Saturday, 23 August 2008

Links Shout out - BG Patterns is a background generator that allows you to use a range of images, colours, textures and rotation. It's simple to use and features a range of already created patterns for you to browse.

Tuesday, 19 August 2008

Backing up bookmarks - foxmarks

For those of you who like easy backup ideas, firefox has some nifty addons to synchronise your bookmarks. One that I've recently used and found incredibly helpful is Foxmarks. is a tool that can automatically synchronise your private bookmarks so that you can access them from any computer, backup your bookmarks everytime you change your bookmarks, and allows you to access your bookmarks from anywhere you have internet access. This tool was great when my computer died a few weeks ago and I had to buy a new computer. You can even keep two sets of synched bookmarks - one for at home, and one for work ( )

Sunday, 3 August 2008

Should I, shouldn't I ? What makes a good decision

Decisions are made all the time. Sometimes they are good, sometimes they suck. Remember that pair of awesome boots that hurt your feet every time you wear them, or that licensing deal that you wish you could rip into shreds, or maybe that commission enquiry that turned into 12 months of the best illustration work you've ever done? Every time we are faced with a choice, we are faced with making decisions.

In my work in IT, I am faced with decisions - some as minute as which room to have a meeting in, to big ones like do we hire this contractor, or how much will a 6 month project cost? Each time I make a decision, or am involved with making decisions, I have to be aware of the consequences- what happens if it goes well, as well as what happens if it's a dreadful decisions. I've done a few courses on Ethics and philosophy, as well as doing some sessions on decision making through management training. I'm by no means an expert. But here are some questions you should ask when making a decision:
  1. What will the benefits be if it all goes well/ what's in it for me? Monetary, skills, networking? All these things are important. *
  2. What happens if it goes terribly wrong? Is there a termination clause? Will I be out of pocket (time, resources, money, reputation). Sometimes you can't avoid it, but if something smells fishy, it probably is. Talk to other artists who have dealt with a commissioner or a licenser. Join communities that black list or white list commissioners. They are out there!
  3. Will I learn anything new?
  4. Will I get bored? See number 3. If something is going to bore you to tears, only consider it if you are desperate for the money. Boredom means the work takes 10 times as long, you're never really going to be happy with the work
  5. Is it fair? Are both parties getting something in return, or is only one party getting something. Treat each decision as a business decision.
  6. Is it legal?
*Exposure, unless its on a global scale, like a competition book such as Spectrum is the ONLY type of exposure I'd really consider. Exposure by painting something for free to go on someone's personal website is a waste of your talents and time, plus they're getting a free service they should be paying for. I'm not saying you should never do 'exposure only' art, but consider your worth as an artist - this is supposed to be part of your livelihood. A mechanic would never fix your car because you could give them 'exposure'. Sure, you're on the road with a million other motorists, but you're not going to tell everyone you meet about the quality of the workmanship - it will come out as 'hey, this mechanic works for free, why should I pay?'

How to make a decision

Each person will find something different works for them.

I tend to use the pros-cons-interesting (sometimes called PMI) type of methodology where you list out all the good things, all the bad things, and all the 'other' issues. Rate each Pro/Con and compare the lists. Work out which one has the most in it and that will probably be your decision. Of course your gut/ instinct generally will have a say in the manner, and if you can't get away from what your gut is saying, then ask a trusted friend for an opinion or to act as a sounding board.

Here's some further links on decision making and tools/ methods available.