All posts by toddlove

Adobe Draw CC: Part 2, Whiplash Poster Design

I loved the movie Whiplash and I think the kinetic energy and jazz subject matter makes it a great springboard to launch into a new illustrative poster project using Adobe Draw CC mobile application (in conjunction with Adobe Illustrator and InDesign). My goal of the poster is to use modern technology to create an homage to classic cinema posters and record albums of the 1940’s and 1950’s.

Despite learning the functions of Adobe Draw CC, using a digital stylus as opposed to pen and ink, and grappling with capturing the detail, color, and movement of BOTH the subject and style; Version 2.2 is progressing well.

Keep posted as the project develops.

Adobe Draw Sketch
Version 2: Initial sketch in Adobe Draw application.
Refining sketch with Paintbrush tool.
Version 2.2; Refining sketch in Adobe Draw with Paintbrush tool.
Cuba Baila Poster
Graphic Inspiration for Whiplash Poster

The Extreme Productivity of Robert Pozen

Over the course of my career, I’ve read a lot of books on productivity and organization and Extreme Productivity by Robert Pozen is one of the best.  I first read it several years ago, and return to it again and again.

extreme-productivity

Many of the theories, techniques, and tools employed by Mr. Pozen aren’t new, but they are organized and reasoned through a lifetime of experience and success.

We are all busy and there is no substitute for hard work, but we can all learn to work a little smarter and be more productive.

The Impact of De La Soul’s Kickstarter Campaign

Kickstarter logo

The term game changer tends to be overused, but De La Soul’s Kickstarter campaign may inspire more artists to work through unconventional channels to finance and distribute their work.

De La Soul
De La Soul appeals to fans via Kickstarter for creation of latest album

In less than a month, more than 9,000 backers have contributed over 500,000.00 USD—obliterating the band’s crowdfunding goal of $110,000.00 in ONE DAY!

This method of crowdsourcing and unconventional financing sends a powerful message to established and emerging artists as well as media companies and distributors that technology is a great tool for creatives to send their art directly to market.

Revolutions on Air Documentary: The History of New York’s Golden Age in Underground Music

revolutions-on-air-feature-title

The Red Bull Music Academy releases a mini-documentary on the history of New York’s underground music scene entitled: Revolutions On Air: The Golden Era of New York Radio 1980 – 1988; a seventeen-minute overview of New York City’s urban music explosion, its architects, and the reverberations still being felt today.

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New York City break dancers, circa 1980

First person accounts by underground music luminaries (such as DJ Marley Marl, Kool DJ Red Alert, Tony Humphries, and Stretch Armstrong) interspersed with vintage audio, photos, and video drops you in the moment when the underground broke above ground via New York radio and germinated throughout the world by cassette tape (I fondly have college recollections of students collecting,trading, and dubbing tapes from New York to Baltimore to Philly to Detroit to Chicago to Oakland to LA).

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B-Boys on the block with prerequisite boombox, circa 1980

For those who choose to delve deeper into the subject, read Vivian Host’s feature on the New York radio scene.

OMG: The Expressively Ubiquitious Work of Oliver Munday

Oliver Munday Illustration
Oliver Munday’s SciFi’s unimaginative food [illustration for]: The Washington Post.
Great graphic design should stop you in your tracks and demand your attention.

This is what the preceding image did for me early Sunday morning as I fetched my paper off the front porch (yes, I still read actual newspapers). Large as life and in glorious color: a green, one-eyed alien in a metallic spacesuit holding a decorative ceramic dish of what appears to be pork and beans!

I saved the section and made a mental note to read the artist credit— this was my formal (but not the first) introduction to the work of designer Oliver Munday. After visiting Mr. Munday’s archive site and current work on Tumblr, I began to quickly recognize book covers, posters, infographics, and the 826DC design work for the Museum of Unnatural History: the breadth, diversity, and high quality of work is overwhelming and impressive.

Great graphic design should also create envy, jealousy, and above all inspiration.

Mission accomplished.

What Can An Elite Martial Artist Teach You About Your Design Business?

I had the privilege of participating in a martial arts seminar and instructor training with Kyoshi Dave Kovar (an elite martial artist with black belts in 10 Martial Arts styles) and many of the lessons learned in the dojo can be applied to the office.

In Mr. Kovar’s blog “In Martial Arts, You Are the Product”, he lists four elements essential to individual, team, and business success:

  • Your attitude – are you teaching every class as if it’s the best class ever? Are you approaching each project as your best project ever?
  • Your appearance – are you tidy and professional? A tidy and professional appearance instills confidence in yourself, your team, and (most importantly) your client.
  • Your presentation – have you spent time preparing for class, and do you have a plan? Strategic planning, organization, and goals for your team and your business are absolutely essential.
  • The attitude, appearance, and presentation of your staff – have you provided the guidelines and guidance for your team to succeed in the three areas above? Lead by example, but also clearly communicate attitude, appearance, and presentation expectations to your team.

My seven years of martial arts training and study have been a great resource for maintaining my physical and mental health and I would encourage everyone to engage in a physical activity or sport as a tool to maintaining a healthy work-life balance.

10 Reasons Why You Should Be Reading “Steal Like An Artist” Right Now

Steal Like An Artist
Complex concepts distilled into 10 easy actions

Last week on vacation I made time to read Austin Kleon’s, Share Your Work and it inspired me to revisit his previous book Steal Like An Artist one year later.

Read both of these books RIGHT NOW
Read both of these books RIGHT NOW

Mr. Kleon’s intelligent, humorous and straightforward observation of the creative process builds a persuasive case for starting work NOW and sharing it with others (one of my professional mentors refers to it as a “bias towards action”). These books are essential reading for any creative professional or aspiring creative. Happy Reading!

Explore the Interactive Multiverse of Unknown Mortal Orchestra’s “Multi-Love”

Unknown Mortal Orchestra has shared their new video for the title track of their new album “Multi-Love” online and invites you to create your own version via an interactive application.

As interviewed by Pitchfork, Video Designer and Director Lionel Williams was quoted with the following:

“[The video] is meant to represent the vacuum of space by impressing upon inter-dimensional unfolding, immaterial objects, and time-driven reverberation of events.”

The video is available for Mac, PC, or the Source Code for remixing and experimentation.

This Song May Change Your Life: Tame Impala’s “Let it Happen”

Artists draw their inspiration from a variety of sources and the link between design and music is a strong one. It isn’t a coincidence that many Graphic and Web Designers are record collectors, DJs, and musicians (present company included). I am constantly on the search for new and classic music to fuel my creative fire and Tame Impala’s ” Let it Happen” may well be my song of the season.

Kevin Parker’s psychedelic recording project since 2007, Tame Impala is on the verge of its third album, Currents and this opening single finds Parker at the height of his powers. Signaled by the opening keyboard swell and martial drumbeat, Tame Impala’s “Let it Happen” gallops with an energy, insistence, and purpose of creative possibility that seemingly cannot be contained in its sprawling 7 minutes and 30 seconds:

It’s always around me, all this noise
But not really as loud as the voice saying
Let it happen, let it happen (It’s gonna feel so good)
Just let it happen, let it happen

Alternating between moments of brashness and solitude, analog and digital, old school rock musicianship and postmodern electronic studio manipulation, “Let it Happen” redefines the parameters of the modern rock song (Doubtful?  Fast forward to 3:49 mark of the song to hear the track deconstruct and reconstitute itself to epic heights).

As Kevin croons to the song’s fade out:

Maybe I was ready all along
Maybe I was ready all along

The more appropriate question is, “Are you ready?”.