Guest Post: Old school tools

Sarah concludes with her use of watercolours to round out her documentation.

"I love adding a little paint to the journal pages I create. One way of doing this on a trip is to carry a small box of watercolour paints and brushes. I will often pull out the paints to create the base of my page or add a little detail after I have added my notes for the day. Water brushes are great to use for traveling as they allow you to add water directly to the barrel of the brush and make it easy to take on the go.

Traveling is an exciting adventure, by adding a little creativity and special stops to take in the sights and sounds of your location, you will be one step closer to living a more creative and fulfilled life. The tools and tips I’ve shared with you today will assist in giving you a new way to look at your travels and will also provide you with a beautiful memory of your special visit."

Guest Post: High tech tools

Sarah explains how she uses apps to record her travels.

"As I mentioned earlier, a phone with a camera is an invaluable tool these days, especially if you are traveling a long distance. In addition to the camera on your phone, there are some really fun camera apps that are relatively inexpensive (or free) that can to add drama and flare to your photos. My favorites are instagram and snapseed.

Both of these apps allow you to create different types of filters over your original photo. Instagram helps you create Polaroid-type pictures and has dozen of different filter options. Snapseed also allows filter options and can integrate easily with instagram for even more creative photos. With instagram you can share your photos instantly online and there are now also many ways to print your instagram photos, so they can become a special remembrance of your journey. Use of these phone apps also is a great way to record your journey and incorporate the photos into your journal."

Even the smallest journeys can be captured this way as Janine did using instagram and twitter on her commute this week.

UP NEXT: Old school tools

Guest Post: Colour as inspiration

Paris in Orange, Gallery Collection, Nichole RobertsonSarah explains another way that colour can serve as inspiration.

"There are hundreds of ways to create a journal of your travels. The best way to decide how to capture your journey is to think about what you are seeing while you travel. Do you want to document the architecture, the scenery, the people, the culture, the colours or a combination of all?

One of my favorite photographers is Nichole Robertson of Little Brown Pen. She and her family travel between New Jersey and Paris and have documented their vision of the city of lights through colour in a new book: Paris in Color. This book is a wonderful reference to see how to view somewhere in a new and fresh way. By using color as a focus it allows you see at a different level. What might have just been a tourist shot becomes a truly masterful way of capturing an important memory.

Paris in Yellow, Gallery Collection, Nichole RobertsonYour journal can be divided into colour before you go and then used as a place to capture your journey through writing and photography. As you are moving through your trip, write about the colours you see and date the pages. Also make note of the photos you take so that they are easily added once you return home. This can be done at the end of the day as a recap to the sites and sounds you have experienced."

UP NEXT: High tech tools

Paris in Purple, Gallery Collection, Nichole Robertson

Guest Post: A packing list


Sarah
shares her packing list for creativity while travelling.

"Packing light for a trip is important but you can still include some small supplies to keep you creative while you are away. Do you like to sketch? Paint? Photograph? Or journal? How about combining all four into a vacation project that you will cherish forever?
Here’s what you need:

  • a journal: I love moleskine journals. They are lightweight and can fit into a carry-on or camera bag.
  • a camera: my go to camera is the Canon Rebel T2i with two lenses: 18-135mm and a 60mm macro.
  • a phone with camera capabilities: a lightweight alternative to the camera
  • a small pencil case: filled with your favorite pens, pencils, eraser and pencil sharpener
  • a small travel set of watercolour paints: Windsor Newton has a travel case that is about the size of a credit card and comes with its own paint brush

All these items are small enough to fit in my carry-on bag so I can reach them at a moments notice. In addition, I have my laptop computer so that I can easily upload my photos to keep a backup and to keep my cameras disk clear for many photo opportunities. Some options for comfortable yet stylish bags include Crumpler (Australian made and many options for cameras and laptops) and Epiphanie Bags (more designer oriented camera bags)."

UP NEXT: Colour as inspiration

Guest Post: Creativity to-go

You may remember Sarah G. Stevenson from her series of posts about finding creativity. As the days get longer and summer holidays approach, Sarah's back to share her thoughts on creativity while travelling.

Her website has many more resources to help you make the space to play when you don't know how to find the time. Of particular note is the art retreat she is organizing for this Fall in Lake Tahoe. Create. Explore. Discover 2 is a place for an intimate group of women to tap back into their creativity, dig deep into their hearts and get messy and play. Lisa Congdon of UPPERCASE's Collection a Day will be one of the retreat leaders.

Sarah starts before leaving home with packing for creativity.

"Vacations can be an incredible source of creativity and a beautiful starting point to create something magical if you know how to travel with creativity in mind. Right now I am traveling in Australia with my family. It is their first time visiting the country that I call home, so it is really important to me to capture the trip in a special way that they will remember and also for me to gather some creative inspiration so that when I get home I have a jumping off point for some new projects.


For me this begins before I leave with packing for creativity. What does this mean? In addition to packing the normal things you would take on a long trip or vacation, I also pack a few things so that I can still create while I am away. Today, I am going to share my packing list and ideas to jumpstart your creativity while on vacation."

UP NEXT: A packing list

 

Surtex: Lilla Rogers

In issue #13 we profiled Lilla Rogers and her line of craft supplies, Ruby Violet. Lilla also heads Lilla Rogers Studio which represents nearly 40 illustrators.

One of our intrepid Surtex reporters, Alanna Cavanagh spoke with Lilla about the many facets to her creativity.

Alanna: Lilla you run a thriving illustration agency, work yourself as an artist and have recently launched Ruby Violet. How do you possibly do it all?
Lilla: Well...actually I've just finished writing a book for Quarry/Rockport that will reveal many of the ways I have done it! It's called "I Just Like to Make Things: How to Have Fun, Stay Inspired and be Successful as an Artist" and it's due out February 2013. It contains lots of great photos and interviews and has a ton of advice on how to make a living with your art.

A: Wow I can't wait for it to come out - and I'm sure many UPPERCASE readers feel the same way. The "stay inspired" bit from your title strikes me right away because in our 24/7 plugged in world of blogs and Pinterest I find many artists suffer from a bombardment of images which can really dull their creativity. How do you advise artists to stay inspired?
L:  You have to fill the cup up but not to overflowing. There needs to be a continual process of taking in and then giving out. If you take in too much and don't produce you'll feel saturated. On the other hand if you just give out (produce art) but don't take the time to look around and see what's going on...your work will get stale. It's a matter of balance.

A: Your artists' work always looks so fresh and 'on trend'. Do you do anything to help them achieve this?
L: Each season I send all my artists a trend report which is filled with what I see are the emerging images, colour ways etc. For example last Christmas the report contained vintage ornaments and deer!

A: In an earlier interview for UPPERCASE you explained that in the 1980s you felt that the best energy and interesting illustration work was happening in magazines but now you feel it's in surface design. Do you still feel this way?
L: Absolutely! Surface design is positively exploding right now. There are so many areas within it. For example home decor, apparel, and fabric. All of them are expanding. This is our 6th year doing the Surtex show and it just keeps getting better.

A: What advice would you give an artist who is hoping to break into surface design?
L: Read as much as you can on the topic. Keep up with what's going on in the marketplace and stay current with technology. Come to Surtex and walk the show the first year to decide if it's for you. Make up as many pattern designs as you can and if doing a show figure out a way to present them nicely. Remember that you can often create many new patterns by simply altering the images and colours of an existing pattern. In general I would like to say to illustrators and agents that no industry stays the same forever. It is bound to change and those that embrace the change and remain positive will do fine!

A: Such great advice Lilla. In addition to your book and more Ruby Violet designs what can we look forward to seeing from you in the future?
L: In 2013 I hope to launch an online course on making a living with your art. I just love to teach and help artists learn how to make pieces that sell. Keep your eyes peeled for it!

A: We will Lilla. Thanks so much for your generous insights.

Surtex: Helen Dardik

UPPERCASE correspondent sat down with illustrator Helen Dardik at Surtex.

Helen in the Lilla Rogers booth.Alanna: Helen you seem to be an incredibly prolific illustrator and surface designer. From your blog it appears that you produce at least 1 new (and very dense) pattern a week. What's the secret to your productivity + focus?
Helen: Well...I've always been an overachiever so I am used to working very hard. As far as focus I work very late at night after my three kids are in bed and all is quiet. That's when I can really delve into my work and concentrate. I make a cup of tea at 10pm and normally work till 4am in the morning.



A: You were an early adopter to the blog world. What do you like about blogging?

H: I don't have a lot of people in my immediate circle in Ottawa who are as crazy passionate about design as I am. Blogging gave me a way to join a community of like minded and very supportive artists. Through it I've met incredible surface designers like Heather Moore in South Africa and Carolyn Gavin in Toronto-both of whom have become good friends.

A:  Do you have any advice for those new to blogging?
H: Yes do it for yourself. Use it as a vehicle to create new work, experiment with your style and push yourself forward. The minute you realize you're doing the blog for the benefit of readers you should STOP!



A: You have been present in Lilla Rogers booth for all 3 days of Surtex. What do you like about coming to the show?

H: Illustration can be a very solitary profession so it's a great experience to meet some of my clients in person and finally put a face to an email address.

A: What has been one of your favourite surface design assignments?

A I have loved working with Blue Q. The art director is tremendously supportive. He tells me to do what I do best and gives me a lot of freedom with my design. I have worked on bags, towels, and water bottles for them.



A: Your work has appeared on so many surfaces already. Do you have a dream assignment?

H: Yes. One day I'd love to have my work printed on lining for the inside of a fabulous coat!

Surtex: more than the Convention Centre

Alanna Cavanagh in Hell's Kitchentaxi photo by Alanna

Helen Dardik snapping some photos for inspiration.

Attending the National Stationery Show and Surtex are good reasons to get to NYC, but of course the city itself deserves some attention! Here are some shots that Alanna has sent from the Big Apple.

Surtex: a learning experience

Image by Mark Hoffmann, represented by i2i Art Inc.

Shelley Brown reports from NYC:

There's lots to learn about surface design and the more you learn, the more you discover it's just the tip of the iceberg!

The past two days I've attended seven seminars at Surtex. Some of the info covered challenges the right brain big time, and the seminars are held in underground suites away from the hustle and bustle of the show. There's no eye candy here, just the nitty gritty stuff. It's important, though, for anyone thinking of pursuing the business of surface design. Each session was an hour and a half long and included lots of Q+A.  It's great to get real specific answers to your questions.

Day 1: 

  • The Basics of Art Licensing - Part I + II, and 
  • Understanding Legal Basics - Contracts and Copyrights

Day 2:

  • New Legal Strategies - Royalties, Terms and More
  • Strategies for Working with Manufacturers
  • Futurecast:  Business Trends in Art Licensing
  • Understanding and Enhancing Retailer / Manufacturer Relationships


Some of the educational highlights from the Surtex seminars: 

Licensing is a $192 billion dollar business worldwide.

The artist is the Licensor and the buyer of your art (usually a manufacturer or retailer) is the Licensee.

The business is changing but there are always opportunities for great art.

It's not absolutely necessary, but it's preferable to register your copyright on any art you have licensed (in case of any infringement). To save money, don't register everything you create until you license it. 

You need to be prolific because it's best to have lots of samples to promote yourself to potential Licensors.

If you're looking for an agent, make sure you choose someone you get along with. Good communication and transparency make for a good marriage (in life and in the artist/agent relationship!).

If at all possible, try to get your name on any products you license.

When you're selling your art to a manufacturer or retailer, get an advance and royalty as part of your license agreement, if possible.  

The average royalty is 5% - 7% for household products, and up to 10% for paper goods or wall decor. 

Words to avoid in a contract: assignment, all rights and work for hire.

It takes about 1-2 years to get to know and achieve some level of success in surface design, so don't get discouraged a few months in.

Before you do a deal with a licensee check their reputation. Do they send royalty statements on time and pay royalties owning according to their agreements?

Before you sign a licensing agreement, have a copyright lawyer who specializes in licensing review the contract.  

Beware of exclusivity and make sure it is only for a narrowly defined category.

Don't be afraid to conduct an audit (through your copyright attourney), if you have reason to believe your royalties are not being correctly reported. In most royalty agreements you should receive a statement quarterly. 

There is a great online tool for finding your images which may be in use without your permission. It's called TinEye. Go to tineye.com and do a reverse image search on any of your images.

Familiarize yourself with a manufacturer or retailer's style or brand before you approach them with samples. Also find out in what format and how often they prefer you submit your art. 

Attend a show like Surtex. Take the seminars to learn as much as you can about the business.

Surtex: Frank Sturges Reps.

The Heads of StateAlanna Cavanagh reports from NYC:

Another booth that really stood out was for Frank Sturges Reps. Frank has been in the illustration representation business for over 15 years and represents a small group of incredible illustrators including  The Heads of State, Jessica Hische, and Katherine Streeter.


The booth made an impact with large panels of gorgeous illustration and saturated colour. Definitely a favourite of the day!


Jessica HischeKatherine Streeter

Surtex: Sorry You're Happy

Alanna Cavanagh reports from NYC:

First off it must said that being at the Javitts Centre can be an overwhelming experience. Your pass allows you admission not only into Surtex but into the National Stationery Show and ICFF (International Contemporary Furniture Fair) as well.  If attending all three shows you are literally exposed to thousands of images, exhibitors, attendees, press packages, "trend seminars", workshops, and business cards. By the end of Day 1 I had a strong desire to be put into a sensory deprivation tank with a big glass of Cabernet Sauvignon.

I come from an illustration background and bring a bias to the Surtex show—I am most excited by the illustration booths.

One of the freshest presentations I've seen so far was from Sorry You're Happy. This art licensing and surface design studio is made up of husband and wife illustrators Kyle Reed and Jen Hsieh (You might be familiar with them from UPPERCASE's Work/Life book series). It was exciting to see that, in addition to their own work, they were exhibiting pieces from two established and talented Toronto-based illustrators Katy Dockrill and UPPERCASE contributor Aaron Leighton.

Kyle and Jen holding one of Jen's tea towels.All the work in the booth looked fresh and playful with the perfect amount of quirkiness thrown in. Jen and Kyle are particularly interested in licensing their art in the children's market and I think it would work beautifully there. I can easily imagine any of these designs dancing on a onesie or on children's bedding.

Booth panels by Aaron Leighton, Kyle Reed and Katy DockrillOne of Katy Dockrill's patterns in the sample book

Surtex: a view of it all

photo by Shelley Brown

Surtex: Day 1

Work by Tracy Walker, represented by i2i Art Inc. Tracy is also one of the artists in Work/Life 2: the UPPERCASE directory of illustration.

Shelley Brown reports from NYC:

After 25 fantastic years repping illustrators for everything from advertising to design and publishing, the economic crash in 2008 was a real catalyst for the already shifting business of 'traditional' illustration. There has been a growing trend towards illustrators producing art suitable for applications to surfaces on everything from greeting cards to household products. To this end, Surtex is a trade show offering artists an opportunity to introduce their work to a variety of manufacturers and retailers.

I attended the show back in 2006, but over half a decade later, I am noticing that the calibre of art is changing, as more and more illustrators are entering this market. Just imagine how exciting it is for an illusrator whose work is normally applied to a printed brochure or used in a campaign that has a shelf life of 4 weeks to suddenly see their work applied to a tea towel, a rug or a stationery package!

DAY 1

Today I attended three seminars:  Basics of Art Licensing, Parts I + II, and Understanding Legal Basics: Contracts and Copyrights.

If you are an illustrator or designer thinking of pursuing surface design, I would recommend that you visit Surtex, which takes place in New York city every May. The conference program includes sessions where industry pros help give you a foundation in licensing your art.

I'm happy to report that although about one third of the surface design industry may still sell the art outright for a modest flat fee (where the artist relinquishes their copyright), there is a growing appreciation for the value of the usage and the aritst's rights.

More to come after day two tomorrow!

Shelley Brown
Principal + Artist Agent
i2iart.com

Surtex coverage!

When Alanna Cavanagh offered to be the UPPERCASE correspondent at Surtex of course we said yes! And even better, Alanna's rep from i2i Art Inc, Shelley Brown, will be sharing her experiences as well. The two have travelled to NYC from Toronto and will be sending in their daily recaps. Surtex is THE place to go to buy and sell licensing of art and design and I know that many of you aspire to be represented there some day.

To set the mood, here are some of Alanna's pattern designs:


The Case for Off-line Creative: Conclusion

The last post in this week's series written by Christina Crook.

 

One can conclude that the best way to treat the Internet is like an exacto knife. Take it out of the toolbox, get the job done, then tuck it away for next time.

While for many the Web is a substantive source of inspiration, Karen, Paul, Valerie and Samantha agree that before you approach the keyboard it’s important to have a task in mind.

It’s better to get lost in the making than lost in the web.

Jean Arp wrote: “Soon silence will have passed into legend.  Man has turned his back on silence. Day after day he invents machines and devices that increase noise and distract humanity from the essence of life, contemplation, meditation…tooting, howling, screeching, booming, crashing, whistling, grinding, and trilling bolster his ego.  His anxiety subsides.”  

Each time we access the Internet we are offered a shot of adrenaline: a like! a share! a purchase! Our egos are bolstered, our nervous energy absorbed.

But ideas come from wide open spaces. Face-to-face conversations, extended hours lost in a project, sketches in our source books, all over deep bowls of espresso and gulps of really good wine.

Cultivating an off-line existence is fundamental to our life-long development as artists.

Look outside. The world has outlived the web. Its this great wide world, and your imagination, whose possibilities are truly endless.

 

Christina Crook is a magazine writer partial to snail mail, typewriters and traveling on foot. Her articles on culture, technology and religion have appeared in UPPERCASE, Geez and the Literary Review of Canada. This January she stepped off-line for 31 days, chronicling the journey with a type-written letter a day. Her Letters from a Luddite project was featured on CBC’s Spark and is now a book available at Blurb.com.

The Case for Off-Line Creative: Embroidery & Education

This post is fourth in a series of posts by Christina Crook.
 

Karen Ruane:

Contemporary Embroidery


For Karen embroidery is both a vocation and obsession. She sets her hands to work every single day. Mixing classic and contemporary techniques, her sophisticated white-on-white designs are in high demand.

“My work is born from tradition and respect. Respect for my female predecessors and a wish to continue the traditions of needlework taught to me as a child.”

In addition to creating, Ruane has exhibited her work all across England, offers online courses in embellishment, buttons and more and runs an Etsy shop. The Internet plays an important role in her instructional work, but she sets aside at least four hours a day simply for making.

For her it comes down to priorities.

Describe your relationship with the Web. I am amazed and totally in awe of the internet. It opens up so many possibilities for communication, interaction and learning and I wonder constantly how we ever managed without it. It's like when you have kids, you can't remember what life was like before. That goes for the web with me too.

What advice would you share with others regarding the interplay between the physical work of making and the online demands of the Internet? I try to make the internet work for me yet not take over. I don't want to be an administrator, I want to be a maker and a teacher. It is a conscious effort daily to set aside the time for both as separate aspects of what I do, embroiderer and online creative. Divide your time, prioritize, is your heart with making or do you prefer the interactive aspects of what you do....?

Do you try and restrict your time online? Why or why not? I try and control rather than restrict my time online. I have to have a certain level of online presence to work with students in my online classes but making is my passion and I set aside at least four hours a day purely for making. The internet time is decided by how much time I have remaining after making is planned.

What do you love about the Internet? I love that the internet gives me an opportunity to reach the world, for free in order to promote my work. I love that it allows me to teach in places like the US, Canada, Australia and Europe without leaving the house…isn't that amazing? Having access to the internet also allows me to keep up to date with contemporary art, see what is new and developing in terms of my peers.

What do you dislike about the Internet? My main concern about the internet is the misuse of images relating to creative work. I have seen numerous examples of images being used without proper credit given to the maker. I also think that as the internet is such an 'instant' media there is an assumption that creativity is 'instant' which in some cases can devalue the work of talented, original makers.

The Case for Off-Line Creative: Tugboats and Woodcuts

This post is the second in a series written by Christina Crook. Christina Crook has been a regular contributor in the pages of UPPERCASE magazine and we're happy to welcome her to the blog this week with a special guest post series on the case for being creative offline. 


Tugboat Printshop:

Handmade Woodcuts

 
Located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, husband and wife duo Paul Roden and Valerie Lueth translate fantastical imagery onto wood and into print. Valerie's artwork, in particular, has a narrative slant. Each intricate etching jammed with environs carefully built through the layering of dense linework and pattern. Together they make the Tugboat Printshop creating original works of art on fine, archival papers.

“We make color woodcuts entirely by hand.  All of our original images are drawn by the 2 of us directly onto blocks of wood (often multiple blocks make up a single image), carved with hand-held knifes, and then rolled up with oil based inks. We print the inked blocks onto archival papers on our in-house press. Quality is of huge importance to us. Our prints are traditionally made artworks that can last for generations.”

For the Tugboat Printshop the Internet is an invaluable tool. But they’d really rather meet you in person.



Describe your relationship with the Web. We have an official website (which Valerie built and maintains), that operates as a homebase for Tugboat Printshop online. At tugboatprintshop.com, you can purchase any of our available prints, find upcoming show dates, scroll through photos and read more about our process. We use social media (facebook, flickr, twitter and our blog) to additionally chronicle our process, relay news about upcoming projects and communicate our latest news to our followers.

What advice would you share with others regarding the interplay between the physical work of making and the online demands of the Internet? The internet is surely a nice thing, but it doesn't do everything and there is a lot of necessary upkeep to maintain a presence. Right now, we keep busy around the clock doing everything ourselves ~ it's a pretty demanding lifestyle. Thankfully, neither of us minds wearing multiple hats and we both really enjoy the art of inventing ourselves as Tugboat Printshop. From building a display booth to house our prints at fairs to unveiling new woodcuts via newsletter, there is always a growing list of work to be done and, as a result, more to talk about online. We ultimately feel our prints will always look better in person (because they are objects, not digital files) so we try to get out of the studio with our wares regularly. We really enjoy meeting our customers face to face and feel it is important to have a physical presence.

Do you try and restrict your time online? Why or why not? Yes! We try to have something in mind we hope to accomplish every time we're in front of the computer. This doesn't always work (we do occasionally lose some hours), but having a goal keeps us on track most of the time.

What do you love about the Internet? It's inspiring to see all of the great stuff that people are doing and posting about online. But when we think about all people making & doing and NOT posting about it every second, that's pretty mind boggling too.

How do you sell and/or promote your work on and off-line? Which do you prefer? We don't really have a defined strategy for promoting our work online. We try to communicate the labor and intricacy of our work with words and pictures but that can be a real challenge. Our prints always look better in person, so we prefer to sell our work in person.


Up Next: Embrodery and Education


The Case for Off-Line Creative: Textiles and Trampolines

This post is the second in a series written by Christina Crook. Christina Crook has been a regular contributor in the pages of UPPERCASE magazine and we're happy to welcome her to the blog this week with a special guest post series on the case for being creative offline. 

 

Samantha Cotterill:

Textile Design

 
After a five-year break from a painting career to have children, Samantha Cotterill (also known as mummysam,) returned to the art world as a self-taught fiber artist, creating one of a kind sculptures using all natural fibers. Today her energies are focused on creating a line of fabric designed exclusively for her Etsy shop.  

“My current work is quite digital, with this past year seeing a big move from fiber drawings and sculptures to digitally coloured illustrations and textile designs. Many of my illustrations are based on raising a child with spectrum, and the textile design are a fun and playful outlet to explore my love of colour and pattern.”

Samantha’s relationship with the Web is something she’s given a lot of thought. Online she’s found Validation, a space to Experiment and an opportunity to Avoid. She’s recently implemented a specialized tool to curb her wayward online ways...A trampoline.


Describe your relationship with the Web. I have a love/hate relationship with the Web, and will probably continue to do so for as long as I allow the internet to be around me. The types of relationships I have struck with the internet are quite diverse, with each one occupying my life at varying degrees. Validation, avoidance, dependence, healing, experimental, past-time, and survival are but a few examples of the types of relationships I can have with the Web. I look to the internet for validation when posting new work and waiting for feedback, and avoid it when the time spent creating is being squashed by the endless hours of searching and looking at meaningless things. I depend on the internet to keep me creatively connected to others and help my business grow, and experiment with it when posting new work that is unlike anything I have done before. 

What advice would you share with others regarding the interplay between the physical work of making and the online demands of the Internet? Make sure you are the devoting the time you need physically and emotionally to create a good body of work, and set up a structured routine that will eliminate any wasteful "let me just check this quickly" moments on the internet.

Do you try and restrict your time online? Why or why not? As a means of necessity, absolutely. While going on the internet can offer a wonderful source of inspiration, it's accessibility to all things creative can allow oneself to easily get lost in it and lose sight of how much physical work time is being neglected. I would mistakenly tell myself "just 20 more minutes and then I'll start work", and find myself still saying that 3 hours later.  It takes time for me to get into a good work rhythm, and if I spend much of that time browsing the internet, then another day will have gone by without any real work being accomplished.


Do you have a structured approach to your use of the Internet such as set times you check email, do updates, etc? This is something I have only just implemented, after noticing the amount of wasteful time that was being spent from jumping back and forth between my work and the Web. With the recent implementation of a daily schedule and clock that sits right in front of me, I am trying to bring back a balance that stops my ADD brain from wanting to quickly check something on the internet just 5 seconds after opening up Photoshop.

I have forced myself to only check e-mails two times a day, which has been much more difficult than I thought. I didn't realize how much I was going to my e-mail, and even worse yet, checking my flickr account to see how many new views I had since my last check 3 minutes prior.

With the suggestion of a trampoline from a friend of mine, I now go and jump madly for a few seconds when I start noticing my little fingers starting to twitch as the "need" to check things on the internet gets stronger. (I know it sounds silly, but it works. Trust me).

There is a set time where update are made, and another set time for any networking that needs to be done for the growth of my business.  I have even incorporated a set time for "free time", where I can spend some good guilt-free moments to have fun and just tinker about...

Up Next: Tugboats & Woodcuts

The Case for Off-Line Creative by Christina Crook

Christina Crook has been a regular contributor in the pages of UPPERCASE magazine and we're happy to welcome her to the blog this week with a special guest post series on the case for being creative offline. Christina recently unplugged from the internet for 31 days, typing a daily letter rather than posting to her blog, surfing the net or turning to the computer for distraction, entertainment and affirmation.

Please join us every morning this week as Christina introduces us to other creatives and their off-line habits.

Christina's documentation of her off-line experiment, Letters from a Luddite: What I Learned in 31 Days Off-line, is available through Blurb

Space to Create:

The Case for the Off-line Creative

by Christina Crook


In January, after half a year’s consideration, I stepped off-line for an entire month. The time was filled with a flurry of inspiration. Books were read. Projects were completed. The cobwebs were swept from the inner recesses of my busy head. I chronicled the project with a letter a day, sharing the thoughts, ‘aha’s, and frustrations of my off-line existence.

We are little gods on the Internet, often presenting only the best of ourselves online. That’s what makes the Work-In-Progress-Society such a unusual and refreshing affair. Here makers from across the world celebrate their unfinishedness and champion one another on to completeness.

We all need space, physically and mentally, to create. A desk. A corner. For the lucky ones: bright, airy studios where we can set our hands to work. Increasingly though, our space is mediated, and often cluttered, by the online space of the Internet.

I thought would be interesting to consider the on- and off-line habits of a few members of the UPPERCASE Work-in-Progress Society, uncovering our counterparts' web habits in order to discover how we each can carve out the space we need to create.


Up Next: Textiles and Trampolines

Guest Post: Wrapping it up

Sarah's site has more information about this and other topics on inspiring and honoring your creativity. Her treasure trove of resources is worth the click.

She concludes:

"Starting a creative journey or daily creative ritual can be difficult at first. Like anything it requires discipline and consistency. Finding a friend or family member to join you can help and seeking out a group of like-minded creatives can also make the experience a beautiful one.

Just remember to always follow your heart and beautiful things will happen."