Friday, December 14, 2012

Let it Snow With These Clipart Collections

Where I live we generally expect to have a white Christmas. Though we may not appreciate a dumping of snow at other times of year, there's something about gently falling flakes blanketing our world in a crisp monochromatic palette that is a thing of beauty.  As evening falls, lights from decorations twinkle and dance off the sparkling landscape magically transforming the mundane into a Thomas Kincade painting.

Of course with Santa not the only one who needs to travel over the holidays,  I'm always a little cautious when I think of having a white Christmas. What's pretty lying on an urban landscape can be perilous on the road.

However, it's not unheard of for us to experience the green version of the holiday, and as I write this I am looking out the window at green grass. Having checked a long-term weather forecast this morning  there seems a probability exists that Santa will not have to worry about too much snow for making his rounds this year.  A light sprinkling for Christmas would be nice. Perhaps these clipart collections of people and snow will provide a little incentive to Mother Nature:

iCLIPART.com Winter Clipart Collection

ToonClipart Snow Cartoons

ClickArtOnline Winter Illustrations

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Creating Vectors in Illustrator

Once upon a time artists, cartoonists and illustrators didn't have a lot of options for showing and selling their work.  Thanks to the world-wide web and the online graphics market they now have a chance, though admittedly it is a competitive industry, to make a living using their talent.

However, while the web-ready files still remain popular with people who have little or no experience with image editing, the demand for vector files (AI, EPS, SVG, WMF and PDF) is increasing. Anyone interested in starting out as a microstocker should know how to create them. And one of the most popular image editing softwares for doing so is Adobe Illustrator.  Below are some interesting tutorials and tips for creating vectors in AI:

gomediazine From Sketch to Vector Illustration

Snashing Magazine Sketch to Vector

ADOBE TV The Fastest Way to Create Vector Graphics With a Hand-Drawn Feel

Six Revisions Creating Vector Illustrations

noupe.com Illustrator Tutorial, Tips and Best Practices

eHow tech How to Create Vectors With Illustrator

ADOBE TV How to Create Vector Portraits With Illustrator CS4

Graphics.com Create a Vector Image in AI With Live Trace

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Collections That Say Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and Season's Greetings

I live in a small town, the kind of place where you meet the same people on your way to work,  where folks still gather to collect the gossip over morning coffee, where the barber arrives early and shovels the snow for his downtown neighbours.

And during this holiday season, it is still the kind of place where people customarily greet each other with the words, "Merry Christmas".  Well, why wouldn't they, you may ask. The thing is, I also live in a wonderful country comprised of many different cultures and religions,  Due to the 'melting pot' demographic outside my tiny community, one may as often hear "Season's Greetings" or "Happy Holidays.

It's a fact that has become somewhat of a sensitive topic for some Christians, as the "Christ" part of "Christmas" is in their words, "The Reason for the Season."  So to them, I indeed wish a very Merry Christmas.

However,  while no, in its purest form, it may not be everyone's celebration, Christmas is a beautiful holiday with a message that is significant and meaningful no matter what your culture, ethnicity and religion. It is a time of peace and goodwill, of generosity of spirit and means. It is a message to be shared.  In my opinion it is a time to extend a greeting to all, regardless of their beliefs.  So to those who don't celebrate the birth of the Christ child, to you I wish "Happy Holidays" and "Season's Greetings.

And here are some clipart collections that have them all covered:

iCLIPART.com Merry Christmas Clipart Collection

Acclaim Images Happy Holidays Clipart

Acclaim Images Merry Christmas Clipart

Acclaim Images Season's Greetings Clipart

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Tips on Framing or Composing Your Photos

I've always loved taking pictures. But it wasn't until I began working for a community newspaper that the fruits of my photographic labours actually mattered.

The thing with small-town journalists is that their strength generally lies in the writing, not the photography.  As a Libra, my mind tends to run to the artistic, rather than the intellectual. While I may have had a good eye, there was only a basic understanding of the mechanics of the camera, which certainly put a lot of pressure on the artistry part of the equation, as there was often little time to plan that perfect picture.

On-the-spot photography was obviously a big part of the business and if a photo stood out it, luck generally had played an important role.  However, there were those times when I actually had some time to set up a photo keeping in mind of course, that no one waits forever. One of the things my eye could see was that framing could make an ordinary picture a little closer to extraordinary.  Rather than clicking away, this technique, of which the rule of thirds is one aspect, is about using your artistic side to compose the shot. 

That said, understanding that it works is different than understanding how to make it work.  Some may even be a little puzzled by the concept. These informative sites will hopefully unravel any mystery and help you expertly frame your picture — before you put it on the wall:

DPS How to Compose a Photo Quickly

DPS Using Tight Framing to Create a Sense of Infinity

DPS Framing Your Shots

Man Behind Lens Framing Your Shots

Media College.com Framing

Monday, December 10, 2012

Saluting Small-Business Owners

Another work week begins.  For some, this means time spent  in the stressful environment of the corporate or cubicle world,  putting in your time for high-power executives.  Others, however, have found greater satisfaction in the independence of ownership.

Once upon a time,  small mom-and-pop businesses were abundant, dotting the commercial landscape and holding on like winter in the Snowbelt.  Now owning your own modest operation comes with many challenges that can make success difficult to attain.   While there's a certain freedom attached to building your own enterprise, making it work typically means logging long hours on your own.  With competition from the big-box stores,  a struggling economy,  small markets and the burden of shouldering the responsibility, it is sometimes easier, or sadly even necessary, to just give up.

There are many, though, who not only hang on, but thrive. They are good news for people who still like that old-time feeling of knowing the people they deal with.  Below is a photo collection to salute those with the drive and tenacity to keep going,  as well as some tips for the holiday season.

iCLIPART.com Small Business Photo Collection

Globe and Mail Holiday Season Smarts for Small Businesses