Quotes to help you have more fun

A few quotes that help me have more fun:

When overgeneralizing, be curious about what’s new and different:
“All generalizations are dangerous, even this one.” Alexandre Dumas fils

When it’s all or nothing, explore the what’s in between:
“We must stand firm between two kinds of madness: the belief that we can do anything; and the belief that we can do nothing.” Alain

When magnifying the bad and minimizing the good:
“Disappointment is really just a term for our refusal to look on the bright side.” Richelle E. Goodrich

Jumping to conclusions and imagining the other’s thoughts and possible terrible futures, be present:
“Our busy minds are forever jumping to conclusions, manufacturing and interpreting signs that aren’t there.” Epictetus

When emotional reasoning, look for truth:
“That which can be asserted without evidence, can be dismissed without evidence.” Christopher Hitchens / Hitchens’s razor. (Latin proverb “Quod gratis asseritur, gratis negatur”, “What is freely asserted is freely dismissed.”)

When “should” clouds your expectations, stop resisting:
“And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.” Max Ehrmann, Desiderata

When labels feel true:
“People are too complicated to have simple labels.” Philip Pullman, The Amber Spyglass

When blame, comparison and guilt cloud your senses:
“Reserving judgments is a matter of infinite hope.” F. Scott Fitzgerald

Brian E. Young is a graphic designer and artist in Baltimore, MD.

Review: Bienfang Watercolor Brush Pens

After a month or two of trying out these Bienfang Watercolor Brush Pens, I’m fairly impressed. With caveats. What are they? They’re a set of marker-like brushes filled with thin paint. Squeeze the handles and paint comes into the brushes. 

Sure, they look like brushes and you can do some watercolor effect type things. However, they are not watercolors and have to be used as their own medium. I think that’s part of the fun of the product! They’re somewhere in between markers and paints. Perfect for travelling with my sketchbook and adding touches of color.

A few tips for using them:

  • Work from light colors to dark. They’re fairly permanent and you can cover up your earlier drafting if you keep it light.
  • Give up on the idea of emulating local color. A green object is going to need white and yellow highlights and some red and brown shadows. I even just use the colors for their values often and forget about local color altogether.
  • Read the instructions. The instructions have a few tips for blending and smoothing things out. Using wet paper, the blending brush provided and lots more.

 

Brian E. Young is a graphic designer and artist in Baltimore, MD.

Android App Design for Web Developers

Mobile apps are shiny, new and still exciting for users and developers. As it turns out, designers can easily tap into all of this.

Somehow, over the past month or so I’ve dived fully into Android app development.  I’m a print designer normally. I focus on magazines and occassional collateral. I’ve done some infographic design which felt like a natural extension of print.  Sure, I was part of the web page club in high school. A few years ago, I knew table based web design. Then I moved to learning css.  This time, I thought I’d study some Javascript.  When I learned that Phonegap could package a website on to Android phones as apps, it seemed like a great way to learn Javascript. Give myself a simple task of making an app and learn from there.

From Google’s documentation: “There are essentially two ways to deliver an application on Android: as a client-side application (developed using the Android SDK and installed on user devices as an .apk) or as a web application (developed using web standards and accessed through a web browser—there’s nothing to install on user devices).”

Phonegap (Apache Cordova)

Phonegap, soon to be renamed Apache Cordova, is an open-source mobile development framework developed by Adobe Systems. It allows web based development with all of it’s visual and technical advantages and disadvantages. It also allows you to access native featurs such as the camera, gps and accelerometer.

In theory, you can develop cross platform apps with a single codebase. “Build your app once with web-standardsBased on HTML5, PhoneGap leverages web technologies developers already know best… HTML and JavaScript. Wrap it with PhoneGap using the free open source framework or PhoneGap build you can get access to native APIs. Deploy to multiple platforms! PhoneGap uses standards-based web technologies to bridge web applications and mobile devices.” I haven’t fully tested this, but reports are that the differences in various browsers quickly can come into play.

Be sure to try out one of my trivia apps in the Android Market. Let me know what you think I can improve.

Brian E. Young is a graphic designer and artist in Baltimore, MD.

Graphic Designers, here’s how make your client relationships better

“In a book about an octopus, Tomi Ungerer purposefully gave the octopus seven tentacles. He said so many kids would have the pleasure of calling it to his and our attention” Ursula Nordstrom

When clients call or email with an edit, I like to react with almost too extreme gratitude. Usually, they’re ready to justify or perhaps thinking I’ll be defensive. It’s more practical to encourage them to please freely give details so I can do my work.

Connect. We learn more from each other when we feel safe:

  1. Rather than suffer, accept vulnerability as a reminder to solve one’s own problems and develop self-reflective awareness
  2. Rather than lash out, accept the priority of casual clarification and direct assertiveness without blame, criticism, or accusation.
  3. Rather than play hero, accept the skill of showing concern without fixing. Encourage others to develop and practice their own life tools.

Listen to more about Ursula Nordstrom on Gretchen Rubin’s podcast: A Little Happier: Sometimes, Flawed Can Be More Perfect Than Perfection.

Brian E. Young is a graphic designer and artist in Baltimore, MD.