Category: Art

5 Essential Tools Every Graphic Designer Needs

With internet usage on the rise, many businesses are transitioning from physical to digital media. Rather than publishing newspaper or direct mail ads, for example, they are publishing email ads and newsletters. With this digital evolution comes the need for graphic design services. Professional graphic designers can take advantage of this trend by using the following tools to streamline their operations.

#1) Adobe Photoshop

Every graphic designer needs software to create, edit and save his or her work. Released February 19, 1990, Adobe Photoshop is the industry’s leading graphic design software, supporting raster imaging editing, digital art creation, photo touch-ups and more. Adobe even offers several subscription-based Creative Cloud suites that include Photoshop as well as other software like Illustrator, After Effects and Adobe XD.

#2) Paper Sketchbook

A basic sketchbook with a pen or pencil can prove invaluable for graphic designers. It allows designers to quickly provide mock-ups to clients so that they can better understand the client’s vision. When a client is trying to explain their idea, the designer can draw it in a sketchbook. Once the client is happy with the sketch, the designer can fire up his or her computer to create it.

#3) Tablet Computer With Stylus

Graphic designers should also invest in a tablet computer with a stylus. As most seasoned graphic designers know, a keyboard and mouse limits creativity. Using a tablet with a stylus, such as the iPad with Apple Pencil, designers can create beautiful, hand-drawn designs that resonate with their clients.

#4) External Hard Drive

While it’s no substitution for a cloud storage service, an external hard drive is a smart investment for all graphic designers. It allows designers to back up their digital creations. If the designer’s primary computer becomes lost, stolen or damaged, he or she can retrieve their work from the external hard drive.

#5) Time-Tracking App

Finally, a time-tracking app is a smart tool that can help graphic designers meet deadlines and improve their productivity. When juggling multiple projects at once, many designers struggle to deliver projects on time. A time-tracking app like DUE, however, can keep designers on schedule by providing reminders of upcoming due dates.

These are just a few tools that can help graphic designers succeed. Designers should also explore other tools like a project management app, text editor, and monitor calibrator.

Graphic Design Trends 2018

Graphic design is one field that changes regularly, because people get tired of looking at the same things year after year. Artists are tasked with determining large trends that will dominate advertising and marketing (amongst other areas) in the coming year. This year, plenty of trends are making a comeback, while a few are just finding their footing. Let’s find out what styles will rule our screens this year.

Ultra Violet

If you’re an artist, you’ve probably heard about Pantone’s Color of the Year: Ultra Violet. This purple has deep blue undertones and, surprisingly, can actually be found in nature. You can expect to see Ultra Violet everywhere — from phone cases to fashion to ads. I am very excited to see the switch from pink to purple, and hopefully, you are too.

Negative Space

Many artists have completed a project and found that their drawings look flat. Negative space is a great way to help images pop without going too out-of-the-box. You can expect to receive positive feedback on any well-designed project with negative space utilization.

Moody Tones

The 80s and 90s are back in full-swing, as you’ll see in many artists’ palettes. Moody tones reflecting intense emotion are going to make a comeback this year, and it will be a nice change from the pastels of previous years. This trend will extend beyond graphic design; you might even see it crop up in hair salons around the country.


Everyone knows what a GIF is, and cinemagraphs are a GIF’s refined older cousin. Chances are, you’ve seen a cinemagraph around the web already. They look like static images, but there is always one element that is moving. A classic example is a candle. The background and the candle itself are static, but the flame flickers. Cinemagraphs are going to show up more frequently and will be used to highlight key aspects of an image or a brand.


Although these last few years with sans serifs have been fun, it is time to bring back some classic serif fonts! Modern serifs, reminiscent of mid-century advertisements, will appear on many mainstream websites and ads. However, each brand will carefully decide on which font reflects them best, and we will see a wide utilization of obscure or custom fonts as the year progresses.

Nearly every field has overall trends in any given year, but the trends in graphic design have the power to shape our perspective of the world. This weekend, we may have the chance to see some of these trends in action during the height of advertising: the Super Bowl. Let’s see how many of these trends we can tick off in one week.

4 Tips on Making a Living as a Graphic Designer

Graphic designers, like many people in the arts, are constantly questioned about how they can make a living in their field. With cutthroat competition, it can seem nearly impossible to live your dreams and make enough money. Today, I’m here to calm your fears and let you know that it is possible to make money as a graphic designer, as long as you follow some advice.

Tip 1: Create a Brand

Creating an identity for yourself in your field is necessary, whether you’re a graphic designer or not. However, it’s doubly as important when you’re a freelance artist because there is such fierce competition. Projecting yourself as an expert in one niche of graphic design is an excellent way to show that you’re the best at what you do. It may be tempting to take every job possible, but if you can afford to market yourself in one area and only accept relevant jobs, it will give the impression that you are concentrated on doing the best work in your area.

Tip 2: Sell Designs as Passive Income

If you create fonts, texture packs, or even website templates, you can make money licensing them out for years down the line. Build a store on your professional website where you can list every product you’ve created. Companies are constantly looking for fresh designs, so creating new graphic elements in your free time will pay off in the long run.

Tip 3: Education

Although it is important to earn your degree, it is also a good idea to create learning materials for the next generation of graphic designers. You can earn some hefty cash from writing textbooks about graphic design or teaching design classes locally or via the internet. Teachers may not make the best salary, but if you market yourself as enough of an expert (and have the experience to back it up), you can charge a decent amount of money. The plus is, if you’re teaching privately, you can factor in how much time it will take you to teach, including prep, and charge a reasonable amount.

Tip 4: Continue Developing Your Skills

As an artist, it is important to continue to learn and hone your skills. There is always more you can learn. However, some of the most important skills to learn are not inherently artistic. Learning how to run a business, best marketing practices, and even a second language can give you a huge career boost. The more skills you bring to the table, the wider your audience becomes. A quick way to find other areas for learning is through Coursera, where you can earn certifications for completing college-level courses. These are documents you can show to prospective employers, which may help you land a job at a design company.

Graphic design can be a challenging career, but the journey is worth the effort. Take the time to pursue these avenues, and you will see the work pay off in full. It may seem difficult to accomplish, but living your dream is possible.

The Most Dangerous Writing Dare to Put Your Writing to The Test?

Have you ever thought to yourself, “I wish I were better at creating art.”

Well, you’re not alone.

Many people wish they could create art that’s awe-inspiring, captivating, and jaw-dropping.  But, not everyone can conjure up such work.


Why does it have to be so hard?

A huge part of why people aren’t “good” at making art is because people get over-the-top overwhelmed about looking at a blank page or canvas.  Think about it.

You see a white page in front of you, and it is completely and utterly blank.  It almost taunts you. “You don’t know what to put on me; admit it.”

The paper/canvas might be right.  Usually, it is.  But, just because it is correct doesn’t mean that you can’t overcome it.

If everyone gave up when the blank space before them told them they are terrible at creating art and that there is no way they’ll create anything of real worth, then no one would have or will have seen, “Starry Night,” by van Gogh.  We would never see Pablo Picasso’s abstract, mind-bending work.  Imagine all the world’s best art work.  It would not exist.

Do you know why?

People aren’t scared of blank canvases.  They are afraid of what they fill the emptiness within their minds. People fill the spaces with their insecurities, fears, and self-doubt.

So, what are you to do when you see that blank page?

Take a step back, and instead, turn your gaze to someone you love.  Talk to him or her about what makes you vulnerable.  Eventually, you’ll be able to see your creative self through the fog that is your self-doubt.  You can launch into your creative musings and partial ideas.

At this point, it’s time to get it all out.

Go to  Once you start writing in the app, you have to continue writing or, within a few seconds, it will delete everything you just wrote.  Once you hit five minutes of writing, however, it will not delete what you wrote.

When you force yourself to write, you are forcing yourself to create with what comes right off the top of your head.  Trust your gut and impulses in these moments.  Trust that you are creative, and the magic will flow through you naturally.

Feel your creativity burning out? Here’s how to spark your passion again!

Creatives usually go in usual cycles of creativity. Sometimes, they wake up at 3:30AM and have a stroke of genius. Other times, they sleep for twelve hours, wake up groggy, and find nothing to fill their blank pages/canvases with. Creatives are also usually hard on themselves. They see someone else’s masterpiece and think, “I could never do that. They are lucky they have such creative passion and skills.” The truth is, however, every creative experiences this type of burn out at some point or another. Here are two signs you may be burnt out:

Celebrating someone’ creativity and supporting their beautiful work becomes annoying, as your jealousy boils beneath the surface.

The work that once brought you a passion for life has now become a burden to complete.

If you are feeling a creativity burnout, make sure to get at least eight hours of sleep per night; break down large creative projects into exceedingly small, bite-size tasks to help you move through your work one step at a time with low stress; and lean on others who have experienced the same to find comfort and ideas on how to overcome the impending, creative doom you may feel.

Arches, Women in Trees, and David Lynch—This week in art

Some fun news to share with you all this week!

Looking at the Art of Arches

When’s the last time you’ve taken a moment to admire the beauty of an arch? Has it really been that long? Arches are ubiquitous they make up so much of our surroundings, but it’s very easy to not notice them—an example of how well they blend into their surroundings. Well, not only are these circular gateways important to the integrity of the buildings that many of us make use of on a day-to-day basis, they can also be quite beautiful. recently gave the arch its proper due in a blog post with some beautiful videos.

Frieze London & Pablo Bronstein: The Art of Arches from Frieze Art Fair on Vimeo.

Women in Trees

For over 25 years Jochen Raiss has been collecting pictures of women in trees. Sound weird? I promise it isn’t. It all started at a Frankfurt market when Raiss stumbled upon a vintage, black and white photo of a woman in a tree. With her dress and dancing shows, she wasn’t exactly dressed for climbing a tree. SInce then, Raiss has found a number of vintage photos of well-dressed women ensconced in trees. Below is an example of one of those photos. To see the rest, check out “Delightful Vintage Photos Of Women In Trees Are What You Need Right Now” in the Huffington Post.

Working With David Lynch

David Lynch is an iconic visionary in the world of cinema. His absurd, jarring, and sometimes downright uncomfortable master pieces like EraserHead, Mulholland Drive, and Blue Velvet have left an indelible mark on the medium. But with all of his high-concept, emotional surgery pieces it leaves one to wonder: what’s it like working with the guy. Chrysta Bell has collaborated with Lynch on a number of projects to bring her music to them. The Wall Street Journal recently had the opportunity to conduct a long interview with Bell that is just as much revealing about her own creative process as it is about Lynch himself.

Here’s a look at Real Love, which was written and produced by David Lynch and features the talents of Bell:

Real Love — Chrysta Bell/David Lynch from LOVE on Vimeo.

Those are my highlights from this week. Have you found anything good yourself? Let me know in the comments below!

Thanks for reading.

Julia Sotnykova


Just published the first part in my Emanations series on Behance.

Check it out!


Hello All,

If you’ve been following my blog, you know that I love nature. To be able to hike or go for a walk or generally enjoy the outdoors is essential to my creative process. A lot of my work focuses on nature and nature’s intersection with humanity. I recently released a series that focuses on Flowers around the Vancouver area. I scoured the city for good subjects, looking in gardens, parks, window sills, and of course florists. In this series I really experimented with different media and tools to get a multi-faceted approach to flowers. It’s not just about the angle or the color of a piece, it’s also about the tools you use to tell the story. A no-brainer to some extent, yes, but nonetheless something that I really tried to explore with this series, that I feel I’ve often left to the wayside in other series.

I hope you enjoy! Please feel free to tell me what you think by visiting Vimeo and leaving a comment or via Twitter @JuliaSotnykova.

Julia Sotnykova Presents: Flowers I from Julia Sotnykova on Vimeo.

Julia Sotnykova Presents: Flowers II from Julia Sotnykova on Vimeo.

Exercises and Exams from Art School

Hello All,

I just created a presentation of some of my work from art school. This body of work comes from my still life painting class, which I found to be a lot more invigorating than I though it would be. If you’ve seen any of my digital design work, you know that I love the intertextuality afforded by the digital medium. You can collage dragonflies wings onto human silhouettes, juxtapose a textureless house next to surreally textured trees, and even emulate the techniques of manual painting.

Something I learned to really value in school is just how important it is to master manual techniques before moving on to digital means. I’ve always been big on drawings and sketches, but I did not always have the finesse and attraction to painting that my art school days instilled into me.

Hope you enjoy!