Category Archives: Graphic Design

Companions for Clever Old Souls

Companion Karen by Karen Gadient, 2014

Just in time for our anniversary, here’s the companion ‘me’ to my darling husband’s Doctor (Who) portrait.

Although I don’t have regeneration as an excuse, I created a younger alternate self with slightly different features (hey, David got an upgrade and I wanted one too). I gave her my unevenly-cut hair, though; I’m always snipping the ends myself instead of going to the salon and I suspect I’d keep that quirk if I were busy with all that wibbly wobbly timey wimey stuff.

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Filed under Art, Digital Artwork, Family, Friendship, Graphic Design, Portrait, Poster, Science Fiction, Time

Portraits of Clever Old Souls

Doctor David by Karen Gadient, 2014

When I first ‘met’ my husband, he was an El Aurian on a Star Trek RPG. Even being Betazoid in the game, I had a hard time figuring him out. He can be delightfully enigmatic. Back then, I did portraits of our characters. I can’t find them to show you, but it’s one of those things I did and do.

Now, a decade and a half later, David and I no longer play RPGS, but we’ve been watching Doctor Who together. He occasionally jokes about having once been a Time Lord and says he gave up all that for me.

Which is damn charming. And nearly believable. He’s always been so sharp and intense and yet silly and generous and wonderful and more adjectives than I can list. Old soul, as they say.

And so, since our wedding anniversary is approaching, I decided to make a comic-style portrait of him as the Doctor. Different, a bit—regeneration will do that to you—but still with the intensity and of course: epic facial hair (David and his mustache surely go back many lifetimes). And a scarf. Because I prefer Doctors with scarves.

I just realized El Aurians are sort of a Trek version of Time Lords. Slightly. Okay, not so much. Well, at least they’re long-lived. Not sure if I can imagine Guinan in a TARDIS. Picard would have been a fun companion. Nah. Data. Maybe.

Suppose I’ll have to draw myself up as his companion next?

Happy Anniversary, David!

I last did this style of illustration for the Fly Into Fire posters for Candlemark & Gleam. I had a lot of fun with this portrait, so I may make others in a similar style. If I do, I’ll list them for print. For now, this one stays on our walls.

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Filed under Art, Digital Artwork, Family, Friendship, Games, Graphic Design, Love, Portrait, Poster, Science Fiction, Time

KarPaiTwenMo: Week One

KarPaiTwenMo: Week One

While everyone else has been writing like mad, I’ve been muttering at the canvas. Much like during NaNoWriMo, I’ve found myself making a mess. Chaos is fine for NaNoWriMo, at least for me—since no one ever sees that draft. As my dear friends will tell you, I’m pretty stuffy about sharing Draft Zero of anything. I prefer to stew and edit for a few years.

This artwork thing, though—I went public with this crazy idea and now I have to share a piece or two every week. In fact, the goal at the end of November is to share all twenty and even stick them up for sale.

Therefore, I’ve been finding it hard to like anything I make. I start over and make another one, then growl at that and so on. And so on. So, here I am at the end of the first week and I have five pieces. Only I’m not thrilled with three of them.

So I’ll share two. Maybe next week, I’ll share more than two. And larger, although the originals are all 11 x 14 inches. Oh, but you’ll see them all by the end of the marathon. Pinky swear.

Hope all of you doing any kind of writing/painting/editing/running marathon this month are having lots of success—or at least a bit of fun. Go, go, go!

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Filed under Art, Blogging, Color, Creativity, Digital Artwork, Friendship, Graphic Design, KarPaiTwenMo, Life, NaNoWriMo, Painting, Writing

Recognizing Dream Lucidity

Recognition by Karen Gadient

The last few nights, I’ve noticed when I was dreaming. I mean, I dream every night and can usually remember parts of the dreams (and I try to write them down)—but lately, I’ve been aware I’m in a dream while in the dream.

Only I have yet to do anything fun with that fact. Sure, I’ve seen Inception and suspect there are levels of play within our dreams, but I don’t feel I’m in the right mental space to handle and control a lucid dream.

Still, the other night found me in a wondrous place: a city of colorful light. I was in a building where there were no floors—well, the floors were made of neon light that you could see through, level after level below, and continue to walk on. I was in a towering building. I went from room to room and finally found a window of polished glass. When I looked into it, I could see myself—drawn as light.

And I knew it was a dream. I woke up. If I get there again, I might do something crazy: jump through the window, fly across the skyline, or shatter the whole darn thing and discover another world entirely. Probably the latter.

I’m sure there are heaps of metaphors there. I’ll need more coffee to sort it out.

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Filed under Art, Digital Artwork, Dream Stories, Graphic Design, Imagination, Journal, Psychology, The Unknown

Chromatic Sea

Colorful and paint-splattered digital artwork I made today to settle my mind. Created with Corel Painter, with the encouragement of much Irish Breakfast tea.

Chromatic Sea by Karen Gadient

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Filed under Art, Creativity, Digital Artwork, Graphic Design, Imagination, Journal, Sea

Photoshop Tennis: Pop Culture Version

Photoshop Tennis - Pop Culture Version

Okay, since I’ve had a few people—including my husband David—suggest I share another Photoshop Tennis result, I’m sharing the silliest one. Can’t remember how many players we had for this game, but we ended up with an image ripe with meme-stuff and pop culture references. So. Silly.

I was wary of sharing, due to some copyright-y things in there, but since the online world is FULL of these images (I mean, one look at Tumblr, people) I figure sharing a small-sized version is fairly harmless. Top image is “before” and bottom is (obviously) “after”. This is hardly art but we had a blast with it.

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Filed under Creativity, Digital Artwork, Friendship, Games, Graphic Design, Imagination

Photoshop Tennis: Before and After

Photoshop Tennis - Before and After

Speaking of image editing, there was a game my friends and I used to play involving image manipulation. We called it Photoshop Tennis but the graphics program used didn’t matter—Photoshop, Gimp, Painter, Paintshop Pro, whatever. It also didn’t matter if the players had great design skills; the point of the game was to have fun! The game went like this:

Three to six people would take turns adding and changing a base stock photo. The original image was pretty plain and we voted on it from a selection of five images before the game began. Depending on our schedules, a game could take weeks. The final image was always amusing.

The image with this post was a game played in 2010. The top was the base photo we started with and the bottom was the finished result. Good times!

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Filed under Art, Creativity, Digital Artwork, Entertainment, Friendship, Games, Graphic Design, Imagination

Fun with Stock Images | Tea Dragon

Tea Dragon

A few weeks ago, I made a post that mentioned stock image sites. I’ve been asked how to make stock images into blog-worthy artwork. Well, that’s a Photoshop or Painter class, but I have some suggestions, so here goes:

The first thing you can do is crop an image. Even better, rotate the image and then crop it. Right there, you have a different angle. Next thing: color. Change the colors. Make a copy of the image layer and play with the opacity and blending.

It doesn’t always matter if you know what you’re doing—experiment! Honestly, experimenting with graphics software is a fantastic way to learn to use it.

Speaking of experimenting: this is your brain on art.

As for serious learning… if you have some funds, I heartily recommend Safari Books Online and Lynda.com.

Most stock images can be altered once you purchase them. Read the license agreements. At the head of this blog post is an image I created last night as a bit of art therapy. I used this stock illustration and this stock photo. Main changes were angle, color and texture (okay, lots of layers of that).

Sure, it could use some shading and more editing, but I only gave myself an hour and it’s still pretty cute. Had a lot of fun playing with the colors. It’s like my coloring book days, only with digital crayons. Periwinkle, yo.

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Filed under Art, Blogging, Creativity, Digital Artwork, Graphic Design, Imagination, Photography

Copyright and Using the Work of Others

Ask First for Image Use Permission

Cloud Lounge wrote a great post yesterday about copyright and fair use.

Interesting timing, since my photographer husband and I had discussed copyright that morning. We see so many bloggers using images that aren’t their own and not giving credit. It’s clearly not the artwork of the person who wrote the blog post, yet there’s nothing to say who did create the image.

Not only is it stealing, but it’s rude.

I mean, imagine if it was your hard work and no one gave you credit?

Ask first. Don’t be a jerk.

If that’s not a good enough reason, consider this:

It’s not just personal. Some projects that artists (and photographers) are commissioned for pass the rights to another person or company. And that person or company might have eager lawyers. Think twice.

Also worth resharing: Roni Loren’s ‘Bloggers Beware: You CAN Get Sued For Using Pics on Your Blog — My Story’.

You might not be out of luck if you really want to use a certain image. If it’s not commissioned work, many artists and photographers will allow noncommercial use (with limitations) of their work with permission. Ask first before you use someone else’s image. If you can’t locate the creator of something you want to use, go find another image to use where you can email the creator.

Or search Creative Commons, try Morgue File or Kozzi, or consider a subscription to Crestock, Fotolia, or Depositphotos.

We all want success, popularity, and/or maybe even fame. That’s why we put ourselves (and our creativity) online and blog. We need to help promote each other instead of just promoting ourselves. Asking permission can make new friends who will promote you in their own networks. It’s a good idea all around.

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Filed under Art, Blogging, Copyright, Creativity, Digital Artwork, Freelance, Graphic Design, Inspiration, Journal, Photography, Publishing, Technology, Writing

Surrounded by Ideas

Great Space of Creative Ideas. Digital artwork by Karen Gadient, 2013.

I had a dream last night where I saw the embodiment of ideas. My ideas, your ideas, or maybe all the ideas of Earth or the universe. Not really sure. But I got the vibe that ALL THE IDEAS was what I was looking at. And so, here goes:

It started out like a spirit guide, only a spark that I followed in darkness. It didn’t speak to me. Instead, it circled like a firefly—tiny and glowing. It had no true form and was made up of the elements. Fire, water, air, and even scattering bits of earth. It soon grew so that I could see its details better. Like a tiny galaxy, floating around the blackness where I stood.

Quickly—BAM—it expanded and surrounded me. Then it took me inside it and enveloped me so that I became part of it. I couldn’t see my hands or be sure that I still had a body. All I had was an intense warmth and the sensation of water washing over me, air I knew I was consciously breathing, and the view of what looked like a million little worlds before me.

Very super cool. I mean, I was a speck among specks, but it was awesome.

Now that I’m awake and back to reality, I’m left with a sense that we’re all so small and yet so powerful. Dreams like that drive me to not waste a moment of life.

Although I did take some time to create what I saw so that you could see it too.

Do you ever have dreams that stay with you and inspire you?

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Filed under Beliefs, Creativity, Digital Artwork, Dream Stories, Graphic Design, Ideas, Imagination, Inspiration, Journal, The Unknown

Illuminathia

Illuminathia. She started out as portrait art, but caffeine gave her superpowers.

Illuminathia by Karen Gadient 2013

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Filed under Art, Art Portfolio, Creativity, Digital Artwork, Fantasy, Freelance, Graphic Design, Imagination, Painting, Portrait, Sketchbook

Mother Universe

Poster artwork. It’s a little bit psychedelic. Had some fun creating this one.

Mother Universe

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Filed under Art, Art Portfolio, Color, Creativity, Digital Artwork, Graphic Design, Imagination, Poster, Sketchbook, Space

Fashion and Digital Textile Design

One more post about the Phoenix Art Museum. These images, also taken by my husband David, are of the Digital Print Fashion exhibition. Everything you see here is digitally printed textile, which allows for some fantastic color and pattern. With digital printing, the sources for fashion inspiration are without limits. Many of these designs inspired me to write, because they look like they’d be at home in a science fiction or fantasy novel—yet, I’d still wear a few of them out to a party this weekend if I could! Which ones catch your eye the most?

Digital Textile Printing - Fashion Examples

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Filed under Arizona, Art, Fashion, Graphic Design, Inspiration, Photography, Printing

Follow Your Inner Moonlight

Inner Moonlight Quote Art

Crazy long weekend. Family time. And a meeting of friends too: I had a lovely brunch with Faye. Talked about writing and life. We have a lot in common. We both take a similar approach to the day-to-day: that you have to grab life by the… well, whatever’s handy—and make the most of it. Especially creatively.

Never mind what others say about you or what your inner editor whines. The key to success is trusting the madness and embracing what makes you unique.

Reminded me of a favorite quote. One I needed to remember. And so, I ended up doing a little art therapy and the image heading this post was the result.

Also, while I’m at it: more about Allen Ginsberg here.

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Filed under Art, Beliefs, Creativity, Friendship, Graphic Design, Inspiration, Journal, Psychology, Quotes

Time is a Dressmaker

Time is a dressmaker specializing in alterations. — Faith Baldwin

Life’s been throwing me curve balls lately. It looks like the game is going into extra innings and will just get crazier. However, instead of getting glum about it, I took some art therapy time and ended up with a piece of quote art. Might be doing more of these, in between cups of mojito tea and glasses of fine local wine.

Quote attributed to Faith Baldwin.

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Filed under Art, Creativity, Graphic Design, Inspiration, Journal, Life, Quotes

Cupcakeet

The Cupcakeet. A parakeet and cupcake hybrid graphic design.

I was talking to my mother online the other day and she made the cutest typo. She said that she had gotten some cupcakeets. Of course, she meant cupcakes… but I immediately imagined a cupcake-parakeet hybrid.

And yeah—I got silly and made one while I was still chatting with her.

Vanilla and strawberry, with a touch of cherry!

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Filed under Art, Creativity, Digital Artwork, Games, Graphic Design, Imagination, Sketchbook

Creative Experimentation

Book Cover Experiment for One Last Dark Day

This was a creative experiment. Turned out better than expected, so sharing. Shown almost full-size for detail, but it reads surprisingly well as an itty bitty icon. When small, the words hop out. I wanted a window into the sunshine of this character’s future while still trapping him in his present darkness—and used the title itself. Not sure if I’d try the technique again, but it was a lot of fun to make.

Sometimes I like to create something (art, writing, cooking, knitting, LEGOS, etc.) just to see what I come up with at the end of an unplanned project.

Do you ever just make something to see what happens?

Hope you all have a great week!

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Filed under Art, Book Cover Design, Creativity, Graphic Design, Sketchbook

Design: “Prismal”

Design: Prismal. By Karen Gadient, 2012

Prismal: design created with stock photos and digital painting. Adobe Photoshop and Corel Painter. First as the design itself, second as a book cover (just for fun).

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Filed under Art, Art Portfolio, Book Cover Design, Digital Artwork, Graphic Design, Sketchbook

Logos, Patches, and Inspiration

Before you guys shoot me for all the Debris Dreams posts, I promise I’ll keep those on the light side soon. However, since I’m doing my posts alphabetically and happen to be on the letter ‘L’… I figured I’d show you what inspired the CAA and Luna logos/patches I designed for the book.

Around the time I was assigned the project, we had visited the Pima Air & Space Museum to have a look at the planes and the space-related stuff they have. I’m a geek and love planes—and cars, and especially boats, but I digress…

Lucky for me, they also had plenty of patches to gawk at. Here are a few of the photos I took (with my ancient cell phone, hence the amazing quality), along with the CAA and Luna logos below them. In case you’re curious, the crane’s banner on the CAA logo says “Semper Fidelis” in Chinese.

Debris Dreams - Logo Inspirations

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Filed under Arizona, Art, Books, Graphic Design, Inspiration, Publishing

Debris Dreams: Print Cover

Finally sharing the full cover for Debris Dreams, which will be out this month. Written by David Colby and published by Candlemark & Gleam. Book cover design and illustration by yours truly. The print cover shows you the wraparound design that was not shown in the front cover reveal on SF Signal.

Please consider supporting the Kickstarter and you can get lots of goodies!

And yes, this the same author with the awesome book trailer!

Click the image to see a larger version.

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Filed under Art Portfolio, Book Cover Design, Books, Graphic Design, Publishing, Science Fiction