Friday, March 17, 2017

Say Spring With 130 Sunny Daffodil Images from Vital Imagery Ltd's Graphics Services

There is probably nothing in the world that says spring like the sunny daffodil.

From the first glimpse of them poking out of the soil, to the lovely hue of full bloom, these cheery yellow flowers exemplify all the good stuff about the coming season. They are among the first harbingers of the warming temperatures, the advent of colour in our gardens and a sign of rebirth and rejuvenation.

After a long, dark, dreary winter, it's exhilarating to spy the first shoots sprouting from the dark, rich soil. Once that happens, we know that within a short time petals of sunshine will open to transform the mood and spirit of the world around them.

Also, like the return of the robins, the daffodils' bloom reminds us that the days of cold and snow are mostly behind us.

There's still a bit of time to wait, of course, before the daffodils have their day. Winter hangs on and for anyone who might have doubted that, you need only have spent the past week in our corner of the world. Blustery winds, blowing snow and a chill dampness were like a collection of bratty kids showing up to ruin the day with  nasty temperament and bad behaviour.

For this reason, we are pretty tickled waking up to a morning such as today's. Just a few days before spring's highly-anticipated official arrival, it was , despite a lingering nip in the air,  an otherwise gorgeous sunny morning, topped by an invigorating blue sky with nary a cloud in sight. Today, we can feel hopeful that Old Man Winter has taken his mischievous offspring and gone away. Even knowing that he has a habit of staying at the party a bit too long, every day from here on in depletes his enthusiasm for bluster. 

Such a morning is restorative. We feel spring's imminent arrival. The heating sun is making short work of the lingering snow on the roads, while icicles melt in streams from the eaves.  We know the first daffodil buds will be popping up soon, like children eager to greet a new day.  For those tired of winter, you couldn't help but feel hopeful that it won't belong before the landscape is graced by gardens of the perky flowers.

It's little wonder that the Cancer Society chose this early bloom as the symbol for its annual campaign. Since the April kick-off is only a few weeks away, since this horrible illness has touched the lives of virtually everyone, either through the loss of a loved one or having been stricken themselves, we wanted to celebrate this emblem as a representation of hope and life.

A selection of clipart to be used in spring projects, whether promotional or personal, can be found at online services such as iCLIPART.com and Clipart.com. These provide diverse content and once you have subscribed you can be assured you are legally able to use the images and need not have any concern about viruses. Get an advanced look at the spring's blooming bit of sunshine here:

iCLIPART.com Daffodil Illustrations

Clipart Guide Daffodil Illustrations

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Free Brushes and Helpful Tutorials to Create Your Own Flourishes and Swirls

flourish (n): an act or instance of brandishing: an ostentatious display: a decoration or embellishment, especially in writing: rhetoric,  a parade of fine language; an expression used merely for effect: a trumpet call or fanfare: a condition or period of thriving.

Working in the world of images as I do, when I think of the word flourish it's with an eye to those swirls and curls used as graphic accents to add visual interest to a project.  What I've also noticed about them is that they can often be all that's needed.

One rule of thumb I've found effective throughout life is that less is indeed more. There is a minimalist approach in my decorating attempts. I don't festoon myself with chunky necklaces and scarves, being more drawn to light chains and tiny baubles. Lining my closet are clothes of solid hues; no lively prints nor crazy stripes adorn them.

This preference was further entrenched in my mindeset during two decades in journalism. Get to the point early and succinctly was the best way to ensure readers were going to actually get the point.  On the advertising side of the business, it was only good sense that the design not be so full of elements that the eye is unsure of what to take in or where to look first. Design and production staff often talked about the effective use of whitespace.  One of the most successful ads the sales manager created during his tenure was actually comprised of 90% negative, or empty, space much like the Google website design.

I've often pondered the notion that novices when designing,  might tend to over think the project. A desire to add more, to look at what's been done and feel that something is missing seems a natural tendency.  It's enlightening, therefore, to see what people with experience can do.  Our daughter, always an artistic sort who has dabbled in graphic design for some time, decided to craft the stationery for her wedding four years ago. Invitations, thank you cards, etc.,  were stylish, but simple, created with images from an online royalty-free subscription source.

One of the trickiest projects was the name cards for the dining tables. Having gone with a black-and-white theme, and given the limited space on the cards, she settled on a pretty flourish as the best, and the only necessary, decorative element.

These swirls, designed to decorate and embellish,  run the gamut of styles, from unflashy to elaborate. Regardless of which is used they undoubtedly add a touch of elegance without being overwhelming. They are ornamental without being garish, attractive without being showy.

While lovely swirls and flourishes are available on sites such as iCLIPART.com and Clipart.com it's also possible to make the design personally. Using image editors, such as Photoshop and Illustrator, you can add your own special flourish to your project. Since it's Tutorial Tuesday, here are some resources for free flourish brushes and tutorials to help you design originals:

Flourish Free Brushes (645 Free Downloads)

50 Free Swirl and Floral Brushes for Photoshop

Vector Swirls, Swooshes and Florals for Illustrator

Draw Vector Flourishes in Photoshop

How to Make Flourishes in Illustrator

Create a Flourish in Photoshop Elements

Create Custom Flourish Brushes in Photoshop

Leaves, Branches and Flourishes

Floral/Flourish Design Tutorial

Free Vectory Flourish Brushes