Little Fables and the Art of Yossi Gavan

WordPress ate my whole post! So I’m recreating it from memory.

The blog is taking a week off from me and my issues to bring you the illustrations of Yossi Gavan. My cat, Lucky, is a couch potato, who demands entertainment 24/7. She really likes the show, Cops, but until there is a Cops channel (which I would totally watch, too), she gets to watch Sprout. In case you are unfamiliar with Sprout, it’s a television channel for babies with the most grating which-circle-of-Hell-is-this shows on earth. Which is why I was completely surprised to discover this gorgeously animated show, Little Fables.

The illustrations are very simple and elegant- black silhouettes over backgrounds in tones of grey. Color is used very sparingly only to highlight single elements like a sunrise or flowers. Sometimes as designers we want to throw every trick in the book at our designs hoping for a huge wow from the viewer. But Little Fables is proof that less is more.

In researching this show, I found the illustrator’s Behance profile  and his other work, which is just as charming. I don’t speak Hebrew, but the Bobo and Zets animations are adorable in any language. I hope you enjoy his work as much as I do!

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Stress or I’ve Learned Something

I had a rough week. Seriously, how bad is a week that you actually pray for a Monday so you can start over? Even though I wanted nothing more then to get in bed with my iPod and pull the covers over my head, I couldn’t. I had to keep going. Written out like that, it sounds all triumphant and heroic, like I was running up a mountain, planting the American flag, and sounding a big ‘ol “WHOO-HOOO!!!!” while “Eye of the Tiger” played. Yeah, that’s not how it went.

I wanted to run to everyone I know and beg them to tell me if I can do this (‘this’ begin life in general, I think).  But then it occurred to me, if you keep going to people and asking them, “Can I do this??” imploring them to build you up, eventually they are going to start questioning your abilities, too. As much as I wanted that validation from others, I had to find other ways to deal with my stress.

I’m not athletic. Considering I’m 5’11”, chunky, left-handed and into art, this should surprise no one. But I’ve learned is that exercise is as good for your mind as it is for your body. My head feels clearer afterwards. Maybe that’s because my mind is busy repeating, “Oh dear God, please don’t let me die” over and over? But since I started working out regularly at the end of February,…. But wait, there’s more!

Let’s Throw a Halloween Play!

Very, very quick quick update to let you know my design page is updated with a couple of new things including this collage that I titled, “Let’s Throw a Halloween Play!” The idea was to create a collage with our early influences. It’s a combo of illustrator, photoshop, and scanned images and textures. That adorable little witch that looks like a pilgrim in the middle is yours truly around 7ish years old.

Back on Friday with a full post about….I don’t know what, but I bet it will be good.

GOALS!

I was recently chatting with one of my design classmates who is about to graduate. I asked her what she had planned after graduation and what type of work she was looking to do. She shrugged and replied, “I’m just going to send out a bunch of resumes and hope something sticks.”  You have to realize that I have no pokerface whatsoever and was silently praying that she couldn’t see that I was thinking, “OMG! THAT’S your ‘plan’?!!??!!”  Overall, our teachers do a good job showing all the options and different paths that are available to us as graphic designers. So, yeah, this was shocking to me. My point is not to gossip about a classmate, but to illustrate the importance of concrete goals.

Up until fairly recently most of my life’s goals have been weight loss related. Those who know me in real life know that those goals…um…have been less then achieved. Anyway, I fell into my last job and floated through life, more or less hoping something better would come knocking on the door. Eventually I realized that the only way out is through and it was up to me to improve my situation. So, I had to quickly get acquainted with goal setting.

For me, it’s not setting the goal that’s the hard part. I am going to be Empress of Chicago. Boom. Goal set. See how easy that was?  It’s the allowing myself to achieve it that is scary (or in the case of my impending Empressdom, scary for everyone else). I never envisioned myself as much more then a secretary . So going in a completely new direction is sometimes overwhelming. Being completely honest, if I start to look too far into the future, I get anxious. Like panic attack anxious. I start to think, “But what if I can’t? But what if I do get there there and I fail?? But what if…but what if…but what if….”

Judging from this passage in Steven Pressfield’s, The War of Art where he calls this “the Mother of All Fears,” I’m not alone in my madness:

We fear discovering that we are more then we think we are. More than our parents/children/teachers think we are. We fear that we actually possess the talent that our still small voice tells us. That we actually have the guts, the perseverance, the capacity. We fear that we truly can steer our ship, plant our flag, reach our Promised Land…..We know that if we embrace our ideals, we must prove worthy of them. And that scares the hell out of us. What will become of us? We will lose our friends and family, who will no longer recognize us. We will wind up alone, in the cold void of starry space with nothing and no one to hold on to.

Pretty terrifying, but pretty accurate description of the fear.

In order to stop any sort of resistance from snowballing out of control, I’ve been making small goals to get me over that next hurdle. Sometimes they are incredibly small, as in, “What can I do today/this hour/the next 5 minutes that will get me that much closer to my goals?”  Then I’ll catch myself doing something that a few months before I didn’t think was possible. All those little goals add up and it makes the bigger goals not loom so large.

If we give in to this feeling of fear, then we give even more power to our insecurities and get no place. It’s like that saying, “A ship is safe in the harbor. But that’s not what boats are for.” You were meant to sail. We all were. But it really helps if you at least have an idea where you are going.

Music inspires me more then anything and the song, “The Cave” by Mumford and Sons is the perfect soundtrack for this post. It has a banjo! Who doesn’t love banjos? Oh, put your hand down and just watch it!

The Wonderful World of Texture! (or What I Was Really Going To Write About This Week Fell Through)

I’m on spring break this week, which means I’ve had all kind of time to start two new projects, clean and organize the condo and come up with new and exciting blog posts! Naturally, I have done none of these things. I did have a topic all semi-ready to go that had to be put on hold and that I hope to bring you in the near future. So instead, I bring you, the exciting world of Photoshop textures (just humor me)!!

Before this last semester of school, I primarily used Adobe Lightroom to process all my photos. It’s a fantastic program with a very slight learning curve. However, in Photoshop the user can create layers of different images, cut out pieces, move things around a little more freely, and generally make more precise adjustments that cannot be done in Lightroom. Adding a subtle texture to a photo can give it that little extra punch and depth that takes it from good to great. The greatest teacher in the Adobe products is getting in there are messing around. So pick a texture and mess around with the blending modes. All you need to remember is: multiply and friends will get rid of your light areas while lighten and company will get rid of your dark areas and overlay and his pals are just that- overlays the texture on top of the bottom image.

The internet is full of free PS texture downloads. A quick Google search brings back “about 11,000,000 results”. I haven’t downloaded all 11,000,000 yet, but I’m pretty close. The nice thing about downloading that much stuff is that I forget I have them. Then when I accidentally find them in my download folder I get really excited. “Hey! I was just looking for another grunge painted wall texture!” It’s like putting on your jacket and finding $5 in the pocket. It was your money all along, but it makes your day none the less.

But, you don’t have to be like me and clutter up your download folder with all sorts of random textures. It’s incredibly easy to make them yourself. Take a close-up picture of the wall or the side walk or a tile floor or a wood cabinet with your camera on the largest file size possible. We want the resulting photo to be large enough that it doesn’t have to be stretched too much and get fuzzy. It’s better to cut something down then enlarge it.  It doesn’t have to be a perfect photo, because it’s going to be blended with other layers. So don’t stress about it being too in focus or the color being crazy. We are going for interesting texture anyway- this isn’t going to hang in MoMA.

Here are two that I created a few weeks ago one is some big rusty tin roof or something and the other is the side of a barn. Feel free to click them, which should open them in a new window, and then right click and save. They are huge pictures, so they should work with any size project.

 

 

 

 

If  you are anything like me and like to download every single free thing you find, just in case, then here are some links to get you started:

Lost and Taken: Wonderful site with so many free textures it’s amazing. Probably the only texture site you’ll ever need.

Design Reviver:  25 Free Photoshop Texture Packs

Practical Photoshop Tip: Free Stuff Tuesdays. They are from England so you can feel all international jet-setty while using them!

Well, that is it for me this week, because I’ve got to clean, organize and start two projects. Eh, I think I’ll go workout instead. Have an amazing week!