Thursday, April 26, 2012

Updates and New Projects.

Sunday I sent out 5 of the giveaway portfolios I blogged about last week. This morning i was offered some work from one of the companies and the guy I talked to cited my mailer as the hook that got him to contact me.

Secondly I just want to talk about the blessings going on right now in my life.

Of course when I think blessings I think of my wife Lin.  I don't know how she puts up with me but she does and she constantly encourages and supports me doing this freelance thing.  My whole family (Mom & Carrie) is pretty darn supportive but they don't live with the consequences both in morale and financial of me a month without work like Lin does and still encourages me to plug on.  

To that end, the dry spell it would appear has finally given way to some work.

One of the assignments is from the Number 1 company on my list of clients I have wanted to work for since I learned Ps back in the day.  If I sufficiently impress them God willing, I should have a good client for a long, long time.

The second assignment is a little less impressive but its guaranteed work.  Plus I agreed to build a website for my friends new business for a ridiculously small amount of money.

Anyway, just wanted to keep you all posted.  God has been good. Even when things were so tight we couldn't do anything we still got by.  He provided for us. One extra tight month we went almost 30 days on $23 and besides the stress it put on me you would have never noticed.  We ate we had fun and we spent time together as if we had a vault full. Obviously we couldn't spend like that. We ate a lot of stuff out of the deep freeze her parents got for us a while ago.  That was a blessing too come to think of it.

Anyway, Thanks for reading
Alan

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

King of Kings

Put this together today. Freelance had been a little slow for the last month or so.
When I didn't have an assignment, I found myself getting lazy.
I worked on some sketch cards to see if I could find some work doing that.
I sent a few mailers out to some companies looking for shirt or sketch card work.
I wasn't designing much though.

I was on a pretty good track of designing even if I didn't have an assignment. It kept me focused & I got some pretty good personal designs done. Then when this last dry spell hit I fell off the track & found myself kinda down & sleeping a lot.

I decided last night that this morning I would start a design. 10 hours later I had the design below.
I had fun with it. I hand drew both Jesus and the Lion. Which was time consuming but fun.

About 7pm tonight I received an email. A client I was trying to woo finally gave me an actual assignment.
I can't tell you how excited & blessed I am to get this work.
God willing there will be more on the horizon from them & others.
The company I'm starting this assignment for, if satisfied will be an excellent client for years to come.

Thanks for reading
Alan

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Give-Away Portfolio's

I have gotten 3 jobs in the last year or so on account of my extremely cheap (but impressive looking) giveaway portfolio.

Enough good luck that as I get ready to mail a few more out Sat morning I thought I'd share the idea with the rest of you. hopefully it will bring you some luck as well.

I know it was the quality of my designs that actually got me the work but this presentation was key in sticking in a clients mind.

I have a client in New York for instance.  I sent them one of my packages and didn't hear from them for about 6 months. Then one afternoon I received a call & my iPhone screen said "New York".
I answered the phone and the woman on the other end had a heavy NY accent.  She explained to me who she was and said she had my portfolio on her desk for a few months. When it was time for them to get some new art produced she remembered my portfolio and called.

As artist we rely so much on digital samples and our websites we forget how convincing a physical portfolio can be. As was the case with me, even if they don't contact right away they won't forget you. Where if you are one of the dozens of artists that emailed them that day you just might get over looked.

Ok, enough talking it up here is what you will need.

Make jpegs of all the art you would like to put in a portfolio.  Don't over do it though, the prospective client doesn't need everything you've done just a few good examples.

Now take those jpegs and open them in Photoshop.  Size your art to fit 4x6. Sometimes that will leave a big space either on the sides, top or bottom. Thats fine, just fill the blank space with the background color of your piece.

Below you will see 2 example. One has a lot of space on the top and the bottom the other one is a tall skinny design so the empty space is on the sides.  



Now after you have adjusted all your pieces save them to a jump drive or a cd and take them to a photolab. I usually go to Wal-mart because its dirt cheap but any photolab will do.

I set down at the do it yourself kiosk insert my media and figure out how many portfolio's I want to make.
This time around I wanted 4 so had the photolab print 4 copies of each picture. 

In an hour I had beautiful glossy copies of my designs.


Next I picked up a photo album. 4X6 albums are super cheap. you can get them with book bindings, plastic covers, and various other styles. I like usually pick up one like this for less than $5


Then I add my pictures/designs write a nice letter to the art director (or whoever) and add a business card package it all together in a manilla envelope and send it off to clutter the desk of my target.

I can do all this for around $10 a portfolio. That's pictures, photo album and shipping.

I personally think the size is the key. 4x6 is perfect. You get all the detail, and when you add the album it gives it a really nice look. Plus its chunky and I feel that like with my NY client it was just to different to discard. It stayed on her desk or on a shelf but didn't go in the trash and it kept me in her mind for nearly 6 months.  I had emailed them dozens of times and never got a response until I mailed them.

So there you have it. It's worked for me thru the mail and in person. I walked in cold to talk to the art director od a screen print shop. I was told they weren't needing any help but I asked if I could leave my portfolio. The lady took it and within a week I was doing a design & color seps for them.

Just an idead hope you find it helpful

Thanks for reading

Alan


Kirk Cameron


I recently saw a skit on Funny or Die titled “Child Celebrities Opposing Kirk Cameron” I will include a link to the video but be warned the acronym for their organization is a vulgar word and it is used several times for comedic effect. http://FunnyOrDie.com/m/6qpz
This skit is in response to Kirk’s appearance on CNN’S Piers Morgan show. When asked about homosexuality Kirk said  It’s “unnatural,” & “I think that it’s — it’s detrimental, and ultimately destructive to so many of the foundations of civilization.”
It was clearly Piers just trying to make a “water cooler moment”.
What I want to talk about first is the “stars” of the skit. The only one who could possibly be referred to as a star would be Christine Lakin and that would be pushing it.
She played the daughter of Patrick Duffy on the ABC sitcom Step by Step from ’91-’98
The rest were has beens desperately trying to get 15 more minutes of fame.
Let’s face it when you are such amazing characters as “Loud-Mouth Guy” and “Male Tour Guide” in direct to video movies you obviously need all the help you can get. One of the actors is Jeremy Licht (The Hogan Family), he didn’t even memorize lines.  You can watch his eyes move as he reads the cue cards or TelePrompTer. No wonder he has done NOTHING since his show went off in the 90’s. While his co-star Jason Bateman is a legitimate movie star.
There was a woeful lack however of former child stars as successful as Kirk.  People like Neil Patrick Harris, who is not only still successful but in direct oposition to Kirk’s opinion.   A cast member from Family Ties, Silver Spoons, or even Who’s the Boss would have made it believable.  What they got was an assortment of  people, that while they may also believe in what they are talking about are just desperate for attention.
Say what you will about Kirk Cameron but he is successful. He has a successful ministry, a camp for seriously ill children and makes the occasional movie because he wants to not because he has too.
Part of the comedy of the skit is the lack of anyone even remotely as recognizable as Kirk Cameron. The fact the the people they got to be in the skit aren’t in on that joke makes it funnier.
Secondly, put the absurdity of the child celebrities in the skit aside and you are left with one thing.
The attack on Christian values and beliefs.  By forming the attack as a skit it gets glossed over but thats what it is.  By holding Kirk up to ridicule you give the message that his opinions are stupid and laughable.
The more you mix comedy into attacks like this the more mainstream you can make them without getting in trouble.  After all it is comedy they would say.
Everywhere you turn these days Christians are looked at as crack pots.  We are called intolerant if we tell the truth. Looked at as ignorant if we defend our faith.  Meanwhile the atheists or liberal Christians can call us anything they want and they are not considered intolerant.  
They try desperately to rewrite history, to tell us that Christian values were not the cornerstone of the country.
They point to us as whats wrong with America.  They scream for their rights but try to take ours.  
Kirk is a man I believe should be looked up to and admired for his steadfastness in his beliefs. You will always get a straight Bible-fact answer from him. He doesn’t hem haw or try to put a pc front on it. That is enviable no matter what your beliefs.  
I am a Christian and not half  the believer that Kirk Cameron is. I agree with him on every statement I have heard him make.  I have turned off his religious show when it stepped on my toes or became uncomfortable.
He is an inspiration to me every time I hear him speak.
I thank God for men like him that will not waiver or bend the truth to save public face, in a world where the public is getting increasingly less Christian friendly.
Thanks for reading
Alan

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

A Cowardly Lot

Freelance artists are by and large scavengers.
We are separate from the artists that create works for themselves. Although we do produce vanity pieces it's the freelance assignment that butters our bread.
When I started freelancing I guess I was nieve. I noticed how other artists seldom if ever mentioned a clients name.
They talked plenty about having work but not the client name.

I however talked freely about who I worked for. If I did a job for someone's had no problem saying their name.

Then came the betrayal of my one time mentor.

So now that's where I am. I've had to start from scratch building a new client list. This time I won't be telling a soul including my non artist friends a single name.

It's weird being this tight lipped about it. I'm certainly used to being more open about what I'm doing.

Seems my transformation to professional artist is complete.

Thanks for reading

Alan





Good Things

Good things are happening here of late. I am blessed by God beyond reason to be able to be a full time freelance artist.
Things dry up but he never lets them cut off completely.

I got word today that a dream client of mine is pretty interested in working with me.
If things go well I'm hoping to have an assignment from them soon.

Until I get that assignment I'm trying to not get too excited. I know if it doesn't work out something else will come along. Still it'll be a dream come true to work for them.

Thanks for reading

Alan

Friday, April 6, 2012

Titanic

I just got home from watching the movie Titanic for the first time.

I had no intrest to see it when it was first released nor on its subsequent home video releases. With it being rereleased in 3D however I figured the big screen is the way to see it so I went this afternoon.

I dug the beginning of the movie with the subs and what not in the remains of the Titanic.

I didn't mind the love story and I really enjoyed the sinking.

In this blog I will show you why Rose is one of the most selfish characters movie history.

1) They lifted her out of the helicopter in her wheel chair when she landed on Bill Paxton's boat. If she can walk and climb up on the rail of the ship at the end she was more than capable of getting out of the helicoptor without the guys hoisting her seat and all.
She could have gotten up and walked to the door and then accepted thier help getting out of the chopper.
Right there is your first glimpse of selfish Rose.

Now in flashback durring the sinking you see Jack and Rose on the back of the ship over the railing and waiting for the ship to sink. Rose looks over and sees a girl hanging on completely perpendicular to the water. Rose watches from her safe perch with Jack as the blonde lady loses her bout with gravity and plunges to her death.
Once safe on the high side of the railing why didn't Rose and Jack help that poor girl. Yes like Jack she might of died later on and I do know this is a work of fiction. I just don'r see how this sensitive Rose can just watch the lady dangle and eventually fall without so much as a hand.

We are supposed to like Jack and Rose and from what I had heard over the years they were supposed to be good people but even the despicable Cal saves a girl, to his own end mind you but saved none the less. Rose and Jack cared about no one but Rose. I almost typed "themselves" but Jack clearly cared more about Rose than himself.
Finally in what I consider the most grievous act of selfishness in the film Rose drops the diamond into the sea.
Old Rose introduces herself and her grand daughter to Paxton at the beginning.
She says. "This is my grand daughter and she takes care of me."
The important part being "She takes care of me".
Now what does it take to take care of an elderly woman in a wheel chair? This poor lady looks after her grandma by her self. Why is that? Is it because she doesn't have any more family or is it possibly because she is a self absorbed hag of a woman that no one else could stand?
Thats all supposition, so lets keep to the facts. How does this old woman pay her grand daughter back for the years of care taking? She drags her out to the middle of the Atlantic aboard a boat of strangers. She tells her essentially that Jack was the love of her life. In other words "I settled for your grandpa, If that boat hadn't sunk young lady you wouldn't be here."

Then as the ultimate act of selfishness she drops the necklace over the side of the boat, sans wheel chair I might remind you. Then she goes and dies.

Could she not have willed it to her grandchild for taking care of her. Or at least taken a few diamonds beside the blue stone in which it was surrounded?

Not rose she drops it overboard and dies. If she hadn't performed that last terrible act of selfishness, her granddaughter would have discovered her dead and been a millionaire.

Paxton says durring the movie that the heart of the ocean is worth more than the hope diamond. The hope diamond I googled and discovered is estimated by some at over a quarter of a BILLION.

This withered old shrew would rather drop the thing into the sea than let her saint of a granddaughter have the thing.

Don't try and tell me that it was "dirty" money either. It was a gift and while not respectable, there is no law that you have to return a gift.
Paxton certainly would not have given it back to the Cal's descendants.

Now what about Paxton's character. he thinks this old woman is going to help him find the thing he has been obsessed with for 3 years and instead she hides it from him and discards it. That mans life is ruined. It's like his camera man quipped at the beginning when they found the empty safe.. "This same thing happened to Geraldo and he never recovered."

Rose, dear reader does nothing in the entire movie to suggest she is a good person.

I did not expect to like the movie beyond the special effects and could never imagined the genuine rage Rose conjured upon producing the stone and wasting it.

Wow I needed that rant, thanks for reading.

Alan