Posted in Attitude, Design, freelance life, Personal Life, Psychology, Uncategorized

Shoelaces

There’s a lot – I mean *a Lot* – of information about graphic design out there.

It’s overwhelming if you’re thinking about getting into anything design related or learning anything new in general. It helps to break it down to it’s most simple parts when you’re starting to get inundated with information and look at it as something you’ve already done. It’s important to take in all kinds of information. And it’s also important to…

Just not think about it at all and go for it.

It took me forever to learn how to tie my shoes. I sat for what felt like hours, trying to remember the ‘bunny’ rhyme and how it at all made sense with tieing shoes. For those not familiar with this rhyme that supposedly helps kids tie their shoes, here it is:

“Bunny ears, Bunny ears, playing by a tree. Criss-crossed the tree, trying to catch me. Bunny ears, Bunny ears, jumped into the hole, Popped out the other side beautiful and bold.”

And no, I didn’t remember it.

I had to look it up.

Most of us probably learn best by trial and error…and trial and error. That’s certainly the case for me. One day, it just ‘clicks’ and I do it. …then I have to try, fail again a couple more times so I can figure out what I did. Some of us learn best by experience – and repeat experiences – until we can see what we did and understand what we did.

I was pretty proud of learning how to tie my shoes, until I got lazy and just tied them once to slip them on (which is kind of like passive income if you think about it). … I don’t remember the last time I tied a pair of shoes.

Sometimes the things that stress you out when you’re learning them, you won’t even use later. (But learning the information is still important. A part of creativity is applying information in different ways.) But if you didn’t learn them, you might not have the confidence to keep trying when things don’t make sense.

You can binge on all the information you want, but until you get your hands in there and start doing it, you won’t know what you can really do.

Posted in Attitude, freelance life, Game Design, Uncategorized

Card & Board Game Design Niche

When I started studying graphic design back in 2010, I really didn’t know what I wanted to do with it. But it consistently pulled me in and made me curious about all the different facets of design : composition, typography, color theory, working with people, and the thought process that happens behind great graphic art. I figured that was a good sign.
Here I sit, almost ten years later, still doing it! In that time, I’ve worked on tons of logo designs, single graphics, pamphlets, catalogs, books, social media graphics, complete branding, package design, merch design, large scale print designs, and a bunch of on-off projects like powerpoint decks (YUCK – Never again). Every single project I’ve worked on has taught me something and helped me develop my skills as a designer. But the projects that constantly stick out in my mind that were the most enjoyable (not the same thing as easy!) were the game design projects.

Come to think of it, I completed a board game design the first year I started taking on projects. But, there was still so much I wanted to learn, I wasn’t ready to commit to one thing. So I ‘played the field’ taking on a bunch of random projects doing anything and everything.

Niching down feels a lot like getting married. I feel a sense of commitment to sticking to my new brand, and the other work I’ve been doing feel like they’ve been “Friend Zoned”. I think this is a good thing. I feel like this is a new level of love and authenticity for what I create.

And I already have some milestones I’d like to reach. Here’s a few projects I want to work on:
Games for the Elderly
Learning Games
Memory Games
Tarot Cards
A Spider Tarot 

I’m excited to dive into the logistics of how to make different games. We’ll see how this ‘plays‘ out! (oh, forewarning, there will be lots of gaming puns as I level up.) 

Some resources I’m using to learn more about Game Design, elements that are in demand, and strategies behind making games:
thegamecrafter.com
boardgamedesignlab.com
boardgamegeek.com
boardgamedesigncourse.com

I’m going to be a bit more selective about who I choose as clients than I was when I worked as a generic designer, but am actively looking for projects. If you or someone you know is looking for someone to design and market a card or board game, send me a message!

Posted in Attitude, freelance life, Psychology, Uncategorized

Fear of Success

There can be an strong urge pull back when you see yourself getting closer to your goals.
Call it self-sabotage or fear of success or fear of the unknown, but it’s a real thing.

Created by You. 

Sometimes that thing we say we want to have, or do, or be is terrifying. Especially in this business.Do you want to grow? Then that means you’ll have more work, responsibilities and pressure.

We have to inch towards it so it’s not overwhelming and at the same time we want to dive in to get rid of our anxiety.

But there’s also the amazing things that happen – why we want it in the first place.
Whether it be something we always thought would be fulfilling to do or a real milestone to fulfill our life’s purpose.The best cure for anxiety is action.
The flying blind kind of action and hoping we won’t completely botch it.
Sometimes I have the urge to deliberately mess up just to confront that feeling to see what happens.
<Rambley>
I rebooted my facebook business page and made an instagram dedicated to my business last year, and I was nervous about it for whatever reason. I knew I had to take a new photo to help with my brand (people love to see faces). I marked a day down in my planner (I really didn’t want to do it) and took some photos. None of them were great – but, a couple were passable and I just wanted it finished.
So I took it as the opportunity to ‘fail’ up front and posted it anyway to get me going. And it worked! Not only that, but I was eager to post something else to get that off the top of my feed.
Of course, the next day, I flippantly took a selfie to show off a product I’d worked on and the picture looked great.  …Probably because I was able to be natural and more focused on showing off this thing I was proud of creating.
</Rambley>
When this feeling comes, we’re focused on ourselves. “How am *I* going to react?” “What can *I* do to prepare myself?” “Do *I* really want this?” “What’s wrong with *me*?” And not-so-slowly we shut the entire world out and feel completely alone and overwhelmed.

You’re not alone. Especially not with all the resources we have at our fingertips. Go through your emails, find that one that says, “You nailed it!” “I love working with you!” and ruminate on that instead of all the what-ifs. Go make one of those comments to someone you admire and aspire to be like. The important thing is to act, get out from under your own weight and feel connected to someone else and something bigger.

Just get started somewhere. Don’t admit defeat before you even try. You might surprise yourself! And that’s one of the best feelings in the world.

After you accomplish that ‘big thing’, it will start to seem small, and, guess what? You’ll look for more mountains to climb. Fast forward in your mind to that moment to when you’ve done that thing and you see it was never really as big of a deal as you thought.
Posted in Attitude, Personal Life, Psychology, Uncategorized

February already?! + Kolbe A Report Review

January absolutely flew by! I took a good portion of the month off to focus on my husband’s Retirement ceremony and to spend time friends and family who flew in to visit.

But man, as soon as the last guest was on the plane on Tuesday, things have already taken off and – somehow – I already have multiple projects in the works.

One of the friends who came to visit is a business whiz. He introduced sent me an assessment test he gives to his representatives called the Kolbe Test. The purpose of the test is to determine your MO (Modus Operandi) and figure out the natural way you work to accomplish things.

I can’t say my results were surprising, since I like to think I know myself pretty well – but it did help me understand that I should just stop trying certain methods because they’re just never going to work for me!

One of the first sentences in my results is, “You’ll say ‘yes’ before you even know the end of the question – then turn it into a productive adventure.”
I always was told this was a negative thing because “you should know what you’re getting into before you say yes.” But, looking back, all of these en devours have been profitable for me in some way – either by learning what to do and what not to do, pushing myself further, or the *best* result of it turning out even more successful than I thought.
Since I’m highly innovative and adaptable according to the test, I deal with risk and uncertainty extremely well.

Another thing I found extremely helpful was the “Do’s and Don’t” lists.
kolbe_dosdonts
So, there, I have it in writing. I work better the way everyone says not to work. 

This month I’m going full force Maximum Effort into testing out these results.
I’m not going to get immersed in complexities, re-read all the fine print (that’s a bad habit of mine, re-reading something until it doesn’t make any sense), avoid overly scheduling myself, stop second guessing myself.
I’m going to find shortcuts, actively pursue multiple projects, race the clock, and use props or photos for presenting information, and experiment!

My first experiment is going to be with my YouTube channel – I’m actually going to use it. I’ve read and research tons of ways to monetize on youtube, practiced my speaking and engagement abilities, I’ve just put it off because … video editing. Yuck.
But, no one says they *have* to be edited, so… they might just be raw and uncut.

I’ve been watching fellow ENFP-er Dan Johnson, Dreams Around the World and his videos have totally inspired me to give it a go and not look back. I’ll have my first video up by Monday, Feb 5th.

If there’s nothing up by then – feel free to yell at me in the comments!

**All images in this post are property of Koble Corp and I didn’t make any of them – but I think they’re pretty awesome.

Posted in Attitude, Personal Life, Uncategorized

2018 Goals

I feel like it’s a good start to stick to my word on things I say about 2018 – So, here I am. Outlining my goals for 2018 just like I said I would do on Tuesday.
Yep, that’s definitely a good start. 

2018 GOALS 

  • Dive into Passive Income Streams 

My store has just been sitting there collecting dust since I signed up I don’t even know how long ago. I see people making and selling Really cool stuff on this site all the time for other designers and non-designers all the time – I want to be one of those people!
Focus: Patterns, Textures, Objects, Business Card, Greeting Cards, Resumes, Stationary, Social Media, & Presentations …and Photography. …Maybe.
– Independent Artist Market sites (Zazzle, DBU, TeePublic
I’ve already become pretty active in a few of these,… actually, a few more than I listed, with very little success.
After investigating further, I see being interactive in the community makes a big difference. And I can’t be super active if I’m on like 12 different sites. 😃 I chose my favorites to be active in so I’m not spread too thin.
Focus: Tshirts, Stickers, Mugs, Notebooks, Cards, Packaging, Gifts

  • Keep Working Out my drawing, writing, and crafting skills

  • Set actual “Work Hours” 

– I hate saying, “I’m busy” when my family or friends want to do something. This year I constantly felt like I should be in another place, if I was outside my office, I felt like I should be in my office and vice versa. It’s a terrible feeling that I’d rather get rid of entirely.
Setting work hours would help me focus more on what I need to do because I’d have a limited amount of time to do it in (I.E. *Really Working* and not surfing facebook or watching Oxhorn’s Fallout 4 walkthroughs. I use this same technique with exercise – exercising “until I’m done” isn’t nearly as effective as “AAAAHHH I ONLY HAVE 30 MIN!

I’ve had a Patreon account for some time now (I’m a boss at signing up for accounts, setting up my banner and avatar, and then letting them sit there until the end of time), it’s only been until recently when I saw how my sister was using hers that I finally thought, “Oooh, so THAT’S how it works!” And it’s pretty awesome. AND I can actually use it to help keep me on top of the first two goals among other things.

  • Go Live 

My facebook live feed did a lot of great things for myself and others. It gave me more confidence, made things more ‘real’, and inspired some pretty great conversations. It even motivated one of my friends into pursuing her thought of opening her own store! It’s also possible to go live on Patreon. …which would be better in my opinion, because facebook is a black hole of distraction.

And that’s all I’m going to commit to because it’s 11:59 right now which means it will *technically* be Saturday when I post this.
One of my biggest obstacles with keeping to a time table is being legalistic about it. The Second biggest obstacle is the “all or nothing” mentality.
At least I know what I’m up against. Speaking of…

Goal Crushers to Fight/Ignore: 

  • Procrastination
  • Perfectionism
  • Comparison
  • Confusion
Posted in Attitude, Design, Personal Life, Psychology, Uncategorized

A Long Road Ahead

It’s all too easy to forget how far we’ve come when we’re striving for something.
It’s even EASIER to do that when there’s no hard and steady target at the end.

I’m a big believer in the milestone and accumulative goal strategy. Like a lot of people, it’s very difficult for me to visualize what my ‘ultimate goal’ looks like, or even to verbalize. How in the world do you visualize something that doesn’t exist yet? 

I’ve never been the first in my class in anything. In fact, I was much more likely to be the kid who had to stay in on lunch, afterschool, and staying up late trying to finish a project so I could get a barely passing grade. I’m very familiar with failure and all the disillusion it brings. 
And I’m somewhat grateful for it. It’s the reason why I’m experience oriented and can appreciate the lows just as much as the highs. I always have fun along the way.

With the New Year fast approaching and resolutions spreading like wild-fire, I feel pressured to nail down some goals and reflect on what I’ve accomplished so far. I started thinking about this a few days ago when I read this post from a very insightful blog I read. Up until very recently, I haven’t been results driven at all. A results driven mindset is something I’m aiming for in 2018. I’m not thinking of it as a ‘new’ mindset, more like a complimentary one to my experience driven mind.

A Results mind is a puzzle – An Experience Mind is a freehand drawing.

When drawing or learning any new craft (or really anywhere in life) – the best way to learn is to be curious, try different things, copy, and make lots and lots of mistakes along the way. This is where I feel like I’ve been for the past several years – and now it feels like the time to put those pieces together. ...and still keep the curiosity alive.

I usually takes the slow route to something, inspecting and dissecting a thing from every angle before putting it to use. I love processing an idea until it’s mush. In a way, I almost dread actually achieving a goal because that’s the end of analysis – what if I’ve overlooked something? What if I didn’t understand something thoroughly enough? What if I missed a connection? These are the haunting thoughts I have to fight with faith that I’ll be enlightened along the way even after it’s over.

I’ve progressed quite a ways in design since the beginning – definitely not any where close to being at the ‘top of the class’, but enough so that I’m proud of myself and confident in my skills and even more than that – my ability to learn and keep learning. 

Lessons of 2017: 
  • Dedicated more time into hard skills like drawing and writing
  • Better organized myself and my projects using Trello and Wunderlist
  • Strengthened my skills in InDesign (aka – my ‘spider’ of design software)
  • Strengthened my speaking skills by doing a slew of Live Streams on facebook
  • Teamed up with a webdesigner friend to develop my website
  • Explored being a Project Manager for a Print Company 
  • Earned Around $8,000 via UpWork, LinkedIn, and Personal Outreach
  • Developed a personal fun project to keep myself motivated for all the boring projects that pay bills
  • Connected (and kept connections) with more people in my field
  • Developed stronger connection with family and friends thanks to my live streams, Glide, and reaching out

Goals for 2018: 
  • Adopt schedules and set/meet deadlines
  • More TBA on Friday 😉
Posted in Attitude, Design, Personal Life, Psychology, Uncategorized

The Inside vs The Outside

I recently took some ‘glamour shots’ for my professional profiles thinking it was no big deal – but the feedback was really interesting and spurred on this analysis:

It wasn’t until I was around 25ish I started to come in to my own look and just go with it. I realized it was much less dramatic than I thought it would be – actually, downright boring. I was addicted to the struggle, the fear, the anxiety of trying too hard. In a morose way, I liked the drama of obsessing. When I decided to say, “Okay, I’m just going to do this and trust the process.” No beating myself, no self loathing, no constant comparison to other people, no standing in the mirror over analyzing every bit of extra flesh. Just cause and effect. I toned up, extra weight fell off, and there was nothing left to do.

The most anti-climactic win Ever. 

Then what? I’ve always gotten compliments because I smile all the time, so compliments were nothing new. I felt better in my own skin, but after about a week I was over it. It was Extremely disappointing to not have habitual goal to think about all the time. I knew I didn’t want to lose more weight or build muscle because I had done that before and didn’t like it. Chest bones are not pretty. And then you go from compliments to people openly saying rude things like, “Eat a sandwich.” So I had found my happy medium. But now what? I missed the drama, the obsession about a process.

Success is less dramatic than the journey there – and sometimes, even the journey there is boring. I believe this is part of why so many people don’t achieve their goals – especially physical goals. It can be highly disappointing when you get to the top and find there’s no where else to go, but down the other side.

About the age of 30, I decided beauty wasn’t all it’s cracked up to be. All you really get with being beautiful is compliments from the outside world and being confident in yourself (okay, so, that last one does help quite a bit!). I realized that unless I was going to be a model or something where I’m in the spotlight, good looks is really inconsequential. And I want to be more than just a pretty face. 

The process is the real treasure. Developing attributes like Patience, Will-Power, Focus, Resilience, and Determination. These ideals are easy to transfer in to any area of life once you have an area to relate.

Coincidentally, around the time I was having this epiphany- I took a challenge to do 2 weeks of live videos on Facebook saying one thing I’m thankful for. And I realized, I do Quite enjoy being in the spotlight! I don’t believe looks are completely under our control, a lot of it is the genetic lottery – so I can’t take credit for most of it. But I also don’t believe in squandering gifts, so I’m working on ways to incorporate where I already have my confidence to other places I’m working on building up. 

Turns out, looks do matter in this world despite how unimportant it can seem, so it’s good to be wise about it. And just like how you dress and look can attract/repel certain people in your personal life, the same is true when making a portfolio. I realized the “Look” of my portfolio doesn’t appeal to those projects I really want to work on. So, I’ve decided to re-design my portfolio. And no, the irony isn’t lost on me that my mind is still focused on the look of things. I’ve just re-routed the means and the end goal to be a marketable skill.
In creative fields (and other fields that use the mind as the main tool), there’s no ‘top’ to reach because imagination is endless and always growing.

A few years ago, I would have thought that would be disheartening, but now, it’s encouraging to know there’s no disappointment at the top and the journey will never end. 

A man’s reach should exceed his grasp. – Robert Browning

Posted in Attitude, Design, Uncategorized

NOTEvember 26: It’s not a Fail if you’re still Trying

Notevember is MUCH more challenging for me than Inktober was – Obviously.
But as usual, even though I’ve fallen far, far, FAR from my goals – just aiming my intention towards a specific direction has brought me a lot of clarity.
I’m experimenting with quite a few different shops to see which one has the best user interface + best prices for customers.  Society6, Design By Humans, Teepublic, RedBubble, Customized Girl, and Threadless
(Some of these don’t have anything on them yet…Patience. Use it.)
And, I’ve decided to split my spider loving self away from my Hello Holly business self – which means a lot more work for me, but a lot less confusion for everyone in the long run! Now if I can figure out how to split myself into more people to manage it all…hmm… 
I’m fortunate to have a lot of people in my life supporting me. I looked at the people I feel I know best develop some ‘Market Personas’ to determine which style of design goes on which T-shirt site.
Here’s the breakdown: 
Persona: Christy (Sister)
Style: Quotes, Typography, Illustration
Site: Threadless
Store: Spiderluf
Persona: Rachel (Stepdaughter)
Style: Glamorous, Elegant
Site : Society6, CustomizedGirl
Store: Spiderluf
Persona: Dad (Male)
Style: Masculine, Quotes, Typography
Site: RedBubble, Teepublic
Store: Hello Holly
Persona: Mom (Female)
Style: Hippie, Whimsical, Colorful, Gypsy
Site: Society6, CustomizedGirl
Store: Spiderluf
Persona: Brian (Husband)
Style: Superheros, Comic book, Fantasy
Site: TeePublic, RedBubble
Store: Hello Holly
Persona: Jamy (Music Enthusiast Sister)
Style: Whimsical, Abstract, Geometric, Ethereal
Site: Design by Humans
Store: Spiderluf

Breaking things down this way helped me narrow down what to put where so that everything in a store looks the same. I’ve had problems in the past setting up a store because everything looked so dang different from each other and that irritated me! In keeping with my consistent avoidance of consistency, I want to try different styles – but putting them all in one place is super confusing for the general public.
It’s probably like someone trying to find something in my kitchen.
Posted in Attitude, Design, Personal Life, Uncategorized

NOTEvember 13 : 01 Spiderlove

There are a Lot of online shop platforms out there.

And I have at least 6 accounts that I can remember : Zazzle, Society6, Design By Humans, Threadless, RedBubble, StoreEnvy, and Etsy.

There’s a lot of questions to ask when publishing to any of these: “What kind of quality is it?” “What’s the community like?” “What’s most popular in these stores?”  “What percentage do I receive?” “What seems to be most requested?” 

I chose to go with Design by Humans for my upload today because the marketplace is more ‘my style’…or the style I’m going for, at least.

Society6 is a close second favorite of mine – neither of these give very good pay outs… but, the ones that give better percentages either a.) are crappy quality or b.) terrible buyer/customer interface or c.) all of the above (Here’s looking at you Zazzle and Threadless!).

So…aiming for 5 designs uploaded was a bit ambitious when I hadn’t made my mind up about which store to go with… But I did get one up! The idea is to do a series of ‘Spiderlove’ featuring some of the artwork I made during Inktober. Check it out!

Let’s see if I can get 5 designs up tomorrow. …I’m not very good at setting ‘easily attainable’ goals apparently. But I’ll keep trying!

Which one of the online stores I mentioned have you heard of? Ever bought anything from an online independent artist shop? I’d love to have your input! Comment below!

Posted in Attitude, Personal Life, Psychology, Uncategorized

NOTEvember 12 : Weekend Bust

I mentioned before that I never get anything done on the weekends.
And what do you know?
No posts over the weekend. 😃

I did manage to fulfill my goal of 5 crochet spiders and they turned out quite nice. I’m still tweaking the design a bit since it’s a bit difficult to get them on the pencil.
Once I iron out the kinks, maybe they’re something I can sell through my site. …or give away. People always like free things.

Once I get in the zone of doing something, it’s very difficult to get out of that zone.
I crocheted all weekend and now have quite a few crochet spiders and a new cat toy. That made me think, maybe I need more than just a day to focus on something, maybe I need to ride the wave until it dies down.

Maybe I need to stick to a plan for more than 5 seconds! 

With all this Christmas stuff being advertised, I feel an urgency to get my shops up and going with new designs. So I’m going to switch focus to my online stores this week.

This weeks goal: 5 new designs in at least one store per day. 

That seems achievable. I’m lumping the whole week’s goals into one thing because… I hate thinking of a new goal every day. Maybe I’ll be more successful that way.