Free Wallpaper: My World Without Art

What really inspired me to create this March wallpaper was an article I read; Thanks to One Los Angeles Nonprofit, Budget Cuts Haven’t Killed Off Art Class which in short talks about the benefits of being involved in the arts and the program Inner-City Arts. Inner-City Arts offers an immersive well-rounded art experience to every Los Angeles public school student even if they can’t afford it. I didn’t grow up in the American school system, so I can’t speak personally about how cutting art programs has affected me. However, I can tell you that my life would be pretty empty without art. No exaggeration. My right brain dominates. I’m good at math and science, but subjects like chemistry and accounting never appealed to me. I took them out of necessity. Art was the class I lived for.

I still remember the first time I realized that I had some creative ability. It was in 6th grade and I drew a green cyclops with 4 arms and pincers. It was chosen to be in my school’s art exhibition. It wasn’t earth shattering, but imagine if I didn’t have that experience or the art classes and teachers that encouraged my talent.  I believe I would still be a Graphic Designer because art is at my core, however I would have to battle an intense learning curve., not even knowing the basics. When I made the career decision to leave Architecture behind, I had the confidence of taking years of art classes in my belt. I knew I had potential. So I think it’s sad that creative programs are the first to be cut.

In a survey conducted by IBM last year, 1,500 CEOs identified creativity as the number one competitive edge” of the future. And Secretary of Education Arne Duncan recently wrote that dance, music, theater, and visual arts “are essential to preparing our nation’s young people for a global economy fueled by innovation and creativity.”Read more…

Now, more about the wallpaper itself. I did a rough sketch of the splashes, took it into Illustrator, and copied the shapes in separate layers in Photoshop. View my project on Behance to see details and the screenshots of the process. I’m fascinated by airbrushing in Photoshop and I love how the splashes turned out. The objects represent what came to mind when I think of art, the tools to create, travel, colors, music, dancing, architecture etc. Enjoy! Of course constructive feedback is always welcome.

Wallpaper Size 1680 x 1050

Wallpaper Size 1440 x 900

Wallpaper Size 1280 x 800

View Project on Behance!

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Free Wallpaper: Love Is Paradise

February is the Month of the Heart and most notably Valentine’s day. So my free wallpaper this month revolves around the heart. Actually the cherry heart in this piece was created for another project, but I ended up using something else. I couldn’t just let it sit there wasting away in my folder, so I decided it would be perfect for my February wallpaper. There are 2 options available; the “clean” and the “dirty” version. I find that I usually do okay with predominantly white backgrounds for my pieces (it must be the minimalist in me), but I wanted to challenge myself with more intensive backgrounds, hence the dirty version. Here is my first effort. Hope you enjoy and I appreciate constructive criticism.

Size 1680 x 1050
Size 1440 x 900
Size 1280 x 800
Full Screen

Original Background

Size 1680 x 1050
Size 1440 x 900
Size 1280 x 800

Original Cherries

My Cure for Procrastination

Illustration by Clay Bennett for the Christian Science Monitor

I fall prey to procrastination sometimes. People have recommended making schedules or writing to-do lists. Here’s my issue with those; they don’t fit my personality. I like to be flexible and go with the creative flow. The energy I would expend planning my day down to the minute and trying to stay on schedule, could be better used. If I am working on a project and I know it will take an extra half an hour to get it right, I’ll take that time. If a valued client calls and says, “A new venture just came up, would you be able to create a mock-up for me ASAP?” If I can, then the answer is yes. I don’t want to stress about adhering to a perfectly crafted schedule.

The problem I find with to-do lists is that they feed a procrastinator’s cravings. Essentially you are making a list of things to do later. See the predicament? Here’s my solution. I call it the Do It NOW List. If you can’t do it now, then don’t put it on the list. Stop and think of all the things you could be doing at that moment like responding to an email, writing a blog post, loading the dishwasher, or designing your client’s website. Then write them all down. Of course you just made a list of things to do, but the difference is you can perform each task immediately after the other. If you know you can’t finish that magazine layout until you get the final images from the photographer tomorrow, then don’t put it on the list. If you can’t go to the grocery store to pick up milk until your brother returns the car (who knows when), then don’t put it on the list. The Do It NOW List is strictly for the short term. It also gives you freedom to write down things that may have seemed too trivial to put on the all important  to-do list i.e. change the batteries in the remote.

My long term goals are usually big and will get done in due time, but there are simpler tasks in my day to be completed that sometimes fall victim to procrastination. I’m hoping that the Do It NOW List will provide me more focus, so that I get more done in a day. It’s a new concept for me, but I will let you know how it goes. I’ve also created a Do It NOW List print out available to download. I would like to hear from you. Do exacting schedules and regular to-do lists work for you or are you more like me?

P.S. I do have a list of long term projects that I keep on my desktop using a free Adobe Air Application called Doomi. It’s always running so if I have a new idea, say for a wallpaper, I can quickly jot  it down.

UPDATE: I just StumbledUpon this interesting idea for the To Do List Lovers. It’s called the ToDo-Tattoo by Fred & Friends. “Our To-Do Tattoo kit includes 12 graphic “To Do” forms that you can apply to your body wherever it’s most convenient (or creative) and a skin-safe, washable-ink gel pen.” Anyone ever tried this? Leave a comment below.

New Year! New Goals! Free Wallpaper!

Happy New Year Everyone! My wish is that this is a prosperous year for all! With a the new year comes a new look for my blog. It’s work in progress, so this page may look completely different next week or next month. I’m exploring free themes that allow some flexibility, which for me means a custom header and background. Bueno is the current theme at the moment. I’m still getting a feel for what I like and what I can live without i.e I like 2 columns, I can live without a footer.

So I have some goals for the new year. Actually, most are really a continuation from 2011 with a few tweaks. I plan to:

  • Blog more – First, I would like to thank those of you who read/subscribe to my blog.  I will continue to post content that I hope piques your interest. Let me know if it does or doesn’t. WordPress has compiled a report of my 2011 blogging year, check it out. It’s a definite improvement over 2010, but there were things I failed to do, such as post once a week. My goal is to continue in the effort to write each week, but of course do better.
  • Build a better blogging network – I plan to be more active in the blogging community by following blogs I like and leaving meaningful comments. The goal is to build connections, make friends, and become more visible.
  • Update my website – My personal website needs to change since situations  have changed. (need more clarification: read I’m Failing and Why That Isn’t So Bad). It needs to better reflect my graphic design work and photography, while paying homage to my architectural work. It’s also an opportunity to flex my design skills and teach myself more HTML and CSS. I’ve decided to drop a flash based site for now. The new website also needs to be easily updatable  (I think this word is made up), since my portfolio will continue to grow.
  • Get a paid Graphic Design Internship or an Entry Level Position – It’s my mission to get hired full time this year at a company/firm/agency/etc. Any suggestions? Want to hire me? Let’s talk. 

  • Read more
  • Sketch more – I plan  to improve my sketching ability. I can replicate almost any sketch, but I want to start creating unique content of my own. I also want to explore different sketching styles. I already have a project in mind, but that’s to be revealed at a later date.
  • Exercise more
  • Take more photographs
  • Create a wallpaper monthly – I plan to make a desktop wallpaper available for free each month. I appreciate when other artists do this and I’ll look to them for inspiration. There will be no continuous theme, just whatever techniques or ideas I would like to try. I’m still figuring things out like what’s the best resolution to use or which colors, since each screen is different.  Here is my first wallpaper, a tribute to the new year. It was done in Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop. The color palette  was chosen from ColourLovers and it’s actually called Happy New Year by ljoobitza. Click the image for size 1440 x 900.

2012 Wallpaper Size 1280 x 800.
2012 Wallpaper Size 1400 x 1050.

New Page of Sizzlin’ Resources

Need some inspiration? What about advice for that problem in Illustrator you’ve been having? Maybe you just need a new photoshop brush to put the finishing touches on that project? Well, I just created a new resource page! It’s a list of sites that I feel could be useful to designers, photographers, architects, artists, or anyone in the creative/technical field. It includes blogs that offer tips and advice, tutorials, freebies and more. For about a year now, I’ve been collecting sites either by bookmarking or adding to my Google reader. So making this page has also helped me get a little more organization to the madness. Which reminds me of another resource Xmarks (syncs and backs up your bookmarks). My resource list is definitely not the end-all-be-all of resources, so I look forward to finding more. There’s so much great stuff out there on the world wide web. Do you have a site/resource that you’d like to share? Leave a comment on my Resource Page.

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