Wednesday, December 28, 2016

JPEG, PNG, and EPS - What to Use & Why

When you are designing a logo for someone, or are having a logo designed by someone, you should always ask that you get it in the following formats: JPEG, PNG, EPS/AI. Each one serves a different purpose, and it's handy to have them all at your fingertips. 

Recently I had a client contact me because they were confused which format to use, so I put together this brief post to clear things up. 

Here's a breakdown of 3 different file types 
and what they're used for: 

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Photo-Kiosk Designers - An Epidemic (But there's a cure!)

I've noticed a new type of graphic designer emerging from the depths of the internet the last two years. They're hard to spot at first, since they talk-the-talk, but when you see their files, you immediately know what they are... they're a Photo-Kiosk designer.

Etsy is FILLED with them. The Photo-Kiosk designer is someone with a computer and access to an image editing program (usually Photoshop), who decided to strike out and make a little side business for themselves designing invitations and party favors for people online. (It's ALWAYS invitations and party favors.)

As a graphic designer and digital printer who also sells on Etsy, I appreciate their work ethic and their effort to pull in extra income, and I'm all for people pursuing art and design, put it simply...YOU DON'T KNOW WHAT YOU ARE DOING!

So I made this post to help and educate Photo-Kiosk printers on why commercial printers (like me) hate your files and how you can fix them.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

What is a BLEED - Printing Terminology for Non-Printers

"Your file needs a BLEED." 

Not a day goes by where I don't have to explain this concept. I mean it. Every. Single. Day.

To be fair, it's not a term that's really used out in there the "real world." It's an art and creation specific concept, so the average person doesn't need to know. But, with more and more people attempting to be their own graphic and print designer (in an attempt to cut costs even though it usually ends up being a complete nightmare) it's something I thought I would tackle here on the blog. 

This way you guys can learn a little something, and I'll have a place to copy and paste responses instead of ripping my hair out. 

So, what is a BLEED?

Friday, November 18, 2016

1" Button Press Demo & Review

Not as in-depth as I wanted it to be, but I'll be doing more follow-up videos on my machines very soon. (Plus people always complain that I talk too much so I guess shorter might be better.) 
All of my machines and parts came from Button Boy Inc. 
-1.25" Machine:
-1" Machine:
They have an Etsy shop too, but their main website has lower prices.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Save 10% off with the code SPOOKTOBER on Etsy! - EXP 11/02/16

Offer is good from now until November 2nd, after that the offer and and Pom-kins go into hibernation until next October. 

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Friday, October 21, 2016

Let There Be Critics : A Review of Fox's Rocky Horror Event

It's my mouth! I used these for my college screening. People had to follow my lips to find the theater.
Tiny bit of backstory before the review. I've been watching Rocky Horror, the film version, since I was a child. My parents used to dress up and go to midnight showings, my family has the the original vinyl LP & a re-release and the CDs, we have the original red VHS cassette, the fan books, the trivia books, the action figures... We're HUGE fans, especially of the masterful Tim Curry and his performance in the 1975 film version. I even dressed up and hosted a Rocky Horror screening at my college campus. So to us, this production was kind of a big deal.  
Since the get-go I was against the idea of a made-for-TV remake, but when it was announced that Tim Curry was going to be the Criminologist, making a rare on-screen appearance since his stroke, we had to tune in just to see him. Don't get us wrong, we love seeing productions of Rocky Horror done locally, and we love Laverne Cox, but can a big budget, shiny, Fox-produced version airing at 8PM on a weeknight really capture the essence of Rocky Horror?

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Pom-Kins are here! - Venturing into Enamel Pins?

Grab a pom-kin of your own on Etsy
Oh man, it's been a long time since I updated. My life is always busy, but this past month it's been more intense than usual because....I'm bidding on a HOUSE! OMG! I've been going to showings, talking to mortgage companies, and researching all this adult-business online and now I'm finally in a place where home ownership is a possibility! And today is my birthday!

So it's been a pretty intense month of adulting, but I still managed to have a little fun designing my first ever enamel pin!

Monday, September 12, 2016

CamdenJam 2016 - Button Making Event

I partnered up with Connect The Lots in Camden again this weekend, this time instead of painting, I brought my trusty pinback button press to the city to teach kids how to make their own buttons at Camden Jam! It was a HUGE hit. 
First the children colored their designs, then we punched them out,
and they used the press (supervised) to create their finished button!
Since the event was at city hall, which is a Poke-stop, my contact requested that I make some Pokemon-themed designs. I took my Pokemon Go team buttons and turned them into simple black and white outlines, this way kids could color them in, as well as a generic Pokeball and a Pikachu design. (You can't leave out Pikachu!) Surprisingly, the biggest hit of the day was the paper I left blank! 

Saturday, September 10, 2016

How I Package My Pinback Buttons

New art-related video is up!
This is how I've been packaging my button order lately,
both in person in the Artist Alleys and online for my Etsy shop.

It's been a while since I've made one of these,
but I'm figuring things out filming-wise so that I should be able to make one or two videos a month.

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Friday, August 26, 2016

Free Painting Party Event in Camden NJ TONIGHT! 5:30-7:30PM

Tonight I'm hosting another FREE paint party event outside Camden City Hall! 

5:30-7:30PM in Roosevelt Plaza Park (in front of City Hall)!

We'll be painting a little something like this as we enjoy the sunset, be sure to join us! Visit Connect the Lots - Camden for more info!

There will also be a video game truck, and the unveiling of the community art project in the Camden ArtBox, 'A Real Page Turner'! Hope to see you there!

(If you're unable to attend be sure to spread the word! It's FREE!)

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Monday, August 22, 2016

Last Minute Paint Party SUCCESS - & PAINT PARTY TIPS

Not your average paint party fodder. This isn't a wine glass, or high heel, it's city hall!
It was a last minute event, with about 48 hours notice to gather supplies and make a painting with Camden City Hall theme, but I pulled it off! We had 14 painters create their own masterpieces and even with a few hiccups, like no running water, wind, and turned out great!  
We had a really good turnout and all of the participants were very serious and invested in their paintings. My example piece was a bit more challenging than your usual paint party example, but they all did a fantastic job without missing a beat!
Tip #1 : Add a Decoupage Element for added interest 

Friday, August 19, 2016

I'm Hosting a FREE Paint Party Night in Camden NJ - TONIGHT 8/19/16

FYI, the quote is Camden's motto and it comes from Walt Witman's  "I Dream'd in a Dream"

This week has been even crazier than usual. I'm teaching a last minute painting class in Camden, NJ tonight from 5:30-7:30PM, which is awesome, but I've been running around the last 48 hours gathering supplies and making a city hall themed painting for the event. It's like those popular painting and wine parties, but without the wine. This is what I came up with. I tried to keep it abstract and simple, and I added a decoupage element to it for added interest (and Jersey pride)

Between this, my day job, my blogs, and's been an extremely busy week. So instead of my usual quart-sized mason jar of water...I'm drinking a quart of home made cookies & cream iced coffee.

Half way gone already!!
These day I rarely drink coffee, so the caffeine hits me HARD! Look out world! I'm caffeinated and armed with art supplies! If you're in the NJ area and want to come to the painting event (which is FREE) here's a LINK with info

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Wednesday, August 17, 2016

WIP Wednesday

I got this neat thermal reactive paint and I'm trying to figure out how to use it on button designs. Here's one of last night's experiments. 
Right now it seems like 2 layers makes things milky and foggy looking, but maybe I just need to wait longer between coats. 

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

On Wearing Many Hats, Money & Working Solo

As a artist/crafter/small business owner/blogger, I work alone. It sounds kinds of nice, not answering to anyone, but overall, being an island is extremely exhausting.

Everything I need, from product concept, to design, to production/printing, to finishing, to packaging, to's all just me. I'm lucky because internet access makes all of that a LOT easier than it was 20 some-odd years ago, but it's still a lot for one person to handle.

Social media is a wonderful tool. We can save money on advertising by being our own advertising! Saving money sounds great and all, but what you don't realize is how much harder your have to work to get people to notice you while keeping your own production up and costs low. Free time is pretty much non-exsistant when you're a one-person production and yet, I always feel like I should be doing more!

When someone does a lot of things the old saying is they "wear a lot of hats." I have a face for sunglasses, but hats? They never look right on me.

Silliness aside, I wear a LOT of hats. This is a little sample of my weekday schedule, it's been intense, but it's been paying off. I'm seeing a lot more page views and sales!

Current Big Project At Work
  1. First there is my main job, which is an hour away from home, where I am the only employee, and I work 9-5 Mon-Fri (9-4 on Fridays right now in the summer with our new summer hours. Thank goodness.) I am a graphic designer and digital printing consultant, but being the only employee in the facility, I do everything from filing, to answering phones, to production, to being tech support and personal assistant handling their messages and stuff not pertaining to business. When we're slow it's manageable, but when we're busy it's exhausting in and of itself.

    Then I have...

Thursday, July 28, 2016


Man, that was the biggest order I've ever filled and it only took me 2 days to finish it! (One for printing & cutting, and another for punching/production.) Not bad, not bad at all. Plus I'm counting it as an arm workout. Win-win!

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Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Pokemon GO - Awesome For Small Businesses

The game is here and it's having a much stronger effect than I had ever imagined. People are going outside, they're walking and exploring their neighborhoods, they're meeting new people, and small businesses are getting more foot traffic and sales thanks to being gyms and Pokestops. This is just...all around awesome. Sure there are a few naysayers and killjoys sprinkled in the mix with their negative articles, but overall, I think the positive benefits outweigh the few negative click-bait headlines.

I've only played up until Silver and Gold on the GameBoy Color (Silver was my last "new" Pokemon game), but my younger sister still plays and she keeps me hip to all the new Poke-happenings out there in the world. I know a lot of online shop owners JUMPED at the opportunity to make a buck off the trend, but with the market being so saturated...I figured I'd skip this one...but then the custom requests started rolling in....

Thursday, June 23, 2016


Lookin' all kinds of professional! Not like a food crazed sleepless zombie at all!
Look at me being all professional looking and junk!

So my numbers aren't super impressive, yet, but they're not bad considering I started the official blog in January of 2014. For roughly 2 years of hustling, this isn't too shabby.

Check out the backside after the cut!

Fancy Backgrounds & Life Update/Rambling

Bye bye stark white, hello FULL color backgrounds!
Yesterday was a really productive day for me! I was able to list my new Louise and TWEWY stickers on Etsy but instead of my usual stark white backdrop, I made fancy ones!

Well "made" isn't quite accurate. All I did was go to Pixabay and print out some free stock images of graffiti and cheeseburgers on some tabloid paper, but it made my stuff look so awesome!

This one really makes me want to doodle some burgers of my own!

If I had more time I would have made my own, but with everything else I have going on...

  • Packing for the Summer Fancy Food Show in NY this weekend (I leave Sat., return Wed.) 
  • Writing Food Reviews to queue up for the blog so it isn't stagnant while I'm away 
  • Making and shipping out Etsy orders
  • Listing NEW Etsy and Redbubble items
  • Filming, editing and queueing up YouTube videos (2 a week! Gotta keep that up) 
  • Washing, drying and folding 2 (long overdue) loads of laundry
  • Doing minor PR work for all the stuff I do online to generate interest and get views/sales
  • AND I have a few really big deals going on behind the scenes with some companies that I can't quite tell you guys about yet for both my art and my food blogging ventures.
  • All that, PLUS my 9-5 day job that is a 40+ min drive there and another 40+ min back every day...
So yeah, I did NOT have the time to doodle any burgers or DIY my own graffiti wall for backdrops last night, but that is what stock images are for!! 

The end results look awesome, and I even printed out a couple to enhance my latest Sometimes Foodie post

My life feels pretty hectic at the moment, but everything's coming' up Milhouse awesome! This is really great and a few doors are opening for me thanks to all the stuff I do after-hours online, and I need to give it my all to keep this up! 

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Sunday, June 19, 2016

Cool Down Tablet Drawing - Geez Louise, you're the best!

I might hold the Guinness record for most hours spent watching Bob's Burgers. It is my go-to show on Netflix and I've watched the series, in it's entirety,...I don't know how many times, but if I totaled it up I'm sure it'd be embarrassing. 

Last night I finished up a Miyazaki piece I had been working on for a themed art show, and to cool down I doodled this little Louise. It feels good to doodle again and since I put more effort into this than I originally intended, I'll be turning her into a sticker and button for my Etsy. Maybe I should doodle the rest of the Belcher clan...

Monday, June 13, 2016

Custom Sticker Order (300 Stickers!)

Images © Kastraz of Deviant Art
Just finished up a custom vinyl sticker order (300 stickers total) for the awesome Kastraz of Deviant Art and YouTube.

They’re printed on durable white vinyl so they’re waterproof, weather proof, and tear resistant! I even included an extra fabulous holographic-finish Mettaton. I honestly know next to nothing about Undertale, but I think these stickers are awesome! (I'm totally not biased at all.)

I included a special Holo sticker as a gift to Kastraz for placing the order. See it under the cut!

Monday, May 23, 2016

Selfie - My First Self Portrait (WIP)

All these years and I've never done a self portrait. That's like skipping How to Be An Artist 101!

To be honest, figure work isn't one of my strong points. I have a very poor sense of anatomy, and even though my college was great conceptually, they didn't teach the fundamentals of drawing, portraiture, or figure work in any medium. I just drew what I saw, which has worked for me until now, but I wanted to step out of my comfort zone and do something kind of therapeutic and self-exploring.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

3 Types of Clients You'll Meet While Freelancing Graphic Design

It's been fun, and therapeutic, making more posts about my graphic design day job, and while working on a few projects for clients, this list popped into my head. This is by no means the ONLY types of clients you'll run into, but these are three I get a LOT and how I handle them.

The "And Then"
They want it all, and they want it NOW. 

This client knows what they want. You meet up for a consultation, get the information you need to make their invite, poster, ad, whatever the product may be, you deliver a proof, and they get back to you with changes, but really, it's more additions. Then they keep on adding...and adding. You warn them that things are getting too busy, their clients/recipients will be overwhelmed by the sheer amount of (useless) information on this product, but every single word must stay as-is.

Before you know it, your carefully constructed design that was clear cut and to the point is now a jumbled sea of text. It's overwhelming, but it's what the client wants even if their recipients won't know what hit them. 

Ever see the movie, "Dude, Where's My Car?" If you haven't, then there's a scene where they try to order food from a drive through and the person on the speaker box keeps the order going and adding to it by asking "and then?" Until the person placing the order snaps. That's going to be you. 

My best advice on how to deal with the And Then is to show them very simple examples alongside their own hectic and jumbled one. Explain how the simplicity makes the necessary information (when, where and what) POP and allows their audience to know what they need to know without searching for it, because most people really won't search for it. Especially if this is an advertisement. 
Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. Clients want what they want, and in the end you'll create what they've asked for and approved, but actual physical comparisons and visuals tend to help the most. Verbal warnings and emails will definitely be ignored. 

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

All About Holographic Goodies (where I got it and how it's working out)

Moon Crystal Power Make-Up!
I'm a cautious over thinker. It takes me FOREVER to pull the trigger on something when it comes to expanding my little online shop and artist alley offerings, even when I really think it's a good idea.

I come up with an idea, research it like crazy, leave 20+ tabs open in my browser about it for weeks, read reviews, and mull it over for months, sometimes even YEARS before I do it. If I do it at all.

For example, with my button maker. I've wanted one since I was in high school, which was 10 YEARS AGO, and I only bought it 3 years ago. It took me 7 years of research and what made me finally pull the trigger was seeing other artists with theirs in the alley at Otakon. That's insane! Sometimes this over cautiousness works in my favor and prevents me from wasting money of fads and trends, but it also hinders me from expanding my side business like I should. With my button maker I wish I had bought one sooner, but with this holographic film I'm glad I waited.

Monday, May 2, 2016

Story Time: Don't Feel Obligated to Accept EVERY JOB

This one is a bit of a downer and mostly me venting about a nightmare job of mine I should have walked away from a long time ago. Let this be a precautionary tale to those of you starting freelance.

A group of dentists are making a directory for their 500+ member organization. The job comes to my print-shop-day-job, but we can't do the file creation part of it (they have ancient computers and no InDesign) so my boss sends them my way and suggests I freelance it to keep the job close as well as "help me out" with extra income. I'm saving for my own house so I do need the money so I talk to the clients. 

The client said they will provide an excel sheet with data about the members. I need to use that 500+ directory of data to make a book divided into three sections. 

  1. Directory organized alphabetically by members' LAST NAMES
  2. Directory of members organized by the COUNTY their practice is in
  3. Directory of members organized by their SPECIALIZATION in the field 

I give them my hourly rate and let them know what I need to complete the job. They assure me they've done this before and that it'll be sent over very soon. 

I have better computers than my day job, and I’ve done data merging like this in InDesign before, it’s 500+ members, but it should be a simple data merge and a little tweaking here and there to get the layout to flow correctly. Should be easy enough, right?

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Holographic Buttons & Stickers!!!

Buttons featuring designs from Old Skool Junk
That's right, I now offer HOLOGRAPHIC buttons! Yesterday the holographic paper I ordered came in the mail and I was dying to test it out. This weekend I got an order for buttons from the awesome Old Skool Junk, and what better design to test this holographic paper out on than a freaking unicorn?!

I gave it a shot and it turned out freaking awesome! I'm so excited! I'm currently working on listings for holographic sailor moon buttons and custom buttons in my shop. It should be up later this week! I'll post an announcement when they're up!
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Sunday, April 24, 2016

5 AWESOME Resources for Digital/Graphic Designers that I use EVERYDAY!

What The Font!
    An AWESOME resource for designers. Several times a week I have clients give me a physical copy of a flyer or business card that was designed years ago and they want me to recreate it in the digital age. Trouble is they want an EXACT copy, fonts and all, and they have no idea what the original typeface was. What do you do?
    You take a photo of it and upload it to What The Font! and they help you narrow things down. They aren't always 100% spot on, but it always helps me figure things out and it removes you looking through the hundreds and thousands of fonts on your computer to find the perfect typeface-prince charming. Seriously, this site is a lifesaver and not enough people know about it. Add it to your design arsenal and stop ripping your hair out. 

    FREE. STOCK. IMAGES. Need I say more? 
    Client on a budget? This is the site for you! Admittedly this is the B or C-team when it comes to stock images, but you can't beat FREE! They have a decent selection that's always growing, and they even offer some .EPS files and other vectored imagery.
    Similar to What The Font!, but this one doesn't require a scan of the font itself. This is a series of questions designed to help you narrow down possible typefaces.
    It starts out basic, "Is it Serif? Italicized?" etc, but progresses into different characteristics of certain letters, like the center lines of the letter "M" or the subtle differences in a lowercase "i." If What The Font! fails you, Identifont is a great back up.

    Speaking of fonts... this site is the BEST for free fonts. I've been using this site since I was a teenager! They have...I don't even know how many fonts, and they're all broken up into great categories. Like handwritten, serif, script, old school, etc. This is a great resource when you're first starting out and can't afford to buy expensive font families. (Lucidity is one of my favorites! I've been using it for YEARS!) Some of the fonts are licensed for personal use only, so be sure to check the licensing for each one before you use it for any commercial work, but when I was making designs for my college courses this resource was the BEST! It gave my designs variety without having to eat cup-ramen the rest of the week to afford it.
    Gumroad isn't free like the others, but it's just as valuable. It's kind of like etsy. Artists have their own little shops where they sell their goods, but instead of physical items, it's downloadable artist materials made by artists for other artists. Music, texture packs, brushes, stock images, etc.

    I've bought several brush packs for Photoshop and Illustrator through shops on GumRoad and I used them all the time! The pricing is reasonable, and you can put them on as many devices as you like! I have the same brush packs on my laptop, my desktop PC, and my Mac mini at work, so I get a lot of use out of them. If you're making your own brushes, textures, and resources, you might want to check this out and even open a shop of your own to make a little money on the side.  
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Wednesday, April 20, 2016

WIP Wednesday - Great Gatsby Prom Invite

My day job has been eating up a lot of my time and creativity these days, so I figured I'd try to post more about it here on the blog. I mean, I AM a graphic designer, so the stuff I make during the day is artsy, even if it is more functional and client-driven.

The most labor intensive design I worked on today was this high school prom invitation. This year the theme is "The Great Gatsby" (The movie more-so than the book), so I recreated the title screen from the film for the front of the invite. 

Check out a behind the scenes WIP photo under the CUT and I'll talk a bit more about the process of making the design. 

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Designer Tip Tuesday: Borders & Commercial Printing- Don't Do It!

I've been working in commercial design and print for a few years, so I thought it'd be fun to do something like a #tiptuesday where I can share a bit of graphic design advice and kind of vent about the frustrations of my day job.

A lot of colleges and art programs will reward you for pushing print capabilities to their limits, which is awesome, but when you send that file off to print, it might not come back looking like you had expected.

For my first ever topic, something simple, borders!

Thursday, April 14, 2016

The long awaited return of ORIGINAL CONTENT!

My day job and all my side jobs have been running me ragged. I haven’t gotten to do anything create for myself, outside of @sometimesfoodie, in ages! 

For Camden Comic Con last week I made a few new items, mostly buttons, and I finally hooked up my cintiq! So (hopefully) I can start updating this with more of my own stuff. Here’s a booth-photo in the meantime and some photos of the two new button packs I made and donated to the Comic Con Costume Contest as prizes. 
If you want to grab a pin pack of your own be sure to visit my etsy shop!
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