November 9, 2022No Comments

Inktober 2022

Every year, as October approached, I'd see posts about Inktober, I'd see signs in art stores, and I was always curious about it, never daring to participate myself. "I'm not good enough", I'd tell myself. "I have nothing to contribute", "I'm all about digital media, I'm just a graphic designer". Those were all thoughts that crossed my mind every year as October slowly came crawling around the corner. I always liked October for many reasons: fall colors, rainy days, crispy cool days... but now I have one more thing to add to my list of why I love October: Inktober. The concept itself is wonderful: encouraging artists of all levels to draw one thing every day, with prompts (sometimes quite challenging to get them to work with one's ideas) to help them get going. I love the idea. Truth be told, I probably would've never done it if I hadn't challenged myself the month before to illustrate one animal a day. I did this together with another fantastic illustrator in Germany, Booboo Tannenbaum (@booboo_tannenbaum on IG, check her out!), who illustrated one Berlin dog a day. We kept each other accountable, and that helped me be strict and do this daily. Inktober came around and I knew I was ready, though I didn't feel as confident with my "analogous" hands as I did with my "extended hand", the iPad and Apple pencil. So, putting my fears aside, I went for it, and I enjoyed every moment. I admit, there were days that I found it hard, and days when the ideas weren't coming forth so easily, but I did it anyway. Like clockwork, every evening, with the TV on, I'd sit on the couch and create a new illustration. Why the TV? I have always enjoyed working with background noise, that is, if the work permits it, like when I draw, illustrate, doodle, or do anything that just allows my mind to not think too hard about what I'm doing. Maybe that's also a reason why I do it, my mind doesn't get in the way, with annoying thoughts of impossibility and negativity.

Although I tried following all the prompts, I was a bit stumped the first couple of days, since I decided to participate in the spur of the moment when I saw another super talented illustrator I know do it (therefore, inspiring me to go ahead), and wasn't able to come up with ideas fast enough. I got better organized with every day that passed, and then every week. After that first week, I started planning ahead what I would draw, researching images that would help me and inspire me to get my final result. Interestingly enough, some of the ones I felt were not so great, got many good comments and likes, while others I had put much effort into, and I personally thought were some of the best, didn't do as great. Goes to show that, whatever you create, don't think too hard about it, just do it, and allow yourself to create without putting too much thought into what you believe makes it good or bad. Thought should only be involved in the creative process in the beginning; when you are trying to solve a problem, how to approach that problem, or what solutions you can come up with. But, once you are in the process of creating, all thought should be evaded, because then it can only be a hindrance.

I'm already thinking about what tools to use for next year. I might go ahead and buy a new set of ink pens. This year I worked with a few different ones. I started with what I had handy, namely some Staedtler ink pens I owned, and some Tombow brush ink pens I had purchased a while back when I decided to learn to letter. But the tips were too thick, and the paper wasn't absorbing it as well as I had hoped, and it bled a bit much. So, after reading on the Inktober website their recommendations for the Kuretake Zig Fudegokochi 3 brush pen set, I bought those. They were alright, but, again, because I was working on a small sketchbook 5"x7" Robert Bateman Cover series (110lb acid-free white paper), I found it a bit hard to control as the tips were still a bit too thick for my liking. So I went back to looking for other pens and found the Faber-Castell 8 PITT artists pens, which gave me a range from 0.1mm to 1.5mm. Enough to allow for a wider range of inks. In the end, I worked primarily with the 0.1mm tip. I'm already thinking of next year. Been researching, and I will get a Moleskine accordion sketchbook, and the Sakura Pigma Micron pens, as they have even more pen selections for thinner tips.

In any case, here are the illustrations I ended up creating for Inktober 2022. Did you participate? What was your experience?

Inktober 2022 Official prompt list

This was the prompt list for Inktober 2022

 

Day 1: the snail of life

Day 2: The Butterfly that captures the Universe

 

Day 3: The bat that protects the world

Day 4: Magic lives even inside a scallop shell

 

Day 5: Every new life brings forth a new world

Day 6: Beauty needs to be cared for

 

Day 7: Returning home to bring life

Day 8: The perfect relationship

 

Day 9: Allowing for surprise visitors

Day 10: Carrying the world on his shoulders

 

Day 11: All things connect

Day 12: Where the heck did I put that damn acorn?

 

Day 13: Amazing humans saving wildlife every day

Day 14: Alone in the emptiness

 

Day 15: The other side of the moon

Day 16: Now, where did that egg go?

 

Day 17: One with the ocean

Day 18: Life connects in every way on this Planet

 

Day 19: Animals and Nature are rooted into one another

Day 20: Surviving in any way

 

Day 21: Celebrating brave K9s

Day 22: Looking for the perfect heist

 

Day 23: Fighting one of those damn starry colds

Day 24: The fairy of Nature

 

Day 25: Contemplating saving the world

Day 26: Confidence, strength, perseverance, love

 

Day 27: Taking a bite out of life

Day 28: Camping in the mouth of the whale

 

Day 29: Slowly disappearing, hoping it's not too late to be protected

Day 30: Somebody has got to make the world turn

 

Day 31: Every creature is magical

Besides creating all this new work, which I really enjoyed doing, and challenging myself to try different things and different techniques, I also found an amazing community of artists —with so much talent— who were also willing to cheer each other on and support one another. I found artists whose work inspired me, or whose techniques made me look at how I could improve my own drawings. I had NEVER drawn with ink before, and though I need to pencil the work before inking it, it was a bit uncomfortable, because once it was done, it was done and I couldn't "fix" it anymore. I had to let go of the perfectionist in me as well. It wasn't easy. Although I'm learning to let go, I find that it's still a struggle to show my work if I find something that's not "perfect". I'm working on an illustration course to experiment with different mediums, and I'm hoping to learn to let go a bit more. Remember how I said earlier that the mind has no place when one starts creating? Well, sometimes my mind gets in the way too, and though I try not to linger too long on what the critic —who always seems to show up at those times— has to say, it does sometimes affect my work and my flow. All in all, it was a very positive experience and I'd encourage anyone to participate next year and to try to push themselves, to learn, and to leave the "nagging critic" behind.

November 4, 2022No Comments

5 Red Flags to Look Out For When Choosing a Logo Designer

I know how difficult it can be to start a new relationship with someone who is helping you with a super important aspect of your business — I mean, a logo is the face of your brand.

It’s how people will recognize you & your company.
So you’re scrolling through all these different logo designers’ portfolios & you’re wondering:

“What if I spend all this money and I hate the finished product?”
“What if the designer takes off with my money?”
“What if it takes way longer than they promised?”

I know how intimidating it can be to decide who you can trust AND who is actually going to create a logo that feels good to you & your customers.

My name is Nat & I’m a branding & logo expert with over 20 years of experience. I’m here with 5 Red Flags To Look Out For when choosing a Logo Designer — so you don’t have to make the same mistakes some of the clients I have rescued have made with choosing designers.

  1. They don’t ask questions. If someone says yes to a project without a conversation with you & without asking for detailed information about you, your business, the colors you like, the images you like, run as fast and as far as you can! Like, NOW! Because it all starts with a conversation. To be able to come up with a design that works for you, your brand, and your customers, the first step is to understand YOU and what YOU stand for! 
  2. Someone who has a lot of pieces in their portfolio that look very generic. Usually, these are logos created for a “one-fits-all” kinda thing. They are probably less expensive, but the designer will not have done any research on your company, your customers, or your competitors. Your logo needs to be UNIQUE to stand out!
  3. They’re unapproachable. If they lack good communication skills or you feel intimidated asking them questions. You deserve someone who is able to walk you through the process step by step (because you’re not a logo designer!) so that you can feel confident about the finished product & that your project is in good hands. I have heard customers tell me that they’ve worked with designers that ghosted them up until the moment they presented the design to the client, and then it wasn’t really what they wanted. COMMUNICATION IS KEY!
  4. They’re super secretive about their process & they don’t show the thinking behind their ideas and/or designs. The process is important to understand if the designer is a good fit. It starts with a first sketch and grows from there, but you want to know what to expect and how the designer will create something that will work for YOU!
  5. They’re either hyper-focused on only doing what they want to do, or they’re so focused on making you happy that they won’t coach you into a well-designed logo that accurately represents your brand & converts clients. You are hiring a professional. A logo designer is someone who has experience creating work that represents each brand distinctively, without confusing it with some other brand. It’s the duty of the designer to tell you what works and what doesn’t. Take advantage of that experience and knowledge. It’s great if YOU have an idea, but listen to what they have to say so you can get more for your buck. The value an experience designer will provide is not just a graphic that will represent you, but a symbol of what it is that you stand for and why customers want what you are selling. 

In working on all the logos I have over the span of my career, I have found that the best logos are a product of a trusting relationship between the designer & the client.

And I know how sticky it can be to navigate the decision to pick the right designer.

Most importantly, remember to trust your gut. A designer is here to create a working relationship with you & help you create a logo that you will be thrilled with and your customers will recognize as yours. 

If you’ve read through these & you’re still thinking to yourself, “Nat, can’t you just do it for me?” then I’d love to hop on a call with you to talk about your logo.

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Interested in working together?

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