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!

Break & White

black+white_womanPublicized first on my Facebook page S. Pinder Designs (click its Like button for even more cool content or follow me on twitter), is my third Threadless entry called Break & White. The challenge this time was to create a design using only black and white. “You can crosshatch and halftone until you’re blue in the face but gray is not allowed!” Loving the concept, I wanted to enter, but didn’t have much time on my hands. I gave myself one hour to research and sketch. Not a lot of entries at the time focused on typography, so that’s the direction I took. Quickly scanning through my fonts, nothing screamed at me so I just put pencil to paper.

b+wLater, I took my sketch into Illustrator and simply had fun (within another self-assigned time limit). Will my design win? We’ll see how it fares against the other nine hundred and sixty-eight submissions. Yup, 968! So if you like my design and you think it deserves a chance, please vote for it. If you have time check out the other submissions. Many of them are stellar; I handed out some fives. There’s even a chance to win Threadcash if you score over a hundred designs.

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F.Y.I If you’re looking for a site that can provide a quick mockup of a t-shirt design without any fancy software, try www.shirtmockup.com They also have layered Photoshop files for download.

Free Wallpaper: Simplicity

I keep a list on my phone’s Quick Notes App of wallpaper ideas. Sometimes I know exactly what I want to create and other times the concept remains hazy. Simplicity fell into the unclear category. It was inspired by a fortune cookie. I have long since given up on fortune cookies giving me an actual prediction, however this “fortune” struck a chord. It said “Simplicity is the ultimate form of sophistication.” How true. Minimalism is often related to sophistication. (I would have provided a picture of this fortune however I put it in a safe place, so safe that I now can’t find it.)

I have this great quote, but what do I do with it? I thought about opposites, maybe creating an absurdly complicated piece or making it as simple as it gets, black type on a white background. Unsure, adding Simplicity to my list, I knew inspiration would come one day. Yesterday it arrived in a photograph taken by Jon DeBoer labeled Superstar (seen below).

Photograph by Jon DeBoer

DeBoer’s photo is stark, powerful, full of contrast and attitude, and simple. It was my answer. I studied it, creating Simplicity to mimic its style while adding in little extras, like the seating. I’m quite pleased with the results and it was completed in approximately four hours in Photoshop. Enjoy and of course feedback is welcome. I may even make this into a tutorial considering Photoshop is refusing to open my original file. Would anyone be interested?

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Here are some  sources I used:

Font: Foglihten No. 04

auditorium2 woodfloorHere is another “fortune” that I kept and could actually find.

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Free Wallpaper! Silence

Silence stripI feel like my mind races at 120 mph ninety-five percent of the time, but before it gets in gear, I try to find some peace and quiet. This means as soon as I get up I try to isolate myself. I close the door and avoid family ( I have a big one). It helps me prepare for the day ahead. I get some meditative reading done, put things in perspective, affirm what I’m grateful for, and review my tasks for the day. One day this past week, it hit me, even if surround myself with silence, it’s still not quiet. I can still hear myself breathe and feel my heart beat. Yay for being alive! So that inspired me to create this wallpaper I call Silence. It took approximately 3 hours in Photoshop. Enjoy! Feedback is welcome.

 
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This source image was taken by Belovodchenko Anton aka african_fi from sxc.hu.

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The main brushes I used are a part of a Bittbox Freebie: 5 Abstract Porous Brushes.

Pinterest, Beato, and that Silly Beast

pinterest-logoSo my best friend held a bat to my head and said you better join Pinterest or else! Actually it was more along the lines of “Have you heard of Pinterest? It’s a great way to visually collect things you find around the web. Check mine out.” I did and joined shortly thereafter. I’ll be honest, somewhere in the dark recesses of my mind I hoped that this wasn’t yet another social media site that ended up being more annoying than useful. However it came highly recommended by someone I trust, so it was worth a shot. Now, ten months later, Pinterest is an integral part of my life.

For those of you that don’t know, Pinterest is an online tool for visually collecting and organizing the things you love using boards. The “Pin It” button is installed in your browser and when you wander across something you like (recipes, clothing, or that fabulous 5 star hotel suite) you simply hit the button and save the image to one of your categorized boards. It’s so easy and many sites now have their own integrated “Pin It” button.

Now, Pinterest seems like a no-brainer. I learn better visually, especially by studying other artists’ work.  So many spectacular pieces flood my inbox and now when I want to refer back to a particular image I simply go to my Pinterest board, rather than sift through hundreds of emails. It’s also a great way to coordinate with clients. I appreciate any examples they can provide which helps me understand what they like and what they are looking for. When they can present you with an entire board things really start rolling. Don’t worry, boards can be marked private if you’re not ready to share with the world. That’s another aspect of Pinterest that I love, the ability to share what you’ve found and repin from others. It often leads me on a whole new journey of discovery like finding the two artists mentioned below.

On Monday Pinterest announced some enhancements like bigger images, an even cleaner design, and finding other things pinned from the same website. I think they’ll be around for a while so, it’s not too late to jump on the Pinterest bandwagon. Join today or else! Just kidding, but now I’m going to ask you to check out my boards and follow if you like. Here’s a peak:
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Now to the artists
André Beato is a London based artist with kick-butt typographic skills. He works in print and editorial with many published  pieces in his repertoire.
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Silly Beast Illustration is the work of Therese Larsson, a freelance illustrator based in Sweden. She specializes in character design and does storyboarding, sketching, and concept art. Her client list includes: Adidas, Google, McDonalds, Disney, Electrolux,  Toyota,  Digital Artist Magazine, Volkswagen, Coca Cola Zero, Cheetos, Sony Ericsson,  Siemens, Tropicana,  IKEA…

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