My Second Wind

Totally inspired by “When Pigs Fly” by Mark Meyers. Be sure to check out more of his fantastically creative illustrations at his website:!

So, it’s time to begin again, and there is nothing like getting a second wind!  I have some great ideas for future projects (stay tuned) and have lots of design work loaded on my plate to keep me motivated for a long time!

Just a quick update of what I’ve been doing since my last post (i.e. this past summer).  I’ve been rockin’ some great design at Residental Warranty Services! Along with designing the Current in Real Estate, the nation wide publication that goes out to realtors, I’ve been producing scads of marketing collateral, print and web, for home inspection companies, as well as various other real estate related companies.  It’s been great fun, and an excellent challenge to keep me on top of my game!

At home I’m in the process of building my personal business, rebranding my old college look, and updating my portfolio.  Here I’m able to do projects I’m really passionate about such as design for not-for-profits, community events, and overseas mission work.  With my work at RWS and my work at home, it’s enough to truly need that creative ‘second wind.’

Often when I have a long stretch of work ahead of me, like I do now, a 20 minute nap and sturdy cup of coffee help me to operate best.  Early on in college this method of gaining my ‘second wind’ was perfected: say it’s 11pm, I’m groggy, and I have portfolio due at 8:50am the next morning. I down a cup of joe, collapse on the couch with my cellphone/alarm nearby, and get 20 minutes of much needed shut-eye.  I’m usually rested enough when I wake to pull an all-nighter and turn in my project on time. I’ve worked for days on end with this proven method.

Unfortunately, my college method of gaining that second wind tends to be unsuitable for my current lifestyle.  So how do I stay motivated? How do I move forward with more vigor and creativity than ever before? Rather than stay backed up in an artistic traffic-jam, here are a few plans to help me to loosen-up, get focused, and begin again:

1.) Get sleep. Being tired is the creativity-killing, sap-sucking little leach that invades my brain and eats every good idea from my spinal-column to my frontal lobe. Yep, just like that—It’s a simple step that trumps even the most jittery cup of espresso. Unfortunately I’ve learned this the hard way.

2.) Gather inspiration from anywhere (and everywhere!). Gathering inspiration helps me create emotive connections to my projects.  The more experiences I have, the more connections I can make to the project at hand.  For example, a brisk trip to Chicago in the winter, the staticy sound a record turning on a record player, a dimly lit theater scene, or the smell of a bakery.  I archive these ideas on my computer and draw from them as often as I can.

3.) Keep drawing. Even as full-time designer, this skill should not lack.  Drawing is the cornerstone to my creativity.   It helps me to abstract my ideas and avoid making everything I design boxy and static. Essentially it gets me back to the basics.

4.) Listen to Others. The best way to shake up a stale design is to show it to someone.   The first few seconds of their review are often very telling.   Even the most untrained eye subliminally knows sloppy, muddy, or overworked design.  And sometimes people who aren’t designers have the most creative ideas–so listen up!

5.) Hope. Finally, the best way for me to start fresh came from the words of a favorite professor.   He said that I should always have hope for the future to motivate me.  It’s very simple, but it’s amazing how powerful those words are.

So, these things, (and perhaps a strong cup of coffee) are gearing me up for my second wind!  Be looking for more fresh design and ideas here on my blog.  I’ll be posting soon!

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