Feb. 22nd, 2016

justaddgigi: (Default)

Hello and welcome to brand spanking new blog!  This is the central blog, so if you want the full look what happening behind the scenes of my latest designs or if you want to hear me talk about design come here first! This blog is attached to my portfolio and homesite, so feel free to check that out as well. I actually have another blog called Solitary Student hosted on blogger which was sort of my study log for my attempted to self-study Graphic Design.


All of my study logs will be posted here instead, so please update your bookmarks. I’m going to try to update this blog at least three times a week, but sometimes I will have to skip study days due to my other commitments but I always let you guys know on twitter so you can know a head of time.  If you want to be notified of any new updates you can subscribe in the form below.


Thank you so much for taking time out of your time to come to my little corner of the internet. I really hope you enjoy my site!


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http://gigikiersten.com/2015/12/16/welcome-to-my-blog/
justaddgigi: (Default)

First and foremost, before I start off this study log I would like to remind my dear readers that they can read the previous study logs here.  Okay, now that is out-of-the-way. I basically tried to studied yesterday, but I was way too lazy to force myself out of bed. I’m still not really back to my regular schedule and that is messing with my motivation.


However, I did review, and write-up the notes from my last study session so I’m back on track at least. I also found that the Pomodoro Method to be an awesome way to study for at least an hour without losing my mind.  I have problem that I can only study for a short time until I start suffering from Information Overload and then I have to go somewhere not in front of my computer or in a book.


Fortunately, I found that if I modified the pomodoro method to 15 minutes of study, and a ten minute break I can extend my study time quite a bit. I got I lot done in that respect. I not only reviewed my notes (which is working quite a bit with helping me retain the information (which was a huge problem), but get ready to further my knowledge in the current study session.


Thanks to the Pomodoro method I am almost done with the this very long chapter.  As for the practical stuff goes, I have been learning the exposure technique and the waterbrush effect.  I did a Sherlock poster that I liked, but I really didn’t %100 like the text and typography of it. Typography and text placement are my weak points, but I don’t want to skip ahead. Learning how to visual communicate what I want to is very important to me, so I’m just going to have wait until then.


I’m also nervous about finding a graphic design critique group   I know I’m going to need it but it’s so nervous about it, but I know that I will need to get critiqued to get better at my craft. *sigh*.


http://gigikiersten.com/2015/12/17/day-22-kicking-ass-with-the-pomodoro-method/
justaddgigi: (Default)

So yeah, I’m done with this chapter. The last little bits of the chapter didn’t have a lot of information, but I spent this study session mostly taking notes on what I read yesterday. Although my head hurts after studying for so long.


I decided as way to test my self, and as a way to use the theory that I’m learning and review what I have learned was to do projects inspired by my previous lessons.


So be sure to check out my portfolio for further updates. Speaking of projects, I think I have the watercolor effect pretty much done. I’m going to move to the next photo manipulation tutorial. I’m thinking about maybe concentrate on lighting (because lighting is EVERYTHING), but we will see.


Anyway, I’m done for now. See you tomorrow!


http://gigikiersten.com/2015/12/17/day-23-bye-bye-visual-cues/
justaddgigi: (Default)

Just because you are self-studying a subject, doesn’t mean that you don’t have tools that will help you.  Here are some tools that help you succeed in anything that you are studying in, not matter what the subject.


1. Don’t Break The Chain.


Inspired by comedian Jerry Seinfeld. The method is simple. You tick off everyday you complete your goal on the calendar. You can see my own progress with the calendar on my sidebar!


2.Onenote or Evernote


Thee two apps saves your notes on a cloud. I prefer Onenote to Evernote, but both basic versions are free. You can also take your notes with you via the Onenote app.


3. PDFs


Yeah, you are going to side eyed me for downloading PDF’s of textbooks. However, textbooks freaking cost a freaking lot. The latest textbook that I looked up costs $300 dollars and nobody has money for that. Check out your favorite torrent sites first, and you can also find a list of sites with textbooks here.


4. Thriftbooks


Another great resource is Thriftbooks. I got a $200 textbook (it was earlier edition, but who cares) for like $3. What makes this site so great is that shipping is free for orders over $10 . The only drawback is that the books take forever to get to you, but you get what you pay for.


5.The Internet


Whenever I don’t understand a term, or I get stuck I find googling helps me a lot. Now for the harder subjects such as math or science, I found a list of helpful sites (many are for free) that have real life tutors.  Also finding, open courses or course lessons created at universities and published for free via the Internet are also available.


6. Accountability


Now keeping yourself motivated is one of the hardest parts of being an autodidact. I found having someone to be accountable to such as your readers (me) or having a bad consequence happen to you (suck as the StickK program) will keep you motivated. And motivation is winning half the game!


 


http://gigikiersten.com/2015/12/17/6-tools-autodidacts-success/
justaddgigi: (Default)

So today was a shit day, and the irony of ironies? It’s a Friday.  So since I finished the chapter yesterday, I thought it was time to review what I have learned so far. I also realized that putting my notes in a cloud would make it much easier to keep track of. I actually just use a folder and loose leaf notebook paper to keep track of my notes.


But I thought to be more efficient with my notes and start typing them in so I won’t loose them. I have a slower computer (I’m poor yo!) and I wanted something much more lightweight than onenote, so I’m actually using simplenote. I downloaded the app, and now I can take my notes with me on the go. I actually like simplenotes more than googlekeep, which is also another lightweight alternative to onenote. I’m halfway through it, and I might type up the rest tomorrow as well. And I hate studying on the weekends.


I’m going to start the new chapter in visual communication on Monday. As for the practical aspects of my training, I actually learned how to do the line drawing technique yesterday and it was easy and fun and I love how it turned it out.  You can find it here.


I might try something a little harder today, I’m thinking of doing something for the sterek fandom as well or maybe something from stock images. *shrugs*


http://gigikiersten.com/2015/12/18/day-24-going-digital/
justaddgigi: (Default)

So I took a week off of studying.  I regret nothing. It’s Christmas time and everything was pretty hectic and I decided to take a week off.  However, the downside to this? Well, I have to REVIEW EVERYTHING. I”m reviewing everything by continuing to transcribe my notes into simplenotes.


What made coming back even harder was than I thought because I had a huge fight with parents about money, and basically I’ve been cut off which adds stress. So I might have to try to get a part-time job on top of EVERYTHING ELSE I’m doing.


While I’m reviewing, I decided to finally crack open my typography book. And I will be doing a few chapters, before I switch to visual communication. I really want to avoid making any typography mistakes. Especially since I am actively designing things like book covers and what not.


Speaking of my book covers, I have decided to finally get off my duff and start actively and aggressively promoting my blog and my art. I did this by fan groups (facebook fan groups are a great way to promote your stuff) and Archive of Our Own.  I decided to get some much needed practice in photoshop by doing some book covers for my favorite sterek stories.  I got permission from first KouriArashi and then later ShanaStoryteller and I was overjoyed  at the response I’m getting.


I’m making a stir, and slowly gaining a community of patrons, which is what I want. Someone even asked if I was taking commissions and my price range (I’m fervently praying that it does turn into my first commission).  Honestly, at this point I need recommendations.


Oh, and I have decided to start participating more in the m/m and f/f book communities and to start reading original books again so I might be able to make some connections with those authors as well. The name of the game here is just networking at this point.


I just know that I’m going to make it as an artist. I just need not to drop the ball, and to keep challenging myself. Sometimes, I just want to stop studying, stop doing photoshop tutorials, and go my own way. But then I have to remind myself that I will only grow as a designer with practice and study.


Oh by the way, I’m thinking of adding a log on my portfolio full of my mistakes so I can learn from them. I think that will just help me grow further as designer.


 


 


 


http://gigikiersten.com/2015/12/28/day-25-back-in-the-saddle/
justaddgigi: (Default)

So I just finished a book cover for ‘I Saw Lon Cheney Walking With  Drag Queen by Scarletjedi’ and I think that I’m done with book covers for least a week or two, because I find myself suddenly on the edge of burn out.


I also think that I’m going to start scheduling my posts so my audience doesn’t get bombarded with lots posts in a day.  I might even with do some posts in advance.  And speaking of my work, I don’t know how to feel about this particular piece. On the surface I really like it. I love how it came together.  And it was very different from my other pieces in both style and coloring.  I think that the legs are too rough or I didn’t take out the tattoos well enough.  I think I’m going to tune up on that more that more enough.


I didn’t also like the tracking between second sentence and the third.   Anyway, why I’m telling you all of this? Well, this is because I want to keep a log of my mistakes (the only way you learn as an artist is acknowledging and overcoming your mistakes).


 


 


http://gigikiersten.com/2015/12/29/you-need-to-watch-the-margins/
justaddgigi: (Default)

So I didn’t want to study today, and quite frankly I gave up typing up my notes.  Seriously, I have a headache and the last thing I want to do is study. I did read three pages, and reviewed 3 pages. So I’m good.  Honestly, I just don’t feel well. And studying while sick or tired just plain sucks. Also I think I wore myself with all the projects I’ve been doing. I need to really slow my roll, because I see artistic burn out is coming hard and fast. I think I’m just going to take a break and chill as well.


I really don’t have anything else to say but I will do more tomorrow.


http://gigikiersten.com/2015/12/30/day/
justaddgigi: (Default)

So yeah, I decided to cut short my headache and switch books. I know, I know it’s a little confusing but I got to find a better book on visual communication because that was dry as hell. Seriously, snorefest all the way.  I think people need to start making textbooks more entertaining or risk students trying to bang their heads against books, honestly.


By some stroke of luck, I actually got a few new twitter friends. All authors or book bloggers, and I’m the lone artist in the bunch. This is what I get for following Kryptaria on twitter!  I put all the blame on her, although I’m not annoyed at it all. I want to break into the book market anyway, and what better way to do so by getting to know other people in the market.  I might I also found another fandom bestie!


I think friending all of these authors and book bloggers are getting me back into books. Although, I haven’t had any luck finding a book to capture my attention yet. *gasp* I am in fact experiencing that rare disease called, ‘Fandom Burnout’. It has finally happened to me, and now I must go back to all those romance books that I have forsaken to squee over my slash OTP’s.


Honestly, I think I need to just slow my roll and go back to basics, and since Romance Novels are my basics (I have so many old bodice rippers hidden in boxes I can’t even tell you).


Back to graphic design, so Typography (a little confusing) but I’m loving it. I really want to improve my own designs and typography is one of the major ways I can do it. I am also loving the typography workbook.


The book is so pretty, and I was a little hesitant to go highlighter happy like I do with my other books, but I finally did start highlighting and there is just SO MUCH INFORMATION! I wish I could pull a Neo from the matrix and just download all the information into my brain.  But I must keep reading.


*sigh*


And speaking to reading I’m going to try to read an original fic book at least once a week and work my way up to three books a week. I need to back off the fandom before I end in a straight jacket or something.


http://gigikiersten.com/2015/12/31/day-27-typography-ftw/
justaddgigi: (Default)

I’m currently undecided if I’m going to take tomorrow off. I might be too hung over to actually get any productive studying done. I’ve read a bit more into the typography book (currently at page 30).  And yes, it seems that I’m going at a snail pace, but that what works for me. I read until my head starts to hurt from information overlode and I stop.


I can google at people who retain information from 50 pages a day, because I can’t do that. I don’t think I ever could do that to be honest.


Also, after reading only about a quarter (or less than a quarter ) I have come to realize that my kearning is horrendous even on my own blog and I’m kinda alarmed.  It makes me want to RE DO EVERYTHING I HAVE DONE.


However, the point of this blog and my portfolio is to log my growth as an artist, so I can just push the big red delete button and delete everything. Ugh. I also realized that I’m going to have to activity start using the grid function in photoshop, because I can barely pay attention to the spacing problems without it. *hangs head in shame*. This why I’m kind of hesitant to start actually selling any of my work right now, because it’s painfully obvious to the other designers that I’m amateur, and when I come out strong.


There is just SO MUCH TO FREAKING LEARN. The cornerstones of my education is going typography, color theory, and layout, but that’s the freaking tip of the iceberg. I need to learn illustration (ye gods) because I can rely on photoshop and stock photography for everything. *headdesk*


I still want to just download all the information in my brain and instantly be a boss at typography. Why can’t I just do that?  Also to be fair, I have come so far since I started to seriously study the craft. I mean I use to stick two pictures together, put in some type, and blend mode it.  I’m so not kidding.


And speaking of my typography fails, I was one of those noobs who thought typography was just picking out a font and if it’s in bold. *groans* Nope, nopedity, nope. Who would have thought arranging letters on a page would be so confusing. I feel like I want to cry.


Oh, and one more thing I’m going to be posting some links to some resources for other people who are in the same boat I’m in.  So did you guys find it hard to learn typography, or am I the only typography noob?


 


 


http://gigikiersten.com/2015/12/31/day-28/
justaddgigi: (Default)

As a broke artist, I often love to use free fonts. I am a frequent visitor to places like fontspace or 1001freefonts for free commercial fonts. However, there are some fonts that have been used so much in designs that every time I see them I cringe.  So in effort to stop the insanity,  I’m listing the top five fonts I hate.


1. Morpheus


morpheus


 


 


 


I see this font being used everywhere. I swear to god, I actually have three different books on my desk right now that have used this font for their cover.  It’s supposed to be Gothic (without looking too Gothic) looking, and perfect match for the ‘Urban Paranormal’ books and shows.


Alternatives:



2. Scriptina


scriptina


 


 


 


It might have been an elegant font once upon a time, however it is SO OVERUSED. The most popular uses for this font has been for romance book covers and weddings invitations.


Alternatives



3. Bleeding Cowboys


bleeding cowboys


 


 


 


If there any design to do with Cowboys or anything Country and Western, then you have probably seen this font used. I have never liked it. I don’t like the grunge distorted look, I don’t like looping lines. I quite frankly find the font ugly, and I practically facepalm every time I see it.


Alternatives



4. Comic Sans


2000px-Comic_Sans_font.svg


 


 


The most hated of all fonts. It’s supposed to be fun and informal, but for most people (especially designers) this font has the power to give them a headache at the mere sight of it.


Alternatives



5. Brush Script


brush-script-300x208


 


 


 


 


Another supposed to be elegant (but more informal) font that has been WAY TOO OVER USED. It  I have seen everywhere, and I just want to stab things at the sight of it.


Alternatives





So this are my most hated fonts? What fonts do you hate and why?


P.S. If you want to be instantly notified of any new posts on this site, please sign up to subscribe to just my blog posts.  Thanks so much!


 


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http://gigikiersten.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/morpheus.jpg http://gigikiersten.com/2016/01/22/top-five-fonts-hate-fonts/
justaddgigi: (Default)

So I’ve been trying to readjust my schedule back to days (being sick basically threw my routine way out of wack), so I’m still tired all the time.  Also, I just want to sort download everything about typography, and after I’ve started reading this book I’ve been paying closer attention to text in my designs.  Kerning, has especially been a bitch for me. I’ve been fretting about what Kerning is right for each title and paragraph’s.  I also want to learn about layout, but typography is too important to just skip around.


It’s one of the reasons I’ve been reading only a few pages a day, because I want to process and absorb everything I can .  I have also been branching out into doing full jackets. This right here is the second full jacket I have done. I’ve been trying to do PSD mockups of real books but I haven’t had any luck with that as well.


Honestly, I’ve been too busy lately (and tired) to update this blog, but I promise to try not to do that again.


http://gigikiersten.com/2016/01/06/days-29-and-30-crawling-through-typography/

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