I spent a few hours this afternoon in a meeting, getting an overview of the online tools & services I'll need to learn for my new jobby-job. It's a lot of stuff to wrap my head around and get familiar with but I'll figure it out. During the meeting, when I went back to feed the parking meter, I noticed a big crack on one of the tire's sidewalls. I was planning on driving my car to Ukiah for the weekend to together with a bunch of my cousins. For a while I thought I was going to miss it. Luckily my brother it also going so I'm hitching a ride with him tomorrow afternoon. The tire replacement will wait till next week. And in other news... I'm just about done processing all the 1.0 pre-order & custom-order requests that came in yesterday. All the the confirmation emails have gone out and most invoices too. I'll try and wrap that up over the weekend while I'm away. It feels good to be busy again and I'm excited to hang out with my cousins these next few days!
Today I photographed 6 different colored t-shirts then made mockups of my 1.0 (logo) tee in Photoshop. I digitally erased the neck tags in the photos too. The plan is to offer the color tees as presales, and not carry a full stock of them. Maybe just one color. I've reached out to my screen printers and I'm waiting on a quote before offering pricing and making the presale orders live on my online store.
Yesterday, besides cleaning out my stash of old sketches and stickers, I backed up my iPhone, iPad and Macbook and updated their operating systems. The iOS devices continued to work fine but my 7 year old laptop was having a tough time after the new MacOS update. I updated my Mid 2014 Macbook Pro's OS, from Catalina (10.15) to Big Sur (11.3). After the install the fans in my laptop came on full blast and overheated. I'd known for months that Macbooks days were numbered. One of the speakers had blown out and the trackpad hardly works unless you press down on it really hard. I was waiting for the new M-series 16" Macbook Pro to drop but didn't want to risk losing any of my work in case my old Macbook took a shit so I pulled the trigger on a Mac Mini. I'd mostly been using my Macbook as a desktop with an external monitor, mouse, keyboard and speaker so the new Mac Mini fits right in. Now I can use my Macbook as a backup and get it repaired and not be computerless while it's in the shop.
It’s that time again. Today I logged onto TurboTax and began the process. I think this will be my 3rd year doing the self-employed version. It’s gotten easier every year but it still feels like a huge chore while I’m doing it and an accomplishment once I’m done. This year I’m going to document the whole process and create a “how-to” guide for next year. I’m constantly updating how I keep records to make filing faster and more efficient .
Tonight I finally finished smoothing out every letter of every state of my US map design. The map was drawn by hand in Adobe Fresco on the iPad using the Apple Pencil. If you looked closely you'd see all the jagged lines. To fix that I spent the last few days tracing every path using the Smooth Tool in Adobe Illustrator. It not only smoothed the lines, it also removed a crap-ton of unnecessary anchor points. In the end I brought the file size down from 2.9 MB to 896 KB.
Almost there. Still cleaning up the design by smoothing out the paths and removing unnecessary anchor points. This sucker is 12 states away from being print ready.
Today I learned about the Smooth Tool in Adobe Illustrator CC. It smooths out jaggy lines (paths) and gets rid of a lot of unnecessary anchor points which is what I need for the drawings I make on the iPad. Using the Smooth Tool, with a mouse, on my US map would be a nightmare so I downloaded Astropad which turns my iPad & Apple Pencil into a graphics tablet & stylus to control my laptop. This sped up the process significantly and I’ve now cleaned up 22 states. I’m almost halfway done.
The Layla-Mae & Phoenix sticker sheets are ready to print! I’m waiting on the client (my cousin) to let me know how many of each he wants. Then I’ll print them out on adhesive vinyl sheets, cut them and mail them out. While I’ve been waiting I pulled out the spare Raspberry Pi, attached to a 7” touchscreen, that I had laying around. I installed the latest OS and managed to get Disney+ to run on it, but not very well. I also tried installing Retropie, to play old school video games, but had no luck getting that to work. I’m on the lookout for something cool to with my second Pi computer but everything is either lame or above my skill level.
Before printing this out I brought the artwork into Illustrator and went through every eye, mouth & nose to clean them up. I also a brought in the vectorized Layla-Mae, instead of the rasterized graphic I'd been using in it's place, so now the name looks way sharper. Tomorrow I'll print smaller versions to see how they look.
I recorded myself doing a quick drawing using a GoPro Hero 3+ that I'm borrowing from a friend. I'm still waiting on parts to mount my DSLR overhead so I figured I'd test a different camera while I wait. The GoPro has three Fields of View and I used Narrow in this video because I didn't want to distort the image. The downfall is that I can't fit the entire page on the screen. After recording myself draw I edited the video in iMovie to speed it up (from 10 minutes to 30 seconds) and added some transitions, titles, & stock music.
I spent most of the day fixing images I created in Adobe Fresco, on my iPad, then converted to printable formats on my computer. First were these 6 drawings of mine. My brother is going to get them printed and framed. I think they were in RGB format on the iPad then became dull when I converted them to CMYK on the laptop. It took me hours to figure out the best way to select the individual colors within the images, based on how I drew it, and finding approximate color matches. The next problem was when I exported a PDF from Illustrator that I originally drew in Fresco. In the PDF I there were thin lines around every brush stroke that wasn't showing up anywhere else before. My buddy Adam needed the artwork I made for his band's album, "Elysian," minus a the background, to put it on merch. He requested a PDF and I thought it was going to be as simple as one-click. Now I'm reading a 31 page guide trying to understand transparencies because I think that's what's causing the issue. I sent Adam some hi-res JPGs, hoping that they'll work for him, until I figure out how to fix this. I thought computers were supposed to make things easier for us.
I snapped pics of the ceramic skull I'm painting for the upcoming "31 Skulls" art show and I'm digitally coloring in the cells before I go and actually paint it. I'm using the pen tool in Adobe Illustrator to quickly draw and fill the cells. My goal is to have all the colors balanced out and equally distributed around the skull.
It's been a pretty busy week at home so far. Not so much much with art but with other projects. Tonight I rearranged & saved my workspace on Adobe Illustrator to match designer Aaron Draplin's workspace, as shown on one of his Skillshare videos. His course, "Design Like Draplin: 21 Tips for speedingUp Your Design Workflow," is what motivated to buy a larger external monitor. I've been using my 15" Macbook for years and never realized how cramped and cluttered my workspace was till I watched his course.
Today I bought a one-year subscription to Skillshare Premium. Skillshare.com is website with a bunch of online courses on all a bunch of different subjects. I heard about it when one of my favorite graphic designers, Aaron Draplin of Draplin Design Co., shared on his Instagram (@draplin) that he released a new course. He's taught 6 of them. Tonight I watched his 2-hour course on improving your Adobe Illustrator workflow and it alone is worth the $59 I paid for the whole year.
It's been a few weeks since I'd drawn on the iPad so today I picked it up and did a few "quick" doodles. The timelapse videos were exported from Adobe Fresco and sped up in iMovie.
I finally got around to filling in the background. Before inking the piece I did a mock-up in Photoshop, printed it out, and made a few edits. When I started I didn't take into account the black space between shapes so some areas barely have any background showing through. My solution was to shave some shapes down to allow more black to come through. I did everything on the photocopy before transferring them to the piece. I also tested Sharpies vs Copic markers on the same photocopy to see which black is blacker. The Copic was just a tiny bit darker so I'm been using that to fill in the background.
I went for another walk today at Lake Cunningham park. The plan was to run but I woke up still sore from running a couple days ago. Instead of running I did another brisk walk. 2 laps along the road that goes around the inside of the park. I fired up the Map My Run app for the first time at Lake Cunningham and was surprised that each lap is 2 miles long. Maybe tomorrow I'll be good enough for a run.
You know, that mouse guy...
I had the idea for this last year. I drew it out in Adobe Draw but didn't like the way it came out so left it alone and forgot about it. I still had the reference pic on my iPad so I gave it another go tonight and was much happier with the result this time around.
Another digital doodle done on Adobe Fresco. I'm still getting a hang of it but liking this app a lot better than Adobe Illustrator Draw.
I was playing with the different brushes in Adobe Fresco for the iPad. It lets you draw/paint with vector and bitmap brushes. It also has Live Brushes that work like watercolors and oil paints. I messed around with those a little but everything I made looked like shit. I liked how the halftone brush looked so I used it as my background for this pink demon dood.
The updated Coronavirus guidelines & rulings are requiring gyms to close for a few weeks. Lately I've been going 3 times a week to use the treadmill. Luckily I can go run & walk outside, as long as it's not raining. Here's the time lapse from the Adobe Fresco app, with some music, of the drawing I inked last night.
I digitally inked this sucker tonight. I used Adobe Fresco on the iPad, which is a replacement for Adobe Illustrator Draw. I've been using Draw for a couple years. It's what I used to draw the vector based graphics for my t-shirts. Fresco is taking a little getting used to but it seems to be a much better app than Draw.
I didn't do a good of tracking business related mileage last year. I downloaded a mileage tracker on my phone last year and never really checked it till this weekend. There are probably thousands of trips logged on the app and it just gives me the addresses at every stop. I have to click each address and zoom in to figure out the locations. I reviewed a bunch of trips today from 2019 and figured it would take me days to go thru all of them so I went and did all of 2020. I want to be better about logging mileage going forward so I'm gonna try and review my trips everyday before bed. Wish me luck.