The Vampire Test

I’m reading this creative book called Show Your Work (Austin Kleon) and the writer talks about this “Vampire Test” that can be used on people, jobs, places or hobbies, etc.

“It’s a simple way to know who you should let in and out of your life. If, after hanging out with someone you feel worn out and depleted, that person is a vampire. If, after hanging out with someone you still feel full of energy, that person is NOT a vampire. Vampires cannot be cured. Should you find yourself in the presence of a vampire…banish it from your life forever.”

This obviously made me think of 1 to 2 people and a few activities [watching too much tv! and Facebook]. How about you? What vampires do you need to “banish”?


What Does It Take To Be You?

Original poster image from, "Rosie the Riveter"

Original poster image from, “Rosie the Riveter”

Just read another great article about “talent is persistence” theme [which also reminds me of Seth Godin’s “Linchpin” chapter on  shipping it (putting your stuff out there!)]. Pardon the f- bomb at the bottom of the article, but this really is a great read from the

It brings me back to my decade’s old  question: “what does it take to be you?” My intentions for today’s blog wasn’t going to be about goals [or resolutions], but after reading the aforementioned article talk briefly about measurements and metrics [as much as I hate taking metrics for work], it’s a necessary task. We need to see where we came from and where are we going.

In my next post, I will be posting my 2014 SMART goals!

The Creative Group 2014 Salary Guide

The Creative Group’s 2014 Salary Guide is here! Check it out, especially if you’re in a creative field [such as: designer, web designer, web developer, interactive marketing manager, digital project manager, user experience (ux) designer, web content writer, etc.]. I love the coffee theme of the guide too.

You Don’t Know Where Your Work Will End Up If You Don’t Put It Out There

Friday night’s takeaway from James White // Signal Noise was this:

You don’t know where your work will end up if you don’t put it out there.

He also went on to say: Do it. Do it today or do it tomorrow, because no one is ever going to know your work, if you don’t put it out there.

I would gladly post notes, but I actually found a video of his presentation that was quite similar to Friday night. Of course, you should’ve been there! 

I’m a Graphic Designer…or am I?

Tonight’s post is a quick rant about my recent discovery of my current job title and how I’m feeling about it.

So even though my elevator pitch is “graphic designer”, I’ve come to recognize that for the last 15+ years, I’m more of a production designer. I produce someone else’s creative ideas – at least by day. By day, I mean by the companies that I’ve been employed by. Sure, some of the elements I’ve created or any input I’ve given might make it to the final design but in the end, it’s still a production that wasn’t entirely produced by me. Sometimes it’s a team effort or sometimes it’s someone else’s decision (upper management / client).

But even looking back through these years, I still call myself a graphic designer because by night (or during day breaks) is when I get to create my own designs.

So what’s really my point? I was feeling self-conscious about my job title so I wanted to justify the different kinds of designers out there. However, it is almost midnight so I will have to continue this post tomorrow.

Design Resources Global

Since yesterday’s post was about local design resources, I wanted to share some of the global design resources I use and often visit. I’ve included some web design links as well.

Coroflot – design link that posts jobs and articles

CreativeBloq – cool

Core77 – industrial design

Behance – online porfolio site that brought 99u

99u – awesome resource that encourages ACTION, especially for creatives who tend to procrastinate, like me

Red Lemon Club – designer that definitely knows his stuff and shares awesome articles

37 signals – more of a productivity site, but definitely inspiring and encouraging

ReadWrite – everything about the web and more

Alistapart – mainly web related, but a great simplified resource

Technorati – more tech and web

Design Observer – great site that showcases anything design related; great app too  

HowDesign – graphic design resource

Harvard Business Review – great business resource

FastCoDesign – Fast Company’s take on the design world

FontSquirrel – free web and print fonts

DaFont – free fonts [be mindful of the permissions]

GirlsWhoWearGlasses [their site is temporarily down, but they do have a Facebook page].

the Sartoralist – awesome photo blog by a former graphic designer turned photographer

htmlgoodies – html goodies

w3c – world wide web consortium

shuttersisters – awesome expressive photography site

ourcollective – related to shuttersisters, now has the photo calendar on their site, as well as other creative photo resources

AIGA presents James White at Blue Ion

The AIGA SC Chapter is bringing artist and graphic designer James White, to Blue Ion this Friday, November 22nd for FREE from 5sh to 9sh [according to Blue Ion’s blog]. All you have to do is RSVP! Here’s a little blurb from RefreshCHS. My favorite images from him are his DRIVE movie poster, Green Lantern “Blackest Night” poster, The Smuggler, The Scientist, and Elle. The time is from 5sh to 9sh, according to Blue Ion’s blog.

Drew Blank

I wanted to take this time to highlight an artist named Drew Blank. I stumbled across his work [Hero Squares] at Heroes Con about two years ago, but finally met in person last year. Well, his wife really.

How’d I meet his wife, Christy, officially? At a CupcakeCamp Summerville this past spring. Or was it at CupcakeCamp Charleston,  the fall? I can’t recall. All that matters is that Christy Blank makes some amazing cupcakes!

But, back to Drew. I recall seeing Hero Squares at Indie Island at the Con and grabbing one of their promo items of these cropped open forms of Marvel Characters. I thought, how clever. He wants to tease you with just a snippet, and let you guess the rest. Here are a few of my favorite works from him below.




Drew Blank has quite a few ways to buy his artwork: Etsy, BigCartel and his own site. He also is on Facebook, and Twitter.


An Interview with Tami Boyce, a.k.a. "Tami Like-likes To Draw"

I came across Tami’s site when an artist “event” post by Alchemy Coffee [great coffee shop in West Ashley] flashed on my Facebook page. Intrigued by the artist’s profile name “Tami Like-likes To Draw”, I had to click. What followed next was a series of events that led to emailing Tami and her graciousness and willingness to do an interview. Below are the artist’s details, as well as her real last name; in case you wanted to inquire or hire her for her artistry.

What is your full name?

Tami Elizabeth Amy Boyce (it’s a mouthful, huh?)

What do you currently do for a living?
I’m a Freelance Graphic Designer.

What is your creative background [education/self-taught]?
I feel like I’m very new to the profession. I’ve always drawn but just assumed I’d “never be able to do anything with it.” (That phrase is better if you can hear it in my mom’s voice.) Finally, it all kind of came to me in an epiphany in my late 20s, so I went to Trident Tech and got my Commercial Graphics degree. [Editor’s note: I went there too! Tech rocks! It’s not where you went, it’s how you use it!]

Does where you live inspire you? If so, how?
I live here because of my family and friends, and they all definitely inspire me. Most of my stuff is light-humored and weird or twisted in some way; my friends are a huge source of many beginning ideas. Wait… I think I just called my friends weird and twisted… Ah, I guess that works.

When did you notice that you had an inkling of creative leanings?
I’ve loved drawing ever since I can remember, but actually gave it up after high school. I think it terrified me to try to make a career out of art because then I thought I would grow to hate it. It was pretty scary going back to school and embracing it all again. It took me years to just get comfortable with showing people my work.

How do you stay inspired/creative?
They say the brain is a muscle and you have to exercise it, and I think creativity works the same way. The more I make time to sit and draw, the more ideas I have… And the more prolific you try to be, the better your skills get, so I like to keep myself pretty busy.

Do you have a creative ritual? If so, what is it?
First I freak out. Seriously. With every new job and project, I get this fear that I’ll never have another creative idea again. But then I sit back, put on some music and tell myself to shut up and draw. So far, this has seemed to work.

What are 5 books that have inspired you/continue to inspire you?
I call the book “Gig Posters” (put out by Clay Hayes of my bible. I feel like every time I look through it, I notice a new detail that hits me in a way I’ve never thought about it before. I absolutely love graphics and music, so gig posters are a perfect culmination of those to me. The book is such a great collection of so many talented people and each artist talks about their process too, which is awesome.
Another great one is “Fingerprint.” I borrowed it from a friend an embarrassingly long time ago and still have it. It really emphasizes the importance of hand made items in art and design. The book is so aesthetically awesome, and it hit me at a time when I was really trying to bring out more illustration in my design. That’s why I draw everything by hand and then take it to the computer. I love the imperfection of the lines- you just can’t do that on a computer.
For the other three, I would say “Harold and the Purple Crayon,” as well as anything by Dr. Seuss and Shel Silverstein. I know they definitely shaped my style growing up and I still credit them for a lot of my inspiration.

What are 4 films that cause you to be creative?
Amelie, Big Fish, Love Me If You Dare, and Where the Wild Things Are. I find them all so visually stunning. They really remind you that film is such an impactful art form. Plus, they’re all great stories as well…

Three colors that represent you and why:
Blue (It’s like the girl scout of colors. It’s ready for anything.)
Orange (It’s happy, but it’s not too in your face like yellow is.
White (It’s clean and open… plus, unicorns are white.)

What other artists [current/past] inspire you?
I’d say Paul Rand is one of the most amazing designers ever. His designs and logos are timeless and he had a gift for beautiful simplicity, which I think a lot of people lose sight of.
I also once worked for David Carson and I think knowing him greatly impacted my career. While our styles and process are hugely different, he’s a big advocate of trusting your gut. I often remind myself of that.

Do you have any art/design tips for aspiring artists/creatives?
Sketch. And if it sucks, KEEP sketching. My finished work is so much better if I work out the kinks on paper first, then move to the computer.

What creative project[s] is/are next on your creative calendar?
Showing at Alchemy Coffee until November 19th. And I’ll be working on the Art House Co-Op Sketchbook Project this winter, which I’m pretty excited about! After that, my next goal is to start a graphic novel about the adventures of a Unicorn and Narwhal…
Thanks Tami for your interview! I know I’m looking forward to your graphic novels, as well as your Sketchbook Project! Scan it in before you turn it in!
As a reminder, her artwork will be on display at Alchemy Coffee, until the 19th.