30 days!

Well I made it 30 days!

At times it was a bit difficult, but I definitely made it!

However, like I said in the past, I need to go past the finish line. Doing these past 30 days was just a way to break myself out of bad habits of sitting around in a room just watching anime. I love watching anime, but it was definitely hindering my growth as a designer. I’m still learning and I’m definitely going to keep this up.

I’m going to go for another 30 days, but I’m not going to post on Linkedin anymore. Just here. I was posting on Linkedin as a way to hold myself accountable.

Now I just want to write about whatever I want to write about.

Making yourself happy is sexy

For the last 29 days, I’ve been training my brain to rethink a few things.

One thing is rethinking that my art isn’t good enough, but rather to think that my art is a gift.

Now this isn’t my idea. This is the idea of James Victore and I like this idea, not because it is pretentious, but rather because it goes back to the basics.

My art is a gift to myself. Not to anyone else.

Anything that I make is for me. It doesn’t matter what other people think. If they vibe with it, that’s great. If they don’t, it doesn’t matter. As a designer, I’m not for everyone. However, I should be for myself.

Anything that I make, I should love in some sense. If I know that it needs improvement, then that is perfectly fine. I can take a critique, but I already know that I need to improve. Instead of wasting time idling with the thoughts of another person, it should be focused on the next project. The life span of something that I make isn’t that long nowadays. It’s a day at best with the rise of social media. This gives me even more of an opportunity to keep creating until I figure out what works and what doesn’t work. It’s not about perfection in the beginning. It’s all about quantity.

Keep trying because no one will remember what you did yesterday or last week. Not even you.

It’s nice to know that my most recent work does not define me. It shouldn’t define me. I’m not as good as my last piece of work. I think about the compounding effect in which these small steps will compound into something greater if I keep doing it.

29 days ago, my designs were very simple. I didn’t understand why I did certain things, why I should set type in a particular way, and why i shouldn’t set type in a certain way. Now I know better. Still a lot to learn, but now I know.

These are 2 weights and 1 point size

If you feel fear, you're doing something right

James Victore says that the game is fear. You have to learn how to live with it. It’s an emotion that is meant to be felt. But is fear the thing to be scared of? Victore says no. Fear is nothing to be scared of. Rather, he states that what you are actually scared of is yourself and your creativity.

If that isn’t enough to inspire, I don’t know what is. Think about it, if you’re doing something that makes you fearful, you’re probably doing something challenging, something you haven’t done before, something that can cause pain. But you’re doing something that is right. It may not be right for someone else, but it’s right for you.

So instead of hating the feeling of fear, embrace the feeling, let them into your home, and learn to live with it. It’s fear that pushes us to keep food on the table. It’s fear that pushes us to keep making, to keep posting, to keep trying.

Just like the last ones, these designs are 2 weight sizes and 1 point size.

Surround yourself with positivity

I’m at a point in my life where I can’t be around negativity.

Most of my life, I’ve dealt with some sort of anxiety. It can’t be helped because I lost my mother when I was younger. However, after 16 years, I’m done with using this as an excuse. I’ve used this L as a way to motivate me to go after certain dreams. I still want to use it as a motivator, but even more, I want to use something else as my motivator/ my why-power.

From now on, I really want to just be around positivity which does hint at being ignorant at what is going on in the world. I’ve mentioned this before that ignorance is a double edged sword, but if I want to achieve the bigger dream at hand which is working at an agency or working for a skateboard company (vans, adidas, or nike), I can’t be around negativity or cloud my brain with it.

This month, I’ve accomplished a lot. I’ve created a lot of designs. There’s only 4 more days to go of this. I’m going to keep going because this habit is a healthy one to keep creating. It’s cost me a few things though. Time hanging with friends, not eating, and not sleeping. The not sleeping half is actually kicking my butt today. I went to sleep today at 1AM and woke up at 7:30 because I need to take my dog out. Anywho, surrounding myself with positivity is important right now.

Below, I decided to keep moving with the typography challenge from The Futur. These were supposed to be 2 weights and one point size, but then I just went with my gut and forgot. However, these turned out really nicely. When I look at designs like this, I can definitely see improvement. I’m really happy with the first two designs below. They just feel really clean and modern for a magazine spread. I’ll most likely use these designs as a template for something. Practice makes fear go away. I’m starting to feel more confident in typography. Still a long way to go, but so much better than I was when I first started.

I'm not sure if this field attracts low self esteem or creates low self esteem

Not just as a creative person, but just in general, I’ve always compared myself to other people.

Whether it was in cross country running, school, or skateboarding, I’ve always compared myself. I can trace that to my upbringing and how I always compared myself to my sister because I always felt that I was inferior. That story is not for now nor will it ever be on this because that is an area of my life that has been worked through and digging that hole up again would be reviving some bad memories.

Any who, when it comes to being creative, this statement “I’m not sure if this field attract low self esteem or creates low self esteem” fascinates me. There’s so much that is loaded in the first half because often times, creative people are very vulnerable (read as open) people. They are people who have some trauma in some sort of way. Mine is that I lost my mother when I was 8 and have dealt with a lot of that trauma through therapy and my own form of therapy through art. I’m not entirely sure how I was drawn to art, especially during my last year of college which catapulted me into the career I’m in now. I do recall when I was younger that I loved drawing Dragon Ball Z characters. As for the second half, “it creates low self esteem".” I think that comes from when you create something, someone out there is creating as well and the feeling that your work is inadequate when you look at it, creates that lack of self worth. It’s an interesting statement to just hear, read, and examine. But let’s look at the word self esteem and change the focus to self worth.

Like I said yesterday, Self worth shouldn’t come from someone else’s approval. It’s nice to have a hype man in your corner, but if you really want to get something done, you gotta be the one to do it. No one is going to come and rescue you. Understanding that and knowing that my decisions affect the outcome motivates me to try a little harder, but be smarter. I’m not the 14 year old freshman in high school who is staying up late every night to finish homework. (Well, I’m staying up a bit late to keep creating and pushing myself). The difference is that I know that I need help along the way. It’s not what you know, it’s who you know. But the best person to know, is myself because the best truth that I know is the one that is inside of me.

Below, I decided to keep moving with the typography challenge from The Futur. These are the designs using one point and one weight size and one image.

I keep changing my mind on what my goals are for each day. Bad, but it’s because I need to practice my typography in one way or another. Best way is to keep doing it.

If you need other’s approval to feel okay, you’re pretty much screwed

As a society, we constantly look outwards for the answer.

In a word, recognition.

But Keir Mclaren says, you already have all the answers inside of you.

Instead of looking outwards, look inwards.

The real recognition that we all need is our own self recognition.

In a phrase, accepting yourself for all the flaws that you have.

However, use these flaws/mistakes as the best teacher you could ever have and be successful in whatever way that you define success.

If you’re tired of where you are in life and are unhappy, well, that’s your fault.

I know. Who am I to say to you who is reading this that it’s your fault that your life is that way.

But did anyone force you to do what you’re doing right now? Did anyone force you to read this article. Whether you like it or not, you made the choice to spend time in this article.

Excuses are shields. Now, I’m not saying that it isn’t alright to not show up to everything and always be present. It’s ok to take care of your needs first. However, there will be a time in your life where you have to show up, need to be present, do a little bit extra just so that you can get where you want to be.

The world is what you see. And the choices you make, create that vision of the world.

I look at my life. I have a part time job, I’m creating something every single day, I’m writing down my progress in design, I track how much food I’m eating, and I write 3 good things I’m thankful for in the morning and at night. It takes 3 weeks to make a habit and these past 3 weeks have been great in regards to career. To be honest, with respect to eating, I’m not doing the best. Sleep is also something I’m somewhat lacking right now. However, this is my last chance.

When I say my last chance, I mean by the fact that I’m 2 years away from 26 which means I need to get health insurance and a 401k soon. But in these 2 years, I need to chip away at my goal of being a graphic designer and being completely in the house (read industry) of skateboarding. If not, then I’ll be at an agency. There’s not much that I can do except to keep trying and stop making excuses.

It definitely feels like I’m headed towards burnout again after awhile, but I think I’ve gone through this enough times to know what I need to do. One thing for sure is to celebrate everyday in some way the accomplishment that I have done. In the past 24 days, I set out to create only 1 thing. Every single day, I’ve created more than 1 thing. That’s something to be very proud of. Keeping this up will be a bit difficult, but I think it’s necessary for whatever success I need. At the end of it, I hope to be more confident and have my own approval.

To rewrite my goals, I think it’s to watch one design video a day on typography. Make a poster or something of the sort using behance and my photos.

Below, I took my summary for the Harold Hunter Foundation piece of my portfolio and made it into a poster, trying my best to follow the grid format.

No one is going to come rescue you. There is no rescue boat.

It’s easy to make excuses.

It’s easy to play the victim.

To believe that someone will whisk you away, make you famous, and never think about any problems ever again.

But to be frank, no one is going to do that.

This is something that I hate conceding to, but I have to if I want to take control of my life.

Yesterday, I was at a crux in my career again. In short, either continue this path on pursuing a full time job in the future or stay where I’m at, continue creating and practicing my skills, and possibly bank on getting a gig within the skateboard industry.

If you know me, I love skateboarding.

It was my first love. The first thing that I was hooked on and am still hooked on. As I was leaving work today, I was so happy that I was going to be skating tomorrow. However, the constraints of age, health care, and my desire to be self sufficient when my Dad is no longer on this earth are strong influencers to just getting a regular 9-5 job with a 401k and benefits.

Yesterday, I talked about Tyshawn Jones and how when he was younger, his resolve was to become a professional skateboarder. That dream came true and like I said yesterday, he was crowned Thrasher Magazine’s Skater of the Year. A prestigious award in skateboarding that basically says, you are the very best.

I bring this up one more time because as much as I want to just get a job at a design agency and get benefits and start saving up for retirement, the little skate rat kid inside of me is saying, this is your last chance. These 2 years are your last chance to pursue what you love.

My resolve is very weak. I know I can’t be a professional skateboarder, but I want to work in the industry because I know that I could make it as a graphic designer. I know for sure that my future as a graphic designer is in cement. But getting into the industry that I want is the question. Especially in an industry that doesn’t have that much money unless you’re a part of Street League, Nike, Adidas, New Balance, and a few other big companies. However, that’s my assumption. I could also just be freaking out because the map that I started making for myself last month has started to go off course.

I guess the most important thing I can do is keep going forward, but know that I can’t be waiting for someone to just give me what I want. I’m the only one who can give me what I want.

Below is a design that I made for a friend. I put a call out on Instagram to see if anyone would want me to make them a zine like post just because I wanted to practice my design. It’s a lot of full bleed images with some quotes from Frank Ocean.

I’m having a lot of fun making these, but the issue is that I’m not sure if I’m practicing design anymore. One thing that I know I need to do is watch more videos so that I can understand the theory behind everything.

To rewrite my goals, I think it’s to watch one design video a day on typography. Make a poster or something of the sort using behance and my photos.