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Words of Wisdom-Will Terry-Advice for Illustrators

wordsofwisdom

Will Terry is a ridiculously huge attribute to the Children’s Illustration market. He continues to go out of his way to help others within our community and answer questions that up and coming illustrators have about our industry. In the following video he answers a number of questions he’s received from illustrators. So sit back, relax and enjoy. You are sure to learn something new!
Original post here.

Archive.Org-WayBack Machine

onlineresources

In the spirit of the continuing theme this week of recovering old files lost, I’d like to present a great site that can potentially help you recover a website you are looking for that in no longer in it’s old spot.

I found this resource when I was taking a course on web design a few years ago and it has proven a great resource time and time again.  The WayBack Machine!

wayback-machine

‘The Internet Archive is a 501(c)(3) non-profit that was founded to build an Internet library. Its purposes include offering permanent access for researchers, historians, scholars, people with disabilities, and the general public to historical collections that exist in digital format. Founded in 1996 and located in San Francisco, the Archive has been receiving data donations from Alexa Internet and others. In late 1999, the organization started to grow to include more well-rounded collections. Now the Internet Archive includes texts, audio, moving images, and software as well as archived web pages in our collections, and provides specialized services for adaptive reading and information access for the blind and other persons with disabilities.”

It’s basically an Internet library that attempts to catalog and archive websites so that you can find a website that may have been up 10 years ago and no longer is. In no way is there process complete. Obviously the idea of archiving every site on the internet complete with links, images, and documents is a ridiculously large one. So it stands to reason that not every site is archived, nor is every image or file. But it’s still a great place to go and look if all else fails. So how does it work?

waybackmachinehome

Follow the link to the homepage.

Enter the name of the website you’d like to find and “Go Wayback”!

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The results you get will hopefully look like above. A top bar that lists years from ’96 to current will appear as well as a calendar. The top bar shows the archiving activity for the years that the site being searched was archived. As you can see in the above example, onceuponasketch.com was first archived in 2011.

You can select any year that the site has archived information for in that top bar. Once you do you will note that there are blue circles around select days within the calendar. These blue circled dates correlate to when the site was archived by the Wayback Machine. So if we had an article on our site on March 2nd that we took down or edited on March 6th you should be able to still find the old version of the article on March 2nd.

So please add this site to your resources and use it as you have need! It doesn’t always catch everything but it’s usually my first stop when trying to find an old site, image or article that is no longer available. Enjoy!

Lessons learned-Info lost!

This past week some of you may have noticed that Norm was doing all the posts. This is because my computer died last week.  One thunderstorm and my horror was complete. My hard drive was gone and with it potentially a lot of client work. It was scary how easily my business was crippled. Not to mention the fact that even in recovery I lost years of accumulated information. A freelance artist’s nightmare to be sure! So what lessons did it teach me and what can I pass on to you?

First of all, back up everything regularly. Daily if you can. I actually have a few backup resources. I just wasn’t using them regularly. This was silly on my part and unprofessional. It does a disservice to me and more importantly to my clients. The same is true for you if you aren’t doing it.  Here are some options that you can use for back up.

dropbox_03

I have an account with dropbox. An online storage service that gives you 2 Gigs of space for free and 100 Gigs for $9.99 a month. You can also get others to use their software and they will increase your storage space for doing so.

Norm wrote a great post about them and how to be gin using their services here.

fantomgreen

I also had an external hard drive that I purchased via Tigerdirect. It has 2TB of storage and cost me around $120.00. Good investment!

hard-drive

I also had an additional hard drive on my computer. This is what saved my life. When you normally get your computer it already has it’s operating system installed and the places you file things have a predesignated space on that same hard drive. Since I had an additional hard drive I opted to store my client work there. Turns out that the hard drive that died was the one with my operating system and not the one with my client work.  But it’s pointless to have all the above back up  if you aren’t using them properly.

I did end up buying another computer and I transferred that hard drive to it. The problem was that all my programs, saved links, preferences, etc. were all on the dead hard drive.  Gone forever. I think  will miss my saved internet links the most.

But what would have happened if the client files were on that dead hard drive? What if I didn’t have the money to buy another computer? What Plan B’s do any of you have in line should anything like this happen to you?

So what is my plan going forward?

  1. Client work gets an online place to be saved to daily.
  2. You have emergency funds for your car or a credit card that you only use in case of emergencies. Have a similar plan for your computer. Put away a portion from every job that you don’t touch and is to only be used in case emergency repair is needed.
  3. Don’t just backup your client work. Also back up your preferences, favorite lists and even downloaded add-ons and programs. You’d be surprised how many things you use daily and don’t realize it. This can be done on a weekly or monthly basis rather than daily.

What secondary measures do you take if any? What additional suggestions would you give to our readers? Please chime in below.

 

To Art School or Not to Art School

I recently ran across an article by Noah Bradley, which makes the bold statement, “Don’t go to Art School!”  This seems to be a constant argument among young up and coming and established artists.  Citing issues like art school being more expensive than an Ivy league education and the lack of jobs available period after college. Let alone ones that could possibly pay back in a way that is worth that kind of financial investment. You aren’t getting a law degree or becoming a Doctor.

noahbradley

So what do you folks think? Is Art School worth it for those who did attend?  For those who didn’t, are you glad of that? If you had to do it over what would you choose today?

Below is an excerpt from the article and a link to the original post.

Let us know your thoughts.

NoahBradley_Chief-of-the-Ways

Don’t go to art school

The traditional approach is failing us. It’s time for a change.

I’ve had it.

I will no longer encourage aspiring artists to attend art school. I just won’t do it. Unless you’re given a full ride scholarship (or have parents with money to burn), attending art school is a waste of your money.

I have a diploma from the best public art school in the nation. Prior to that I attended the best private art school in the nation. I’m not some flaky, disgruntled art graduate, either. I have a quite successful career, thankyouverymuch.

But I am saddened and ashamed at art schools and their blatant exploitation of students. Graduates are woefully ill-prepared for the realities of being professional artists and racked with obscene amounts of debt. By their own estimation, the cost of a four year education at RISD is $245,816. As way of comparison, the cost of a diploma from Harvard Law School is a mere $236,100.

This is embarrassing. It’s downright shameful. That any art school should deceive its students into believing that this is a smart decision is cruel and unusual.

Artists are neither doctors nor lawyers. We do not, on average, make huge six-figure salaries. We can make livable salaries, certainly. Even comfortable salaries. But we ain’t usually making a quarter mil a year. Hate to break it to you. An online debt repayment calculator recommended a salary exceeding $400,000 in order to pay off a RISD education within 10 years.

Don’t do it.

Don’t start your career with debilitating debt.

Please. I beg you. Think long and hard whether you’re willing to pay student loan companies $3000 every single month for the next 10 years.

noah bradley image 2

You’ve got other options.

You don’t have to go to college to be an artist. Not once have I needed my diploma to get a job. Nobody cares. The education is all that matters. The work that you produce should be your sole concern.

There are excellent atelier schools all over the world that offer superior education for a mere fraction of the price. Here are a few:

Click here for the remainder of the article.

Fan Art and Commissions – Legal or No?

spreadyourwings

One of the many ways that Illustrators supplement their income is to do commissions. The word commission in and of itself can mean any work that you take on for a fee. In this specific instance though we are generally speaking of work that you take on from a client that is for personal and not commercial purposes. This means that the client is looking at the work more as something to add to their personal collection (put on their wall) rather than publishing or reproducing in a commercial or publicly available format.

Commissions of this nature generally cater more to the clients favorite characters, ideas or scenarios.  Someone may ask you to draw Superman fighting Capt. America or Bilbo fighting Link from Legend of Zelda. This type of work is very common within the comic book /convention industry. At comic conventions you will often see artists drawing their renditions of a fans requested favorite character for a fee. The problem that can arise from this is that when characters are asked for that the artist or fan don’t own the copyright or trademark to you can run into some shaky water.

NewAvengers_Digital_Inks_by_mtykwan
Image Pencils by SpiderGuile Inks by Wilson Williams, Jr.
all characters are owned by Marvel Entertainment

So if you are entertaining going into this aspect of illustration for additional income, I advise that you do your homework on the legalities of doing so. Even at conventions their is always the possibility of a being approached by the lawyer representing the copyright owner of a character you are selling. For your own safety approach every aspect of your work with as much knowledge as you possibly can.

As a starting point I ran across a great video that lays the groundwork for doing commissions and the legal and copyright issues that may arise. The video features Josh Wattles, a copyright expert and current professor and employee of DeviantArt. Enjoy his video where he goes over copyright and the implications it may bring.

Questions for Adobe! What would you ask?

Adobe-logo

Hello Readers!

Norm and I recently hosted a roundtable podcast discussion about the changes with Adobe and Creative Cloud.

Well, we were contacted by Adobe and it looks like we’ll be getting the opportunity to interview one of their reps. We’ll be asking the questions you’ve wanted answers to. So we are soliciting that our readers send us the questions they would like us to ask during this interview. We’ll choose a selection of questions to use from your submissions. All questions submitted are not guaranteed to be asked during the interview.

Feel free to post your questions in the comments or send us an email. Also let us know if it’s ok for us to use your name when we ask the question.

The interview will hopefully be the next podcast we post. The deadline for question submission is this coming Wednesday, June 26. 2013.

Thanks so much and we look forward to reviewing your submitted questions!
-Norm and Wilson

Previous Posts dealing with this issue:

Adobe Creative Cloud Roundtable Podcast Discussion

Adobe Creative Cloud

Adobe Creative Cloud VS Creative Suite (Infographic)

Alternatives to Using the Adobe Creative Suite

Adobe announces plan to switch to subscription service

PLEASE NOTE:
Please check the Adobe FAQ page for answers to your questions that may already be answered.
We don’t want to ask too many questions that the answers to which are already available online.
Thanks!

Fix Missing Images from Post on Facebook

On OnceUponASketch we are constantly posting our articles and posts to Facebook and any other number of social networks. When you post a link on Facebook it usually goes to the link and finds images that it then gives you the option of displaying in association with your post. Sometimes when we post to Facebook we have a problem getting the images associated with an article to show up. Also at times the link seems to be broken and won’t connect though the link is correct. Here is how you fix that!

The Facebook Debugger!

facebookdebugger

To use the Facebook Debugger you simply follow the above link.

Enter the link to your post and the debugger will search it out.

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After it searches your link it will deliver back to you information on what it finds.

It will also list possible reasons the link may not work and things you may need to fix. However, generally just entering your link into the debugger is sufficient to correct the reasons that your link isn’t displaying properly.

facebookdebugger-3

Debugging the link usually fixes the issues Facebook may be having with it. After debugging you simply need to try posting the link again to Facebook. If it still doesn’t work then the information returned after debugging may prove useful in troubleshooting the problem. Enjoy!

Facebook Fan Page Banner and Profile pic template

I recently launched my Facebook fan page as well as my first Children’s e-book fan page for my upcoming, “Mary Had A Sleepy Sheep”. Written be Julia Dweck. Both of them are on Facebook.

In the process I tried to find a guide on the sizes of everything. What dimensions are the banner? What size is the profile pic? Where do they rest in relation to each other? I found bits of info from multiple sources and decided to compile the info into a template that I decided to share with our readers.

Please note that these dimensions are for Facebook fan pages only. Not your normal Facebook pages, those dimensions are slightly different.

facebookfanpagetemplate

You can download this template in 3 formats; Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator and a .pdf. The Photoshop and Illustrator files are set up with multiple layers for ease of creation. Enjoy and let us know if you have any questions or corrections in comments!

    Illustrator Facebook Fan Page Banner/Icon Template


    PDF Facebook Fan Page Banner/Icon Template


    Photoshop Facebook Fan Page Banner/Icon Template

And since we’re discussing Facebook Fan Pages, you can find my fan page here!

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As well as my new children’s e-book fan page here! Publication date September 5, 2013. (Mark your calendars!)  Be sure to like them!

facebook-page-banner

 

Free or not so Free Fonts?

tipsandtricks

I posted an article a while ago that went into a number of places online that you can search and download various fonts for free. Here.

Well I am in the process of creating my own children’s e-book as well as finishing up my first exclusive e-book with Julia Dweck called, “Mary Had A Sleepy Sheep.”  (Achem, be sure to like our fan page on Facebook.) The publisher made sure to tell me that any font I used had to be licensed for commercial work. Believe it or not, this was the first time a publisher had even mentioned that as a requirement. At the beginning of my process I had researched and looked on my favorite free font sites and found the fonts that I thought would work best with my book. I’d paid no attention to the lic. status of those fonts. Uh-Oh!

So what does licensed for commercial work mean?

It means that people who create fonts have just as many rights to their work as any other artist. A font being up for free doesn’t presume that you can use that font in any way you choose. Just like artists only sell certain rights to publishers or clients for their images, the same is true for designers who create fonts. In general most fonts that are free give you the right to use it for personal purposes. Which means it should only be used and displayed, not sold. Some designers will want credit cited if you post or display any works of yours that have used their fonts in them. While others hold no such requirements.

Licensed for Commercial Work means that the designer has given you permission to use their font in for profit or commercial purposes. The stipulations for this, again, can vary from designer to designer. Some will want credit given while others may ask for a small donation. All of this is done of course on the honor system.  You are still able to download the font but not adhering to what the designer has asked can result in you being in a copyright infringement situation should you be caught. So tread carefully. In most instances the designers instructions on how and when you can use their font gets downloaded as a text file with the font itself as well as being displayed in some way on the site that you find and download it from.

freefont

Unfortunately I have yet to find an easy way to search font sites to only find ones that are lic. commercially. (Nothing like finding the perfect font and realizing that it’s only licensed if you buy it outright. This can cost in the hundreds of dollars depending on the font.) Luckily on the front page of  FontSquirrel they’ve compiled a list of what they deem as the best free lic. fonts to download. Many of which would be suitable for a children’s e-book. So get to bookmarking and enjoy!

Add to your Morgue-Clothes creases

stayinspired

When I was in college (which was a very long time ago) we didn’t have tiny thumbnails to store tons of images on. Nor was the internet a vast repository for images and reference that it is now.  So we relied on tearing images out of magazines and filing them under auspicious titles in manilla envelopes. (National Geographic was particularly favored among my classmates!) We called this our “morgue”. Needless to say I had a huge file cabinet filled with various images that no matter how many images I ripped and put in folders never seemed to be suitable for the illustrations I wanted to do.

Now we use our computers and the internet to be the go to place for finding reference and resources. Morgues are  no longer needed. Yet and still whenever I run across an image, tutorial or inspiring website, I file it away in my digital morgue for future reference. So today I dug through my digi-morgue and found this cool little tutorial that goes over the basics of drawing folds in clothes and the basics of how they work. In the coming weeks Norm and i will continue to showcase informative tidbits from our morgues for you to add to yours! Enjoy and file away!

clothescreases

The image is by Louie del Carmen. His website is here.

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