Larry West Productions: The Blog
So 7 years ago (holy hell, it WAS that long ago!), I tried my first 365 project. You can see the failed attempt here. I made it to nearly 2 months, and had about 22 finished pieces, 18 penciled pieces, and missed a total of 11 days. What I learned from this failed attempt was that between getting ready for my Senior Showcase, going to school, and looking for a job, I wasn't really ready to do something like that yet. I have about 4 pieces from it that I still use, and looking back there are some pieces and ideas I really wished I would go back and develop.
What have I learned from THIS go around?
I learned that I can really, really push myself more than I thought. I also learned that sometimes its better to just go with an idea than to ignore it. My "Women Shouldn't Fight?" poster has taken a life of its own, and may be the biggest shock to me. I was also shocked how many people loved my other piece, "Mind? Blown!". I had Devin Townsend, one of my hero's, tweet me that he loved the Gig Poster I did for his Philly show!
And it's only been two weeks.
I won't lie, I'm afraid of not being able to keep up the rate, of missing a day, or countless other things. Then again, I'm afraid of a lot of things. Let's see where we go!
The purpose of the Creative 365 Project is actually very simple: Create something every day for a year.
The original concept was born years ago when I wanted to do a drawing a day for a year. The idea, sadly, fell through fast when I started to suffer burnout. So the idea sat around for a few years until about December of 2012. After a few amazing events, I decided to bring the idea back, but instead of just doing a drawing a day, I decided to explore all my other creative areas. From Illustration to Graphic Design, from Photography to Music, I rarely like to limit myself.
So the rules for myself are simple: At least ONE creative achievment a day.
For the first day I designed and coded a large chunk of the website, but not everything. So while the goal is to have a finished piece, the reality may be just getting incredibly close to one. Illustration is one thing; web coding is another. The same with sculpture and writing. In some cases a finished piece may be combining 30 other pieces.
At the end of the year, my goal is to have pushed myself as an artist and do things I've never done before, and start seeing things in new ways. After about 11 days, the project is going well, and I've created a lot of things I never thought I would! The demands of having a tight deadline is a mix blessing: Sometimes I come up with something great, sometimes I wish I had a little more time to flesh out the idea. Then again, who says I can't go back and flesh out an idea some more?
Check out the Creative 365 Project.
Gig poster for Lamb of God and In Flames for their show at The Electric Factory on November 24th in Philadelphia. This is the first in a series of 4 posters. Check out the piece on DeviantArt!
Back in June, I had an idea to help get people interested in the world around them: The Department of Trepidation!
The concept was simple: Create a series of posters based on current events to get people talking. The result was a lot of people discussing the topics I brought up, including "flash robs", soda bans, schools, "Stop and Frisk", invasion of privacy, oil companies, and the feeling of day-to-day life drudgery.
I also gave away all of the posters for FREE so people could download them, print them out, and do whatever they wanted with them.
Below are just a few of the posters. Each one links to the one on DeviantArt, but you can always download the PDF's on the original The Department of Trepidation site.
The Admiral Theater in Chicago, IL contacted me about doing a poster for their event, "Bride of the Stripping Dead." It was a ton of fun to do and the scope was pretty simple: Do a poster of The Bride of the Frankenstein as a stripped with a ton of attitude! I wanted to keep the look of terror everyone was familiar with, but I also wanted to do something kinda nuts.
Over the course of a few weeks, I created a teaser billboard, flyers, posters, newspaper ads, and a T-shirt for their annual Halloween stripping / burlesque event. The billboard was an instant success, resulting in new coverage and a ton of hits on their site! The poster and shirts sold well, and the event was an instant success!
So here's the difference; a scam is someone trying to get something for nothing through knowingly deceiving you and taking advantage of the fact that you may not know everything. Compare that to most people who are just going to take advantage of you because of your skills, and most likely aren't out to harm you, but just don't understand how a business works.
I've learned how to sniff out both fairly easily. Really, more than anything, just trust your instincts but other than that there is some things you can do to stay on the lookout for someone out to get you:
1. They want something for nothing, or at least close to it.
OK, lets start with an easy one.
"Hi! I want an amazing website that has Flash, great SEO, and the most cutting edge graphics EVER! Now, I can't exactly PAY you for this awesomeness, but I can make you a partner! You can only imagine the demand for a website that tells people how ugly their baby is!"I've had this happen a lot; someone has no start-up money and instead of paying a designer or developer for their thing, they instead offer a partnership. I rarely, ever, ever take an offer like that because potential income isn't going to pay my definite bills. If something looks insanely promising or if you believe in the cause then by all means go ahead. But if someone in vague or just has a lousy idea, don't go for it.
2. They want someone "fresh from school".
"Hey there! We want the most amazing fashion designers possible to create designs for our new line of t-shirts! We want someone just fresh out of school who's hungry for work! Just someone who can't wait to explode with the best designs ever because they went to school and are just so darn fresh! So what if we expect you to work long hours and do the work of 3 other people we laid off? We want the best people! SCHOOL!!!!!!"Whenever I see someone stress they want someone out of school, it means one thing; They're cheap. People want cheap labor, and in this economy that make sense. I've seen a lot of people looking for a freelancer who was fresh out of college because they know that they need the real-world experience. Even in college I knew what to charge per-hour and per-job shouldn't be too low, so if you are still in school, always consider what you need to pay for your loans and if you'd rather eat Romane Noodles or at least a pizza.
3. They're TOO nice.
I had a conversation with a potential client that went like this once:
"WOW! Your work is amazing! I love it! Its the best thing EVER! WHY AREN'T YOU WORKING FOR A MAJOR COMPANY?! YOU KICK ASS! I wish I could draw like you, I can't even draw a straight line! I am unworthy of your greatness! NOT WORTHY!!!!!! ....oh, and I can't really pay you what you deserve.... BUT YOU'RE AWESOME!!!!""Kill 'em with kindness," right? I had a client try that once and they failed, miserably. First, my work is amazing, but I'm no Peter Chung (the dude who created Aeon Flux).
Second, as much as I'm glad someone is to like my work, let alone actually reach out and try to get me to create something for them, this level of praise just isn't professional. If someone compliments you, that's great, but if all they do is heap praise and barely, if at all, tell you what they want and are willing to pay, they're not worth the time. Just walk away.
4. They're not professional.
Or, at the very least, they don't TRY be professional.
In your career, you'll have clients who may not know what they want, how to properly communicate what they want and expect from you, may have poor grammar and spelling, and countless other things. So when I say "Not Professional", look at the three things I already mentioned and think about that.
Someone who is serious about getting a designer isn't going to ask for something for nothing, or next to it. Not only that, but they should be able to just plain communicate. In fact, after getting paid, COMMUNICATION is the most important thing in deciding to go with a client. The main thing is to make sure you're working with a client and not just for them. A good client is like anything else in life; there should be a little bit of give-and-take.
I was asked by someone working with the Ron Paul 2012 campaign to design a t-shirt for a Philadelphia Fund Raiser that takes place February 6th at National Mechanics. The event is being organized by Patrick Rodgers, the incredibly brilliant man who not only owns and runs Digital Ferret Records and Nocturne at Club Shampoo, but also foreclosed on a Wells Fargo branch.
The brief was simple: A 3-color design for an upcoming fundraiser that showed Ron Paul, the Liberty Bell, and the headline "Philadelphia. Liberty. The Constitution." After messing around with a few different ideas and concepts, I went with what you see here; a fairly straight-forward design with a focus on showing how presidential he is.
The shirts will be available at the Ron Paul Fundraiser in Philadelphia on February 6th at National Mechanics, which starts at 6:30PM. For a small donation of $20 you get access to some great food and political discussion. Oh, and you can buy this shirt while you're there, too.
Also, you can check out the piece itself on my DeviantArt account.
The photo of Ron Paul come from Gage Skidmore, who I can't thank enough!