Friday, 12 February 2016

Starting Fresh

     So it is still very much feeling like new year for me. I know it is February, but since I spent most of January in America travelling and then coming home and being jet-lagged I am still very much in the "new year" mindset. It has been a long time since I posted on this blog. The last few posts have been me sharing interesting artsy things I have found and it feels like a very long time since I did anything super creative! 

     Time really starts to fly when you finish university, it has been over 2 years now and I have decided to get motivated and take some time to focus on getting my skill set back up and focusing on learning some new things. I have had an account with Lynda.com for a long time now, they have a huge range of tutorials on all manner of design/marketing/software subjects. 

     So the first thing I have decided to focus on is photography. I have always been interested in photography, most of my experimentation has been as a self taught amateur with a lot of make shift tools but I just bought myself a new camera lens and wanted to try it out.

     I have taken two courses so far, one on Colour Correction in Lightroom and one on Low Light photography, both focused quite heavily on fixing White Balance in images after they have been taken. To start practising I also watched day one of a 5 day photo challenge which started with a challenge to go out searching for interesting light and see what you can come up with.

     These images include a couple I took of some flowers in my house when I first got the lens and the rest are from a walk I took all around Stoke Park Estate in Bristol. When walking around i tried to focus on finding areas where the light was bringing out highlights on leaves and trees.


     Ok so here is a little picture of my workspace on Lightroom. One of the biggest things I learnt on the Colour Correction course is how to use the Eyedropper tool to fix White Balance. Clicking on a neutral gray area of the image with this tool lets Lightroom know how to balance all the colours out if there is any kind of colour cast. Aside from some shadow and highlight edits the edit above was done in One click! I can't believe I have wasted my life fiddling around with colours when it was this easy...


     Now the outdoor images were much more of an issue as there wasn't any kind of neutral gray area of the picture to use as reference. I did most of these edits based on the histogram, pulling the temperature and tint sliders up and down until the colours moved to the right place. 


     Now as someone who has spent the last 8 years using artistic license rather than actual colour science I have to say I am feeling a little skeptical about this. The image above was colour corrected to the one on the right, but i much prefer the left hand image straight out of camera. It is safe to say you can follow the science all you want but this won't always make an image you like, it is worth moving away from rules every once in a while if you prefer the artistic outcome.


     I think the biggest things I got from this course are interpreting histograms, knowing how to use different tools to change the histogram data and also using clipping measures to stop blowing out shadows and highlights. I will definitely combine these skills with my own artistic eye, but I feel happy in the knowledge that I know a bit more about the colour science. 

     Here are some of my favourite images from todays edit:













Saturday, 30 May 2015

Woman Magazine Circa 1954


My last post featured some very wonderful old typography books from the days when letterpress was the norm. This blog features some more very retro imagery and type from an amazing magazine found in my grans flat. The "Worlds Greatest Weekly For Women" dated March 20th 1954 has survived over 60 years and has some truly retro, beautiful imagery which I thought I should share!


First we start with the slightly sexist, housewife orientated imagery, which truly shows the era and how much things have changed.






God I love the fashion in these, sometimes I wish my work uniform could be replaced with circle skirts and blouses!





Moving on to slightly creepy children and babies.





And a clown...


These are some of my favourite bits of type from the magazine:





So much retro goodness! Let me know which of these are your favourites :) 






Sunday, 26 April 2015

Vintage Letterpress Goodness

I have always had a love for the craftsmanship that goes into old things. I have nothing against new and contemporary design, but I think there is something about things which have been around for a long time that gets me intrigued! 

My grandfather Frank Maskell worked as a typesetter, I always remember him noticing mistakes in newspapers after all the years he had spent proof reading. I also remember them having type cases on their walls for many years which held various nik-naks along with some beautiful pieces of lead and wooden type.




I never really appreciated type until I was half way through my degree. Plymouth has one of the biggest collections of lead type in the country, and while I only had a couple of sessions in that room I loved all the mechanics which went into making even just a few words of type! 

I have inherited some beautiful things from my grandparents, I am hoping to do a few blog posts to share them but this one starts with type. More specifically - vintage font books, I love the smooth paper and slightly faded pages in these. I also love the huge variety of fonts which you can flick through for inspiration.





Love these decorative borders!











Monday, 16 February 2015

Wacom Intuos Playtime

After finding out I have been overpaying my tax all year (soon to be resolved yay!) I decided to treat myself to something new. I have been meaning to buy a Wacom tablet since my final year of university when it was recommended by my course tutor. I finally got around to purchasing this Intuos Pen & Touch Tablet and decided to have a play with it. 


I started off by watching a large chunk of a "Wacom essential training" course on lynda.com, it is a subsciption site, but totally worth it if you want to learn new skills on all things design based! From this course I learnt about the history of tablets and how they work, and also how to set up useful shortcuts on the pen and tablet buttons so they work differently in different applications (through system preferences on a mac). 


I set up my desk with the tablet to the right of my mac, the hope is that when I move house I can get a bigger desk and have a better set up with a wireless mouse and keyboard and the tablet in front of the mac! I started just playing around with colours and different types of line, drawing font seems to work quite well as you get a really smooth line. 



Still in need of some practise I think.



While I didn't come up with anything super impressive it was good to just have a play and try out some things to get a feel for the tablet. I will likely use it mostly for colouring scanned in line-work rather than digital painting but I think using it for hand rendered type is definitely something I want to try more of. 

What is your experience of Wacom tablets? Anyone have any tips?