Cara Ord Create

Interview with Susann Hoffmann | Inspiring Illustrators

Inspiring IllustratorsCara OrdComment

Hello Susann, Thank you so much for taking time to talk to us today about all your beautiful creative work. You are a very talented illustrator with a unique style which captivates the eye. How did you find your ‘voice’ in illustration, that makes your work specially yours?

Thank you so much for reaching out (and for the compliments!), happy to have found your blog! It’s so funny that you mention “my style” because for the longest time, I was sure I didn’t have one. Up to three years ago I found myself copying illustrators whose style I admired, but apart from feeling bad about it, I didn’t feel like it was “me” – it was a lot of pencil work and very reduced colour. 

In 2017, I saw people on Instagram using paint markers in their sketchbooks and I was captivated by the vibrant colours and the smooth surfaces that made the drawings seem like printed artworks. Usually I would never say that a medium defines your style, but I think for me it did change something. I started doodling, not thinking too much about what I wanted to draw but merely playing with those colours, building shapes and seeing what could develop from them. Also, when working digitally before, I was SO bad with colours! The markers gave me a limited palette to work with and I just chose 4–5 colours and stuck with them for the whole illustration. That really tied my work together, I think. 

Journey to Publishing a Picture Book | Part 3

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Before you start reading, if you want to catch up on part one and two just click below.

PART 1 | PART 2

If you are all caught up let’s begin with part 3. We finished off last way back in time at university. Well now we move forward a bit and it is time for a bit of self exploration. Now it is time for ‘The Elephant Who Forgot What He Was’. This is a beautiful poem I found online by Christopher Ronald Jones (if you are reading Chris please let me know what you think of my adaptation, would love to get in touch). I had decided after illustrating an Australian classic it was time to dip my toes into the water of children’s poetry, and see what my imagination came up with.

This little project took me about a month to develop from concept to completion and is still one of my favourite personal projects to date.

It started like all good picture books do, with a pinch of reading, a dash of pagination and a big dollop of story boarding. I spent about a week figuring out the layout of this 32 page pipe dream and then off I went full steam ahead into the fun of character design and creating an aesthetic for this sweet little story.

Constant Growth is the Gateway to Success

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I have recently had birthday. Another journey around the sun and it has made me quite reflective on how I got to where I am in my life. To an outsider I am successful, I have a strong professional presence in design, illustration and performance, a good social life, loving husband and positive outlook for the future. People describe me as “lucky”, but luck has nothing to do with where I am or any accomplishment I may have made. Everything I have was built through constant learning, trial and error and lots and lots of work (and it was nurtured by the love and support of those I chose to surround myself with).

Luck, in my opinion is the hope of the lazy, for if luck exists, what is the need for hard work. I am not going to lie to you and say that if you sit just as you are some day your prince will come, your life will change, that some one will hand you the keys to the kingdom and as if by magic you will have everything you have desired. Unfortunately, this is not the case. If you have goals, passions and desires then my only suggestion to you is to work hard and be diligent and this will give you the greatest chance to be successful in your endeavours.

Now this is a pretty vague piece of advice, ‘work hard and you will be rewarded’. However it has never failed me, even when the ‘reward’ came in a form which was completely unexpected or planned.

So below I have listed some steps you can take to grow your talents, and make your own ‘luck.

Interview with Melissa Castrillion | Inspiring Illustrators

Inspiring IllustratorsCara OrdComment

Hello Melissa, I am honoured to be able to chat with you. I have followed your work for quite a while now and I am so thrilled to see you are have just released a new book which you have not only illustrated but written as well, this is such an exciting step in an already well established career. Can you tell us a bit about the book?

Hi Cara! Thank you so much for featuring on your blog and in this wonderful project :) Mighty Min is my first authored & illustrated book and it is a story I feel that I have had inside me since I was a child. I’ve always been fascinated by miniature worlds and the thought of small people living below our feet - I loved books such as ‘The burrowers’ when I was younger and it definitely inspired this story.

‘Mighty Min’ is about a miniature girl called Min who lives with her 4 equally miniature but very mighty aunts. Min dreams of being strong and brave like her aunts and one day she gets swept up by an owl and she finds herself on a mighty adventure where she discovers that just because she is small doesn't mean she's not brave & heroic.

The book has been described as ‘a Thumbelina for the 21st century’ which I think describes it well.

Something Personal

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One of my favourite things to do as a creative is illustrate and I really want to share this passion with you. Art is such a precious gift and personal experience and I want to give you the opportunity to have your own personalise illustration. Whether it be a pet portrait, a family drawing, or a little book to tell someone you love them, I want to create something for you that is uniquely yours and no one else’s. As such I am opening up illustration commissions on my store. 

Time to grab some fresh designs

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This year is a year of new a great changes for co.create and one of the biggest which has been in the works is the opening of my very own online store now you can purchase the artwork that you love to display in your home, and while you are out and about.

Every month there will be a new collection released of 5 artworks and patterns, with new stand alone products popping up in between.

I am partnering with Society6 for this venture so you can access a wide range of high quality products, from a trusted and premium source. Currently available on the store is everything from art prints to phone cases, t-shirts and bags and even some furniture.

The beauty of the internet, and collaboration.

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Today you can do anything online order food, get a lift, buy anything and everything and you can also communicate with anyone from anywhere in the world. We spend so much of our time on the internet we grow an identity on the platform, we live there. With the thousands of uses for this fantastic tool it surprises me why people don’t utilise more often for work and have scepticism of remote employees when everyone is so accessible.

As a designer I have worked in-house, studio freelance and remote and at first it surprised me how little my work process changed. I became quickly aware that I can do my job at exactly the same standard from anywhere, and that having the freedom to be anywhere actually made my work better and gave me more resources to my disposal to make things happen. 

Get the Design Quality you Deserve

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There seems to be an ever growing myth that design is easy, with more and more digital programmes and apps now available on the market more and more people are taking it into their own hands to “whip up” designs for their brand, business and community. But before you jump down this rabbit hole I want you to stop and think about the potential damage you could be doing to your brand, and how a damaged brand could impact your lively hood.

It is true, anyone can design, with the proper tools and training, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that they will be good at it. Design is not just combining images, colour, typography and text into a visual product, design is problem solving, it is about more than just aesthetic. It is due to this that I implore you to consult a professional when endeavouring on creating assets for your business or developing your brand.

Create a Portfolio that gets you hired

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A designers biggest tool to get hired is their portfolio. It is your first impression and can make or break your chance of getting a job.

The difference between a good and bad portfolio can be subtle and I want to help you make yourself as hireable as you can. Every creative has unique skills, and a talent which is gold for the right career. I want to help you highlight your assets and market yourself to get your dream job in your industry. 

5 tips to make your designer love you and avoid extra work and expenses

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I have been a designer for several years and have worked with a huge range of clients, from brides to big corporate business, I have dipped my two into projects of all sizes. Some projects went amazingly well, the client was happy, I’m happy, it’s on deadline with no problems. Then there were others which were to say the least... problematic.

I really do care about my clients and the work that I do. I don’t want anyone to have a bad experience, but sometimes things get out of my control, frustrations come along and the project begins to suffer because of it. 

I have learnt a lot about client relations and project management and can pretty much deal with anything that comes my way. 

So I thought I would help you out with some simple tips to make sure your projects run like clockwork and keep your designer happy so they produce the best work they can for you. 

The Benefits of Remote work for you and your employer

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As a designer I have worked in a multitude of environments, from corporate offices, to boutique studios and large commercial business. Each place I have worked I have been seated at a desk, put in with the marketing crowd and done a 9-5 job. I enjoy going into an office and doing the hard yards, talking with the team and having a physical presence.

However over the past couple years I have expanded as a designer to become a freelancer and remote worker, being able to work at any time from anywhere and, I have to say, that this has not had a negative impact on my work at all. In fact it has made me a more dedicated and hard working employee.

Using your sketchbook to up your skills

illustrationCara Ord

I am a professional designer, illustrator and artist and the one thing I can tell you about a career in the creative field is that you never stop learning. Whether you have to fast track your learning of new programs and trend styles constantly updating in your field or learning entirely new skills all together, it is a never ending process of self education which takes a deep commitment and consistency to make sure you always stay at the top of your game.

The best tool I have found to help me along the way in my career is my sketchbook. It is a dedicated personal space designed for growth, emerged in the visual culture which my career and way of thinking revolves around.

Journey to publishing a picture book | part 2

illustrationCara Ord

So as I said in a previous post. My love of books runs deep and I hope to publish a children’s book before I am thirty (or even twenty five… but let’s be realistic). My first step into the world of children’s publishing happened at university doing a class assignment to, well, illustrate a children’s book.

For this task I chose the below poem, an old famous Australian piece from 1889 by Banjo Patterson.

The Beauty of Letters

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Words are beautiful and complex things. A random collection of letters conveying unique meanings with each reassembly. I love the art of writing and reading the work of those which are so much more eloquent than I am.

I may not be a beautiful wordsmith but I do love the art of letters and the visual appeal of good typography and calligraphy. 

As a designer I work in typography, arranging texts and creating appealing and readable products for clients. From brochures, business cards and ebooks to websites and magazines. Typography is such a vital part of all design and should be carefully considered and taken care of. I take the readability and presentation of text as one of the most important aspects of all design and work with my clients to highlight their most important message and add to the quality of their words.

Learn to draw with me

illustrationCara Ord

it took me a lot of time and practice to become the professional designer and illustrator I am today. I have drawn and doodles since I could hold a pencil and my favourite thing to do is bring my ideas to life visually. I want to share my passion with you.

Maybe you want a new hobby, or are a beginner who doesn’t know where to start, or like me you have dreamed eternally of making a career of you art (hang in there, it is possible, it is how I live my life now!). I want to help all of you out with whatever goals you have. I have always had a fondness for teaching a loveto share what I know. Life is a continuous thread of learning and teaching. 

The wonderful platform of Skillshare has given me the outlet I need to be able to help you grow your passions and enhance your skills in illustration and design. As such I am so excited to announce my newest class to you.  How to draw a face.   This class takes you through step by step the process of drawing a portrait while also being filled with endless tips and advice on drawing in general. Learn all about measurement, guides, shading and how to draw each individual feature of a face. Learn to draw a face from multiple angles and how to apply what you have learned on a wide range of different people and characters. This is the most comprehensive class I have made yet with more than 2 hours of content which I am so excited to share with you. Find the class here

Better yet if you head to my Skillshare profile you will see I have a whole suite of classes based in illustration and design to help you learn and enhance your creative skills. 

I hope to see you in one of my classes, please stay in touch and email me (using the below form) with any questions you may have or any topics you want to learn.

and as it is an important day here in Australia, Happy ANZAC day, lest we forget. 

new class

new class

Journey to publishing a picture book | part 1

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A few of you reading this may know a bit about me, or even know me personally, and if you do you would know that even though I am an established and confident designer, my current goal in life is to work with books as a designer and illustrator, and further to publish my own children’s book.

It is here in this series of blogs that I will chronicle my journey to the conclusion of a published book. 

The first thing we should discuss is my why.

Why do I want to publish a children’s book?

I do not have children (yet) to share my stories with and I don’t remember reading as a child. But I wish I did. I am an avid reader and bibliophile, but this didn’t really come about till mid way through high school for me (around 9th grade for non-Australian readers). I discovered reading quietly on my own, I am a slow reader and was shy to admit to my book obsessed friends that I enjoyed books too because it would take me a month to read one when they had read 10. I even got shamed in front of my english class by my teacher because I was reading our assigned book too slowly, apparently reading every night wasn’t enough for her. But I have gotten off topic. The reason I want to write and illustrate books for children is because I believe reading in a vital happiness in life and I want to help young readers discover this as early as possible and not be like me in their mid twenties returning to famous children’s and middle grade books to read them, because I had missed out on them in my youth and want to know what the fuss was about.

Even though I am an adult, I have a guilty pleasure for collecting beautifully illustrated children’s books. From Shaun Tan to Oliver Jeffers, I have a collection any child or mother would envy. I love the world and colours that come in children’s books and the level of imagination that they trigger.

My journey into children’s publication started 3 or so years ago at university when I was assigned to illustrate a book. I fell in love instantly. I had decided that apparently the task of illustrating an entire book wasn’t challenging enough and thought I would also teach myself to use a new medium at the same time. This is when my little university project of ‘Clancy of the Overflow’ came into being.

A collection of the original paintings used in creating the book.

A collection of the original paintings used in creating the book.

As you can see from the pictures I illustrated the book through acrylic paint on art board. the whole book was around 32 pages and it was a broken up version of the famous Australian poem, ‘Clancy of the Overflow’. The whole process from story boarding to finished product took a semester to complete and I learnt so much along the way. I learned more from making mistakes then my class curriculum but that is what life is all about, mistakes help us improve for the next time.

In the following blog I will go through my entire process from start to finish of that first book. The first of three (and a half) I have currently illustrated.

I hope you can join me as I continue this journey of learning and art as I make my way to a published children’s book.

I invite you to comment and question and share advice on this blog for me and for others. I know I am not the only person on this journey and I hope we can all grow together to get to our goals.

 

Running your own Business | 5 tips to help your business thrive while keeping a healthy mindset

designCara Ord

Often when you run a business it is your baby. It is personal. Anything that happens to your business directly impacts you and so you feel like it is part of you, an integral part. Being a small business owner myself I understand this feeling, but don't get trapped. Yes; your business, how it runs and whether it thrives effects your livelihood and income. However it is not you. A bad review of your business should not feel like a personal stab. In reverse a personal crisis should not impact your business (with the exception of emergency changes in open hours). 

Running your own business. Make sure you keep a clear definition of what is personal and what is professional.

Self employed and entrepreneurs are abundant and passionate but often fall into the trap of being too emotionally invested. This often leading to the detriment of them and/or their work. Although it is definitely not all that is needed a good rule for success is not getting too attached. A business is a job and should be run efficiently and diligently. Being too emotional in it's workings can lead to poor decisions and the slow inevitable road to ruin. 

Do not consider your work as a part of you or as a friend or baby, it is a business partnership (literally). No matter what your business is, whether it is an Etsy shop for craft ware, a personal training company or a parts supplier, the same rule applies. Logic wins over sentiment.

Now to clarify I am not talking about changing your brand. If you brand is all about being close and personal with your clients and being 'like' a family figure then that is great, but your brand is the face of your business and shouldn't be your personal persona 24/7. I am talking about cutting emotional ties with your work. It is not only poor work practice but negative for your health.

Being too emotionally invested in your work and business can cause major stress and can be a trigger for anxiety and depression. You cannot keep all your eggs in one basket. A business is there for financial support and as an expression of passion, you cannot also use it as an emotional crutch or replacement for a life and relationships. Lead a balanced life. For your business to prosper it cannot be everything to you. For it to work it needs to have the opportunity of failure without ruining your life.

I am a work-a-holic, I know what I am talking about. I have been career minded since high school and I used to get my sense of pride and worth from work. I would for go relationships and friendships because I didn't think I needed it and the only way I felt successful is if I was over worked because then I knew I had given my all. This is such an unhealthy way to live. Although i didn't know that at the time.

So how did I get myself to flick the switch and get out of this unhealthy situation before it was too late? Well I didn't. I was stressed, overworked, started pulling all nighters and became a sufferer of anxiety and depression. It sucked. Only once I hit my low did I realise what I was doing wrong. By this point I did have a relationship (with my now husband) and he was the blessing which helped me most on getting back on track. But here are a few tips for helping you seperate your emotional dependance from your work or business before it becomes too late, tips to help you lead a healthy balanced life while being the super human you are making your business work.

  1. Have someone to make you accountable - now family is great for this but they can be too close. I recommend having a great group of out of work friends to go to where you can let out some steam and get advice as well as let down your hair with. Now introverts like me may be balking at the idea of socialising, I understand the pain. However it isn't hard. If you don't have one or a couple friends out of work, join a club or do classes for something you love. In a structured environment it is ten times easier to hit it off with someone and that way you will have dedicated time once a week to be social and catch up.

  2. Exercise daily - Now before I start sounding like a life guru or a personal trainer (which I am not) I am talking about light exercise. The kind which simply gets you out of your chair, your office, your shop and gets you moving. I take walks every morning before I get down to business and it helps to calm my mind, and most importantly seperate my ‘me time’ from my ‘work time’ giving me a healthy transition task to do before I get into my email inbox.

  3. Do not be your brand - I sort of touched on this earlier. But it is so important that you are not the brand of your business. I talk about Brand in my free ebook which you can grab here. You and your business are both individual personalities. Your brand/business does not have opinions like you do, no political/religious sway, it does not favour the food you do, do it's hair like your or like the same music. Your brand does not hit snooze, or read the books you do or go shopping. Your brand is not you so don't make yourself your brand. Your brand is the face of your business, you're its spokesperson, make sure that you make a definitive separation between the two (especially if you have employees). If you need help with your brand and making it work for you let me know, we can chat using the form below.

  4. Schedule - it is so, so easy to make your business a 24/7 thing. Having your email right there on your phone and everything literally a hands stretch away can make it so easy for you to work work work. This is why it is so important to schedule your time. Running your own business gives you freedom to live how you want to, it is not a license to work all the time. Schedule out when you want to work and your me time. This could be setting a simple 9-5 schedule for yourself or be more complex and having 4 hours of work split throughout the day, 7 days a week. Whatever you decide make a work schedule and stick to it so you have the opportunity to let yourself switch off.

  5. Make sure you have a hobby which isn't work - I am the type of person which seems to turn all of her hobbies and passions into careers; design, illustration even iceskating have all become jobs for me. My advice is to have one hobby that will never be a job. At the moment for me this is reading, and in the future when I work with books (as an illustrator/designer) it will be knitting (I am so bad at it I know I can never make a career out of this hobby). Have something you can do that you can relax with and you don't have to do as part of work.

I hope my little bit of advice can help you relax. Please seperate yourself and your business. Your business cannot be everything for you, it is an impossible task, and you can't be everything for your business. Have fun and enjoy life. That is why you started this venture in the first place isn't it?

Till next week,
Cara

What is graphic design

designCara Ord

many people I come by, when they first find out I am a designer think I mean interior design. When I mention that I mean graphic design they quickly get confused or lose interest. People either think I doodle for a living or make websites. Graphic design is so much bigger than that.

so… what is graphic design?

Graphic design in short is visual problem solving. It goes over a wide range of medium from print to digital and umbrellas a large range of skillsets. When someone says they are a graphic designer they are giving you a broad and easy context into what they actual do. A designer can be a coder, book designer, typographer, content creator, social media specialist, interactive designer, video editor, the list goes on. I am proud to say I am a graphic designer and I do multiple of the listed trades (to know more on that check out the services listed blogs). 

This is an example of graphic design. A very simple piece created for social media. The problem solved here is creatively ask a question to attract a response.

This is an example of graphic design. A very simple piece created for social media. The problem solved here is creatively ask a question to attract a response.

I label myself as a designer and illustrator and again this confuses people. Can’t all designers draw? The answer is actually no. You don’t have to be able to draw to design, you just need a good aesthetic mind and visual language. Illustration is a completely seperate skill set. Many designers can be illustrators but they are not one in the same thing.

Illustration is the use of drawing and artistic techniques to tell a story through imagery. My personal preferred mediums are watercolour, acrylic, pencil and digital illustration. It is such a diverse field there are literally hundreds of ways to illustrate and I love exploring the captivating beauty of each individual artists take on the world. I follow many illustrators and I am lucky enough to have interviewed some great talents, you can see these in the inspiring illustrators tab beside.

A quick illustration depicting sea creatures I found at the aquarium.

A quick illustration depicting sea creatures I found at the aquarium.

I hope that this short blog helped you learn what graphic design is and distinguish between design and illustration. It is important you find the right person for the job (as not all people can do both). Design is using visual aesthetic to problem solve and illustration is using drawing and pictures to tell a story.

If you have problem that requires a multi-disciplinary solution of illustration and design try seeking out a multi-disciplinary designer like myself or contacting an agency to match you with the talents you need.

I hope you have a good week and I will see you in the next blog.

Happy Easter.