A Color Story + UNUM

Instagram is, hands down, one of my favourite social media platforms. As a creative and a professional picture maker, I imagine it comes as no surprise that it would be. It’s a wonderful tool for providing inspiration or even for marketing. And there is so much inspiration to be found there! Perhaps I’m a little bit addicted but I do enjoy beautiful images and art.

Two apps that I absolutely love and employ before posting anything to my Instagram are A Color Story and UNUM.

A Color Story is hands down my favourite photo editing app these days. I’ve tried out quite a few before I finally found myself always tapping on this app. Of course, it has the usual editing functionalities (cropping, temperature, saturation, contrast, etc, etc, etc.), but I also love the potential to create a new image. I tend to stick to my favourite editing steps and filters, but I love having the option to add light leaks, colour fogs and even adjust the hues so completely as to produce a completely new piece. Its interface is also very easy to navigate and benefits of good app design should not be overlooked!

The other app I am absolutely in love with is UNUM. This app allows me to plan my Instagram feed ahead of time and keep track of useful statistics. There’s more to Instagram stats than it’s follower numbers. As my personal Instagram evolves, I find it increasingly interesting to see which times are best to post and which hashtags are the most effective. If you are using Instagram for business, it makes sense to have it planned ahead of time (why scramble to create content here when you wouldn’t for a blog, for example). I only use the free version and already I find it so useful!
(I am definitely not paid to talk about these apps… but that would be cool! Sup UNUM. Sup Color Story 😎)

The Honey Glass Dip Pen

I’ve got a new ink tool to add to my collection, and this is the most pretty and delicate of them all. This past Christmas, my parents gifted me a Honey Glass Dip Pen.

It’s a gorgeous piece of art in and of itself. Its delicate nib is a piece of spiralled blown glass that holds the ink in the grooves. No matter the angle you write at, the grooves are all around allowing the ink to flow easily and smoothly. I was so surprised how easy it was to write with and how long one dip lasted. Perhaps this was my imagination but I also felt like it made my handwriting look nicer!

Okay, maybe it doesn’t make my handwriting nicer but that thought is just proof of how I romanticized what a beautiful pen can do.

 

6 Useful Resources for Illustrators

If you are just starting out, I know it can be completely be overwhelming to decide where to begin (I really know that feeling all too well). On top of that, if you have no one else in your life that has been where you are now (I know about that too), who do you go to answer those big questions:

How do I get my first job? What should be in my portfolio? What tools do I need? Should I have accounting software? Marketing – what does that even mean these days?!

I wish I could say I have all the answers and that I will wave a magic wand and pop them all into your head (I’m still waiting for my fairy godmother too). I’m scouring the internet in hopes of discovering the secret ingredient for creative success. Sadly, I am in denial about the fact that there is no secret ingredient. There’s a lot of excellent advice and tips that all point to hard work and perseverance.

Here are some of my favourite places to find answers and inspiration:

Dear AD

Ever wonder what an art director thinks? Dear AD is the perfect place to go for answers. As they say, “We are a secret consortium of industry Art Directors. We remain anonymous so we can be totally honest with you and not get fired for giving away secrets and getting real.”

Illustration Age

I love this website! I really do believe them when they say they are the ultimate resource for illustrators. They’ve got useful articles, book lists, podcasts, online classes, but best of all, they’ve got a wonderful contact list of art directors. That list alone makes this a holy grail resource!

SVS Learn + Skillshare

These are great places to learn. SVS Learn is purely art focused while Skillshare has classes of all kind. At both sites, you will find the classes taught by industry professionals. For illustration I’m really loving SVS Learn, while Skillshare has been my go to for photography and marketing (and how NOT to kill my house plants!).

Podcasts

This could be its own article, there are so many wonderful podcasts! Right now I am currently listening to Creative Pep Talk with Andy J. Miller

Art Business Info. for Artists

Now this website, well it has it all. From whether or not you should sign prints in pencil to how to write an artist’s CV, this is the place to go. There is A LOT of information here, divided into very useful sections to make the search for answers a little easier.

I hope this helps!

(Photo in feature image via Death to the Stock)

New Pens – Art Supply Haul

I am going to completely nerd out in this post. My pens from Jet Pens arrived!

I’ve always had a thing for pens and pencils. When I was younger, I collected good old fashioned pencils and had a huge collection filled with HB pencils of all sorts of body colours and wraps. I also had countless lead pencils from Japanese dollar stores, along with the cutest erasers of all sorts of shapes (you know the ones). Eventually I gave those up and moved on to the brightly coloured Agatha Ruiz de la Prada ballpoint pens. I still have a few of those…

Today, though, I get to nerd out about the arrival of my new stash of Japanese pens.

Going from left to right:

Pilot G-Tec C4 Ultra Fine 0.4 mm – Black Ink

This was a happy, gel pen accident. I was originally aiming for the Hi-Tec C equivalents but these showed up instead. I clearly got confused when I was shopping, overwhelmed as I was by the wonderful online menagerie of pens to choose from! These pens write like a dream!

The ink flows smoothly from a stainless steel tip and does not smudge. It is also archival-safe and acid free. It is also refillable!

Pilot Hi-Tec C Ultra Fine 0.4 mm – Pink Ink

I like to use pink in my bullet journal and this ultra fine tip is perfect. Also a gel pen, the ink is chemically formulated so that it won’t bleed after it dries. It writes with the same consistency as the G-Tec C4’s although its ink is not archival quality.

Uni-ball Signo Broad UM-153 Gel Pen – White Ink

When I paint, I often like to add white accents towards the end of my process. I’ve been using the Gelly Roll pen but I decided to experiment with some new options. Enter the Uni-ball Signo. The ink is opaque and waterproof (to be tested soon!).

Sakura Pigma Micron Pens

I love these. I’ve been using them for quite some time and feel as though I can never have too many of them in sizes 005, 01, 02, and 03. These inks are pigment-based, archival quality, acid free and waterproof. Of course, the ink flows very well and I never have any issue until they run out or I’ve worn the nib down with a heavy hand (it’s a tough habit to break). Even with just a little pressure the ink will flow evenly. How I wish these pens were refillable!

Only once have I left one uncapped by accident and mourned its loss!

Sakura Souffle Gel Pen – White

Like the Classic Gelly Roll pen, this Souffle Gel Pen is made by Sakura. This pen features a 3D ink! It’s opaque and leaves a raised line you can see and feel. The only downside to that is the drying time, but that is to be expected from a 3D I suppose! The ink is waterproof on most surfaces, water-based, odourless, and non-toxic. I don’t know when I’ll be writing on plastic, glass or metal but apparently I’d have no problems if I did with this pen!

I can’t wait to start using these in my work!

Tech: Olympus PEN E-PL7

I am so excited about this! Choosing a camera is easily one of the most difficult shopping decisions. There are hundreds of options. Even if you’ve decided you don’t want a regular point and shoot or a big D-SLR, you’ve got tons of options in the mirrorless category. This was the category that I focus on, but like I said, there were so many options, I ended up sitting on this decision for months.

I finally set my sights on the Olympus PEN E-PL7. I can’t wait to create with this camera!

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*Note to Self: Check out this post from Stylonylon, 15 Tips & Tricks For Your Olympus Pen E-PL7