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”?



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.

Thankful For…Part 1

So I decided to do this as well, but mainly to realize and remember ALL my blessings [good, bad and mixed]:

  1. A temp job – it’s a job, I should not complain, it’s related to what I do, and it’s a paycheck
  2. A roof over my head – sure, it’s our last debt, and we are able to pay that monthly mortgage
  3. Our paid off cars – they smell and sound their age, and they still run
  4. Thrift store clothing because I still get compliments when I wear them; and they’re still ‘timeless’ to me
  5. My family for putting up with me / vice versa 🙂
  6. My local and global friends
  7. The ability to work freelance and full-time; I know one of these days I’m going to have to stop sitting on this fence because it’s going to get uncomfortable soon. AND, I love where I am right now

More to come tomorrow! Happy Thanksgiving Eve all! [This was supposed to post last night, but it didn’t]

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.

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.