Why I Create Graphic Art

Written for linkage to my graphic art page on my website.

#46 Clothing Combo'
I first started producing really simple graphics early in my internet days, around 1998.

It was quite by accident, yet I have always been the creative type. It turned out to be a good idea because at that time I had a fairly boring day-job, so being able to be creative in the evenings made up for the monotony. [I left that job in 2012, so I can say that now.]

The night 9/11 happened, I downloaded a freebie GIF-maker and made a dozen images that basically said how I was thinking about that whole event. [The images have since dissappeared into the archives].

Shortly after I discovered GIMP [“a freely distributed program for such tasks as photo retouching, image composition”], bought a bible-width reference book – and haven’t stopped creating or editing images.

With some amazing scripts (eg: saving all layers individually), I taught myself basic graphic-design – and now produce awesome tshirt designs AND manipulate my photographs similar to photoshop.

Wait, what did I say? Use GIMP instead of Photoshop:
Yep, For about eight years now I have been using GIMP for manipulating my photographs. Yeah, not many people realise that. Whilst everyone was raving about Photoshop, I kept learning GIMP. And I freely admit I still don’t know half of what is capable of doing. But it did teach me how to be creative.

Because producing parts of a graphic often meant asking yourself [Q1] “With the little I know, how can it be done?” For one example, I taught myself how to create (often B-grade) shadows for trees that had been manipulated from another photo and stuck into the current photo. Yeah, (hangs head in shame), I do that. But you wouldn’t spot it, and I am not going to show you where. (Smiles gleefully).

#43 I'm Crazier than Almost Everybody Here
Then in 2012 my tshirt sales started making some series G’s … per annum. Not a lot, but it got me thinking … and I decided [Q2] diversity was the key to success. I now have two Redbubble accounts – stephentrepreneur is photography, ezcreative is tshirts – and I market them like crazy.

Gotta be honest, [Q3] marketing is the key to success in any game, and particulary online. It doesn’t mean whoring your wares: It means seriously spruiking via social media to your full advantage. It works. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, I am there, showing off my skills.

In 2015, sales started ramping up. The monthly balances were not going to make me a millionaire, but my creative side was impressing my corporate side no end.

It is now 2016 and I am trying new ideas. A series of about 30 graphics are in production as we speak; They are based on observation of what sells most in my creative collection. [Q4] Never let your best work stand alone, use the experience to your advantage.

These days I spend a few hours each night drawing my ‘brain-farts’ onto paper, selecting the best, then determining how I can create them with GIMP. It isn’t easy, I don’t deny it, but it is fun.

Someone said I should do tutorials, but I now have two beautiful children who need more Daddy time, so I won’t be spending much more computer time than is neccessary. But that doesn’t mean I won’t ever do a tute.

That says enough, I am quite sure, but I plan to post some related articles in the next few weeks.

Oh, you’re probably asking what is with all the [Q]’s in this post? I have discovered that I really can write some seriously awesome quotes. So I have marked them for reference. I may add id-links soon so they can be tweeted. Noice.

Anyhow, nothing else to say other – except: Check out my tshirt collection here and here – and buy a cup, mug, tshirt, doona cover, and/or phone cover. Buy one of each! All purchases help to fund our next big project.

Six Days of Photography and Celebration

Originally published March 4th 2008 on my Redbubble photography blog. Reposted here on WordPress for easy reading.

For those who haven’t noticed, we have returned from six days in upper New South Wales (NSW) and some parts of Queensland (QLD), Australia.

It was a lot of fun, and my wife and I were able to escape the hot weather of Adelaide to enjoy the wet yet humid days of the East side of Australia. Primarily it was to attend my grandfather’s 21st birthday (before you ask “What the…?”, think about what year it is and what date it was at the end of February), but I was able to spend some time photographing some amazing locations.

Out of the chosen 125, I uploaded around 25-50. It’s always the way, you think a shot is terrific – but the truth comes out when carefully scrutinising the final result.

Here are all the locations we were able to visit: Bleekers Arboretum . This was a great location with amazing foliage and flowers. I don’t think I saw the whole place, we only stayed a few hours. I hope to return within the next 12-18months. 
Read more about all three images in consecutive manipulation
Crystal Castle ( Crystalight )

We got a little lost trying to locate this mesmorizing tourist attraction so I had a few short opportunities to shoot local architecture, street signs, letter boxes, and other features. We crossed a concrete bridge that had water shooting out one side, but you couldn’t see where it came from on the other … really weird.

On the return journey we found a wide part of the one-lane road to stop to capture some creative angles of this wooden garage door . Expect to see some more images of this that certainly step outside my usual style!

Casino Royal Revolving Restaurant, QLD (for Opa’s birthday).  I shot some amazing photographs from the 26th floor, but I’m undecided on uploading to Redbubble.

Plus various beaches, cliffs, peninsula’s and other geographical locations around Lismore, Fingal Head, Broken Head Beach and Minyon Falls , all in Upper NSW.

The irony of it all is the contrast of weather patterns. We rarely saw sunlight on the Sunshine Coast, whereas Adelaide’s usually grey-days were stinking hot. (And I’ve come back to a 34 degrees celsius day. Joy of Joys.)

BTW, The World is Getting Too Small!

1. Whilst visiting an open garden in upper NSW last week, I was asked by a guy at the gate if I put my work on Redbubble.com. I laughed and wrote my pseudonym in the visitors book. I have now met a Redbubbler in the flesh.

2. On the flight back to Adelaide I purchased Volume 30 Edition 8 (Feb 28-April 2 2008) of BRW. Redbubble.com is mentioned on page 58 as part of an article entitled “Caught in the Web 2.0″. Actually quite an informative and interesting article.

3. Ten minutes ago (around 1.30pm, 4th March 2008) a representative from a roof-sealing company knocked on the door. After discussing a few options, I agreed for him to have my name to call back in 12 months time, saying “It’s OK, I’ll be famous soon.” (Said with tongue-in-cheek and a hearty laugh). He asked why. I said I am a photographer, I sell my work on the internet. He asked “Redbubble?” …. Needless to say, we had a good laugh.

The world is getting far too small… Or Redbubble is getting very very popular?

Using Twitter to Get Camera Recommendations

Rear view of Professional SMC Member

Hard to believe it, I have had a Twitter account since mid 2008.

For a long time it was just something I looked at from time to time, not understanding how anyone could cross-converse in such a hectic and vibrant community. It looked (and sometimes still does) like a bazillion monkeys chattering over the top of each other, all clambering for the highest point to ensure their voice is heard.

Yet it turns out to be the best way to ask questions that a MASSIVE amount of people can respond to and (mostly) give a good response. Here is one great example:

I asked on Twitter earlier this evening…

With only one response, I chose to follow the link.

Considering many of my friends are complete arseholes, that was a big risk. Wait, wait, what I mean is they are Australian’s who like to use any opportunity to make fun of each other, which all of us, including the recipient, laugh till it is someone else’s turn. So when an Australian calls you an arsehole or a bastard, more often he is saying either “Aha, you got me!” or “Damn, you take the best holidays!”

Turns out this is a great sugggestion for a second camera. So I tried to follow with a less than 140 character reply. Considering all of the amazing features, I had to find just one or two that warranted a twitter response. So, Ric, @aqualung, this is what I have to say about the Fuji X-T1:

Read the full review of the Fujifilm XT1. I got what I wanted from Twitter. Which really is amazing.

From Paper to Glass

Six years ago when I purchased my first smartphone … wait, let’s go back a step.

In 2007 I was shown the Apple Touch by a salesman at Photographic Wholesalers (Hutt Street, Adelaide CBD). I found it so impressive that I purchased one within a month. It served me well until about 2011. By then the OS was so old that almost none of the internal apps opened successfully. The only thing it was good for was playing music.

But I really wanted a smartphone. My wife watched phones enter the market, sit at exorbitant prices on the shelves, then slowly dissappear into semi-obscurity. Some met our needs and wants,  but very few were offered on contracts we could afford.

In December 2012 I watched an advertisement for the Samsung Galaxy Note II. A pen for drawing, a large screen, and looked easy to use.

Apart from the pen being near pointless (twisted irony!), I like this phone!

My point to this post?

Six years ago when I sat on a train with my Apple, I was one of about 10 people on 3 carriages with an Apple.

These days 8 out of 10 have a smartphone of some description. Most are listening to music. Some, like me, are writing and posting their first article for the day.

The world has changed.

Finding my Photo Mojo (Again)

Sub Title: Shooting Boots

Yesterday I had the weirdest and scariest moment of my life.
I thought I had lost my photo mojo!

I quickly connected my Canon L-Series 70-200mm f4 IS USM lens to my Canon 50D (I dream of having a 5D some day!), went out the back door and started searching for something to shoot.

Lo and behold, I found my father-in-law’s old leather boots, both covered in character that only time and hard-work can give. With ripped toes exposing the steel caps beneath, plus stretch marks where they have been hastily pulled off his old weary feet, these boots were instantly my subject of the day.

As the afternoon sun hit the backyard, I quickly found a surface apt for the job: The top of a honey-heater-box, coated in dirty white paint (because dirt fell on whilst the paint was drying) was perfect for the job!

As you can see from my photograph series of boots below, I still have my photo mojo!

Always feels good to shoot an interesting subject and shoot either with natural or appropriate lighting. Oh, photo mojo, you complete me!

Advice to Commonwealth Olympians

I said this on Facebook earlier today. Now I realise that a wider audience needs to read it:


Advice to Athletes:

Forget about social media, you have a bigger job to do this week.

Advice to social media addicts who feel the need to judge olympians:

Get off the computer. Go outside. Get some exercise. Grow up. Get a life.


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