Tuesday, 12 April 2016

"History Lesson in Pictures"

"There are no innocent. There are, however, different degrees of responsibility."
Stieg Larsson, "The Girl Who Played With Fire"



At the end of the last year I got a quite noble task, namely preparing a series of illustrations related with the Baptism of Poland (2016 is the 1050th anniversary of this event). The National Centre for Culture (NCK) gave me a great deal of freedom regarding technique and subjects, with only one stipulation: "no controversial themes". When the condition "no controversial themes" was repeated for the third time during the preliminary talks, I began to ponder about what so controversial could appear there... but haven't come up with anything brilliant.



Anyway, here are some of these works. Ready for a short history lesson? Here we go!

"Unification of Tribes" - one of the main consequences of Christening of Poland was unifying few tribes and creating one land with one sovereign.

"Old Beliefs" - that's the sad one actually. Statues of ancient gods were being destroyed on a massive scale and most Slavic beliefs gone irrecoverably, as they weren't written down.

"Writing" -  Writing came to Poland along with Christian monks. Finally!


"Architecture and Art" - here on the example of St. Mary's Basilica in Kraków.

Tuesday, 2 February 2016

Miniature Houses




Studying architecture certainly has its advantages: weight loss, adaptation to a small amount of sleep, acquiring some skills in designing architectural objects etc. Today I'll focus on the third aspect: designing architectural objects.

Recently I'm designing Winterdale - a fantasy, medieval land (which means in practice that I'm preparing concepts of various miniature buildings for Printable Scenery ). 



Designs you can see below are a base for 3D modeling guys. They, in turn, are making models ready for printing on 3D printers. Honestly, I sympathize with them. I felt a little bit guilty when I was adding all the tiny, fancy details on paper. But the ultimate goal  is to give maximum fun while painting the models and to please the eye after that, right?

They are created for tabletop RPG games...or for decorating shelves. Personally I really like to watch tabletop miniatures, even if I don't have too many opportunities to play. 


That's all for now, but expect more :)


Wednesday, 27 January 2016

Motivators

As I promissed a few days ago (or maybe as I planned a few days ago ), here's the next part of the article about making plans and executing them. Acoording to my assumptions there are three factors for succeding  in realizing a plan: 
-a logical, specific and feasible plan
-motivation
-luck (or at least lack of bad luck)

Here I'll focus on the second factor - motivation. My main motivation is fear (I know, most psychologists would conclude that it's a bad motivator). It's fear of not taking full advantage of my opportunities, fear of  mediocrity, misery and wasting of the only life I have. Believe me, it's a very strong inner motivator (however I'm still quite far away from achieving my all goals). And there are also many external motivators. Here are some of them!  

MOTIVATORS HELPING IN EXECUTING YOUR PLANS:

1. Writing down plans in a notebook. It should make you feel obliged to fulfill them, right? From that point they are not elusive, unspoken thoughts, but clear and real plans.


2. Telling your friends and family about your plans (in brief, it's a hardcore version of point 1.). It may seem to be a  very effective motivator, but it's also risky, if you won't choose the right listener. Honestly, I never do that. I've got a  very personal attitude to my plans and I don't need any additional incentives in the form of a possible shame in front of  acquaintances. Furthermore many people (including my relatives and mates) tend to have an ambivalent attitude to everything exceeding mediocrity and everyday life. Thus, their reaction can be more demotivating than uplifting.


3. Writing about your not personal plans online. This is a wonderful motivator! It would be kind of unprofessional not to fulfill what has been announced in front of at least hundreds of people.  Usually I get tremendous support from people , I haven't met in person, which really fills me with energy to work.



4. Developing a personal system of rewards and punishments for respectively efficient performance of a task and failure in performing a task (I limit myself to reward system :) ). My prizes are very small, like: "you can watch an episode of your favorite TV program", "have a coffee break",  "eat a muffin", or "you can watch an episode of your favorite TV program  while drinking coffee and eating a muffin" (excellent!).


In the next few entries I'll focus on presenting my latest illustrations, so there won't be so much to read. And that's a plan! 

Monday, 25 January 2016

How to Make Plans and Stick to Them?

Are freelance jobs a good fit for scatterbrained, unorganized people, who have problems with motivating themselves to get out of bed before noon? For some strange reason I was thinking so...  and I was wrong. I'm afraid, that for those people the perfect  "occupation" is being a proud heir of a fortune. Whereas those, who want to be masters of their time but still have to earn a living, need to be able to plan and organize.

Presumably there are  very few people with a natural talent for being well-organized. Mere mortals have to prepare an action plan to evaluate, segregate and arrange individual steps for achieving their goals. 



THREE STEPS OF PLANNING:

Planning system doesn't have to be very sophisticated. I've never been good at making multi-color notes, drawing schedules on a paper bigger than me  or hanging a whole bunch of notes on a corkboard.  My method is quite simple and not very visionary. But it has one strong point - it works!*

*(at least for me)

It's based on a system of long term goals and short term goals and it can be created in a standard planner (even if my long-term goals refer to the much more distant future). At the end of such planner there is usually a place for some notes, which I use for setting long-term goals. And that's THE FIRST STEPLong term goals can be very general, like: "a stable source of income as a freelance illustrator" or "a healthier lifestyle". At first it may look like a wish list, letters to Santa Claus or a storytelling, but that's fine at this stage.


THE SECOND STEP is a closer defining of long-term goals and an attempt to transfer them into a sequence of short-term goals. It should help you to understand what your long term goals actually mean to you, for example does "a healthier lifestyle" means a better diet, more exercises, less stress or moving to a quieter place? Short-term goals should follow long-term goals and lead to achieving them. Let's say that to have "a stable source of income" you plan to establish cooperation with a few book publishers. Simplifying for the blog's purposes, the plan could look like this:


1 Creating a relevant portfolio.

2 Making a contact list of various publishers.

3 Preparing your own branding.


These actions can be loosely written on a separate page dedicated to a specific  month.


THE THIRD STEP involves dividing issues from the previous step into specific actions, estimating the time required to perform them and assigning them to specific days (and even hours) in a planner.


Regarding 1: Six children illustrations - one every two weeks. Estimated time - three months.

Regarding 2: Estimated time-a week (assuming, that you have other daily responsibilities).

Regarding 3: Building a website, sorting sample illustrations, preparing CV, resume and cover letters in a consistent style. Estimated time - two weeks.


That's how a vague idea of "having a stable income source" starts to take a clearer shape in a realistic time frame.



ADDITIONAL LOOSE TIPS:

1. It's easier to forget about writing an email than about drawing something, so I mark  all the tasks related with contacting people with "!".


2. After completing a task I mark it with "+" . If the task hasn't been completed, then... well, it shall be crossed out and moved to another day. It may seem that I have quite long delays, but I don't because:


3. I make plans for only 5 days/week. However, if some of my tasks haven't been completed on initially planned time, I tend to work also on weekends. It could lead to workaholism, unless:


4. I reserve some time for relaxing activities, like "10.00pm.-Midnight - reading a book" or Saturday 10.00am.-1.00pm.-a long walk + lunch in the park.


5. It's a good practice to have your planner/notebook with you. All the ideas for drawings can be written down in it as soon as they appear. From time to time (once every 3-4 months) I browse through these ideas to check, if they still seem so splendid as when I was writing them down.



Formulating a plan is one thing. The other thing is motivation to execute it. It would be an extremely long article, so MOTIVATORS HELIPING IN EXECUTING YOUR PLANS will be described later on this week.