Saturday, July 31, 2010

Inspiration in St Albans

This weekend is your last chance to purchase a piece of art from the St Albans Art Society exhibition at the Baptist Church Hall in Dagnall Street. The little doodle in my sketchbook was inspired by my favourite painting in the exhibition. Regrettably I can't remember the artists's name but I think I spotted a gem in the racks of unframed paintings. It was a haunting Italian landscape and the artist was asking a laughably low price for the piece. Also this year there is a new prize – the St Albans trophy – which is awarded to the work judged to best capture the distinctive character of St Albans in an original way. So there are several paintings of local landmarks and scenes, if you’re looking for a piece of inexpensive original art that connects to the lovely place we live in.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Tips on designing Annual Reports and Accounts – No 1


This is going to be an occasional series where I write about something I wish somebody had suggested to me when I started out as a graphic designer. One of the jobs I’ve been busy with over the last month has been designing an annual report and accounts. For any of you that have worked on this type of long document, where there can be numerous changes by many different people, you’ll know how important it is that people are working on the same and most recent version of the document. What I’ve found works for me is to create a simple little post-it note (a coloured rectangle with a drop shadow usually does the job) – choose a colour for the note that contrasts with your design so that there is no confusion that it’s part of the design. Find an area of white space on your master pages – in a perfect bound document there's often some space in the gutters – and paste the post-it note onto its own layer at the top and type the version number and the date onto the post-it note. Every time corrections come in and a new version needs to be created, the first thing you need to do is save your document with a new version number and then change the version number and the date on the post-it notes in the master pages. This means that different people making contributions to a document can refer to version number and know that they're looking at the same version. It means that there’s no chance that someone accidentally labours over a print-out of a much earlier version. While you're working on the document you can switch off the post-it notes layer if you want to see how a spread looks, but switch it back on every time you send a pdf or print-out to be approved.
Suggest to your clients that they run a sweepstake on the version number that ends up going to the printers.
Finally, once everything is approved for proofing and printing, don’t forget to turn off the post-it note layer before sending your report to the printer.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Xavier moonwalking for his granny

dancing for Granny
Xavier has been given a super trilby covered in sequins which once it’s placed on your head has a magic effect on your feet. Much better than a pair of red shoes.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Robin and Xavier sketches

I accidentally filled my pen with sepia ink that isn’t very waterproof, so there are going to be a few brown watery sketches here for a while.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Look at Xavier’s blog

Today is your last chance to visit the St Albans Art Society exhibition at the Baptist Church Hall on Dagnall Street. I’m going to be there in a couple of hours doing my stint on the desk, so say hello if you read my blog.

This morning I’ve been giving my son Xavier a photoshop tutorial. He’s created some wonderful comic pages completely unsupervised. All I’ve done today is to show him how to scan his drawings, improve them in photoshop, add colour and then post to his blog. Do take a look at Xavier’s Artblog and encourage our young artist.
Which also leads me to another point – if you’re a local artist or illustrator and would like some personal tuition on how to use your scanner and Photoshop to enable you to present your work as well as possible – either to produce limited edition giclée prints or for putting onto the web, I’m happy to quote for a session either at my studio or yours. My contact details can all be found on my business website Julie Oakley Design.

Oops – just discovered the exhibition continues ’til next weekend – so a bit more time to see the art and snap up a bargain.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Canoeing up the Thames

A wonderful day canoeing from Kew Bridge to Chelsea and back. Robin did all the hard work while I sketched. A lunch stop at a Carluccio's. Arriving back at Kew bridge the sight of the beautiful mishmash of gorgeous houses and pretty cottages glowing in the low summer sun, people enjoying a drink outside the pubs, babies being pushed in pushchairs, men fishing in the river – it was like a film set and something that I won’t forget.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Train men re-visited


Monday, July 12, 2010

More barbecue people

Apologies to the model on the right for making him look much older than he is in real life. Take a look at my family portrait blog to appreciate it isn’t personal – just the inconsistent drawing ability of the artist.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Sandridge Scouts’ barbecue and quiz evening

My seven year old son, Xavier, is very lucky to be a member of a Scout group who have their scout hut on the edge of the local bluebell wood – so a great location for doing all kinds of woodcraft activities. Once a year all the parents, children and supporters have a great evening in the scout hut grounds having a barbecue, quiz evening and all-round fun.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Lovely films

I’m not a great lover of music and noise coming out of my computer as I’m often trying to work or I don’t want to wake the neighbours – so I don’t spend much time perusing the productions of youtube and vimeo. However, if you feel like, me it’s really worth making an exception for Lucy Pepper. Delightful, funny, hand drawn animations and here’s one to whet your appetite.

Sunday, July 04, 2010

Sheffield visit

On Friday I took Tom to visit Sheffield university. It’s his back up in case he doesn’t get the grades for his first choice. If the name ‘Sheffield’ makes you think of dismal dark satanic mills, then think again. It’s a beautiful city and a place where Tom woud be very happy to spend three years living and studying.