Wallpaper of the Week #11 – Saad Moosajee

Welcome back to another wonderful wallpaper of the week feature. This week, we are featuring a wallpaper produced by designer Saad Moosajee. Saad is a self taught illustrator and art director, and he has been in the industry for several years now. He has had his art featured in many magazines and books, and since releasing his portfolio site, Saadart.com, he has had the privilege to work with a multitude of charities, brands and agencies. Saad has also served as the Creative Director of slashTHREE.com for over 2 years, and is also a member of The Keystone Design Union.

This piece is a wonderful fantasy scene in which we see a beautiful castle high above the country side. I adore the color palette used in this piece as it gives the scene depth and a mysterious, somewhat terrifying feel to it. This pieces makes me think of dreamy like worlds that have steep mountain sides with dark, gloomy valleys and crevasses. Head on over to Saadart.com where you will find many more stunning wallpapers designed by Saad, including this one as seen below, all of which are free to download. Keep up the great work Saad!

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Interview – Jacob Gube of Six Revisions

Recently we had the opportunity of interviewing Jacob Gube, the man behind Six Revisions and Design Instruct. Six Revisions has grown into one of the leading design blogs by releasing a ton of original content that is catered to the web design and graphic design industry. Subsequently, Design Instruct has grown into a great resource as well by following in the same path. The man knows a ton about the design industry, and he was kind enough to give us his two cents on some industry related questions. Thanks again for your time Jacob, keep up the great work. :)

Age: Mid 20’s

Website: sixrevisions.com , designinstruct.com

Twitter: @sixrevisions

Thank you, Jacob, for taking the time to participate in this interview, why don’t we start off by telling us a little about yourself.

Thanks for having me! I’m Jacob Gube, I’m a web developer/designer, founder of Six Revisions, co-founder of Design Instruct, and book author.

What are some of the things that you see people doing wrong in terms of designing?

I’m probably not in the position to criticise since I’ve committed my fair share of “wrong” design. The biggest thing I see people doing is designing too much — over-designing. Whether it’s using too many textures, colors, fonts or overloading a layout with too many features and visual clutter. Oftentimes, I see this more as a beginner mistake; you’re excited, you want to show the world what you can do, you want to try new tricks you discovered, and as a result of that, you get a design that’s bloated and just overdone. The more mature a designer gets, the more harmonious and well-thought-out their body of work gets.

Many people believe that you have to know how to draw to be a graphic designer. Do you believe that is true?

Not really. I know many graphic designers that use reference photos and sketching. However, there’s a difference between not knowing how to draw versus being bad at drawing. You should, as a graphic designer, know the concepts involved in drawing because they are shared concepts with graphic design. These can be shading/highlights, perspective, proportion, negative space, alignment, visual hierarchy, and so forth. You can be terrible at drawing but still be able to apply and understand these concepts.

What suggestions or tips can you give someone who is aspiring to become a graphic designer?

It’s a tough gig with a low barrier to access. You ought to be comfortable and confident that this is your passion and this is what you want to do. You must be willing to persevere through the early stages, when no one wants to hire you because you don’t yet have a solid portfolio. Those that survive the first few years of their careers can make a comfortable living doing what they love doing. So just keep at it and don’t get discouraged.

Before you begin working on a new project, where do you draw your inspiration from?

I draw a lot of inspiration from a lot of places. I like going to web design galleries and checking out what other folks are doing and how they’re innovating on their designs. I like browsing ffffound and Behance, which–I guarantee you–will get your creativity flowing within minutes. I also read my notes; I carry a notebook around for jotting down ideas and sketching design ideas because you never know when ideas strike.

When you are in the process of creating a new design, is there something you do that saves you time?

The biggest time-saver is being organized and systematic. Good organization reduces the mental burden of constantly thinking about what’s out of place and if there’s something you forgot to do. Organization frees up your mind for the thing that matters: creative thinking.

In your daily process of being a graphic designer, what are a few websites that you frequent?

Every day, I visit Smashing Magazine and Webdesigner Depot.

What are some strategies you can offer that you used to grow your blog?

Focus on creating great content. Forget everything else in the meantime and just concentrate on producing great blog posts. Once you’re confident that your content is as excellent as it can be, then reach out in social networks, social bookmarking sites, and network with existing bloggers.

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Daily Inspiration #66 – Red Roses, Obama Hope

Every day we will be uploading images and content on our blog that we feel is inspirational. If you’re stuck and in a rut on a particular project and you are looking for a way out, look through our daily inspiration and see if anything strikes your interest. Maybe you will find a certain image or a particular element that will bring your next project to life. :)

Today we are featuring some work by designer Shepard Fairey. You may not know who he is, but I can almost bet that you have seen his work. Shepard Fairey is the man behind the Obama Hope image (seen below) which has been seen by millions of people. The style of the two, and the rest of Shepard’s work, is very powerful and sends a strong message. Take a look at the two beautiful images below, after that, check out more of his work. Get inspired!

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40 Photoshop Tutorials for Amazing Lighting Effects – Part Two

Welcome to the second edition of our Photoshop lighting effects tutorial feature. This awesome list of tutorials is featured on vandelaydesign.com, and in this post you will find a slew of tutorials that have been pulled from leading design sites such as psdtuts+ and many others. These lighting effects are considered to be more advanced, and in learning these techniques you will greatly improve your design skills and have your clients asking for more. :) Some of these tutorials, such as creating energy spheres, are a bit easier than others, but the end result and manipulation effect are extremely powerful.

Head over to vandelaydesign.com now and check out this list of 40 amazing Photoshop tutorials for amazing lighting effects. These tutorials are sure to brighten up your day, and your artwork! If you decide to try one of these beauties, feel free to drop a line in the comments below with a link to your work – we would love to see what you create. Get creative! :)

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Daily Inspiration #65 – Comic Artwork By Mitch Breitweiser

Every day we will be uploading images and content on our blog that we feel is inspirational. If you’re stuck and in a rut on a particular project and you are looking for a way out, look through our daily inspiration and see if anything strikes your interest. Maybe you will find a certain image or a particular element that will bring your next project to life. :)

Today we bring you some inspirational and very well crafted comic book artwork created by artist Mitch Breitweiser. I have always been a fan of comics ever since I could form sentences and read. :) It was my get away as a child. As I grew older, I fell in love with the style of art from the classic well known comic book illustrators – and I also grew a interest for people that illustrated their own renditions of my beloved comics. Mitch has a very definitive style, and I absolutely love his comic artwork! He is known for several famous covers and sequential works for Marvel Comics, and most known for his work on Captain America. Check out a few samples of his awesome comic artwork below, after that – head over to his personal website where you can view more of his awesome comic illustrations. Keep up the great work Mitch, your work is loved by comic book geeks everywhere! :)

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Interview – Graphic Designer Jacques van Heerden

We got the chance to speak with graphic designer and blogger Jacques van Heerden, the man behind Creativeoverflow.net. Creativeoverflow is a Online Magazine about Anything Creative. Jacques has a brilliant design style, and he has done some pretty amazing work for some awesome clients. I especially like his work where he uses many different types of fractals, they are always so interesting to look at. :) Take a look at our interview with Jacques below, which also includes a few samples of his design work. After that, check out his inspiring blog Creativeoverflow.net. Keep up the great work Jacques!

Age: 19

Websites: www.an1kencreative.com , www.creativeoverflow.net

Thank you, Jacques, for taking the time to participate in this interview, why don’t you start off by telling us a little about yourself.

Hi, thank you for having me. My name is Jacques van Heerden and I’m a 19 year old designer/entrepreneur from Jeffreys Bay, South Africa. I am a Creative Director at An1ken Creative and owner of Creativeoverflow – A design blog for anything creative. I am a design fanatic and love anything/everything related to it. I started out with Photoshop when I was 14 years old and haven’t looked back since.

Many people believe that you have to know how to draw to be a graphic designer. Do you believe that is true?

That’s definitely not true, but I can say that it helps if you know your way around the sketch book. It helps you jot down ideas and it saves you a lot of time with planning for new projects. Sketching definitely helps you relax and even if you aren’t good at it, I encourage practicing.

What suggestions or tips can you give someone who is aspiring to become a graphic designer?

You should be sure that you love what you do and don’t just do it for the money. Being passionate about your job is what takes you to a entirely different level. You should practice and practice and work hard and practice some more. Practice is what sets you apart from the rest. Be unique with your designs and try set the trends. You will see hard work pays off in the end.

Before you begin working on a new project, where do you draw your inspiration from?

I don’t have a certain place that I draw inspiration from, but depending on the project I do a lot of research. It could be through Deviantart, Logopond, 99 Designs, Web Galleries etc. I like staying on top of trends on the web and in the world.

When you are in the process of creating a new design, is there something you do that saves you time?

I wish there was something that I did that saved me some time. I’m still one of those guys that start out from the beginning, grabbing the sketch book and filling 2 pages with ideas and then modifying the ideas that I like. I then move up to the computer and scan in the ideas that I like and work from there building my piece as I go along. I’m a perfectionist when it comes to work and have quite high standards regarding the work that leave the office. I definitely don’t save time with my process.

In your daily process of being a graphic designer, what are a few websites that you frequent?

I don’t usually spend a lot of time on the web, because it wastes time throughout the day where work can be done. I do however make use of the Google Reader to manage my RSS feeds and I usually go through the feeds and pick up on any interesting reading material that have been posted in the day. If I find a article that attracts me, I head over to the author website and read it and then end up Tweeting it if I like it. There isn’t really websites that I can say I frequent everyday because every day is a new day.

What are some strategies you can offer that you used to grow your blog?

I can say it wasn’t as easy as a lot of people always make it out to be. I had to write unique content and promote my articles through designbump, designfloat, stumbleupon, Facebook, Twitter, Delicious, The Web Blend and more. I had to work hard to get the results that I wanted and if I had to give some advice to others it would be this. “Work hard and write unique content and make sure you write about things that people want to hear and need to hear. This way you will build up a unique following for your blog, you will also notice you will start conversations with more people because you are delivering your opinion about something. Just keep working hard and staying focused.”

When not staring at a computer, what do you like to do for fun?

I believe that my life should have a balance between work and play. I hit the gym everyday at 5pm and have fun on the weekends. I love motocross, wakeboarding, hanging out with friends, hunting, camping, being outdoors and having fun. You have to get out to refresh your mind.

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Daily Inspiration #64 – 5 Fireworks Images To Inspire You

Every day we will be uploading images and content on our blog that we feel is inspirational. If you’re stuck and in a rut on a particular project and you are looking for a way out, look through our daily inspiration and see if anything strikes your interest. Maybe you will find a certain image or a particular element that will bring your next project to life. :)

Today we are featuring 5 beautiful fireworks to inspire you. A new year is upon is everyone, and like me, most of you will be somewhere on New Year’s eve getting ready to watch some cool fireworks exploding and lighting the sky! Check out the awesome displays of man made art below. What will this inspire you to create? Some of these would make really interesting looking fractals. Get inspired!

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Mega Photoshop Brush Pack

These brushes come to us from Deviant Art member Eds-Danny. This is probably one of the most useful brush pack downloads I’ve ever come across to date. In this pack, you will receive 39 FREE sets of photoshop brushes. The assortment is all over the place, you can find a brush for any need contained within this pack. It has fractals, lights, calligraphy, grunge, floral, fire, abstract, cloud brushes a whole lot more. I downloaded this brush pack and have not yet found a problem with any of the brushes. Some of them aren’t extremely high quality, but at least it will pass for 72dpi. :)

Head over to Deviant Art now and grab this mega photoshop brush pack that member Eds-Danny put together. Out of all of these brushes listed in this pack, which set do you like the best? If you decide to use any of these brushes in your work, feel free to drop a line in the comments with a link to your work, we would love to see it! Get creative! :)

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55 Unconventional & Original Free Fonts

Talk about an awesome mega resource for free unique fonts! This post, featured on pvmgarage.com lists 55 of the most unconventional and original free fonts that are sure to yield positive results. Each of these fonts are unique, in that they don’t look like your traditional serif or sans-serif typefaces. These fonts are carefully crafted by skilled designers – in this list you will find fonts that are 3d, grungy, stylized, fanciful, contemporary, vintage and a ton more. The best part about all of these fonts is that they look extremely custom, and are 100% FREE! Can’t beat that!

Check out this awesome list of  55 unconventional and original free fonts. Looking for new fonts and only finding ones that are $100+ is rather annoying, this is why I figured I would share this post with you guys because there really are some spectacular fonts here and they are free! Who knows, maybe you will find that particular font that will bring you project to life. Out of the featured 55, which 3 make the top of your list? Leave you interesting response in the comments below. Get creative!

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Interview – Photographer Michael Clark

Michael Clark

Age: 40

Main Website: http://www.michaelclarkphoto.com/ , Blog: http://www.michaelclarkphoto.com/blog/

Recently we interviewed with Michael Clark, an amazing photographer and all around humble person. We asked Michael a few questions about photography and the industry – and he offers up some really great advice for aspiring photographers. Michael is an internationally published outdoor photographer specializing in adventure sports, travel, and landscape photography. He produces intense, raw images of athletes pushing their sports to the limit and has risked life and limb on a variety of assignments to bring back stunning images of rock climbers, mountaineers, kayakers, and mountain bikers in remote locations around the world. He uses unique angles, bold colors, strong graphics and dramatic lighting to capture fleeting moments of passion, gusto, flair and bravado in the outdoors. Balancing extreme action with subtle details, striking portraits and wild landscapes, he creates images for the editorial, advertising and stock markets worldwide. As a former physicist Michael has worked on both sides of the technical revolution – helping refine the technology and using it for his current profession. Michael has worked as a professional photographer since 1996 and added digital photography to his repertoire in 2003. While Michael still shoots some film, mostly medium format, the lion’s share of his images are now produced with high-resolution digital cameras. He has been featured in Outdoor Photographer (September 2001), Nikon World Magazine (Summer 2006) and New Mexico Magazine (2007) for his work with extreme sports.

He contributes to National Geographic, National Geographic Adventure, Sports Illustrated, Outside, Men’s Journal, Backpacker, Outdoor Photographer, Digital Photo Pro, Climbing, Alpinist, Rock and Ice, Bike Magazine and The New York Times among many others.

A sampling of Michael’s advertising clients include Nike, Nikon, Adobe, Red Bull, Patagonia, Propel/Gatorade, Pfizer, DuPont, 20th Century Fox, Black Diamond, Cloudveil, Prana, Arc’teryx, Camelbak, La Sportiva, Gregory Packs, and Butterfield and Robinson.

Below is the interview we conducted with Michael, as well as a few samples of his amazing photography. After you finish, head over to his personal portfolio and his blog. Thanks again for your time Michael, keep up the great work! :)

Thank you for taking the time to participate in this interview, why don’t you start off by telling us a little about yourself.

I studied physics in University but fell in love with rock climbing the year I graduated and that sent me on a few years worth of adventures that brought me back to photography, which I had learned about in junior high school. It was rock climbing that brought me back to photography, My passion for the outdoors and photography really sparked my interest in starting a career as an adventure sports photographer. I have been a full-time professional photographer now for 15 years.

What kind of photography do you do? Do you enjoy it?

I am primarily an adventure photographer, meaning I shoot adventure sports and adventurous assignments of a wide variety (from helicopter search and rescue teams and adventure races to portraits of gymnasts). As I said above I started out shooting rock climbing and then grew my business by shooting all of the other adventure sports as well as producing portraits and lifestyle images of athletes and shooting landscapes.
I enjoy my job a lot. It is my dream job and though I have to work incredibly hard to keep everything going it is my passion – my obsession. One of the best aspects of my job is just being there to witness such amazing athletes doing what they do – at the elite level.

What’s your gear? (type of camera and most used lens)

For the most part I shoot with Nikon digital SLRs but I have also shot a fair bit with Hasselblad and Mamiya medium format cameras. My main working camera these days is the Nikon D700 because it is very versatile and I can take the battery pack off the camera body to make it lighter for those times when I need to go fast and light. My main lenses are the Nikkor 17-35mm, 24-70mm and 70-200mm f/2.8 lenses. With these three lenses I can do just about anything. I also use a fisheye quite a bit for a variety of sports as well as longer lenses when shooting surfing. For a complete list of the gear I use as well as reviews of those items please see the Behind the Scenes page on my website.

Can you tell me some vocabulary or terminology specific to your job?

Here are a few basic terms:
On-Spec: This is a short version of the phrase “On Speculation”, meaning you will do something without pay because you are “speculating” that you can make money from the work at some point in the future. In photography, many of us shoot on spec when we are shooting for our portfolio or don’t have an assignment but need to create new content. Most photographers start out shooting everything on spec and licensing the images at a later date.

Licensing: As photographers we do not sell our images, we license the usage of our images (if we hold onto the copyright). How much we can license an image for depends on many factors including the usage, placement, size of the use, time and so on. Licensing images is the backbone of any photo business and everything is based on this concept.

Buyout: A buyout is a term used in the photo industry to denote a complete transfer of copyright. For photographers this means that a client wants to buyout your rights to an image completely so that they own the image and you no longer have any rights to the image. Because of this the price is usually quite large since the photographer gives up all rights to the image, including their copyright.

What computer program do you find yourself in most? (lightroom, photoshop, etc.)

To process my raw images I use Adobe Photoshop Lightroom and Adobe Photoshop. I find that I cannot fully process an image just using Lightroom. I have to use Photoshop to finish an image off. I can get an image about 70% of the way processed in Lightroom and then the rest happens in Photoshop. I also wrote an e-book that details my entire digital workflow starting in the camera and all the way through to delivering the images to the client. You can read more about the book and order it on my website.

Do you shoot with film or digital? Have you ever shot in film? Which do you prefer?

I shot film for the first half or more of my career using 35mm and medium format film cameras. I still shoot a little film here and there with medium format cameras but that happens rarely these days. I have to say I prefer digital. I prefer the look and resolution provided by digital cameras and the amount of control I have over the final image.

What advice would you give to our readers who are looking to ‘go pro’ and turn a hobby into a profitable business?

First off, you have to be able to create stellar images. That is a given. If you don’t already have a solid set of images to show then it is going to be hard to make a go of it as a pro photographer. That isn’t to say that you can’t license a few images on the side while keeping your day job but to really go for it full-time requires a lot of hard work, thick skin and a lot of persistence. So if you don’t have the images to show would be buyers I suggest taking photo workshops, setting up your own shoots and taking the time to really perfect your skills as a photographer – at least to the degree that your work is in league with what is already out there.

Instead of me going on about what to do in terms marketing images and such I will just point you to some of the best reading material that has really helped me in my own career. One of the best articles I have ever read on what it takes to make it is an article by David Lyman entitled The 8 Keys to Success: An Essay And Thoughts on What It Takes To Reach Your True Potential. Other great books that I have read include: The Real Business of Photography by Richard Weisgrau, Visionmongers by David DuChemin and Best Business Practices for Photographers by John Harrington.

Also you will need to have top-notch post-processing skills so I highly recommend my e-book on digital workflow entitled Adobe Photoshop Lightroom: A Professional Photographer’s Workflow. I know listing that book might seem a little self serving but I have honestly not seen any other book on the market that really puts it all together like this one, which is why I wrote it. And of course if your interest is adventure photography you might also check out my other book Adventure Photography: Capturing the World of Outdoor Sports, which also has two entire chapters on how to get started as a pro.

Photographers are often told that they need to develop a personal style to set them apart. What would you say sets you apart?

The style question is always an interesting one. Photographer’s are always told that they need a “definitive” style. I have found, as I think many photographers have, that it is only after shooting for about ten years that you find your style. And strangely enough it is other people who tell you what your style is. I can recognize the style of my peers quite easily but it is hard for me to say exactly what mine is. I have been told that I have a very clean, graphic style. I have been told that my images have very creative angles and that my images are “perfected to a degree that few other outdoor photographers can achieve”. For myself I can say that my style is to work hard, find the best angle and shoot in the best possible light whether it is natural or artificial. What sets me and my work apart is my work ethic, my passion for the sports I photograph and the images I create and the lengths to which I will go to get the shot. I am never satisfied and I am my own harshest critic when it comes to my images.

When not looking through the lens of a camera, what do you like to do in your spare time?

When I am not working I love to get outdoors without a camera. My passions aside from photography are rock climbing, cycling and tennis. I ride my road bike as often as I can to keep in shape and so that I can keep up with the world-class athletes I work with. I am also a fanatic when it comes to movies.

Who are your influences?

I have had a ton of influences. From my early childhood, I did a lot of art – everything from charcoal to painting and sculpture. Hence my initial influences were the “masters” like Rembrandt, Leonardo da Vinci, Salvador Dali, Van Gogh and Picasso. When I started into photography and made it my career there were a ton of photographers who influenced my own work including Galen Rowell, Ansel Adams, Nevada Wier and more recently James Nachtwey, Joe McNally, Platon and Dan Winters. I was also blessed to have some incredibly talented pro photographers here in Santa Fe mentor me on a number of topics when I was starting out including Marc Romanelli and Jamey Stillings.

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