Tutorial – Sunburst Effect

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Bad Jokes and Bad Fonts

Here’s a joke: The bartender says, “We don’t serve Faster-Than-Light particles here.” A neutrino walks into a bar. I’m a nerd, so when I first herd that joke, I found it hilarious.  I thought about it all day; silently chuckling to myself.  It’s funny to me because I understood the premise. But when I told it to others, I simply got blank stares....

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Convert a Color PDF to Grayscale

  Converting a color PDF to Grayscale is easier than you think.  This process will work on CMYK, RGB, and Spot colors found throughout your entire document.    You will need Adobe Acrobat Pro in order to do this. (I think version 8 or higher). 1: Open your document 2: Find the Advanced menu – Select Print Production – then Preflight 3: Select PDF...

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The Passion of Helvetica

“The man who views the world at 50 the same as he did at 20 has wasted 30 years of his life.” – Muhammed Ali. I am developing a love/hate relationship with Gary Hustwit’s documentary, Helvetica.  I love it and hate it for many of the same reasons many Christians love and hate Mel Gibson’s, The Passion of the Christ. Let me explain… When The...

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Different Words

I recently heard a story about a old blind man in the 1950’s who would sit in front of a building and beg for money from anyone who passed by. He sat there all day with a cup and a sign that read: After several days of seeing this man, an ad writer came up to the blind man and asked if he could help him.  The blind man agreed; so the writer took out a marker and wrote...

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Forest Painting

My wife has a fantastic eye for design.  Before we got married, we had a deal that I’d allow her to be in charge of decorating our home.  In our apartment’s den, behind the couch, was a large blank wall just itching for some artwork.  After looking at some great artwork online, Leah and I decided that we could put our artistic head’s together and...

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Why artists should have their own domains

I’ve never really read any of John Scalzi’s work; but I did read a quote that he gave about being a writer in the era of Facebook.  Basically, what he said transposes well into the visual arts realm too.  He gave some great advice on why a professional should invest in a domain name.  Read the following and change “writer” to...

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My first swagger-wagon.

Digging around some old files, I found this little jewel … This picture says a lot about my past.  When I was in high school, my first car was a maroon ’94 Ford Escort. It was a great car.  Like all high school guys, I longed to impress the ladies by pimping my ride.  Of course, I wanted more than just racing stripes and flames … no, I wanted to...

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Why send a PDF and not just a Word document?

Here is a problem straight from my office desk.  I received an announcement/ad that will run in next month’s newspaper (The Baptist Record).  Normally, I am responsible for the design and look of each ad that goes into my work; but this time the secretary saved me some effort and decided to design the announcement herself.  Using Microsoft Word, she did a simple...

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Amazing Calligraphic Calendars

Recently I ran across the work of Mohammad Danish Khan Attari, aka – Almubdi.  He did some fantastic calligraphic work on a personal poster design.  Great blend of negative space and colored texture. His vector brushwork has a beautiful mix of urban and traditional...

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Speed painting – NC Wyeth

I love the work of N.C. Wyeth.  This is a quick rough sketch of one of his works from the “Black Arrow” series.  If you have any free time check out some of his other...

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Speed Painting – Ballerina

My first “speed painting” I did to test out SnapzPro and Photoshop...

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Basic Design Principle – Alignment

Today’s post will be about the design principle of alignment. New designers often violate this design principle by putting text and graphics on the page wherever there happens to be room. Often this can leave a layout looking unorganized and unprofessional. By aligning objects, you can give your pages and designs a feeling of harmonious visual appeal. The...

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Basic Design Principle – Contrast

Today’s post will be the first in a series on four basic principals of good design. I call these the “Basic Principles” because they are the foundation of how all good designs should look. These four foundational principles are: Contrast, Repetition, Alignment, and Proximity. Although I will be talking about each principle separately, keep in mind that each...

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6 Steps to Breaking Into a New Market

One of the most common challenges faced by new graphic designers (i.e. graduates) is finding steady work.  Right now, there’s an estimated 286,100 graphic designers in the US – both freelance and full-time employed.  In 10 years, that number is expected to grow by 13 percent.  Thanks to the spread of internationalization, the cost of doing business will be getting...

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I Hate Color Names!!

There are many aspects of being a graphic designer/artist that I must deal with every day. Consistently, however, it always seems like the simplest details become the things I dread so much. Today’s post I will talk about one aspect that really sets me off – The naming of colors! When I was young, colors were simple. I was never one of the kids with the 64+...

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A PowerPoint Problem!

Here’s a common problem recently faced by one of my friends while using PowerPoint. In the image below, there are two pictures on one slide. The one of the left has a white boarder around it, while the other is transparent. How do you get the transparency? It turns out that not all images are made the same. The image on the left is a common “.Jpeg” file. ...

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CMYK or RGB?

What’s the difference between CMYK and RGB color modes? This is a common question faced by new digital designers and those that have ever worked with a printing company. Though there’s a lot of science involved, I’m primarily going to stick with a general answer. First, let me flex my art-nerd muscles… When you were in school, you probably learned that mixing...

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Color Separation in Illustrator

So to kick things off, I wanted to start with a little tutorial of something I’ve had to do a lot of as a graphic designer – color separations. This process will show you how to color separate vector art using only Adobe Illustrator.  It’s a quick and easy process that has always given me great results for screen printing.  You can use this process for as many...

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