Friday, February 13, 2015

Images for the Superstitious This Friday the 13th

Today is Friday the 13th. An unlucky day if you believe in that type of thing. 

According to history, it's a relatively new superstition only gaining in popularity during the past century and no one really knows for sure how it came about. One connection that has been made is based on Christianity. Friday was the day of Jesus' crucifixion and there were 13 people present at the Last Supper.

That number at the dinner table has long been an issue for my 94-year-old mother. Many a time at family meals she has refused to sit because it would bring the total doing so to 13 which would bring death to one, she says.  There's no way to convince her that she's being a bit foolish. Better safe than sorry is her tenet.

Mom uses that principle in regards to a lot of other superstitions too, from walking under a ladder to tossing  salt over her shoulder after knocking over the shaker.  These are superstitions that simply say we are leaving nothing to chance. Others, however, can be frightening to believers as they are beyond their control. For example, a bird hitting a window Mom sees as a portent of death. Nothing can be done to stop it from happening to her mind. Despite the fact that it happens often with no tragedy, the unfortunate one or two times it has coincidentally occurred is all the proof she needs.

The majority of people see superstition for what it is — a behaviour in which we have all at one time or another participated, whether we were aware or not.  We dodge the black cat. We knock on wood. We play the eight ball. We wish on a falling star. We cross our fingers. We check our horoscopes.  And we do most of it for no other reason than it gives us the creation of a certainty, however, false.  We really just want that feeling that we do have some control.

So for all of us superstitious folks this Friday the 13th here's an image collection from Clipart.com that everyone should enjoy. Touch wood.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Adobe Illustrator Tips for Beginners

Working in a Photoshop environment for 20 years, never dealing with vector files, the needs of our weekly publication well served by JPGs,  it wasn't until six years ago that I'd even heard of Adobe Illustrator. Please know that this revelation is made with red cheeks.  Content in knowing what I knew and not needing to know more, I admit abashedly that I let myself become inhibited about advancing my image editing knowledge.

Then a change of career came and I was flung from my comfort zone into a world of images, photos and illustrations — a  place where I needed to at least familiarize myself with a lot of different things, including AI.  A believer that old dogs can learn new tricks, albeit perhaps with trepidation, I introduced myself to the program and while I can't say we have become well acquainted, we do enjoy spending time together on occasion. 

It's no surprise, really, given that the first task I took on was to remove a background from an EPS file, which, as everyone knows requires nothing more than the click of a mouse on a layer. "Illustrator,"  I mused, "where have you been all my life?"  From that moment on I knew that while I might never become proficient with AI,  I would  be happy to know what I know and use it when I needed it.

I also know that when it comes to being a novice at these things I'm not alone. So in order to help out other people trying educate themselves about the wonders of Adobe Illustrator I scoped out some tutorials for beginners. Here are some of the results:

Top 11 Tips for Adobe Illustrator Beginners

20 Basic Illustrator Tutorials Every Beginner Should See

The Complete Beginner's Guide to Illustrator

Get Started With Adobe Illustrator

50 All-Time Best Illustrator Tutorials for Beginners

30 Easy Adobe Illustrator Tutorials

Illustrator 101

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Heart and Stroke Month Photos

Two people arrived at my front door last weekend, reminding me that when it comes to matters of the heart this month, there's more to this month than Valentine's Day.

February is Heart and Stroke Month and canvassers are moving through neighbourhoods collecting donations to help fund cardiovascular illness research.  Where I live, in Canada, someone dies from heart disease or stroke every seven minutes according to a 2011 report.  That reality is staggering to me. 

Yet, not surprising. I can't imagine a family anywhere that hasn't been touched by heart disease.  Obviously with aged parents, I've had my share of worries over this. But it was an unexpected branch of the family tree that has suffered most significantly after being struck by a heart attack.

My sister-in-law, the wife of my only brother, was a relatively healthy 55-year-old. She attended exercise classes, lived in a house with plenty of stairs, ate lean meats and vegetables, and, though she did enjoy her wine, had never smoked.  In the hospital one day for a routine stress test, she suffered her first massive heart attack. Since then she has battled through other attacks as well as several surgeries including bi-pass and the installing of a pacemaker.  We worry about her always.


In honour then of the Heart and Stroke campaign I have gathered some medical photos with a focus on this particular illness from iPHOTOS.com, Clipart.com and Acclaim Images

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

4,670 Valentine Illustrations for Grown-ups

I had a dream last night. A pleasant one. It was all about love, specifically that first intense wave of feeling when you know someone is the one, when leaving them is about as difficult as  leaving a warm fire to go outside on a cold winter day. Made me feel all warm and fuzzy when I woke up.

For long-married couples such as my husband and I, love matures into a strong, comfortable emotion. A successful relationship is an amalgam of thought, emotions and feelings that include passion, compatibility, faithfulness, friendship, desire, need, caring, loyalty and devotion. The crazy intensity of new love, however, has long dissipated. so it was kind of fun to feel it again for a brief bit of time in my subconscious the other night.

That the dream came at this time of year is not particularly surprising given that I've been spending the past couple of days trying to figure out what one does to make this Valentine's Day special for someone you've loved as long as you can remember. My hubby and I aren't the kind of people who make a big deal out of  Feb. 14, but we do like to acknowledge it in what I think is a grown-up approach.  After all, in our three decades and a bit together we have come through good and bad more in love than when that first intense wave of feeling hit oh those many years ago. That's worth celebrating.

Why ignore a day that celebrates what many others have failed to achieve? Romance, after all, is good for everyone, providing the setting to focus on what made you fall in love in the first place.

So with four days remaining before Valentine's Day arrives, here are some great illustrations from iCLIPART.com that celebrate love and romance — grown-up style:

Monday, February 9, 2015

Thousands of Illustrations for Spring

Morning for me starts early. Not so bad as some have it, but early. I drag myself from the bed in what seems like the dark of night, and by the time I have made it downstairs for breakfast after completing the ritual of getting ready, there's been little change.  It really does put one in a winter state of mind.

And yet, as I wandered around the kitchen preparing my breakfast and packing my lunch this morning, there was a moment of hope.  A pass by the calendar reminded me that we have almost made it to the halfway mark for February, meaning the month of spring is in the air.  Images of the green of Saint Patrick's Day, budding flowers, Easter eggs, robins and receding snow filtered through my mind, chasing away the gloom and cold of a dark, winter morning.

While all of those might still seem far away for most of us, for those working on spring promotions, however, the time is now.  There are lots of cheery seasonal illustrations to be found online that are perfect for advertisements, brochures, flyers, etc.  Here are a few of my favourite collections:

iCLIPART.com

Clipart.com

Acclaim Images

ClipartGuide

ClickArt Online

TOONClipart