30 September 2013

Listen to advice given : post GTS activities

It's been a while now since the GTS finalist were announced and with it the jury's review of the finalists' work as well as some tips for the one who didn't make it to the next round. Me included in the later group, although I see the semifinals as a huge success for my work (being in top 50 out of 1500 submission – not bad, not bad at all). Anyway, all this time my mind has been going back to the jury's comments. The problem was that I really liked and still like my submission to the semifinals and wasn't immediately receptive to the advice offered. Check the jury's comments and the finalists' work out on Lilla's blog.

I know that wise people listen to wise people. And the GTS jury is certanly a bunch of highly knowledgable people from the licensing market. The market I'm aiming at. Am I going to be a fool to reject that kind of input? Shouldn't I be smart enough to listen to an insider tip? Well, I consider myself to be a bright lady, so I decided to go for it. Let's do another work listening to the jury's advice. I'm doing it just for myself. To learn something, to grow. You know how often we nod with our head in sign of understanding when somebody offers us an advice or know-how? The advice easily gets lost if not used. It all sinks in at the moment when we start using the advice. That's why I decided to do it. To let the knowledge get stuck on me.

One thing I made clear to myself imediately – it's not going to be a redesign of the existing design, it has to be a new concept yet true to my own style. It's not about being a copycat. It's about building the tips into my style and creating a more market oriented product.

Let's start. The assignment was to create a Farmer's Market Autumn Tote Bag. I'll be going through the jury's tips not in the order given, but in the order relevant to the process of creating the concept and design for the tote.  A short note: I changed from apples to pumpkins and kept a similar color code to my old tote.

1.     Try to make your work stand out from what is in the market already. Truly challenge yourself to be unique in style.
2.     Rember your audience's age. What style would most appeal toyour clients's cutomer? I would add, always keep the target market in mind.
3.     Think about the overall composition. Totes are meant to be fun and simple.

Here's what I did: I upgraded my little ladies, better said, one of them grew up quickly into a sexy farmer's daughter. Obviously inspired by the vintage pin-up girls. I added the sexy factor for the more grown-up population, taking the design above the teenager audience, yet staying true to my style and being cute. Btw. she has a top on, but the purple pumpkin was placed on purpse this way to leave different kind of interpretations open.

4.     Simplify. Don't make it too busy for something like a tote bag. This particular assignment naturally called for a strong central image. It's more than obvious that I missed the brief completely with my old design. Too much going on without a centrale image. O.k. I corrected that in this new design.  The farmer's daughter is the focal point of my design, while everything else builds around her creating a coherent composition.
5.     Get words involved; they're the secret weapon of great illustration. In the new design I concentrated much more at the hand lettering (in my own way of course). I used ambiguous wording – Autumn Beauty, refering to the girl as well to the fruits of Autumn. The inscription on the blue pumpkin can also be read as the pumpkins being all natural as well as the farmer's daughter. Plastic surgery free.
6.     Put a LOT of effort in it. I did, taking care of each detail, pumpkin, tattoo,...

7.     Create a picture that shows a little 'narrative nano-second' – a moment that has sense of timing. It's better than a scene that is just standing still. That's why I created the mouse and cat scene. I put the action into the background not to override my focal point. Initially there were also some snails involved on the blue pumpking, but I left them out not to make it too bussy – see topic 4.

8.     Use your imagination to create a unique way of showing an idea or telling a story. I think I covered this topic by using my pin-up farmer's daughter.

I didn't use any structures on the surfaces, I know it's trendy right now, but it just isn't me. I like simple, yet clever and effective things. Contemporary and clean design with a strong storytelling component.

At the end, I must admit that I really really like the new design. It does work better on a tote.

What do you think? Let me know.

Going through my GTS round 2 files I also discovered these two totes I created after submitting my design with the pattern. I obviously also felt the urge to put less on it. I just extracted 2 characters and let them on their own.

26 September 2013

Going Semi-Waco

Another hand writing exercise. This one I did with a mouse and a stylus. I've been told many times 'once your get hold of a drawing tablet you will never go back to a mouse'. For now I just can't let go of my precious mouse. Old habits do die hard. I like to construct objects/elements in a more concise way - less organic. This lettering poster is a good example of it. The characters shown are constructed, as well as the typography 'up little one'. The word 'wake' was traced with a mouse - my old way of doing things, while the caption at the end was drawn with a stylus. I didn't have a complete view of how it's going to end up, so I decided to take a stylus and go with the flow. Of course, post-tweaking included.

And a close up of the bottom caption. The idea was to write/draw the text in each line with one single continuous line. I could have done the whole sentence in one line, but a lot of readability would have been lost.

Btw. I like the message of the lettering. From time to time we all sometimes hide away from the rest of the world thinking we don't make a difference. That we haven't got anything special to offer. Well, open your eyes, open the door of you hiding place and discover that the World awaits you. That you can brighten up somebody's day just by being you. But you're the one who decides to wake up! You like dreams?! You can always daydream. Stay awake!

25 September 2013

Going Waco : Hello

I'm starting a post series under the title 'Going Waco'. It doesn't have much to do with the state of my mind rather with my Wacom tablet I bought this summer. Somehow I never found the time to try it out, not mentioning to start working with it. So far I've done all my work, illustrations and character design included, with a mouse. Well, it is Apple's Magic Mouse, but still not a magic wand. Maybe the mouse as my tool shaped my style. I don't know. We shall see. The Intuos5 has a pressure sensitive pen and can produce some really stunning features but for now I'm staying true to myself. All those structures and brushes just aren't my Ding (germ. thing). I like to keep it simple. It's my belief that if you have a good idea/concept you have no need for adding bells and whistles to your work unless asked for by the nature of the project or the message you're transmitting. This isn't an universal thought, it's just how I see it. Let's say Hello to my new series.

I did a rough sketch of the lettering in my notebook, scanned it into the computer and traced it with a stylus pen in Illustrator. Of course it didn' come out immediately like this. That's the good thing about vector art you can easily tweak it. Here are some additional ideas that evolved from the above hand lettering.

20 September 2013

1 ON 1

While thinking about what labels to use for the content of this blog, which actually means that I'm thinking about what to put on this blog, I decided to give myself a timeframe for posting. I made a 1ON1 commitment to myself - 1 post each week. My loyal companion through life is rolling his eyes as I'm writing down these words. He knows me too good and he's sure there's no way I'll be able to hold on to this commitment. Well, I'm going to challenge myself. I say - 1 on 1 it shall be!

A little hand-lettering exercise. 

18 September 2013

1st Blog Post ever

Here it is! My 1st blog post ever. This has been on my to-do-list for a long time now. I've been postponing it beyond every deadline. I don't know why I've been dreading it so much. Lately I've been doing a lot of first timers, so why not do a blog? The 1st post is a good time to reveal what this blog is going to be about. Well, ... I don't know exactly. I'll think of something along the way. For now a brief hello!

P.S. I made a promisse to myself, as well as to you, to post regularly. Please remind me of this caption in case I should get lost for weeks or months. I will use this blog of mine as an exercise for staying focused and disciplined. Much needed skills!