Tuesday, 19 May 2009

The Designer and Client Relationship

Here's an article I heard about today on Twitter that I found interesting:
The proper care and feeding of the in-house graphic designer (from the Jeff Fisher LogoMotives blog)

There are lots of great points in the article, it's a good read for in-house designers and those who work with them. It's also good as a general read for graphic designers and those who work with designers.

I think sometimes, from stories I've heard, that tensions tend to rise when clients and designers have trouble understanding each other. It may be necessary for the designer to give some idea to the client of what's needed to do a great job and what their working process is; but the client also needs to be able to step back and let some things happen behind the scenes before giving input. I think one of the greatest ways to build trust is for the designer to offer to give a little education about technicalities of design to the client. This is a way for the designer to show their expertise and helps the client understand the designer a little better.

Things like colour modes, resolution, and copyrights are good things to discuss in brief. The client doesn't need a ton of details, but they do appreciate knowing when things are being done correctly and knowing that the end result will be better for it.

I used to be an in-house graphic designer. It was something that I really enjoyed and learned a great deal from. I also made myself available to answer questions about design related things. I still work with that company, and they're one of my major freelance clients. I love working with them, corporate design is one of my specialties and I really get to be involved in so many areas of that with them :)

Prior to that, I worked at an engraving shop. In some ways, I think that had similarities to print on demand shops. It's high volume, high speed, and you deal with a lot of customers with different tastes. I always smiled when a customer said "you're the expert, please give me advice." What a great thing to say!

This carries over into design too. I always try to give advice on what I think will help the customer shine and I make a point of asking specific questions about things such as their needs, likes, and dislikes. Approval is always in the hands of the client, but the designer is there to offer creative solutions and help the client to meet their needs in the best way possible. And that's what we all want isn't it? The best possible solution to the task at hand :)

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Illustrator Tip #2 - Knife versus Scissors

Click the image to see a larger version. I have moved the separate pieces apart to show the divisions.

A friend asked me recently what the difference is between the knife and scissors tools. You'll notice in the image above that the knife tends to cut on a squiggly path. It also creates closed shapes, which isn't always what you want when modifying a shape.

Personally, I prefer the scissors tool (C). You can cut anywhere on the path to get exactly the line that you want. For closed shapes, you get more control by using the pathfinder palette with overlapping shapes.

Hope you found this tip useful! If you have an Illustrator question feel free to ask. Or, if you have a suggestion for a tip, feel free to let me know.

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Friday, 15 May 2009

Art Post: Lady with a Fan (part three)

I can finally reveal that this illustration is a Mother's day gift. While I'd gotten input on the sketch from my Mom earlier, I didn't tell her until Mother's day that the illustration was a custom gift for her. Kind of sneaky, but it worked out well for me! She said the lady kind of reminds her of Belle, from Disney's Beauty and the Beast. I kind of see it, but it was completely unintentional. I used the bright blue because it's my Mom's favourite colour :)

I've been making some changes since the image showed above, based on my Mom's preferences. She's pretty happy with it so far, I just have some minor changes to make. When it's done, I'm going to get it printed large so she can hang it on a wall. She's had art from me on the wall before, but nothing this detailed. I'm glad to give her something really nice and finished that she can display.

Changes I've made since include a different pattern on the ground (I switched it to a multi-coloured tile), the removal of the steps in the back, and the addition of some plants. The finished piece is viewable in this post.

My Mom enjoys Regency romance novels, so I used a little Regency inspiration for the clothing. The earlier changes to the sleeves and gloves were based on that. Obviously the bodice is completely wrong for Regency, as the dresses in that time had a vertical emphasis and often an empire waist line. For personal work, I tend to design fashion in a very eclectic way. I like using a particular period as a point of inspiration and then going beyond that and creating something unique, instead of creating something random. It's a nice change, and I like to encourage myself to experiment.

I should say that I'm defining fashion design rather loosely here. I'm drawing clothing, but I wouldn't know where to begin to physically create some of the more complicated pieces. Basic mending is about all I can do with a needle and thread. I would definitely be intrigued if someone felt inspired enough to attempt creating any of the clothing that I've drawn in my personal projects.

I hope you like the image so far :)

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Friday, 8 May 2009

Art Post: Lady with a Fan (part two)

Here's the initial progress on the vector of the lady with a fan (the sketch is viewable in this post). Just the flat colour here, but you can see most of the costume changes in this image.

I'm still working on this one behind the scenes, but I need to decide on some more background elements to add.

If you want to see further progress, you can check out today's TWC incentive. I'll be moving that image to my art blog as soon as I have a new incentive replacement. The next progress image has moved to this post.

Hope you like the progress so far :)

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Art Post: Lady with a Fan

Just a little something I drew on the prompt "hats and hair." My mother said it seemed to have a bit of a Regency feel to it and made some suggestions about things I could add to give it a more obvious Regency inspiration. Drawn with fineliner marker and cleaned up in Photoshop.

I've been working on the vector version which includes changes to the sleeves and gloves, feathers added to the hat (thanks to my mom's suggestion), and I added a bow and flower where the top skirt parts.

I still have some more work to do on the shading for the digital, as well as creating most of the background. It's coming along, but I still have quite a bit of work to do to finish it.

Hope you enjoy this initial line art :)

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Wednesday, 6 May 2009

Portfolio Site Update: New Design and Illustration Pieces

I've made some updates to my portfolio website.

In the design section, there are some new pieces that I completed for Swastika Laboratories (you can see the page of items created for them here). I designed their website to focus on the content while also strengthening their branding. I also designed some forms for them. Forms are one of my favourite things to design, but I don't get to do them very often. My educational background is really in print design, so I like getting the chance to work on some print projects as well as web projects. It's nice to balance the two, it keeps me on my toes :)

In the illustration section, there are some newly added Green Corner and Alice Project images. They've been shown here, but you can get a quick look at a selection of them in my portfolio.

I think the illustration page will need some more organization soon. It can be a bit tricky to arrange the thumbnails as they are. I prefer to give an idea of the entire image in the thumbnail, but the illustration pieces tend to vary a lot in size, so I may have to rethink that in future. I'm also debating the removal of traditional media from the illustration section, as the pieces are a bit old. I find that traditional media tends to be less forgiving when it's older. But I guess that's a good thing, as it means I'm improving. I am open to doing something traditional again, but it's not requested very often. Vector illustration is an area where I feel more skilled, and it's very flexible, so I tend to gravitate to that for personal projects.

General Updates:
I changed my portfolio site background to a subtle gradient. I was using a pattern for a while, but it didn't feel right. I think the gradient is cleaner and maintains the aesthetic I was going for from the very beginning: for the work to be the focus, and the site to look nice and be user-friendly but never distract from the work. I also streamlined a little more coding and removed an older page. And there's a new link in the menu to my Bubblesite for purchasing prints, in case anyone feels inclined to do so :)


Hope you like the changes. I have tested the site but, if I missed something, I appreciate a quick note pointing me in the direction of the problem so that it can be fixed as soon as possible.

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Tuesday, 5 May 2009

Art Post: Sketch for My Twitter Page

This is a pencil sketch of me and my cat, Tabitha. I plan to do a digital version of this later to add to my Twitter page.

I'm holding a Cross mechanical pencil in my right hand, in case you were wondering :) It's my favourite pencil for sketching.

The clothing is based on things I own. I may make some edits for accuracy in the digital.

Usually, Tabitha sits on my left shoulder and watches things behind me. I didn't really want to draw her like that though. I thought showing her face would be better.

When I hold Tabitha, I usually support her with my forearm, close to my waist. I don't usually hold her as shown, but I took some liberties for the sketch. I'm not sure yet if I want to move her to my shoulder and then put a sketchbook or something else in my left hand.

I just realized, I parted my bangs backwards in the sketch. Oops! I'll have to fix that later.

Hope you enjoy the sketch :)

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Sunday, 3 May 2009

Art Post: Suko with a Rose Green Corner Special

I posted the pencil for this drawing a while back, in this post.
And the inked linework is in this post.

Here's the Final Image (click to enlarge):

The final image can be purchased as a print on RedBubble, here.

I'm not sure if I want to add more detail to the background. If I do, I will update the RedBubble prints. Hope you like the image!


Are you are attending the Toronto Comics Art Festival on May 9-10, 2009?
If so, you can contact me directly for 8.5" x 11" prints (of any of the Green Corner specials or Alice Project drawings). These are $7 CAD, signed (if you don't want it signed, just let me know). Prints I make will have a white border around the edges.

I can give you a print (or prints) in person at TCAF, but you need to contact me first to set up a meeting and notify me so that I can bring prints with me. I'll just be walking around, so you might not spot me unless you know what I look like. If you do spot me, please say "hello" and ask for a card :)

You can e-mail me by clicking on a "contact me" link on my portfolio site. I don't think encryption works in the blog, sorry!

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Saturday, 2 May 2009

New Feed URL

I'm switching the feed URL for this blog to http://feeds2.feedburner.com/EmilyGonsalvesArtBlog

Please update your feed settings if you're subscribed.

Edit: After some help from my brother, Laurence I've fixed things so that the feed link in the address bar displays correctly and your feed aggregator, if you're subscribed to either of the old feeds, will automatically update.

Thanks, Laurence :)

Hi! My name is Emily.

Welcome to my art blog. I am an independent graphic designer and illustrator from the Toronto area. I create print and web solutions for a variety of businesses and individuals with a personal touch and conscientious approach.

See my complete profile