Celebrating How Far We Have Come

FallTreesThis was the view from my yoga mat yesterday afternoon. Spectacular!

Last week I celebrated a birthday, which always incites a bit of reflection .

As of late, I have felt a little…adrift. I have a few (exciting) licensing deals in the works, but they are still months away from launch. I know where I want to go–I just don’t know exactly how to get there.

Back when I was in school for graphic design, I remember sitting in class, listening to advice from seasoned designers, and feeling in awe (and rather intimidated). They had already achieved that coveted title ‘Graphic Designer.’

Fast forward a year. I finished school and took on my first real projects with real clients. But…working as a graphic designer didn’t feel like I thought it would (like I had arrived).

Too often, when we finally hit the mark, we have already re-calibrated where we want to go.

There will always be something new to aspire to. It’s human nature to reset the bar.

So this week, I want to recognize how far I have come in the last three years. I have only been illustrating since my daughter was born.

In just a few years, so many exciting things have happened–commissioned jobs, licensing deals, my first art show, making the semi-finals in Lilla Rogers Global Talent Search, being featured in Uppercase’s Work/Life 3 illustration directory.

And my art has grown in leaps and bounds.

So instead of feeling discouraged about not quite being where I want to be with all of it, I am going to acknowledge and enjoy just how far I have come.

***

And don’t forget, 10% of anything you buy from my online store will be donated to Arts Street, a local non-profit program that creates opportunities for the young people of Colorado. Their mission is to “…cultivate low-income and under-served youth into a creative and culturally competent workforce. We use the power of the arts and arts professionals to nurture leadership and engage youth in learning.”

 

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New Cards

New business cards for Kelly

I have been carrying around outdated business cards for quite some time now. It was time for an update–and these are hot off the presses.

What do you think?

I went back and forth (and back and forth and back and forth) about what to feature on my new cards. I tried several existing illustrations. I created a new illustration.

It just wasn’t working.

In 2-3 years, I don’t know what I will be working on. I don’t know what my portfolio will look like. This industry moves fast. It’s dynamic. Fluid. You have to keep your work fresh. Ever evolving.

I don’t want my cards to feel outdated next year because the illustration I chose is no longer even a part of my portfolio.

So I focused on my (married) name, which I love.

Angelovic.

It’s lyrical. Unique. Czechoslovakian.

Highlighting the letters ‘Angelov,’ I used the layering and shading techniques that I use in my illustrations to create the backs of the cards. I created two different options, and then couldn’t decide which one I liked best–so I printed both.

Do you like them?

Gratitude

The Shins

Poster design by Jeff Kleinsmith

Last week I shared my intention to spread some holiday cheer in unexpected places. And I invited you to join me.

Five random acts of kindness by the end of the year.

#1: I decided to write a letter [email] of gratitude to a teacher from design school. Jeff Kleinsmith is a brilliant designer. He runs a studio called Patent Pending Industries with the equally talented and venerable Jesse LeDoux, and is the Art Director for Sub Pop Records in Seattle. Jeff designs gig posters and album covers for a living. How cool is that?

It is highly unlikely that he remembers who I am, but I will never forget the class I took from him at SVC.

On the first day, I still remember sitting outside in my car, palms sweaty, willing myself to get up and walk through the door to his classroom. My stomach in knots, I was intimidated by his rockstar reputation. And still very unsure of my own talent.

For all 12 weeks of his class, I lived miles outside of my comfort zone. We did collage work and we drew our type by hand whenever possible. We designed CD covers and posters.

He told us we should spend at least as much time, probably more, on our typography than on our imagery and layout. He told us if we weren’t evolving and trying new things, he wasn’t interested in what we were doing. And at the end of class, in his evaluation, he told me I had a very interesting illustration style.

That may not sound like much, but it was the first time anyone had ever called me an illustrator. Wow. Me? An illustrator? The idea took slowly root. It was something I hadn’t even considered, believing that the designation of illustrator applied only to those talented few who could draw with perfect realism.

As my sketchbooks can attest, I do not draw with perfect realism.

I may not hear anything back from Jeff– I’m not in it for the response. I hope he received my message of gratitude, and if only for a moment, that it made his day just a little brighter.

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” ― Maya Angelou

Luella

Luella Metal Arts + Jewelery

My mom was a graphic designer too. She owned her own studio for over 30 years, and in some circles was known as the “design goddess of Denver.” You would never know it by talking to her because she is so humble, but I encountered this nickname on more than one occasion when I was first getting started in design.

Since retirement, she has shifted her creative energy to jewelry. Her work is (of course) amazing- using gems, stones, funky beads and precious metals, she makes necklaces, bracelets, and earrings. The image above is some of her most recent work. I did the design for her logo and tags a couple of years ago which you can see here on my website. Her company is called Luella Metal Arts + Jewelry. Luella was my grandmother, and there is something very cool about doing the design for your mom’s company that is named after your grandma. Love!

My mom has been a huge influence on me and is always my biggest cheerleader. I am so incredibly grateful for the friendship that we have. Not everyone is so lucky.

Thank you mom. For everything.

And if you are looking to do some early Christmas shopping this weekend, she is having a big sale on Saturday from 10-4. I’d love to see you there! Let me know if you are interested and I will let you know where to go.