From a very early age, the only plan I really had was to ‘draw’ for a living - I didn’t know exactly how I could do that and coming from a working class background in an industrial town in the northwest of the UK it wasn’t the usual career path. I left school at 16 (not being the most academic student) and studied technical illustration at a local college. This was 1992 and the pre-digital process was a very slow, constrained drawing process using rulers, ellipse guides and technical pens - I carried a briefcase full of my equipment to college every day - certainly not how I had envisioned art college and I was really missing freehand sketching. Aged 19 I left college without finishing the course - I’d been offered a job working in a large animation company and I jumped at my chance of escape. I think of the 6 years I spent there as my training ground for the career I now have in illustration and design. I was eager and inquisitive, always looking for ways to learn from the hugely talented bunch of guys I was working with. I spent a lot of my free time drawing and improving my skills.
I moved to Ireland in 1990 and spent a few more years in animation, by that stage I was working as an art director and director - I was getting frustrated by the lack of actual drawing I was doing and ready for a new challenge.
After a spell doing comics I found illustration - or maybe it found me:) It was the mid-nineties and I’d been playing with Macs and Photoshop for a couple of years at this stage. I’d moved in to a studio in the same building as a graphic design company. One day my door was open and the guys stuck their heads in and said ‘oh, you’re an illustrator!’ - I was calling myself a cartoonist at the time but that meeting really changed the direction I was heading - It led to a long term relationship, illustrating for them and being introduced to other local design companies and ad agencies. I even took up desk space in their studio and was able to pick up the basics of graphic design, new software and general best practice. Looking back, this chance meeting was perfectly timed. It came just as Macs and Photoshop were becoming powerful enough (and affordable) to be able to create large scale illustrations. Back then ‘digital illustration’ was seen as a style of illustration. There was non of today’s subtlety - it was bright and brash. It was also perfect for design and advertising - it really stood out from the conventional illustration techniques. The big advantage I had was that most established illustrators didn’t want to change their style and those who were playing with digital weren’t established illustrators which left a gap in the market for someone like me who had 10 years experience, albeit in animation and comics. Within a few months I had stopped doing comics and was fully engaged in illustration.
My style back then was all over the place, I had worked on so many different animated series in other peoples' styles I didn’t have one of my own - not only that, I had painted backgrounds for certain shows and designed characters for others - I’d never really done a whole image. At the beginning it didn’t really matter, art directors were using me for everything from realistic to cartoony styles (sometimes the same AD in the same week), part of the success I was having was my flexibility. Much of this was pre- web folios and social media - finding other illustrators was done mainly through source books - it was another few years before I actually met another illustrator in person. When I did I suddenly realised they all had a distinctive style and looking at my portfolio, I looked more like an illustration agency in comparison. I took my work to a portfolio clinic at the AOI in London in the hope of getting some direction on which way to go. I’d broken it down into what I thought was 3 styles and presented them in 3 portfolio cases. I was told there were at least 20 different styles and even though the work was good I needed to pick just one style and focus on that. I should go back and take all the other work off my site and only show the one style.
This was very deflating, it made sense but felt like I would be starting all over again. Eventually, I decided I couldn’t afford to do a complete re-start and thought I’d try something else. I knew making my portfolio appear cohesive was vital but as I didn’t have enough of any one style to do that I kept all the work that could be grouped together using colour. I had been developing my limited palettes for a while and by taking out every piece of work that didn’t conform to this approach suddenly it all started to gel. Twenty plus years later and I’m still taking the same approach and it's still working :)
I’m very happy with where I am, I’m getting to work on some amazing projects with top brands and agencies right across the world.
However, looking back now, I wonder where my career path would have taken me if I’d taken a course more focused on drawing and painting when I left school - maybe one day I’ll do that…
I was always eager for advice when I was starting out, always looking for feedback from people I looked up and admired.
My advice, looking back, would be to question every piece of advice you are given (except this one - ahaha).
Much of the advice I was given really only related to a particular time or project but at the time I didn’t realise that. Some advice works for one person but not another. I would advice aspiring artists keep that in mind.
Did reading Steve's story help? Did you learn something from it? Let us know in the comments below.
A home ought to be both a sanctuary and a personal statement, all rolled into a straightforward, functional package. It should be comfortable and classy, able to accommodate a restful weekday evening and an eventful weekend night. But too often homes are cobbled together hastily, neglected in favour of a hectic schedule, and never given the proper attention they deserve. And then there’s the other main obstacle, of course, which is money – renovations can cost a good amount of cash to be completed in a basic way, let alone in a thorough, classy manner.
This article is going to look at home renovations as though money wasn’t an issue; think of it as a sort of aspirational guide to home renos, one that’s here if you want to renovate your home after winning the lottery or scoring that major raise you’ve been gunning for. Renovations are separated broadly into three categories: the basics that you need for your house to function properly; the aesthetic embellishments you can add to turn your home into a sophisticated personal statement; and the luxury features you can add on to make your home a complete dream home.
Think of these categories as tiers of necessity – if you’ve come into a small amount of money, tackle the first category. If you’ve come into a lot, tackle the second. And if you win the lottery, go ahead and tackle the third category!
These basics can be some of the most expensive, but they’re the most necessary. If your house has foundational issues, if the roof is leaking, or if the plumbing is suffering some congestion, work on those first. As a baseline, your home should function properly. No damage that could seriously affect its value or affect your wellbeing. If money is no object, go ahead and invite the plumber, the electrician, the roofer, etc. to come in and make sure that you have a happily functioning, livable house. That’s the basics.
Here’s where you get to have a bit of fun, and where the real “renovations” – as they’re commonly thought of – begin. This can be broken down further into four categories: physical space, room design, colour and light.
If money is no object, then considering physical space is a simple matter of optimizing your home for traffic flow, sightlines and openness. For this, hiring a design consultant can make a great difference. Essentially, you’re looking at what divisions should be there, and which ones can be torn down to facilitate a better sense of movement within the house. Are you going for a more modern, open concept, or are you dealing with a more classical home, where smaller rooms can add a sense of bespoke charm. It’s all case-by-case. You’re also looking at maximizing storage space (or, to put it in inverse terms, minimizing cluttered space), which could mean sectioning off – or even adding to your home, since money is no issue – storage rooms.
Next comes room design. You’ll want to work with an interior designer to decide on a colour palette, design flourishes, and a style you want to evoke. You don’t want to go “all in” on a single colour, lest your home end up looking too uniform and precious, but you want complimentary colours to create a sense of unity. For flourishes, consider the style you’re evoking – if, for instance, you’re going for a more industrial look, you might want a cast iron basin in your kitchen, reclaimed wood or copper accents; if you’re going for a Scandinavian mid-century design, your living room might work around a few choice, teak pieces of furniture. The style will probably dictate, to a certain extent, both the colour palette and the design flourishes, which is why it’s important to consult a design expert.
And then there was light! If money is no object, go ahead and let that natural light in by installing large bay windows or skylights. From there, consider the three main types of lighting: ambient lighting, task lighting and accent lighting. Ambient lighting is the basic, uniform illumination that brightens everything, whereas task lighting targets a specific room and accent lighting targets a particular design feature. Having a smart mix of the three can create a layered, sophisticated lighting setup that brings out the most in both the basic space and room design.
Adding Some Luxury
Finally, this is where you want to throw around your money. Add a Jacuzzi in the bathroom, a hot tub out back, a home theatre in the living room, and a brand new, gas-range stove in the kitchen. These are the type of over-the-top features that require a lot of money, but hey, this article is supposed to be about what you would do if money were no option. Consider what brings you bliss – whether it’s a quiet bath or a blaring sound system – and add features according to preference.
Depending on the kind of money you have, you can either do basic, aesthetic or luxury renovations. When tackling the basics, you want to ensure that everything is in working order and the value of your house isn’t compromised; when tackling aesthetics, you want to create a space that’s stylistically unified and well-lit; and when tackling luxury, really, the sky is the limit. Ask your boss for a raise, or buy a few lottery tickets. Your dream house may be more attainable than you think.
If it was a Jeopardy question, would you be able to identify the present status of the national terrorist threat level without guessing? That’s what we thought. As presently configured, this color-coded warning system seems to have all the gravitas of the flag rotation at the beach that advises of strong undertow or the presence of too many jellyfish in the water. Actually, the resemblance is uncanny. Each has a five-color system that seems to randomly land on a selection depending on what a lifeguard or the Director of Homeland Security had for breakfast. Is it time to simplify our terrorist warning system from five flags to three?
The History of the Flag System
Color has a powerful influence on humans, shaping our moods and having a larger than you might imagine effect on your personal opinion of any particular day. In the wake of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center in New York on September 11, 2001, officials in the newly created Department of Homeland Security decided a color-coded system was the best way to gain the attention of the average citizen, enabling them to discern at a glance the prevailing overall threat level, ranging from Green for “low risk of terrorist attacks” to Red for “severe risk of terrorist attacks.” In the near two decades since its establishment, the Threat Level Advisory System has been adjusted 17 times, the last in 2006 when it settled on Yellow, a “significant risk of terrorist attacks.”
Recently, the Homeland Security Advisory Council decided there might be a few too many flags and they may drop the bottom two, presumably on the theory that there’s a good chance we’ll never have a “Low” or “Guarded” state of affairs again. We can look to Israel for guidance here. Think they ever let their guard down? We’re guessing not. And presumably, five flag colors upon which our life depends is deemed more than the average citizen can keep up with
Stay Out of the Water and Watch for Madmen in Trucks
Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano received the bad news from her council in the form of an official letter describing the current public indifference and lack of confidence in the Threat Level Advisory System. Though some panel members were in favor of scrapping the colored threat system entirely, the current non-binding recommendation is to move to a simplified three-color system that includes:
Yellow: A “guarded” state in the nation that urges all citizens to assume “standard” vigilance against potential terrorist action. This would be the new lowest threat level.
Orange: An “elevated” suspicion level in which protective measures are implemented upon the basis of specific information regarding a terrorist plot. An example - Johnny Jihad gets on Facebook and threatens to blow up the Super Bowl.
Red: This “high” alert level is intended to exert maximum protective measures against an ongoing or imminent terrorist action.
Keep the Politics Out
One of the compelling reasons to change the color-coded threat system, according to the council, is a recent revelation in former Homeland Security head honcho Tom Ridge’s book, The Test of Our Times, that members of George W. Bush’s cabinet urged him to increase the national threat level in the days leading up to the 2004 presidential election, theorizing that the move would go a long ways towards securing a second term for the sitting president.
Obviously, this kind of political chicanery doesn’t do much to increase public trust. Now the politicians at Homeland have decreed that the new system, “for reasons of public credibility,” won’t be politicized. They go on to assure us in the most insistent of terms that the new threat level will be changed only when public safety and security compels it. Riigghht. We'll believe it when we see it.
The Bottom Line
Ultimately, the world is a squirrelly place; it doesn’t seem we’re safe online or off. For the former, there are legitimate security steps you can take to protect yourself. With the latter, it may very well make all the sense in the world to simplify the Threat Level Assessment System, but the way to gain credibility is not to claim there will be no politics involved. That’s an insult to Americans everywhere. Of course, there will be politics involved. Politicians can’t help themselves. The best we can hope for is that, along the way to politicizing this new system, they might inadvertently do a good thing for the rest of us.
We shared, you voted. This article will present the best colour palettes of the previous month that you can combine and use for your creative projects.
We asked a fellow Colourlover, Antonio Sánchez, to help us out and make colourful mandalas using the color combinations from palettes that were the most popular on our Instagram account in the past month.
Can you match the mandalas with the palettes?
If you want to try and make something similar, head up to his blog and check out the code he wrote for previous collaboration with ColourLovers. Isn't it great?
If there are any of you Colourlovers that love to be creative, original, love to share your work, shoot us an email or a social media message so we can see how we can collaborate and inspire our community.
How did you like mandalas? Do you do something similar? Let us know in the comment section.
About the author:
Antonio Sánchez Chinchón is mathematician who works as data scientist at Telefónica, where he tries hard to extract value from data every day. He is the creator of Fronkonstin, a blog on mathematical experiments, data science, data art and R programming. He plays the banjo in a rock band. You can find him on Twitter @aschinchon.
The colour choices we make influence our life on a daily basis. Every colour bares a message, it makes us feel relaxed, happy, energized and safe or insecure and hungry. The choices we make while creating our pieces of art also send a message about how we feel at that precise moment and what we want to share with the world.
Don't be scared to experiment, try new challenges, think of new ways how to use colour and how to combine it in your designs.
We suggest you try some of these 'natural' palettes inspired by the most beautiful part of our being: the eyes, both human and animal eyes.
Let us see if you dare. Let us know how it went.
Post pieces of art that you created inspired by March colour palettes in the comments below. Post them on Instagram (#colourlovers) and Twitter (@colourlovers).
Create, share and inspire each other
Which one is your favorite? Which one made you laugh? Which one inspired you?
I was working as a graphic designer in 2006. I was fortunate enough to work in a small company with a very good boss. He employed me as a designer but he knew I liked to draw and gave me a chance to learn more about it at work place. Even if I had something to design he was always giving me free time to experiment with drawing anything no matter if that was related to the current project or not.
At that point I was sort of searching for myself in a wrong way, and also experimenting with drugs. My drawings looked like this:
I keep this artwork that dates to the beginning of my career as a reminder and a storyteller of my artistic and personal development. I also use it to see how much I've grown as an artist. It is still available in my portfolio at Behance. What you'll see in this folder is not something we can call illustrations that you could sell for big money. So, the first piece of advice would be: if you want to become a successful illustrator, don't try to draw like this.
Well… I think there were a few people and things combined together that made me successful.
It may sound unreal but it's actually logical. You are the center of everything in your life. What you think and feel, the way you perceive reality... it all influences the way you see the world and how you react to it. If you are at peace with yourself, you will be in harmony with the outside as well. Your attention and how to what you choose to dedicate it can transform your life.
For sure it was worth it! The only thing I would have done differently would be not taking up a couple of orders that I knew from the start would be a lost cause. I am talking about the ones where the customer didn’t know what they wanted nor why they wrote to me.
What do you think about Fil's story? Can you identify with it? Does it make sense? Do you have a story you'd like to share for COLOURLOVERS blog?
Tell us about it! We're dying to hear.
You need a very good downloader to download YouTube video safely. Even though there are hundreds of such downloaders available, finding the right one can be little time-consuming and you may need to do some good research. The best downloader will have some definite advantage over the general downloaders which are available today. The following factors are very important in choosing a downloader which will help you to download you Tube video safely.
Speed of the downloader is very important. There are some downloaders which are very sluggish and they need few hours to download a simple video. You cannot wait hours for the downloader to download a video. You need a downloader which will download your videos with a fast speed. There are some YouTube video downloader apps which will download a two-hour full HD video in just four minutes. Such fast downloaders use the multithread technology and as a result of that you get the benefit of getting your video within few seconds.
Find a video downloader that will allow you to download You Tube videos in any format. Which should download the videos in MP4, WebM, 3GP, FLV formats. You should also be able to save any YouTube music as MP3 files. Such a downloader should be able to rip web links to AVI, MKV, WMV, iPhone, PSP, Android, phones, etc.
Your downloader should allow you to save several videos at once. There are many downloaders which does not allow this feature. Would you like to keep downloading videos one by one doing everything manually? Definitely not. You need a downloader which will help you to save time by saving several videos at once as you want.
Just make sure that the downloader you are using preserves the original quality of the videos. If you get a low quality video that you cannot use or which is very much pixilated, what is the use of downloading the video? It is just a waste of your time and Internet. You need a downloader which will preserve the original quality. Some of the downloaders may even help you to improve the quality by allowing you to download in a higher resolution. It is also important that your downloader allows you to download 4k and full HD videos. With time, the quality of the videos in you Tube and other sites are increasing and so you downloader should be able to handle the latest type of videos and download it for you within a short time. Find a downloader that supports different qualities such as 4K, 1440p, 1080p, 720p, 480p, 360p, 240p, 180p.
It is important for people with slow Internet connection to limit the download speed. However, most of the downloaders are not sophisticated enough to allow such ability to limit download speed. However, there are some very good downloaders available which will allow you to limit download speed according to your wish. Choose a downloader which has this facility.
There are some downloaders which will allow you to download videos only from a few sites. On the other hand there are downloaders which will help you to download such videos from 10,000 sites. Which one will you choose? You should be able to capture online videos easily from YouTube, Facebook, Vimeo, Dailymotion, Twitch, LiveLeak, Veoh, local and adult sites.
Freemake Video Downloader is a downloader that have all the above mentioned features. It lets you download YouTube videos and 10,000 other sites; save videos, playlists, channels in HD, MP4, MP3, AVI, 3GP, FLV, etc. It is absolutely free. Download it here
Searching for that right image for your creative project can be tiresome. You put in a lot of time, patience and dedication, and when you finally find the perfect one, it is copyrighted and you cannot use it for your client or your friend’s commercial project. On the other hand, even worse, the resolution is so bad that you can barely see the shapes as soon as you zoom. Sounds familiar?
Well, struggle no more; you have come to the right place. Today we list ten of our favorite photo directories whose photos you can use stress free. They are all high quality and free from copyright restrictions. They all fall under the CC0 – creative commons license that allows you to use them without the previous permission of the photographer for both commercial and personal projects.
We list them in no specific order, as they are all special in their own way. Tell us which one is your favorite!
Unsplash is fueled by a community of generous photographers that give away their high-resolution photos free of charge. The site’s main values are sharing, caring and creating. Even the big companies like Squarespace, Medium, Slack and Trello use these photos. On Unsplash you can find different categories of photos ranging from landscape to business and food photography. Alternatively, you can explore their curated collections.
All of the photos you find here are high-resolution images placed under sixteen curated categories, which makes it easy to find exactly what you are searching for.
If you are searching for royalty-free stock photo database, you have come to the right place. Kaboompics is currently a photo directory containing almost 6000 images, with more than 80.000 users visiting it every month. All the photos are presented together with a 6-colours palette that is generated from the image itself followed by HEX codes and ready to be used instantly. A great thing you find on Kaboompics and do not see on many other photo directories is the data about the details of how the photo is taken: aperture, ISO, exposure and the lens type. These options and their blog can be of great help to everyone learning photography.
Stocksnap’s photos will surprise you. You will be able to find various imagery from animal photos to business and fashion. Many already have applied filters so if you like them as they come, you can use them without additional editing.
Besides by using the search bar, you can search through images by categories, number of views and downloads, date or how a photo is trending and you can see the most favorite photos on the directory.
Ryan McGuire created and curates the awesome directory that is updated once a week with creative, fresh images. Gratisography is very specific in its content as all the photos are unpredictable, quirky and funny. You can search through six categories (animals, nature, objects, people, urban, and whimsical) or subscribe to get weekly bundles. He also offers bundles containing an unpublished bonus photo which you can buy for as low as 5$ to help him cover his expenses.
Pexel is a directory with a goal to empower the creators giving them the freedom to use not only CC0 licensed photos but also videos. They currently have over 40,000 photos and upload around 3,000 high-res photos per month. Another awesome thing you can find on Pexels is the design break, a website that helps designers take five and amuse themselves by stumbling upon random inspirational stuff: watch topical videos, discover new websites, guess colors and much more.
If you are blogging about food or you need high quality photos of food for a cookbook for instance, you can find those on Foodies Feed. There are plenty of food images to choose, whether you are searching for indoor or outdoor images, with or without people in the shot. The website was founded three years ago and it had more than 1 million downloads since.
“Free pics. Do anything. Make magic.” is how the founder and main contributor, Jay, welcomes you to the site. You can choose from various content, including videos and quotes. Seven new photos are uploaded every Thursday.
Bucketlistly is actually a platform where you can list your bucket list goals and become inspired by the goals of other travelers, but its photo gallery is still an invaluable asset with more than 5000 images shot at different locations around the world. It is the go-to photo directory for travel bloggers, travel companies and guides. You can search by simply clicking on the world map or selecting the country tags below it.
And last but not the least, Life of Pix is a platform that promotes one photographer/collaborator each month on social media and website. This directory, besides offering royalty free high quality photos, lets you be a part of a big community of photographers: customize your public profile to create an online portfolio, follow favorite photographers and have a look at all the photos you have liked.
It also offers CC0 video content.
Let us know which one you like the best. Is there any other CC0 directory you would like to add to the list?
An interesting, original and creative business card is excellent marketing for your business, but it is even more cost effective when you design it yourself. This can be made in a fun, professional-like way, even if you are not a talented artist when it comes to online drawing tools. In order to get one of the most original business cards on the market, all you need is creativity and, as extra-tip, follow these simple steps mentioned below.
You can get amazing design for your business cards by using programs like Adobe Photoshop, Microsoft PowerPoint, Word or Adobe InDesign. It all depends on your level of knowledge connected to these programs and experience in creating promotional materials by using them. The standard size for a business card should be 2.5 x 3 inches and it should be printed on good quality paper, in order to make a good first impression.
Template is very important for a business card, it helps you unleash your creativity and design a truthful pattern. Until you decide for a template that reflects your personality and your business’s note, you are free to experiment, play with colours, text, logo and other defining items. Design programs help you organize all the necessary details, so check them all and decide which one will work better for you.
Like in every other area connected to design and creating your own style, colours are very important for business cards also. They can highlight important aspects from your card, so you should try working with 300 dpi resolution and using colours like Cyan, Yellow, Black or Magenta if you want to get an outstanding quality for printing. Background is very important also; you can experiment and play with colours before choosing the best one for you.
Your logo should be the main eye-catching detail from your business card. Since they are the memorable aspect from this presentation document, logos should be presented as creative as possible, maybe by using 2D or 3D effects, clip arts and other useful techniques that highlight your business’s profile.
Presentation texts are important, because from them potential customers should understand everything there is to know about your business. Also, fonts, colours and font size are other details you should consider. You should use at least 8pt size and two or three complementary fonts.
If your business card has two sides, why shouldn’t they be used? You might need every space in order to provide information like: business name, logo, line of work, your name, title, position, work and personal phone number, email address or social media channels.
Your business card is like the first impression; it could mean a lot for developing new partnership. The information you mention on it should be clear and simple, necessary after a first meeting with your future business partners, therefore do your best to make it as suggestive as possible. After you finished the design, ask for a second opinion regarding it and print it following high quality standards.
How Does Color Improve Your Mood?
Just like warm weather and sunshine makes you feel good, certain colors can just make you feel better. This is a proven fact and using the right colors in your work can change the way your readers feel about you as well. For example, yellow and orange have always been associated with happiness and blue or green has been known to promote peacefulness. Using certain colors on your website can set the mood for your readers to improve your readability and increase sales. However, you do have to know a little bit about the psychology of color to use it properly.
Believe it or not, color psychology has been around since the late 17th century when Sir Isaac Newton found that each color has its own wavelength. Others went on to discover that you could blend light to make other colors and that some have a sort of warm aura while others are cool colors. For example, the red spectrum of colors such as orange and yellow, are known to be cool colors and the blue spectrum is made up of warmer colors like green and purple. Let’s look at some of the basic colors and what they mean.
Photo courtesy of tes.com
As we all know, red is associated with love and intensity. It is a strong and vibrant hue that usually brings very strong emotions in people. It can be an energetic and powerful color that evokes confidence, self-assuredness, and control. It can also be a fun and passionate color that sets off emotions of romance in some people. Hence, the reason for red roses and hearts on Valentine’s Day.
The color orange can also be an energetic hue that inspires happiness and makes you feel uplifted. While there are some people who say orange is energetic and happy because it is a blend of red and yellow colors, which makes sense because red is energetic and yellow is a happy color. Bright orange can be an attention getter dark orange may cause a calmer feeling.
Sunshine is referred to as yellow and it invokes a brightness to anything it appears in. If you want to create a happy and warm website that grabs attention and does not let go, try using the colors yellow, orange, and red. All three of these colors and the various hues in between can increase the intensity and energy of any page.
Blue is the color of the sky and has been known as a primarily male color all over the world. It is a color that promotes peace and serenity as well as reliability. It is one of the most often used color in marketing and advertising because it exudes a professional sincerity that gives people a sense of security.
For many, the color green is a symbol of good luck, healthiness, and nature. It is also known as a tranquil shade that promotes a calming effect similar to blue. Because green is a blend of blue (a warm color) and yellow (a cool color), it has the ability to create an atmosphere of both happiness and serenity. It has been used to relieve stress and is a common color for doctor’s offices.
Since the 15th century, the color purple has been associated with royalty and wealth because it cost more for manufacturers to make the color. However, it is not just known for its high society use. It is also a symbolic color that is used for awards such as the Purple Heart, which is one of the most honorable awards for bravery in the American military.
No matter what colors you choose for your website, make sure they are pleasing to the eye and blend well together. Some colors just do not look good together. Have others take a look at your color palette before you publish your final product.