Why Great Designers Need Time AWAY From Design

Why Great Designers Need Time AWAY From Design

In order to design effectively, we need to understand the world around us. Our design education, whether it was with an institute, internship or self initiated, is far from over. It starts when we are born and will continue for the rest of our lives. Design requires you to bring all of you knowledge and experiences to each project.

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7 Top Tips for Creatives - The 'War of Art' Book Review & Lessons

7 Top Tips for Creatives - The 'War of Art' Book Review & Lessons

Top Lessons from The War of Art. When I first read it, I left it on my desk for about a month, sitting there as a visual reminder to get back to work.

Now I’m here to share the insights I gained with you, so here are my top tips for designers, illustrators, letterers and artists. Lessons learned from reading ‘The War of Art’ by Steven Pressfield.

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Tangled in a web of coffee soaked mystery

The alarm stirs me at 6:30 in the morning. My body says don’t move, but my mind wants coffee and brings me to my feet. I stumble downstairs, open the curtains, make a coffee, and prepare to head out.

A daily walk across the road to the beach with a coffee. A pretty perfect start.

But something always happens. Before I can get to that start. Before I can watch the waves roll over the sand, sip coffee as the rising sun blinds me, before I get too far.

I step out the door, walk down the path, and without a warning I’m entangled in spider webs again.

Every day.

So I created a new illustration from this morning, imagining all web designers out there working all night just for us to get tangled up in them leaving the house with our morning coffee. Inspired by real life events. 🕷🕸☕️

Now available to buy as laptop cases, mugs, tshirts, pillows and more! All available via my Society6 Art Store. Woooo nerd time!

Brighten your home, the pillows have landed! First look at the Society6 Indoor Pillows with new Designs

I had a call this morning from my girlfriend asking me what time I’d be home from the skatepark.

She was heading out and wondered if she’d see me before I left, the reason? A parcel had arrived.

I knew what the parcel was, and I was super excited to open it, but I managed to refrain until we were home together. As soon as she got back though, it was time.

After a busy week of creating new designs and products for my Society6 store I had ordered a few products, keen to check the quality for customers. I opened the box with nervous excitement, but the nerves quickly disappeared. The pillows were awesome. Society6 had done a great job at printing the art, and used really nice quality materials.

Meet the Latt-hey, Dream on and Good Vibes pillows. I opted for the 16x16” sizes, and they sit really nicely on our sofa. Maybe I’ll be napping this afternoon on that Dream On pillow!

If you’re looking to brighten up and refresh your house a bit, check out my store and see if anything tickles your fancy. I’ve ordered a clock too, so as soon as that arrives, I’ll share some pictures and a review!

New Work! Halloween themed illustration for book lovers & authors

It’s been a really nice start to the week here in Byron.

The Suns back out after about 4 weeks of constant rain, the temperatures up, and daylight savings is upon us. We have long evenings and I’m loving it.

We also have Halloween surrounding us. I’m not a mad fan of it all but I do love a good bit of wordplay. So I’ve created a new illustration with Halloween on the edges and writing at the centre. For ghost lovers and book lovers alike.

Ah the ghost writers. The unsung hero’s of the New York Times Bestseller Business book world. Slaving their entire lives to pen an award winning book in someone else’s name.

The piece is a watercolour style illustration which I created using the iPad Pro and ProCreate. I still can’t get over how natural the combination feels. If you do any sort of illustration or lettering work then I’d really recommend trying out this combo. I do love drawing on paper, but darn this is nice. It’s much easier to carry around with me than lettering brushes, watercolours, pencils and pens too.

Enough about the process, if you like the illustration, then I have good news. It’s available in a ton of formats up on my Society6 Store, my favourite being the greetings card and Laptop sticker.

If you like that piece. You might also like my ‘Martial Arts’ piece. Also available on my Society6 Store! Enjoy!

Getting ready to Christmas with perfect presents for family and friends

A whole heap of updates to my Society6 shop with fun illustrations on Clocks, Pillows, Phone cases, T-shirts, Prints and more! Perfect presents and housewarming gifts.

Christmas is, like it or not, coming up VERY quickly.

It’s crazy how it’s already nearly November, so a Christmas present list is a must. Whilst I’ve been planning what I need to buy the family, I’ve also been creating loads of fun new illustrations.

If you’re after some presents for the festive season or even just fancy treating yourself to some fresh style around the house, I’d be honoured if you took a look at my store.

Escaping the 9 to 5 to increase productivity and win the day

Working outside the box. Needing less Coffee.
Afternoon work on the balcony at home post surf.

Working From Home.jpg

It's 9.30am on a Wednesday morning, humpday as It used to feel like, and I've just got out the shower, itching to write this piece. 

When I was 9 I used to wake up at 6am on a Saturday morning and head off to the skatepark on my own. It was my favourite time of day, despite the fact most friends wouldn't be awake for another few hours. It allowed me to get a good 2 hours of skating in before the place got busy. I had the space to myself, to practice, unhindered by busyness and judgement. 

I had a Sunday paper round when I was 12 and loved being back home by 7:30 on a sunday morning. Work done, money earn't, and the morning cartoons still on TV for me to enjoy with a sense of satisfaction my sleepy eyed peers couldn't quite grasp.

The early morning obsession for focus continued right through my teens. I would get up early, especially on weekdays, and go skateboarding. Scoring an empty skatepark to methodically practice. Again the lack of crowds left with with a lack of pressure. There was no one to impress, I could just be what I was and skate. 

Looking back it's no wonder that when I found myself a full time design job that I struggled to focus. I was turning up at 8:30 and trying, with coffee after coffee, to cram my mind into gear. Forcing a focus that had disappeared an hour ago. And so it continued. I moved from England to Australia, the increased sun cheered me up, I even started surfing before work. I could get up at 6, go surf, have breakfast, ride my motorbike to work, and sit at my desk with a nespresso coffee at 9am. Surely that was a perfect morning routine. It sounds dreamy, right? Well it was, but I still couldn't work. Again, coffee after coffee was used to cram my square shaped attention into the round shaped hole of 9am. 

Occasionally I would have the courage and confidence to ask to do an hour or 2 of work at home and come in later. These mornings were great, but I felt bad. Felt like I had to prove that I had been out of the office for a legitimate reason. I again felt the pressure of a crowded skatepark, leering at me to perform. I wasn't myself. I couldn't sit and create like I needed to, I was trying to create while feeling judged. 50% of my attention on looking busy, 30% wishing I was somewhere else, and a meagre 20% left to working. That's not a good way to live. Work consumes so much of our life, if we could bring the 100% of our attention, if could take up less time, and leave us more time for leisure which we might even find ourselves in a better mood for. Less caffeinated, less judged, and more ourselves.

I work for myself now, as a freelance designer. I wake up at 6am almost everyday, and spend an hour or 2 working before I even have breakfast. I'm focused. Productive. Nothing is distracting me, nobody is judging me. I work how I want to naturally work, and it is much better. I can get through more work in a quicker time. Coffee just comes in as a pleasure rather than a need.

Don't you go waking up at 6am and start work because of this though. Just listen to your body. Feel when you have the most focussed energy and attention. When your mind feels least distracted. Then use that time for your most important work. Working when it's productive, and breaking when it's needed. Good luck.