahoy Mateys! My friend was having a baby shower and I wanted to help, so they gave me the task of making the chocolate wrappers. Here I propose two methods of the creating them: the easy way and the hard way. I of course chose the hard way. Now you would think it’s because I’m so “hard core”, but in reality it’s because my brain tends to develop complex methods first, that don’t seem that complicated at the time. When you see the end result though it usually makes it all worth it.

Here’s what you’ll need (the hard way):

  • Hersey’s chocolate nuggets (purchase bags according to need)
  • Glossy Photo Paper (I bought a pack with 8 sheets from the dollar store)
  • Scissors
  • Kraft Glue
  • Ruler
  • Photo editing program
  • Printer with scanning capabilities
  • Sketchpad w/pencil or tablet

The shower had a nautical theme and they wanted me to design a cute baby pirate. Sorry Blackbeard. Here are the sketches.
babyshower_sketch3babyshower_sketch1 babyshower_sketch2

Once one baby swashbuckler was chosen, I opened a bag of nuggets removed the paper label from a chocolate and measured it with the ruler. With my dimensions for the wrapper, I set up a template in Illustrator, then scanned my drawing. In Illustrator I made a background for the label using colors from the shower theme, illustrated my baby pirate, and placed the words Ahoy it’s a boy on either side of the design. If you’re not sure about placement just refer to the original paper label. I also made a whale version based on a whale in their decorations.

Note: If sketching isn’t your thing try searching here for clip art options.

Fit as many of the labels as possible on one page. Find your printer’s settings and make the adjustments so it prints at it’s best setting on glossy photo paper. Print as many sheets as needed and while you wait remove the paper labels from the nuggets, taking care not to open the wrapper. Cut out your freshly printed labels and glue onto the chocolates with kraft glue. The least amount of glue the better. Mine had a control nozzle, if yours doesn’t consider pouring a little out at a time and applying it to the label with tiny cheap paint brush. Hold glued section together for about 20 seconds and put aside to dry completely.

Voila! Your custom chocolate nuggets are complete. So what was so hard about that? Well it is the most time consuming method and in my case, I found out that my printer didn’t like photo paper, no matter what setting I tried. Printing took hours instead of minutes as a finagled with the device.
DIY Chocolate Labels printedDIY Chocolate Labels Baby Pirate DIY Chocolate Labels - Blue Whale Ahoy It's a Boy

The easy way, here’s what you’ll need

  • Hersey’s chocolate nuggets (purchase bags according to need)
  • Self-sticking address labels
  • Ruler
  • Photo editing program or Microsoft Word
  • Printer with scanning capabilities
  • Sketchpad w/pencil or tablet

Sketch your design. Scan it. Measure the original label on the chocolate nugget. Set up your template. If using Microsoft Word (I don’t really recommend it for creating graphics) there should be a way to load a template based on your label type. Go forth with your design and apply it to the template. Print your custom labels. Carefully strip away the original labels on the nuggets, then peel and stick the new ones on. Much simpler right? The downside: when compared to one created with glossy thicker photo paper it will seem lower in quality.

At the shower guests thought that we had bought the chocolates that way. I also made food labels for the table using hard colored paper (my printer didn’t like that either). I designed a whale on one side and printed out a bunch of shells on another sheet of hard paper to glue on the back for support. seen below.

DIY Food Labels for the Table

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.


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.
pare_campau_challenge_march_2014_spinder_entryclose-up_tenmarch3 close-up_tenmarch2 close-up_tenmarch


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.

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