New Website

HAPPY NOTES

Hello dear friends and new visitors,

please visit my new website romicajones.com

for new blog posts, my portfolio, design services and the updates about my creative classes.

I’d love to see you there,
and thank you to all of you who have been following me here on my journey

let’s continue over at romicajones.com 🙂

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Letter Paper Workshop Announcement – Sign up to get updates

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Letter Paper Workshop

Holiday season is around the corner, and what could be better than a personal and unique letter paper for your loved ones?

The workshop is open to all skill levels but specifically made for beginners.

In just two weeks you will learn:

  • The basics from creating an engaging and balanced composition
  • Colour mixing
  • Simple and easy water-colour techniques you can use with either gouache or water colour paint
  • How to create a beautiful and unique letter paper.

WIN! 10 lucky students who complete this session will be featured on my blog 😀 with links to their own social media or websites/blogs.

When does it start?

This class is great for beginners and everyone who is interested in creating their own letter paper. The workshop (session) with schedule, feedback and prize starts on the 9th of November for 2 Weeks. However, you can also access and study at your own pace anytime.

SIGN UP HERE for  more upcoming design inspiration, discounts to my future classes for creatives and insights into my creative business and methods.

Hope you have a wonderful November,
I’ll speak to you soon,

Romica 🙂

#SeasonsGreetingsMCR15 – Self-Initiated Project for Social Change in Manchester

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Hi Creative Adventurers,

Holiday Season is around the corner and I have two things to announce to help you make it an awesome one – for you, people you love, and people who need some of our love and attention. The first thing is a project I’d like to introduce you to, the second is a free link to my upcoming workshop. Enjoy!

A small act of kindness

Firstly, I’m in the process of planning a self-initiated project for social change in Manchester. If you have read my post about my paper art research – this is were it should lead to. I want to create a short film with a call to action to make a positive change this winter season. It is part of a uni assignment, however we were free to choose whatever we wanted to do and

I wanted to do something that goes beyond the uni building and myself.

When we think of season’s greetings, we think of cheerful scenes, snow, cookies, Christmas markets – you name it. However, the reality is that “season’s greetings” for people without a home are harsh and come in form of cold, loneliness and desperation. Inspired by my husband’s kindness I want to encourage people to commit to a small act of kindness to support homeless people in Manchester.

What does Help mean?

I will go into more research of what is really needed and actually helpful and will try to cooperate with organisations that already do incredible work. As trained social anthropologist I am aware of the negative notions that “help” can have and the problems of dependency. I want to offer something that actually does make a difference, even if it’s a small one. For example breaking down barriers between people. This topic has been on my heart ever since I moved to and lived in Vienna for 3 years and it has followed me to every city I’ve visited and lived in. I know some of you might already be very involved and do a great deal. If you have suggestions on what people could do, please let me know in the comments or message me on my twitter @romica_sp

What you can do

I am still in the preparation phase. I realised that using social media to spread news about the project would be the best idea as I am still new to this city (1 year of living here) and don’t know so many people. My idea is to either create a website (I have little experience and would need some help with this) or a Facebook Group were people can help spread the news. For every person who participates I want to use Instagram and the hashtag #SeasonsGreetingsMCR15 to evaluate how successful this project was. I do believe in the words of Margaret Mead (anthropologist herself) that a small group of people can influence a big change. Even if this project will stay small this winter, it can grow and grow over the years and who knows what we can do together.

My dream would be that there is enough housing and support so none has to live on the streets.

So what you can do would be to help me spread the news and participate yourself when the project is launched. I have six weeks to prepare everything, including filming, editing and setting up social media. If you are from England and Manchester or Greater Manchester and would like to participate or if you are someone wonderful from anywhere in the world, who could help me set up a small website I would be incredibly grateful if you could help me make this happen.

I will try to apply for some funding and start the project – this is officially week 1

Last but not least – Letter Paper Workshop

Another way of spreading love and give this holiday season a good vibe is to put your thoughts and good wishes down on paper.

This class is great for beginners and everyone who is interested in creating their own letter paper. The workshop (session) with schedule, feedback and prize starts on the 9th of November for 2 Weeks. However, you can also access and study at your own pace anytime.

Thought this was awesome?

If you liked this, I’m sure you’d love my Letters to Creative Adventurers 🙂
SIGN UP HERE for the updates about my classes and workshops, more upcoming design inspiration, discounts to my future classes for creatives and insights into my creative business and methods.

Hope you have a wonderful November,
I’ll speak to you soon,

Romica 🙂

Podcast for creative business owners: Make It Happen & my story of Flops and Success so far

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Hello Creative Adventurers,

if you are a young creative business owner or you are creative and are thinking about starting your own business this podcast is for you.

I stumpled upon it through my blogging friend’s twitter account. Her name is Sofie and she makes beautiful art and blogs about her journey of starting her own creative business – definitely have a look at her blog Sofie Arts ;D. If you don’t know where to start looking for inspiration Sofie’s twitter has a lot to offer.

Podcast: Make it Happen Episode 7

The focus of this episode of Make It Happen is an interview with Kory Woodard and her story of how she started her own business during college and tips and tricks amongst which you’ll find my recent game-changer personal branding.

Points I found interesting and valuable

  • Work-Life Balance – make clear business hours for yourself (don’t answer e-mails late at night because you feel like you have to).
  • Don’t obey “rules of success” e.g. How many times you should post in social media, if it doesn’t suit your business.
  • Be honest – you can show your vulnerable side e.g. in your newsletter and also talk about things that didn’t go according to plan.

What resonates with me

I think from all the points that they talked about, I found the topic of “vulnerability” the most interesting. Especially when Kory talks about her online-course that completely flopped.

People don’t talk about their failures, just about their success and if something doesn’t work that we try, we might feel like we are the only ones out there. I am glad, that she touched this topic and that she was brave enough to share it, even if it was just in the safer world of her newsletter followers.

Another good point she mentioned that related to this flop was that she analysed why it didn’t work and she learned that her marketing wasn’t good enough and also the timing of the launch was during the holiday season where people have other things in mind than attending online-classes. I found it great that she could see the flop as an opportunity to learn.

My own story so far

When I think about my short time as a business owner, I could definitely also talk about small success and failures that have already happened along my way.

My flops

For example I started licensing my products and opened my first shop society6.com/romisketches. Since then nothing has happened. I guess I had too high expectations and also I didn’t promote it enough. Basically I haven’t put the work and effort in that are necessary to reach people and let them know that it is out there. Furthermore I don’t really have a cohesive style and just a few products. So far I haven’t sold anything.

My success

However, one of my success stories is my young skillshare teaching career. I still want to write a whole post about this experience so far but just a heads up: I got paid a few days ago and I was pleasantly surprised. From doing what I love I earned as much as 2 weeks of my previous part-time job! Without leaving my home and while enjoying the process of planning, filming, editing and writing.

To hear more about upcoming classes and workshops – make sure to sign up for my Letters to Creative Adventurers.

I earned enough to justify buying a new camera to make more classes (my old one really reached its limits while filming the other class, but more about this in the upcoming post about my skillshare teaching experience). I do highly recommend it to people and btw, they offer $ 100 for new teachers in the November challenge!

Final thoughts

I really enjoyed listening to the Make it Happen Podcast and it’s a great use of time while commuting to university (which takes me about 1+ hour). If you have other podcasts for creative business owners that you would recommend or if you want to share your thoughts on this episode, please let me know in the comments below.

Have a wonderful day,

Romica 🙂

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Keeping your Sketchbook and Blog presentable

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Hi Creative Adventurers,

Fred Deakin’s twitter about my article led quite a few people to my blog and when I realised how outdated my sketchbook page is and that my CV only goes until 2013 … I felt a bit awkward.

  • How serious am I about my online representation?
  • What opportunities did I miss because I wasn’t showing my progress and my work?

Maybe I wasn’t as serious as I wanted to be and for the second question I don’t know and there are no answers but it definitely made me reflect.

Why updating your blog / portfolio / CV is important

You never know WHEN and WHO is going to find your blog. What if it was a potential business partner or even employer that for some reason found his or her way to your site? If your portfolio hasn’t received much attention, what else can their base their judgement on (maybe this isn’t the right word, but I hope you get what I mean). Even if your work is amazing, what can it do for you if it’s not visible?

Be good to your creative self

It is unfair to yourself to let laziness destroy or lower your chances of showing you in an authentic way. You develop, improve, … I bet you, there has been much going on, but are you showing this?

If yes, great and congratulations. You seem to know the importance of your online presentation and I am really glad you do. I wasn’t as prepared as you are.

For me, this opportunity of exposure to mostly creative people came quite as a surprise. I knew I wanted to update some of my important pages eventually but it never happened until now. I realised this is partly also because I recently started to use a different platform (romicaspiegl.tumblr.com) due to uni requirements to keep my work up to date. However, I haven’t made the effort to connect my blog with tumblr which definitely has to change.

Sketchbook Update

To make up for this: Here is a short update on what I have been up to recently in my free time. I’m taking a Skillshare class with Matt Vergotis about brushpen logo design and these are my practice sheets. I used gouache instead of a brushpen. I love this class and I need to take more time to practice.

Conclusion

This might sound like a short rant but especially in this digital age, and as a designer or creative business owner, your online presence is important. So I decided to either link my sketchbook to my tumblr or to commit to regular updates.

So yeah, this was short but sweet and I hope it could help some of you. How are you taking care of your online presence? Share your thoughts and comments below.

Have a wonderful day,

Romica 🙂

PS: OhhDeer Pillow Competition

In case you haven’t seen it, I’m participating in a competition of OhhDeer where I would really appreciate to win (Do I sound like a hypocrite now? ;D) However, the focus here is business and not my creative development. I’d really love to see some of my designs applied to actual things.

If you want to support me, click on links below for each pillow design and then press the FB Like Button or share it on Twitter. If you want to participate yourself click here to upload your designs.

OhDeer Pillow Competition Entry by Romica Spiegl Jones “Funky Fruit Salad”

OhDeer Pillow Competition Entry by Romica Spiegl Jones “Helicopter Plant Bear”

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Thank you 🙂

Type Making Workshop & Thoughts on Competitions

Hi Creative Adventurers,

First of all, I’m really surprised and also very happy that my post about Fred Deakin’s workshop on Monday during Design Manchester 2015 has been seen by him on twitter. Wow to social media. I thought I might never be able to say thank you to him for his workshop. But here you go, I don’t know how he found it but I’m glad and hope it can help other students who are still considering to visit one of his workshops to really give it a try.

It is a nice feeling that all this effort of writing a post doesn’t just merely serve my own self-reflection but can hopefully also inspire others. Good, onto the other things today …

TYPE MAKING workshop & Competition

Back to university and “Visual Communication”-class. It came as a surprise that we were asked to participate in a (small?) competition for experimental typography. Originally we were supposed to present our Science Week Photo responses (which has kept me busy the whole week and especially yesterday) but well, it seems that this course is indeed very … flexible. However, I’m glad that we are not just bound to a strict schedule and can respond to spontaneous opportunities like this. Thank you Salford Uni.

The purpose of the competition has been kept quite secret. I overheard that it has something to do with the Media Department but our tutors said we shouldn’t be influenced by that – mysterious.

The task

Everyone was given a few A4 sheets with a word in a different font. I chose “Development”, “Zoom” and “Question”. You can see my experiments here.

I absolutely LOVED this exercise. Everything had to be done by the end of the session (~ 2h time) but I didn’t feel pressure and everything developed quite by itself. Maybe also because I’m not so focused on the competition but more on the process of creating and experimenting.

Is it just about winning a prize?

Just my thoughts but … isn’t that what a competition should be for? To foster and develop your creativity to create awesome and different work? Competitions usually give certain restraints like time, medium, theme etc. and this can spark new creative expressions that you might have not thought about. Sometimes I feel that competitions are too much about prizes and too little about acknowledging our own development.

Of course I’d like to win (I don’t even know if there is any prize in fact) but I think that’s normal. Who doesn’t want his or her work to be appreciated and maybe even published? However, I guess I felt so free while creating because it wasn’t my focus. I wanted to try new things and it was such a good experience to see how easily you can use an existing typeface and completely manipulate it with a few easy tools.

I enjoyed it so much that I’m now considering to make another class on skillshare about experimental type making. I really believe that it helped me to switch on the right side of the brain and to release my creativity. If I do make a class, I will let you know on my blog.

Have you worked with type and ever tried Experimental Typography? What are your thoughts on competitions? Share your thoughts and links to your work in the comments below.

Have a wonderful day,

Romica 🙂

PS: OhhDeer Pillow Competition

Speaking of which, I’m participating in a competition of OhhDeer where I would really appreciate to win (Do I sound like a hypocrite now? ;D) However, the focus here is business and not my creative development. I’d really love to see some of my designs applied to actual things.

If you want to support me, click on links below for each pillow design and then press the FB Like Button or share it on Twitter. If you want to participate yourself click here to upload your designs.

OhDeer Pillow Competition Entry by Romica Spiegl Jones “Funky Fruit Salad”

OhDeer Pillow Competition Entry by Romica Spiegl Jones “Helicopter Plant Bear”

ohhdeer-funky-fruit-salad-cushion-31 ohhdeer-helicopter-plant-bear-cushion-31

Thank you 🙂

Design Week Manchester: A Workshop with Fred Deakin

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I have moved blog 🙂 – please find this post here romicajones.com/blog

This post has been featured in the Print Version of Design Week Review 2015

 

Graphic Design Inspiration: The Whitworth Art Gallery in Manchester (UK)

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Hello Creative Adventurers,

Yesterday I had the chance to visit the Whitworth a beautiful art gallery in Manchester. This visit was part of my BA (Hons) Graphic Design and should give us inspiration for our design and illustration practice. For all the Manchester students out there, if you haven’t seen it, please have a look. Even if you just like a good coffee this is the place to go. The café is a sunlit, gorgeous haven with park view ;).

The gallery has been renovated and re-opened and is such a lovely place to be. At the moment there is a textile exhibition, if this is interesting for you. I personally enjoyed the space itself even more than the artwork. Of course there are some pieces that spoke to me as well, which I will explain a bit later, but …

the mixture of high and low ceilings, the wooden floor and stone tiles, the play of shadow and light of the trees on the walls of brick and wood … are you dreaming right now? I am.

Especially because of the tall glass windows you feel as if the inside and outside space organically merge. It almost feels like you are in the park surrounding the gallery. Furthermore there is a learning centre, where people from all ages can attend workshops and classes. Have a look at their offer at manchester.ac.uk/whitworth/learn.

Here are some of my research photos. We were asked to take pictures of the gallery, and I tried to reference them in separate images as much as possible. If I did forget to name an artist (they are usually mentioned on a small board before or after their work), please let me know and I’ll credit them properly.

Art_Textiles exhibition

A short quote of the exhibition guide:

“Textiles are having a ‘moment’ – enjoying exciting new currency as a visual arts medium. Traditionally situated in the borderland between art and craft, textiles play an increasingly central role in a growing body of contemporary art practice.
(…) Today, many contemporary artists are demonstrating a new engagement with materials, particularly textiles, to raise questions around gender and identity politics or issues about nationhood in the post-colonial period(Art_Textiles Exhibition Guide first page)

There has been such a variety of objects so I selected a few that spoke to me, which you can find below. Especially the section on ethical clothing that tries to use materials that haven’t been made with “blood, sweat and tears” was a nice surprise and shows how political dialogue can be raised in gallery space.

Toddler’s Art and other Impressions

Another very interesting part of the gallery was downstairs where an ongoing research project tries to find out how toddler’s perceive and react to artwork e.g. are they drawn to patterns, primary colours etc? You could find their own creations next to other artwork like wallpaper and textiles. When I encountered a lot of toddlers around the gallery I wasn’t as surprised anymore. The Whitworth seems to offer a nice place for children and their parents and also opportunities for them to experience and make art.

Hope you enjoyed this as much as I did, received some nice graphic design inspiration and you feel inspired to visit this beautiful place.
For for information please go to http://www.whitworth.manchester.ac.uk/

HEY! I have a new website romicajones.com. If you like this post, and would like updates about my creative classes and workshops, discounts codes to products and creative inspiration for freelancers and creative entrepreneurs please sign up here.

Have a nice day,

Romica 🙂

How Personal Branding lead me into deep self-reflection

A little background story

I did some research and came across “Personal Branding” in one of Roberto Blake’s videos (one of my favourite YouTube resources about Graphic Design atm) and he talks about why we should use personal branding (You can find his video”The Power of Personal Branding” here). It’s healthy and helpful for an upcoming designer in this world to have your own brand and I thought I’d give it a try.

Core Values – what does really matter to me?

So, what happened? I started by trying to brainstorm for a possible logo and for that I wanted to know what really matters to me. What do I want people to think/feel when they hear my name, hear about my future company? After hours of scribbling and brain racking, I felt a little bit lost. How can it be so difficult to find clarity about such basic things? I used to feel very clear about what I want and why, who I am, where I want to go and how to get there. Why did it change?

The Trap of Success

Maybe I haven’t been so honest with myself the past few months and maybe I started to copy what I thought was successful. I always wanted this blog, e.g. to become a place where I can deeply share with people who actually care about what design means and does to people. I wanted it to be personal and fun but also serious and honest. Looking back I feel I haven’t really been authentic to these values I had and was more concerned about page views, visitors and potential earning possibilities. Don’t get me wrong, I do want to make a living with design. But does it have to sacrifice my values and my personality? (Makes me think about a book I still want to get and read “How to be a Graphic Designer without loosing your soul”)

Sometimes we need a Mirror

I realised that Personal Branding requires you to go deeper than you would expect. I couldn’t really define myself and found it so hard to find any idea for a logo. After some hours of scribbling and typographic endeavours I thought I found something quite smart. Just my future initials, after I will change my name for my husbands family name. RJ. I felt a bit strange about how it looked and later showed my sketchbook to my husband. What he said really hit me (in a positive way): It didn’t feel like me. It felt like something that I’m not. And I knew he was right. I tried to pretend to be some sleek, stylish designer that I’m not (and actually don’t want to be). I have wonderful qualities but they don’t show at all in my drafts. I felt down. I didn’t really share what has been going on inside of me the past days and it just came out that I was, frankly speaking, quite frustrated. We had a talk and it made me realise that I have a very clear goal and clear values and I want to really find people I can share with.

New Ways

Brainstorming with my husband really helped to see myself from a different viewpoint. I think sometimes we just need someone to see ourselves truly. Like a mirror. I realised as well, that I do believe in Truth, Beauty, and Goodness in Design and that I want them to be reflected in my words, actions and in my personal brand. I want to become successful with design and make a living with my own company in the future. I want to be able to be flexible to spend time with my family while at the same time pouring all my passion into designated hours of creating beautiful, meaningful, truthful things.

So I wonder how many of you also had a hard time to define themselves professionally, and who of you tried personal branding. Maybe some of you found it really easy, because you already had this clarity in yourself. I just didn’t expect a personal logo to become such a journey of self-discovery.

In future posts I want to practice these values and I hope they’ll be more authentic and valuable.

Have a wonderful day,

Romica 🙂

Print Making Workshop update and reflection

print making, romica spiegl jones

Hi Creative Adventurers,

Apart from printing with potato stamps I had no previous experience in print making whatsoever. Therefore I was very excited when we could choose Print Making as a Module. Today I had my last session of our “Professional Contexts” Print Making Workshop and I wanted to share a few insights into my experience in the world of Print.

MediaCity Campus is equipped with its own print room and we covered 3 different printing techniques over the course of the last three weeks:

  • Block Printing
  • Mono Printing
  • Litho Printing

Block Print

In our first session we were provided with a short Health and Safety Instruction and a quick overview of the print room and the different equipment we can use. The task was to form faces with different (plastic) shapes and letters and later each student was asked to design a letter (mine was H) without using the actual letter. Then these shapes and letters get inked up with rollers and then pressed onto the paper. Another paper (news print) is used on top of it to avoid ink attaching to the press and then, depending on the press, a roller prints the ink on the paper or an actual press is used.

Ink

The Ink we used throughout the three weeks is a rubber based ink. If you haven’t worked with rubber based ink before, it is very rich and sticky, which can come in handy but also “was liegt, das pickt” as we say in Austria (if you drop it, that’s it, it will stick to the surface).

Tip: If you want to know how to remove rubber ink stains off hands and work surfaces use vegetable oil or baby wipes (water won’t do the job).

Reflection Week 1

To be honest, I struggled with this new medium. Being a bit of a perfectionist I found it quite hard not to be messy and get paint all over the print. Therefore, I tried to be more careful which resulted in only three prints in two and a half hours of work (this includes also waiting times for the ink rollers  and the roller press etc. to be free). However, after letting go of my desire to “control everything” I really enjoyed forming a face and creating the letter shape and I’m pleased with the result of especially the first one.

Mono Printing

Mono Print in some way was the easiest to relate to for me. It is quick and a bit unpredictable but I really loved working with it. With this method all you have to do is lay an ink surface and then place a sheet of paper (news print) to remove the first layer of colour to achieve a more even coverage. Then use another sheet, this time the one you want your print on and then start to use all kinds of tools to leave marks. You can use pencils to draw sketches, forks or all kinds of tools, even your fingers. Through pressure the ink will transfer in specific areas. However, if you lean on the paper with your hand while drawing, this will also leave its marks.

Reflection Week 2

This time I produced many prints, let go of my perfectionism and just played. The results are not that impressive but I tried various things including fingerprints, transferring sketches and hand lettering (which is a bit tricky because you have to mirror the letters). Looking at my work, I am not as happy with the results but I like the method. With more preparation I’m convinced I will be able to produce some high quality work. UPDATE: I just realised that one of my favourites from this session has gone missing. Will go back to the print room to find it – fingers crossed.

Litho Printing

And there was blood. If you are not familiar with litho printing, please keep these words in mind: Always use the (carving) knife away from your body. It is helpful and safer to use a special table wood block you can lock to the edge of your table like in the pictures below. The process for this method is using the knife to carve away areas that should remain white. Raised areas will be later covered with paint. Litho printing is amazing for a higher volume of prints with comparable quality. After you prepared your surface, evenly apply ink with a roller and then place two layers of paper on it (first the paper you want to print on, second a news print paper to protect the roller or press from ink). Then use the same procedure as with the block print.

Reflection Week 3

Litho Print was the most challenging for me. I have never used this kind of knife and because of the time-consuming task of carving, I wanted to have a clear idea what exactly I want to print. While most, if not all, my colleagues have already done this method before I wasn’t quite sure how detailed or simple I want my image to be. In the end I spent too much time thinking instead of doing until I came to the realisation that I’m a beginner and it doesn’t have to be perfect. I chose something simple and carved a guitar out of memory.

The first print showed that the guitar wasn’t really recognisable so I decided to take my knife again and refine it. This turned out much better and even though I probably should have used some reference I’m quite satisfied with the result.

Conclusion

Print making was a new and exciting experience. I love the possibilities and the uniqueness of each printing method and result and recommend it to everyone interested in graphic design. Just be very careful when carving with the knife – we had some blood stained fingers in the room but everyone is ok, don’t worry.

HEY! I have a new website romicajones.com. If you like this post, and would like updates about my creative classes and workshops, discounts codes to products and creative inspiration for freelancers and creative entrepreneurs please sign up here.

Have a wonderful day,

Romica 🙂