Sharing what I've I've learned about lettering and illustration.

How did 2018 measure up for me?

metal ruler

 

I’ve written a year (ok, 54 weeks) of consecutive, weekly blog posts. Here’s a look back on those things I thought went well, and those things I want to improve on.

What went well

Writing longer blog posts is something I can actually do

This was my biggest challenge in 2018.

In August 2017 I wrote a single blog post. Then stopped. I had no plan on what to do next. I was just like the tens of thousands of other sites out there that had that lone blog post.

One day in early January 2018, I was waiting at the dealer while my car was being serviced. I decided then and there to come up with a queue of topics to write about. An hour or so later, I had about thirty.

These mainly came from documenting my process, and some were simply things I liked writing about.

I had no idea how time consuming creating content would become. Writing isn’t a natural thing for me. The tutorials, in particular, were a challenge. It isn’t just putting the words down. I also had to develop graphics and take photographs, and have it all make sense.

My early posts are pretty short—many times under 500 words. As I got more comfortable with the process my word count increased. In fact my “What happens to old designers?” post was almost 2,000 words. I want to make sure that the increased content is also valuable, and not so much padding.

I know some will say blogging is past its due date, and I would generally agree with that. However, it gives me a reason to write.

 

The iPad and Procreate changed everything

I’ve always had a well-defined process when it came to working on my iMac. This has been honed through many decades of my graphic design career.

I initially got the iPad Pro as an “add-on” to my workflow. I considered my iMac to be the central command, where all the important work got done. Gradually, the iPad has replaced my iMac as my main work device (not counting my analog sketchbook). This wasn’t what I was expecting, as I wrote about in Tablet vs Screen Tablet vs iPad.

The Procreate app has been a gamechanger.

The iPad Pro and Procreate are a dream/sci-fi combo. Here’s a device I can bring anywhere to draw. I can also use it to write, check email, research, or just browse the web. My Wacom tablet, that was collecting dust on my desk, is now in storage.

I’m in the process of evaluating my Abobe Cloud apps. I’m using Illustrator much less, these days. Even Photoshop, which was my most used app, is really only opened when I want to print something.

I recently purchased Affinity Designer for my iPad and iMac. Time will tell if it’s a suitable replacement for Illustrator. But so far, it looks promising.

Perhaps by this time next year I’ll be completely out of the Adobe eco-sphere.

 

Getting on people’s radar

I had a few people reach out to me, wanting to showcase my work. The first was seanwes back in April.

If you’re not familiar with seanwes, they’re a community for creative solopreneurs. I had been a member for over a year, when I saw my showcase on their “Live Thursdays” show. I had no idea they were doing this, and it was a nice surprise. You can see the shout-out at 23:07 in the video. It’s short, but it was super appreciated.

The other spotlight on my work was via Lisa Bardot, who makes fantastic brushes for the Procreate app. I love using Lisa’s brushes, particularly the Midcentury and Texturrific sets. You can purchase them here.

Finally, I wrote a short Photoshop tutorial for Retro Supply.

 

What I want to improve on

I need to work faster

While I’m comfortable with my process, I know I need to increase my output. Part of that comes with being overly picky about my work. Although I’ve written about it in “Is your perfectionism hurting your work?”, I too, fall victim to being a perfectionist. I need to stop over-thinking, let the faults show, and just put it out there.

Quantity = Quality.

 

I need to get better at documentation

I wrote about this in “How do I know if I’m improving?”. I often get so consumed in creating that I sometimes forget to document my process. I irrationally feel it will inhibit my creativity. However, in doing that I lose out on a lot great writing material for the blog. While I will often write about things I like, I do want to add value for anyone wanting to improve their lettering and illustration.

I’ve learned that documenting after the fact just doesn’t work for me.

 

SEO, and all that s**t

Yeah. This is the 8 million pound gorilla in the room. I’m a creative guy. I don’t wanna deal with all that technical stuff. But truthfully I need to cross this one off my list once and for all.

The hard truth is all the writing and posting won’t matter if no one can find my site.

 

PS: For more info on that Pica ruler, check out Fontology. We used these a lot back when we did manual typesetting. You’ll still see it as an available measurement in many apps. I had to put my name on my rulers as they often got permanently “borrowed”.

 

Links in this post

What happens to old designers?

Tablet vs Screen Tablet vs iPad

Affinity Designer

seanwes

seanwes Live Thursdays

Lisa Bardot Spotlight

Lisa Bardot Brushes

RetroSupply Tutorial

Is your perfectionism hurting your work?

How do I know if I’m improving?

 


Is there something you’d like me to write about? Drop me a line and let me know what you’re struggling with.