Michael Hyatt | 7 Ways Successful Creatives Think Differently than Unsuccessful Ones

Today, I got a great reminder from Michael Hyatt on the keys to being a successful creative.

7 WAYS SUCCESSFUL CREATIVES THINK DIFFERENTLY THAN UNSUCCESSFUL ONES It Takes More Than Talent

It’s definitely worth reading. Too often, creative people rely on talent. It also takes the right attitude, the ability to work with teams and do the hard work. It’s a great reminder that talented people don’t get a free pass to be difficult geniuses.

Why atmosphere is important in the classroom

I read this blog post from the Washington Post this morning entitled Smart design + school = health. The final quote stood out to me:

“We really focused on what kids need. What I see in that space are kids gravitating to that atmosphere because they know it’s for them, about them. Everything is tailored to their needs.”-Dina Sorensen, project designer, VMDO Architects

Too often, when an architect or designer plans classrooms, they design for best use of space at the best price. What if we designed classrooms so they didn’t feel like an institution? What if we considered the return on investment if the classroom actually helped learning?

When it comes to church classrooms, this is especially important. No child wants to come to a place where it looks like a plain, boring institution. We like restaurants that have some atmosphere and kids like a place just for them that has a little atmosphere too.

I see churches do this all the time with Vacation Bible school. They go all out to make a week special for the children. It is especially good for a church to consider how to make their place welcoming to kids throughout the year.

We gravitate towards restaurants with a nice atmosphere. Churches need to consider how much atmosphere their children’s area has.

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Monster sketch

No, it’s not a gigantic sketch this morning. I’m trying something different with my blog. In the coming posts, I’ll take this sketch and bring it to a finished illustration.

This is a doodle out of my November, 2010 sketchbook. Lately, I’ve been documenting my sketches with a program/web service called Evernote. I highly recommend it for anyone who has a lot of notes and are trying to find a way to organize it all. It is a service on a web, but also an application for Windows and the Mac. You can also access if from your iPhone, iPad, Android or other smart phone.

The Mac version has worked very well for me. You can scan or take photos of your handwritten notes and sketchbook pages. If your writing is legible, Evernote will recognize the text and make it searchable.

I liked this sketch because it will complement the vector style I’ve been experimenting with. I’ve noticed my drawing style has changed while I’ve been drawing in Adobe Illustrator. I am paying attention to simpler shapes and how to design an illustration.

I’ve been a designer since college along with an illustrator. But I’ve noticed how the two disciplines are complementing each other. When I was younger, I thought the primary purpose of illustration was to accurately and convincingly portray an object or scene. That’s ironic, considering I’ve always preferred a cartoon style. Cartooning is all about exaggeration. If anybody in the real world looked like a cartoon, they’d stop traffic, and it wouldn’t be because they were drop dead gorgeous!

Now I see that an illustration needs to be designed well just like a well designed book or web page. That’s my epiphany for the day.

Next, I’ll get a more polished sketch together. Stay tuned!

Freelance Work in a Crazy Economy


Spear_3479 Cartoon
Originally uploaded by speartoons

Still looking for that million dollar contract? Aren’t we all. If only there was a design and illustration clause to the Federal stimulus package.

The other day a friend at the gym was looking at disgust at his mp3 player. He said, “There’s nothing but bad news. I’m going to stop listening to anything related to business.”

It can be tough out there to get work. But don’t panic. A designer can still find work out there. Here are some things you can do to keep the freelance fires burning.

  1. Keep a positive attitude. I know. Easier said than done, right? But I’ve seen it work time and again. I’ve seen designer who have had the same lousy amount of business. The one with a positive attitude recovers much more quickly than the one who is convince his world is coming to an end. We always find what we’re looking for, whether we realize we’re chasing it or not.
  2. Call up old clients. It’s okay to see what they’re up to. If you had a good experience with them before, it just may take some reconnecting to remind them you are still out there. Email them, call them, take them out for lunch. You never know. You may be surprised and they’ll reward you with a new project and pay for your lunch too. (But be sure you are prepared to pay for it. Don’t be a weasel, after all!)
  3. Keep working even if you have no work. Momentum is everything in this business. If you don’t get your favorite kind of work for a month, you can’t afford to go rusty. Keep doing what you love. Build up your portfolio. Work on that plumb design or illustration project you’ve never had time for. Eventually the pay will come again.

We’re all in this together. Keep looking up!