Stop Hustlin’

Hey guys 😀 I learned a very interesting and inspirational lesson in a form of a very big headache and outloud discussion with myself. Yea, I know I’m weird 😛 I have a friend who is ahead in her career than I am. I thought she would help me out in this desperate place in time that I am currently in.

She had a certain connection that I needed given the time and period of my submitted application where her connection was working at. But it seemed that she was side stepping in lending me a hand. I don’t mean to be pretentious but I was tried of beating around the bush. I was tried of being the nice person waiting for the other to get me. SO I’m telling you, as I know a lot of you struggling artists out there

that are trying to get your name out there and land a good paying job with benefits are kind, humble and hardworking peeps,

to be straightforward and not let others step all over you! (LONG WINDED SENTENCE I KNOW XD) Next time you encounter

a friend of yours that for some reason are acting like they don’t know what you need, cuz BELIEVE me they do, don’t be

afraid to say it! My current situation is not the greatest but no worries I learned that I gotta take it day by day. I have no

complaints. I know I have it! And by ‘it’ I mean the experience, the passion, the drive to be a great designer… in a

respectable and reputable company. I just gotta remain focus and cut out negative people out of my life. TO my fellow

graphics designers in my position, please don’t not stress I got you! You gotta make things happen for you. Cannot depend

and wait around for others to pick you up. And know this: I am my own worst enemy and so are you.

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Paid vs Unpaid

This is a very delicate subject and most designers would probably shy away from the shameful truth. But without sugar coating it in any way shape or form I’ll tell you my side of the story, my personal experience and opinion.

Waiting for my laptop, as I’m writing this, to explode XD.

Here it is.

Freelancing as I discussed in a previous post, it plainly sucks. But being employed under the title unpaid internship is far worse.

Before I get my head ripped off for this. I know it’s hard to find a solid job out there that will take a chance with a recent graduate that has no experience outside of freelancing for friends, family etc. without a legitimate company written on your resume.

Again its all politics, What company in their right mind would take a chance with a designer that has no legitimate claim to experience. They see it as a risk. An avoidable risk as more often then not their requirements on job posts always read “5 year experience with…”

As far as unpaid internships there line is way different from companies that will pay. Instead of “5 year experience” they propose “1 year or more.”

That goes the same for companies (willing to pay, depending)on the ones starting out.

See the difference?

Which one will you apply to? The answer is to all of them even those that read 10 years experience. Why you may ask? Because you gotta sell yourself in that interview. No matter what, you go in there with confidence, head held up high.

And hey if you get a chance to take up an unpaid internship I am not telling you to pass it up! Take it, pick up the trade, make connections.

While you’re interning apply to other jobs in the mean time.

Remind yourself to always save the designs you are working on from the internship via your flash drive.

Remember, everything you design while you’re interning can be used as your portfolio. It’s a win/lose XD. Or lose/lose with a benefiting result.

As far as my opinion goes… I have been interning, learned a lot of tricks and an understanding of print, which is very benefitting for any graphic designer.

BUT AT THE end of the day its draining especially when your time invested in creating banners, icons, kerning and retouching and the only check your paid for is transportation and food, its rather off putting.

Spring Fever

I know I’ve been away for awhile but it’s only because I’ve been applying like crazy via Indeed.com or internships.com. Great links to find jobs by the way! Other good websites: indeed.com (cannot stress enough), internqueen.com (very good site if you guys are still in school!)

Don’t worry I ain’t sponsoring them XD. No endorsements here!

So I’ve come up with some helpful tips for everyone of my unique designers out there!

Now one important thing I learned from going into an interview and then the dreadful follow-up. I write ‘dreadful’ because this is where your creativity comes into play. Which, of course, depending on the place you’ve applied to there is the usual test.

By test I mean your potential employer wants to see if the skills that you already know can be applied to the company’s aesthetic. This assignment can be proposed during the interview or after via email.

When this comes, remember everything you learned coming out of that interview. That is: what the company is all about, are they eco-friendly, is fashion important, trends relevant or not, etc. What is the company’s expectations from you.

DO NOT OVER THINK OR OVER DESIGN.

Another very crucial thing we always forget is stressing over the smallest of things. If you are at any point in the designing process not feeling confident about the outcome, scrap it off and start something new.

Trust me.

When you start second guessing yourself you’ll be able to see how silly and absurd it all seems.

Remind yourself what makes you happy and the rest will fall into place.

Friends with Benefits

Has it ever occurred to that you are cheated out of your hard invested time consuming projects from clients? Clients sometimes believe it’s an easy thing we designers do. Making them seem arrogant and inconsiderate at times. Now, before I lose my cool. I thought it best to just let them know before things started getting out of hand, meaning making sketches, re-designing …but without charging them for it.

This is not a good thing. You, as a designer, should be paid and fully recognized for your work. So here are some things I noticed in freelancing for friends.

Recently I had this experience and how people take advantage, without possibly meaning to, my services.

Worse being it was from a friend.

What I usually do when someone proposes work related to my field, I ask what information they want on their: T-shirt, business card, poster, gifs etc.

The second thing I ask is by when they need it by.

And lastly, usually they ask rather than I; “How much are you gonna charge me?”

This is hard for me because if it’s for a friend I knock it down 20 bucks from what I would normally charge someone.

Here is where my mistake was. No matter if they are a good friend or just a friend always charge them like any regular client plus interest (if there is printing involved).

What I mean by ‘interest’ is if they are asking you to change a few things here and there charge them 10% from what you have already charged. You must have raised your eyebrow at that last sentence but there cannot be any limitations for your work.

I’m a designer, so as a designer I am making my clients vision into reality. And that reality comes with a price.

So what I went through, my client (friend) and I had already settled on a price. There was a due date. I came out with 3 sketches and color schemes as well. My client choose 1 out of the 3 that I was to finally design via Illustrator.

I had designed according to my sketch, but of course, you know as well as I do, once you start designing it takes up almost the whole day and maybe two days depending if you are satisfied with the end result. And once I was finished I sent my client, friend, a snapshot of the design. Perfectly satisfied…until it came time to pay.

I’ve noticed that they disappear for about a week.

Here is a tip for any graphic designer that is yet to land a job and is freelancing, NEVER let them coax you into giving them your design without them paying you first!!

What I learned from this experience is you don’t let anyone take advantage of your kindness.

On a better note, I see it in a positive light because designing for those days did not hurt as it just adds to my portfolio.

If this has happened to you, look at the bright side! You miss but you gain as well 🙂

Undermined

You now, I thought it would be easy, being a designer. The price of education has no limits. I mean having and receiving a degree, it means everything in this country. For me, constantly it is a reminder of the shaky almost sufferable terrain I endured to prove to myself that I could make my mark and hopefully be someone important in the design world. I shouldn’t say ‘hopefully’. That’s what I hear confidant people say.

If am being brutally honest my friends, for the last couple of months I’ve lost my mojo. Well I thought I lost it. It was dormant because I was lacking motivation as if it was swept under me. I’m freelancing here and there, It totally helps refreshing my skills on my Adobe programs. Recently though a very good friend of mine gave me an Inkling for Christmas!

For those not savvy as I am with technology, Inkling is a branch off Wacom. It is a censored based pen in which your drawings are easily transferable onto your laptop.

I’m not gonna lie, but it’s complicated. My brain takes a while to process new gadgets. XD

I couldn’t thank her enough; it gave me the right nudge to get back in the world of art.

If you want any further information on the Inkling here’s the link 🙂

http://inkling.wacom.com/

My Name Is…

As advice given to me by my good friend, I have decided to talk a little about myself since I have been avoiding it.

First off, I’ve always been a behind the scenes type of person. I never liked the spotlight on me. It was for this reason I don’t want to talk about myself.

But I know I cannot be the only one. So for those that have not been heard hopefully, I can be the instrument you need and use.

In my years as a child I love designing. My first love were coloring books which I always had to beg my mom to buy me especially when I had to go  ‘house shopping’ and of course my box of crayons.

I remember as a teenager it came the daunting hour of picking a career. It was the most hardest decision I had to make. A lot was riding on my future, the most hardest decision I had to make.

There was so much pressure.

The ‘future’ became the scariest word ever invented by the dictionary people.

I thought about my parents and the sacrifices they made to cross the border to the ‘land of opportunities.” Yes, I come from immigrant parents. And proud of it!

It was this, in particular that bothered me the most. I wanted to do something in design. But when I proposed this the question of “does this make money?” came up. My heart sank. For my parents; doctors, teachers, lawyers make the money in this country. But designer?

They believed I wouldn’t get any far.

The career was a bad choose.

It was hard. The toughest was when I made up my mind not against my parents wishes, I just wanted to follow my dreams. I want to make something out my own passion.

I don’t regret it to this day, I picked what I am. A graphic designer with a proud upbringing.

I just know that deep down they are proud I’ve made it thus far.

Don’t let this get you down, you guys worked hard for that diploma!

Rules of the game

Your creativity, more often then not is stamped…by the customer. I’m sure you, as a successful intuitive designer, have encountered this, one way or another (Blondie is genius) and it is frustrating. You have a vision that is not being put out there for the world to see and appreciate. Well, why? Because the decision making is already being decided on by the ‘man.’

I’m not saying to go against the ‘man’ or ‘woman’, for that matter, but how should you make peace with it?

There really isn’t one, I, myself I’m learning that the hard way. It’s to the point where I would rather quit then stick it out. But I know I’m no quitter and I can’t let it get the best of me.

What I want to tell you is; do your art and if your boss don’t like it, save it!

There will come a time where you don’t need to depend on your boss. One day you will call the shots. Slowly, but surely!

Climbing that social ladder is a give-in. You know what you have to do.

Do it!

Art of Networking

There are a lot of networking sites out there, i.e: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest…but nothing beats the old fashioned high school/college connections. You meet future photographers, illustrators, mentors, art directors. Whatever it is, whoever it is; you always want to have that support because they know your dreams better than you think. Why, you ask? Well, because they share it with you.

If they won’t turn your back on you, you wont either and that is the power of word of mouth, whispers of job openings and those recommendations you crave.

With that said I bestow upon you, reader, future artist of the next generation: collaborate, get those ideas out there! Act it, draw it, design it, send those letters out there with your works. Never be afraid of your work, especially to let the whole world know what you can do with your imagination!

Most importantly if you ever have an opportunity to help a fellow designer DO IT!

Rejection

Its not always easy to be widely accepted, especially when the demand and diversity is so high. I for one know that…now. Interviews are hard no matter the prior practice. A lot a pressure rides on you because we are talking about your career on the line. I say, “the third, fourth, fifth times the charm.”

You just apply, apply your heart out. There will always be that one person that will like you. You just have to make the right gestures. Crack a joke! It’ll lessen the stress, not to mention tension in the room.

Another thing; do not let their rejection hit home. Do no let it discourage you from working on what you love to do and what you built (portfolio) so hard for.

Whatever comes your way, laugh it off. Laughter is the only best medicine…I know XD.

Simon Pegg and Nick Frost are my cure. Their movies never fail to tickle my funny bone.