Friday, March 14, 2014

How-tos for St. Patrick's Day Projects

First there is the weekend, two days to recharge and catchup. And for many the extra energy will be needed, as on Monday everyone Irish and those who wish they were,  celebrate St. Patrick's Day. Everywhere, over the course of the next few days, images of shamrocks and leprechauns will be rampant and green will become everyone's favourite colour.

With toes set tappin' at the first toot of a tin whistle, with eyes that well at the first strains of Danny Boy, I've always harboured the suspicion that in a previous life I was Irish.  I see myself spinning yarn on a picturesque hillside accompanied by (for some strange reason) the haunting melody of a Celtic harp.

Yet, when it comes to honouring the March 17 event, I seem to lack the necessary imagination to bring the magic of Ireland to the occasion. Any decorating would consist of store-bought paraphernalia; any messages sent would contain purchased illustrations.

I thought therefore that it might be fun to find some tutorials that would help me create my very own projects. These websites offer some great suggestions for marking winter's last celebration.

Create a St. Patrick's Day Postcard in Illustrator

Make a Celtic Knot Border in Illustrator

Design a St. Patrick's Day Logo Inside a Flyer

Create Your Own Leprechaun

Create a Leprechaun's Shoe

Turn a Beer Green

Leprechaun Hat With Shamrock

Beer Text

Thursday, March 13, 2014

What Image Style Best Convey's a Cat's Mystique?

I'm not a cat person. And when it comes to illustrations my eye doesn't typically favour a silhouette. There are, however, many people who love the former and times when your project quite simply would be more greatly enhanced by the simplistic, times when a silhouette is the only right choice.

It was just the other day that I happened on this image of a cat reaching for a butterfly and in an instant found it absolutely charming. Given my ambivalence to both subject and style, this came as a surprise.

But, it dawned on me then, that when it comes to the graceful feline, a monochromatic illustration lends itself well to the animal's mystique. Probably with no other subject does a silhouette convey as much charisma. And there's no mistaking this is a very cute illustration to boot.

I decided therefore to do a little pussyfooting (so, sorry) around the net and see what kind of cat silhouettes I could find. Some of the illustrations had keyword issues that brought a few non-silhouettes into the mix, but below are the results. Some great images for sure.

iCLIPART.com Cat Silhouettes

Clipart.com Cat Silhouettes

ClipartGuide Cat Silhouettes

ClickArt Online Cat Silhouettes

Acclaim Images Cat Silhouettes


Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Terrific Photoshop Tutorials for Spring

“Thoughts become things. Choose the good ones!”  — Mike Dooley

Motivational types, such  as the author of Infinite Possibilities quoted above, will tell you that there is power in positive thinking. Simply ridding the mind of all negativity, they say, will send good things your way. Thinking optimistically, they promise, will have your days filling with sunshine.

Well, okay. I am taking them at their word. No more negative thoughts about winter not leaving, but instead I will focus positively on its most certain demise.  As for thinking optimistically, well I'm thinking plenty about days full of sunshine, you can be assured of that.

The word 'spring' runs through my mind with regularity. I am busily planning the day for packing away the drab and dreary duds of winter, the weekends and nights to fling open windows and attack the necessary freshening clean.  I'm perusing gardening books and sites for ideas on this year's plantings, magazines and stores for colourful spring fashions for which my soon- to-be-cleared closets will be begging.

Even when it comes to creativity, all thoughts shall be focussed these days on spring. In search of some fun Photoshop projects to inspire the season's arrival I found these terrific tutorials:

Turn a Photo in a Nature-Inspired Illustration

Spectacular Grass Text Effect

Make a Magical Forest

Super Easy Flower Text Effect

Glass Tomatoes

Adding Sunlight Through Trees

Create Soft Flowing Waterfalls

Magical Forest Photo

Create a Green Planet

Create an Awesome Grass Texture

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Waiting for a Sighting

One of the things that brings me hope for Spring's imminent arrival is my first robin sighting. I'm usually the last to see one, so I know that green grass and beautiful blooms will not be far behind.

However, as we head into mid-March, with sub-zero temperatures forecasted for later this week, and five-foot tall snowbanks remaining, these feathered harbingers of seasonal rebirth and renewal might take a bit of time yet before bringing us their morning melody.

It is one of the pleasures of my day to sit out on the deck in the warmer seasons and listen to the birds. The raspy whistle of an oriole and slurred tune of the cardinal are spirited songs for a hot summer day. The teasing cry of the chickadee, the robin's morning trill  are musical interludes in the morning quiet.

I like, too, watching their busyness as they flit and fly, perch and poke, joust and jig through their routine of nesting, hunting and gathering.

In anticipation, therefore, of the robin's can't-come-soon-enough-for-me arrival, I have scouted out some awesome illustrations of all our feathered friends.

iCLIPART.com Bird Clipart

Clipart.com Bird Illustrations

AnimationFactory Bird Animations

Acclaim Images Bird Illustrations

Monday, March 10, 2014

Saint Patrick's Day Animations

In one week we will be celebrating Saint Patrick's Day.  It will be bringing out the green — clothes, ribbons and beer. For the Irish, it's a cultural and religious holiday. For the rest of us, it's an excuse to shed our winter doldrums, dance a jig and think about Spring.

Saint Patrick's Day, to my point of view, just might be the happiest of holidays. Though its origins commemorate Saint Patrick and the arrival of Christianity in Ireland, though its symbol— the shamrock — is believed to have been used to explain the Holy Trinity to pagans, March 17 in cities world wide today is an occasion for festivals and parades.   With the Lenten restrictions on food and drink lifted for the day,  Saint Patrick's celebrations are always a party.

The mystical magic of Ireland factors in as well with images of leprechauns, rainbows and pots of gold. These delightful animations then are perfect for your Saint Patrick's Day needs bringing all the fun and life to this cultural celebration:

AnimationFactory Saint Patrick's Day Animations