Spreading yourself too thin…

February 23, 2011

Being full of ambition and having a passion for everything creative is all very well, and i am sure that it might put me in a good light with some people who might find it impressive or refreshing. It might even encourage others or give a kick up the arse to colleagues who have spent too many years sitting on their laurels doing just enough to get through. But. When is wanting to do too much counter productive? This is a question that i have to ask myself, for someone who is like a dog playing with a toy and getting bored with it and wanting to play with something else…

Not that my career follows this analogy, but certainly my private work and hobbies does, from playing music in a band to photography to illustration, to fine art, to video making to learning HTML/CSS to build websites for small companies.

All of which are in the same vein of design/creativity but each require a lifetimes worth of learning to be the best of the bunch, as the old saying goes, “Jack of all trades master of none.” This is to some extent true and i am aware that I might not be the best at whatever i am switching between creative outlets, but I think its important to have tried and tested as much as possible before i say i want to do this for the rest of my life and put all my effort in to something. I guess it all boils down to wanting to create something, anything, whether it be a nice picture, a striking logo or a well designed and built website.

Some people are able to just straight away find out what they are best at, for my girlfriend its music, writing it, performing it and being involved in it. For Aaron Miller its straight up illustrations, this guys knows what he’s good at and so far he seems to be carving a very promising career for himself doing it. Another example is the talented Tom Skyrme, a good friend of mine who has been writing music since an early age and has developed his style over the years and now writes/produces music for adverts which takes creating music to an almost mechanical and methodical approach, yet he still learns to play Jazz guitar, does photography on an old Russian camera, Dj’s electronic music and never seems to be spreading himself too thinly so to speak… My question is this… Is this because a person has already carved themselves a career or already got a firm grasp of one discipline before moving on to learning another or just that they are better than me?!

Not that I am bad at whatever things i turn my hand too, and i spend a lot of energy and not to mention money but i think i just should spend more time on something before i move on to the next activity. But its hard to when you have a project you get hyped about like taking pictures of a band, then you think “Hang on i could do some filming for them too”… Then I get chatting to someone down the pub one evening who needs a website doing, and all of a sudden i’m doing that, then I get a booking for a Wedding at the end of the year. Now does this mean i am spread too thin or just a busy person who is working on a bunch of creative projects. and its not because i will do them all half arsed, just that i love the fact that i CAN work across a range of mediums and calling on skills that i have developed throughout my life.

More than anything spreading myself across a range of projects means that i get to meet a huge range of people, and am thought of as more than just someone that can design business cards and letterheads. Talking to people who sit neatly in a box tends to mean they find it hard to ink outside of the box, whereas i  love to think how my skills might work in other areas of industry, photography for web designers or print work for web designers as a JV on business. Making short videos for people who have small businesses that might not have thought how that could increase brand awareness or coming up with a marketing strategy for the release of a new album for an artist, Thinking the whole process, from my print knowledge for Packaging and promotional materials, to shooting promo videos, making youtube virals, portrait shots, making flash web banners to go on Myspace. This is not something that is unheard of but i can’t imagine being anything other than this… working on a huge range of projects and improving a range of skills..

Because if this is being a “Jack of all trades and a master of none”, then thats alright with me! It might just take me longer to get there than everyone else.. But i know that I’ll get there!


DBNO Job #001

February 9, 2011

Max, Josh and Adam Pose for DBNO shoot wearing new Designs

Max, Josh and Adam Pose for DBNO shoot wearing new Designs

A little while ago i got a phone call from my girlfriends dad asking if i would be able to help out with some retouching for an urgent job they had to get done. Obviously i said yes, because it was for a friend but also because for me in my normal day ob retouching is about as exciting as it gets! the client was DownButnotout or DBNO for people in the Know (www.downbutnotoutproductions.com ), a new start up clothing company run by Josh Franceschi from you me at six, His good mate Adam and Josh’s Dad who also works incredibly hard on YM@6 Merch also.

Going along i got the brief which was to take existing shots of products and models and put the new designs on them. This was a cost saving exercise mainly but also because there was not enough time to organise models location and a shoot in time to get them over to Janleeks.com to get everything online in time for the launch of the new range of products. It was a great project to work on because i got the chance to really practice and use some techniques which i haven’t had much chance to use for a long time.

I started the project like i do with every job. Get the brief nailed down. I found out how many images i was being given, what designs were to go on what model, what colour the tee-shirts and hoods needed to be. Examples of colour ways. Checked the resolution of the images and flagged up with the client any issues so that they would know what to expect or to see if they could supply higher res images for some images for instance.

Josh and Elwood Pose together for DBNO original shoot

Josh and Elwood Pose together for DBNO original shoot

With that done I do also what i do with every new job/project which is to get my house in order, by that i mean, set up my workflow and organise my folders. Starting with making a supplied folder and expanding on to a Links folder containing my colour managed files, breaking down in to models or designs and then in to retouches (Cleaned t-shirts) and then to a “Comps” folder which had the cleaned images and the new designs blended on.

Going by what the client had supplied from the designers i used that as a scale of how big to put the images on the models and how to blend them in. Also having to feedback to the client what colours could be achieved with specific models.

Once an initial collection had been comped i fed that back to the client for amends and feedback, initially it was great, but they wanted a bigger range of models to spread the designs across, slight colour changes. With these amends done i resupplied and added some additional images with the new ranges on a polaroid effect as i though they might lend themselves nicely to the style and format of the website it was going on.

Elwood pose for DBNO whilst on Polaroid effect image

Elwood pose for DBNO whilst on Polaroid effect image

I knew this would be important to get right as it might (like any new job…lead to more work in the future) which it did, about a week or so later i was asked to do a quick shoot (Mentioned in my previous blog post..Here) for the Christmas range of DBNO merch…. That was a different story all together! Again a lot or retouching needed and cleaning up and removing unwanted objects such as doors, plants and working with everything against me! I think i have used up my shit talking for one night so that shall have to wait until another time. Still, Bottom line is… I got to work on some really cool stuff with some great people for a great little company and in the process picked up a couple of little jobs along the way. Its funny how you can be quiet on the private/freelance work front and then all of a sudden your stacked with work! lets hope it continues!

I’ve seen alot of people write cool blogs about photography and give great tutorials and interesting things to read and learn…..This ain’t one of them… just me talking about my life, my job, my progression to get to where i want to be careerwise. Fair?

Until next time…this is the Stable Blog…..And ive been typing to myself!!!


Nicola Jarvis, Foley Artist and DBNO…2011 will be even better!!

February 9, 2011

Due to my normal Day job (and forgetting passwords for blogs etc) I have been a bit quiet as of late, this is not to say that I have not been a busy bee!

I have been working as a Team Leader for a large project for Training material for a large courier company, overseeing that the arwork supplied by the creative agency, is prepared and sent for translation in to 18 languages, which is then returned to the project managers and fed back in to the studio for artworking, amends and further text control. This has meant that things have suffered, Blogs, the beloved Gym has seen very little of me the last few months but that is not to say that i have been all work and no play with regards to freelance work.

I have completed a website for a fantastic needlework artist called Nicola Jarvis (http://www.nicolajarvisstudio.com). The instructions from the client were very clear and this reflects in the simplicity of its design and build. The Gallery was to be minimal to begin with and over time either be expanded or kept to the original number of 3 items per section.

Nicola Jarvis Studio Home Page Screen Shot

The site went live Mid November and the client has given good feedback, i shall wait and see how the stats come through early 2011 after they have sent out the URL to interested parties and sections.

Other things include a photo shoot part TWO with friends and band Foley Artist where over these past two shoots i have seen the band grow an extra person and complete a couple of different shooting styles both indoor and outdoor. Some of these shots are on my flickr but i shall follow up with a more detailed post later. Photography since getting my new D300s has become my main interest and hobby, a camera now goes everywhere with me. 2010 has seen me shoot band promos, a wedding, a couple of engagement parties and also some shots for a clothing label run by YouMeAtSix’s very own Josh Franceschi DBNO (http://www.downbutnotoutproductions.com).

Screen shot from Down but not out productions homepage

a couple of the photos I took and retouched used for there seasonal homepage

That project required a quick and nasty shoot in the founders front room, whilst england where playing france going on in the background on the telly. I have also done a bit of retouching for these guys putting new artworks and designs on exisiting model shots so that a new shoot was not needed. These will be added as a expanded post later also.

For the future of 2011 who knows, but i have some exciting jobs in the pipeline. A trip to Sweden for a website i am building for bar reviews, Lots of nice location photography will be done by me, a shoot for a new company that specialises in High end mobile recording and production, based in Surrey, two friends have set up together to offer an all in one package for any size at affordable budgets, these guys should hopefully smash 2011, and i want to be there at the start. The jobs still to be outlined but it is certainly on the cards to get them some Promo shots and get their profile up and running!

Lets see how the new year goes!, First up i need to make sure i get the work I have done online!

Its all for a good cause

February 9, 2011

Friday lunchtime I was doing my normal habitual twitter surfing when i noticed that my current favourite illustrator Aaron Miller and 9 others have worked to gether to help UNICEF’s Haiti Appeal over at The Renman Project… So for me this was not only a good way to get brownie points from ‘you-know-who’ but also get my hands on some awesome prints.

One thing that i liked was the playfulness of the images in the pack and that everyone was doing their part to help out. The printing was free, the illustrations are done off thier own backs. So for £5 +P&P it was in my big cartel basket before i even got my card out! Next day they were on my front door.

Twitter has been a massive inspiration giver and has put me intouch with other designers and tutorials that have been really useful. As a result Aaron miller is now a staple of my ‘whats going on in the world of up and coming freelancers’ what i mean by this is, there are some people that talk about it and there are some people just do it because they HAVE to, and i certainly aspire to be in the latter.

Things seem to still be moving in the right directions for me. this weekend was a busy one for my ‘freelance’ work. Logos for a new TV production company based in Barcelona, Continuing work on a clients website and redesigning the gallery section…However i think i might have to restart the build and set about it in a cleaner way…This i think is the trouble with starting a build before finishing the design stage! (Schoolboy error). I put the finishing touches to some wedding photos i took for a good friend of mine and passed them over to him.

I still have lots to do and i blame the internet and alcohol for distracting me more than i should have allowed but this week i plan on clearing the decks before i go away on my hols at the end of the month. I still am working on a Logo for a new company called “Joyous Arrangements” a flower arrangement company. The wrapping up of the artist Nicola Jarvis website by the end of the month. Continuing to Blog for my new contributorship for Paperchain Products, a new start-up company that deals in High end art and design cards featuring some of the most up and coming ranges and classic cards and gifts. more to come on them another time. Finally Handing over my Final Edits for my first Wedding that i was the Official photographer for. Nervous yet exciting stuff. When its all done I think that I shall put in writing how this went for me and how my First wedding photography gig went for me.

Wrapping up… Arsenal played a luke warm match against liverpool yesterday and ended on a 1-1 draw. Lets hope that the new season brings all the best for Arsenal FC!

Please standby