The Cover Artist
Aleksei Astron started as a hobbyist painter in 2009, while working as a freelance web-designer without any plans of doing it professionally, and just this year he decided to develop his skills in painting and 3D graphics to break into the game development industry in the near future.
"Indra" is a beautiful art piece created by the talented Aleksei Astron on DeviantART.
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"As for the piece 'Indra' it took inspiration for this piece from the ancient sacred scriptures mainly. I was curious to find parallels in the religions of different nationalities. At the same time I wanted to make some kind of adaptation to modern culture and, of course, to my own vision. Also what inspires me a lot it's a music and a female beauty" Aleksei Astron
Editor's Note Welcome to the first issue of the Designn magazine for 2015! If you can remember from the last edition we promised that we’d publish quarterly editions, instead of just two per year, and this time we’ve managed to complete a whole edition in just under 3 months; which believe me is an amazing feat for Designn. We’ve recruited two more volunteers to work with us since the last edition and even had a re-launch of our official blog to make sure we deliver creative reading material and resources to our readers year round! In this sixth edition of the magazine we’ve covered tutorials, interviews, design articles, art features, cover contest winners and much more to feed all of your creative needs! This issue includes interviews from the incredible Lorna Kelleher, photomanipulation artist Whendell Souza and more talented artists among other inspirational reads. All of us from the Designn Team wish you a successful and creative year ahead! My thanks goes out to the everyone involved in Designn, especially Natalie for her effort and contribution towards making this edition a success. Stay creative folks!
Founder & Managing Editor Udara Jayawardena email@example.com Director of Publications Natalie Rowlands firstname.lastname@example.org Contributors Bliss Lokiev Ng email@example.com
Lauren Leslie firstname.lastname@example.org
Founder of Designn & Managing Editor
Ulrikke Stendorf email@example.com
Pascalle Lo firstname.lastname@example.org Adam Lewis LaValley email@example.com
Inside this edition
Contents You are here!
The Art of Shameless Self Promotion.
Cover Art Contest Feature
Interview with Lorna Kelleher
How to write for a magazine
Interview with Whendell
Why you should never ignore the alt attribute.
Interview with GYRHS
Fan Art Feature
Beauty, Romanticism, and Two Artists.
Designing a user interface (UI) in 5 steps.
The complicated process of keeping it simple.
Art beyond Expectation
Basic Digital Painting Tutorial
Youth in Art
Fan Art Feature
Interview with Ross
Lorna Kelleher Interviewed by Natalie Rowlands DeviantArt lornakelleherart.deviantart.com Facebook facebook. com/lornakelleherart Twitter twitter.com/LornaKelleher Tumblr lornakelleherart.tumblr.com YouTube youtube.com/user/lornakelleherart
LORNA KELLEHER INTERVIEW
First off, could you introduce yourself to our readers?
What enticed you to start creating fan art?
Hi, I'm Lorna, a 20-(something) year old from Ireland. I'm a self-taught artist and I spend most of my spare time practising drawing for what I hope will be the "real thing" when it comes to my job! In the meantime though, I'm trudging through my scientific career. My main focus when it comes to art is a mixture of traditional portraits, and digital fan art (usually gaming).
It's really just an amalgamation of the two things that make me really happy. When I was younger, I used to draw little cards of all the
Although you've already touched on it a little, could you elaborate a little on your area of fan art? Is it exclusively gaming, or do you do whatever you're into at the time? Hmm, now that I think about it, it's nearly always game fan art. I don't consciously think: "this game is cool and popular, maybe I'll draw that". Anything I've drawn, I've played at some point. I guess because gaming has been a huge part of my life since I was about 5 it has heavily influenced me in what I want to draw. What usually happens is I remember a game I love, draw something from it then end up playing it AFTER I've completed the picture because I realised how much I've missed playing it! Haha! Most of my art is from the Final Fantasy series. I'm obsessed.
after that (probably about 10-15 years). When I recently realised I wanted to get back into drawing, I found that my visual library and creativity was at an all-time low. So, to ease myself back in, I started with fan art. The base and the reference is already there for you and it's up to the artist to decide what they want to do with that afterwards, and what direction to take their style. I'm still experimenting with my style, so fan art is a perfect way of discovering what it is I want to do. Not to mention, I generally only draw what makes me happy; as much as I like coming up with original ideas - fan art really is something I truly love doing. Do you think fan art is negatively received by other artists? Do they see it as “cheating”?
Pokémon; I couldn't think of anything else I really wanted to draw at the time, and the unique designs and colours of the Pokémon was something I found interesting to draw. I took a break from art for a very long time
This is actually something I've been discussing recently with other members of DeviantART. I have seen a lot of negativity associated with fan art, and it's something I've been thinking about quite a lot. Yes, a lot of people are of the opinion that it's cheating, but I don't see it that way at all. For me, I actually see it as a form of tribute; it's a way of saying "hey, this is something that I really enjoy! Thank you, and here's my version". I think it's very harsh when some people say that fan art is not creative or original; sure you're taking reference from something (which we all do anyway when we create art!), but so many artists have their own style and make the fan art something different and exciting. Not to mention the people
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INTERVIEW LORNA KELLEHER
who create completely non-canon art/scenes from existing characters/locations - I think that's amazing! It's not all doom and gloom though, there's a lot of support out there for fan artistsâ€Ś after all they're creating art that a lot of people want to see. The fan art genre is quite saturated. Do you find it hard to stand out? Yeah, definitely. It's such a popular area of art right now. When the next big movie or game is announced, you're almost guaranteed to see an influx of related fan art - before it's even released! To try and become an established fan artist now is tough, because there are a lot of people out there who have already developed a recognisable and popular style - take Artgerm for example, his style is instantly recognisable, and something that has taken him years to develop. Also, I guess the internet is a "bigger" place now than it was years ago, so it's no surprise that many artists struggle to become noticed. For me, it's not an issue. I'm still trying to find my way, but I can definitely see how others who have been doing this for years without merit might get frustrated.
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LORNA KELLEHER INTERVIEW
Do you have a favourite character that you like drawing? Well, when it comes to game fan art, I really like to draw Final Fantasy characters. I've only just recently realised how much I love to draw non-human characters, so that's definitely something I'll be looking at towards the future. In general, I tend to draw female characters, too. I didn't realise until now, but my most drawn character has to be Daenerys from the "A Song of Ice and Fire" series; I've drawn her at least 4 or 5 different times in different styles and different mediums! She's a really fantastic, strong female character. I read the books many years ago and I felt like I really connected to her through all the trials she faced (and soon to face: waiting impatiently for the next book!). Any words of encouragement to other fan artists out there? I guess the same advice I would give any artist - just draw whatever makes you happy, regardless of how the genre might be viewed. I think it's important that your art reflects whatever it is you're passionate about; itâ€™s what most people like to see. Fan art is fun, so enjoy it!
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The Art of Shameless Self Promotion You can be the best at what you do, but what’s the point if no one knows about it?
You can be the best at what you do, but what’s the point if no one knows about it? Meet Muhammad Ali. A legendary boxer, master self promoter, and combined greatest sports figure in history. “I am the greatest; I said that even before I knew I was.” – Muhammad Ali His personal branding wasn’t just about the sport, he was a voice for millions of African-Americans and his vision — one which he clearly expressed — was one of the main reasons for his wild success and the key reason why millions of
people rooted for him. Now look around. Through every door and each click of the mouse you come across yet another shameless self promoter. Celebrities, entrepreneurs, friends, and most public figures you come across just want to talk about themselves and engage in some form of self-promotion. Without a doubt, personal branding is a necessity in today’s competitive world and is a requirement for success. Self-promotion is a double-edged sword. If wielded correctly, it can help you quickly near your goals, but it can also ruin your reputation
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when used badly. Below are a few tips to aid you in crafting your own successful self-promotion! If you don’t believe in yourself, no one will. Self confidence is a key part of being a successful self promoter – put yourself out there; the real you, not what people want to see. That’s how you get discovered. You can be the best at what you do, but what’s the point if no one knows about it? Learn to ask people for feedback, comments, retweets, endorsements, or anything else – it will at least get you the opportunity to present your craft. If you’ve got something to share,
get genuinely excited about it! Get so excited that other people want to be a part of it. People naturally like things which are promoted with passion and enthusiasm. Why else would you be doing it in the first place? Remember that selfpromotion is not about, it’s about sharing the impact of the work you’re doing. While you’re doing this, keep in mind to help others; listen to their stories and volunteer for their projects. If you do so, they are more likely to reciprocate and listen to you. Promotion is easy when good will is abundant. Simply being yourself helps, but it’s also necessary to take a strategic approach when promoting yourself on social media or other professional networks like LinkedIn. Try to follow concepts like the 5–3–2 Rule of Social Media and know how much of your own content to share without looking like an attention hog. Personal branding is not just about marketing or being a salesperson, it’s something you earn as a result of hard work and all self-promotion
The 5-3-2 Rule of Social Media - Five of your posts should feature content from others, relevant to your audience. - Three posts should be content created by you, which is relevant to your audience, but is not directly selling your products. - Two of your posts should be personal – something non-work related which helps humanize yourself and your brand.
does is make sure you get there. Now, let’s talk about promoting your own products or services. To me self-promotion and promoting your own creations (or products) are one and the same. Promoting your own products always leads to some form of self-promotion. Look at Steve Jobs, a genius at creating powerful and seductive brands. He defined himself by the things he designed. The way he created and promoted his products, going from design to the product launch, was simply amazing! This in turn built up his persona; which in its essence is genius personal branding.
“Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma - which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of other's opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.” – Steve Jobs There may have been a time when just being true to yourself and carrying on with your hard work would have automatically yielded success. But not today. Doing this now would just have you watching as people who take the time to promote their successes push forward in a blur. by Udara Jayawardena www.ujz.me
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Designn Magazine Cover Art Contest Runner-up. Aurorae by kelogsloops. deviantart.com 12 | Designn Magazine 6th Edition | www.designn.org | email@example.com
Designn Magazine Cover Art Contest Third Place. There's something in the water... by tiphs.deviantart.com Designn Magazine 6th Edition | www.designn.org | firstname.lastname@example.org | 13
How to write for a magazine Identify your audience Before you even start typing take a moment to think about who will be reading your article. Are you writing for children, or adults? Are they industry professionals, or complete beginners in their field? The way in which your article is written is dictated by these answers, so consider it carefully. If you’re writing for beginners then you’ll need to cover the basics and guide them through the process step-by-step, with screenshots where applicable. Professionals or more advanced users should already understand the fundamentals, so you can skip them or cover them briefly if it’s
relevant. Just remember not to patronise your readers. The audience will also dictate the length of your writing – children have a much shorter attention span! Regardless of who you’re writing for though, remember to be concise. Don’t bulk out an article for the sake of making it longer. A short, concise article will be more popular than a long-winded one. Also remember your sentence length. Several sentences which have the same number of words can make a piece extremely difficult to read. Existing magazines are one of your greatest assets when determining your writing style and article length. Go out there and read some.
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“No matter how busy you may think you are, you must find time for reading, or surrender yourself to self-chosen ignorance.” - Confucius Choose a topic, but make it unique! Nobody wants to see 10 articles, by 10 different authors, all covering the same subject in exactly the same way. Find a new topic to make yours unique! If you simply can’t think of something new, approach the topic in a way which makes it new – go into more detail about a particular aspect of it, or show a different way of achieving the same result. Whatever you do, cover it in a way which will aid people’s understanding, rather than just regurgitating the same information.
Research if you need to Possibly the biggest crime you can commit when writing an article is arrogance. Don’t assume you know everything. The last thing you want to do is claim something and then have your readers refute it. It’s better to double check now. Not all articles will require it, but for some you may wish to cite your sources – especially if you’re making a particularly outrageous claim. If you can back it up with reputable sources, it’ll carry more weight. “Research is to see what everybody else has seen, and to think what nobody else has thought.” – Albert Szent-Györgyi Conducting an interview Preparation is key when performing an interview, even if it’s online. Make a list of your questions and keep them open-ended (no “yes” or “no” questions). If you find that your interviewee is being short with their answers tease more information out of them will follow up questions. These impromptu questions don’t need to be written into your final interview, but you can use the new information to lengthen their answers.
their answers or your questions slightly to help the article flow better (and surely it goes without saying to correct grammar and spelling errors). Just ensure you’re not changing their opinion on anything. Check it! Even if you're submitting it somewhere that has a proof-reader, check your work yourself. The less work the editor has to do the more credible you'll be as an article writer. Depending on the voice of the magazine, you may need to take out any abbreviations or symbols (& to "and"), so it's paramount that you make these changes before submitting.
by Natalie Rowlands
There are many techniques to record your interviewee’s responses, but even if you’re using a Dictaphone always take notes as well. Technology can fail, or it might not pick up their voice very well, so it’s always best to have a backup. Once you’ve collated the interview, read it. Don’t be afraid to reword
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First Taste Contest
Art Beyond Expectation
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CONTEST FEATURE ARTICLE
First Taste is a team of artists and writers with the mission to spread the tastiness of art through visual storytelling. The team held the “First Taste Double-Theme Art Contest” from June 28th to November 12th. Prizes were worth a grand total of $340. The period was long, and the summer days were hot and tiring, but in the end, it was all worthwhile and successful! The participation and creativity involved in this contest was beyond expectation. Enthused contestants took advantage of the “Ice Cream Variety” theme, designing unique and delicious ice cream outfits for First Taste’s mascot, Hallie. For the “Master and Apprentice” theme, Cale and Dub, the team’s main story characters of the story project “AURA: The Remnant Makes Us”, challenged artists to use their imaginations and delve into a Steampunk world. Artists spoke of growing fond of these characters while preparing their entries. Each contestant was given the freedom to unload their imaginations, and found sweet rewards: a love for character development, improved art skills, and inspiration to try hard and have fun at what they do! In that regard, everyone has been rewarded with value. We can all agree ice cream is tasty on canvas, but when an animated character born from radioactive ice cream is bouncing and tossing cold ice cream in everybody’s faces, we know we want more ice cream!
“Triple Hallie Henshin” by DeviantArt’s XGlider took 1st place by a landslide for capturing the fun and spunkiness Hallie is all about - and she melts in the sun to boot! You don’t have to think hard to laugh at Hallie’s situations in this fun animation. All you need to do is sit back and let the sweet vibes come to you. “AH! Don’t Eat Me” by DeviantArt’s FionaCanajART depicts Hallie in a Tom and Jerry type of scenario, only here, she’s beautiful and delicious as can be! The style is bright and attractive, the idea silly, and all of the toppings just make our mouths water! Okay, let’s shift away from ice cream before we start craving the stuff again. Traveling scenarios with Cale and Dub, the team’s main story characters of the story project “AURA: The Remnant Makes Us”, challenged artists to use their imaginations and shift away from traditional themes. In the “Master and Apprentice” scenario, Cale is a controversial traveler who has taken on an apprentice to teach the next generation of Drifters, an ancient organization with the duty to protect the world from a Second Dark Age. A former assassin and mercenary, Cale is young and skilled in the fighting arts. The assured way for contestants to win the first and second place prize money in this theme was by finding a sense of adventure, and deep emotion.
robust and moving scene with a touch of mystery tied in. A mature Cale and her apprentice are seen in a smoky industrial site, where a train has just arrived. In the background, a giant unpowered mecha sits abandoned, a project that could not go any further. If you peer close enough to the background, two mysterious silhouettes are visible. Eerie, to say the least! “Just A Shower”, by DeviantArt’s shqhero won second place by default for the beauty and human touch presented by the brave characters after a bloody, hard-fought battle. Cale is a character who is searching for peace in a corrupt world, and shqhero managed to find some of that peace in this artwork. Congratulations to the winners of the First Taste contest, and thank you to all who entered and submitted an entry. All of your works were loved, and the team hopes you will continue to learn about yourself through art! Stay updated on more First Taste projects and community activities by visiting our Facebook: https://www.fb.com/pages/ First-Taste-Graphic-NovelTeam/412789518863138 by Adam Lewis LaValley
While all entries achieved this, the winning entry “The Drifters” by DeviantArt’s Sakon04 displayed a
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Whendell Souza 24-year-old photomanipulation artist and design student based in Brazil. Interviewed by Pascalle Lo What was your first encounter with art in general and when did you first come in contact with photomanipulation? Since I was a little kid I always liked to draw and paint. Over time I discovered that I was able to create my art digitally and I never looked back. Several things inspire me in my art process: films, games, music, and nature. When I'm lacking inspiration I try to watch a movie; fantasy and science fiction movies are certainly my favourites!
It is hard for me to only nominate five people since DevianArt has so many outstanding members, but here we go: • MichaelO • Paulo-Bert • Lady-Symphonia • EricShoemaker • neverdying These artists really inspire me through their technique and creative way of thinking. the appeal of an entire piece.
How long have you been creating art, and how often do you practice? I started photomanipulation in 2010 and I continue to practice it every day – at least when my schedule allows it.
You’re obviously very talented in your area. Do you work professionally? Is it your only source of income? I’m currently in design colleges studying to become a professional, but I’ve already had several commercial projects, including book covers.
What makes a good photomanipulation?
How has your experience with DeviantArt been so far? Who are your 5 favourite Deviants?
It’s important that all stock images are of a high quality and that they work together harmoniously. Quality is definitely important, e ven for a minor feature, as low-grade stock can reduce
DeviantArt has been a wonderful place for me so far! I love sharing my work with my friends and I admire many artists.
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Describe your art! Which genres do you prefer? Well, I love creating worlds! Creating the impossible - the unthinkable - that is what I love! My favourite genre to work in is definitely fantasy and science fiction, but I always try to venture into other art styles too because I appreciate all of them. Why should people become artists? I think everyone should do what they love. I personally love making art, and sharing it. To me art is a real pleasure which fills me with joy.
Do you have any knowledge you want to pass on to photomanipulation beginners? Beginners of photomanipulation should set a personal goal and never give up on it. Improve your techniques as much as you can and always try to push it to the next level. This started with you, so it ends with you. What makes you special and why should we remember you? What are your goals and what can we expect from you in the future?
(fantasy, sci-fi, surrealism) make me an interesting artist. My main goal for the future is to keep creating art and to do the best I can while improving and sharing my art experience with everyone! Thank you Whendell!
We hope to see more art from you in the future and wish you good luck on your artistic journey.
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Free (do whatever you want) high-resolution photos. by www.unsplash.com
TUTORIAL DIGITAL PAINTING
Basic Digital Painting Tutorial By Lauren Leslie I take a fine art approach to digital painting and work with a Mac, Photoshop CS4, and a Wacom Tablet. I completed this painting in roughly 2 hours. The basics will be explained, and I’ll give you a general understanding of my methods when painting digitally.
1. Start with a sketch This time, I’ll be creating a still life painting. The initial sketch doesn’t have to be detailed - it’s just a guide. Sometimes it helps to add shading, to help you understand your light source, but in this case I’ve just left it at the line work. 1. After opening the sketch in Photoshop, make sure your settings are set to CYMK by going to Image > Mode > check CMYK. This is especially important if you are considering printing your work. 2. Then make sure your image resolution is set at 300dpi by going to Image > Image Size. Again, this is important if you’re considering printing. 3. Save your Photoshop file! Save every 10–30 minutes. I like to have the Swatches, History, and Layers panel open on the right hand side of my screen.
DIGITAL PAINTING TUTORIAL
3. Create a new layer for painting objects This layer named Layer 2 will strictly be used for painting the objects. For the sake of simplicity, I’m not going to worry about drawing everything in the photograph.
2. Create a gradient layer This will help you when dealing with the light source and the overall colour atmosphere of the image. 1. Click the New Layer icon at the bottom of your Layers panel and fill the layer with any colour (I chose white). 2. Right click the new layer and select Blending Options. Select Gradient Overlay and create a gradient based on your light source going from dark to light. 3. Double click the gradient to adjust the colours and angle for your chosen light source and atmosphere.
1. Set your round brush to 25% opacity, 100% hardness, 40– 70px diameter, 100% flow, and quickly start filling in the base colours of the objects in the foreground. For more complex images I like to use layer masks to make sure the paint stays only within the pixels on that layer, but since this still life is relatively simple I’m just sticking with one layer to paint all of the objects in the foreground. I recommend keeping your finger next to the alt key for quick colour sampling with the eyedropper tool as the image progresses.
4. Change the layer opacity in your Layers panel to 30–40% in order to see the sketch underneath.
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TUTORIAL DIGITAL PAINTING
4. Build your colours 1. Continue to sample colours from the original image using the alt key. Bring in additional colours from swatches if your artwork starts looking murky and washed-out. Your painting will go through an odd-looking, blotchy phase as the colours get layered over each other. Keep in mind that at this point you are building the form and lighting of the objects. 2. Set your gradient layer (Layer 1) to 100% opacity once you feel that you don’t need to see the sketch layer underneath anymore. 3. Pause and step back to make sure the proportions of objects in the foreground are correct. You don’t want to start painting details later and realise your proportions are off. Don’t panic if your proportions are a little off. This can be easily fixed at this stage by rebuilding that item using colours to mould it into the correct shape. TIP! Remember that the strokes you use with your hand while painting become the foundation for the object’s texture. Paint with the gesture of the object in mind. Notice the difference in my brush stroke motions between the turtle shell and the vase to the right of it.
5. Get Detailed! I like to work counter-clockwise, moving from area to area when painting the details. Remember your light source and pay attention to how the objects interact with each other 1. When making soft lines, or smooth gradients within objects, I like to set my brush to about 15–20% opacity. Sample colours using the alt key when painting values from dark to light. 2. For sharper lines (like the frame of the sunglasses) I bump my brush opacity up to around 60–80% opacity. 3. I created the turtle shell texture by finding a rough brush in my brush palette at the top. Make sure the brush is set to around 25–35% opacity, and simply dab blotches on the surface of the shell with pale yellows and greens that are darker than the white shell.
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DIGITAL PAINTING TUTORIAL
6. Add the background I’m using the shaggy texture in the photo as my background. 1. Select the round brush and set it to 30% opacity, 100% hardness. 2. Create a new layer (I named it BACKGROUND) and move it underneath the painted objects in Layer 2. This way you don’t have to worry about accidently screwing up your foreground. Make short quick lines with your pen and layer different browns to get the shaggy texture. 3. I duplicated Layer 1 to make the objects in the foreground more opaque so that the BACKGROUND layer doesn’t show through the objects.
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TUTORIAL DIGITAL PAINTING
7. Apply finishing touches. At this stage I might make some adjustments to the contrast or overall colour of my layers by going to Image > Adjustments and using a few of the options available. 1. Adjust the contrast of your objects in the new layer you made (Layer 2 copy) to the right balance, or use the Brightness and Contrast for a simpler method. Keep in mind, using Curves gives you more control but is a little more difficult to use.
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Youth In Art. I have clicked through thousands of images representing quality art. There are few places that I know of other than DeviantArt that have a broad artist age and talent range.
good”; there are many ways in which an artist can display work to appeal to any audience. Art is about the expression, fun, and hard work involved when creating an art piece. Everyone has room to improve. We all have heard young artists defeat their own self-esteem, but as long as the path to making art is open everyone has a gift.
Most professional artists I come across are in their early twenties or late thirties. These are people I do not know, and cannot know personally, but I still love their art masterpieces. Then came Esgalor, and my perspective on the talents of youth have indulged me to discover what youth can really offer to the world of art. Sweet, hardworking, and willing to take on opportunities, Esgalor is an example of how art can inspire us to dream and create. Whether she creates magic from the palms of a character’s hands, lifts two characters into the dark sky with a single balloon, or tells epics through art of warriors and dragons, Esgalor’s imagination is an inspiration to those who dream beyond normal realms. She is only 15 years of age, and this artist has worked hard to get where she is. She creates beautiful character art with more expression and detail than I could ever hope to achieve in my life. From nature to family, Esgalor’s inspiration is relatable to ours. She learned to draw horses from her father, and human anatomy
from her sister. I wish I had her skills, but I am not jealous in the least. Why? Because she does what she intends. By expressing feelings through art, “you are giving a ‘soul’ to that drawing”, Esgalor informed me. “A drawing is not only picking up a pencil and starting to draw, it’s another medium where you can show how you feel”. Believe it or not, part of that “soul” spoke out to me, and I found myself in love with her art. Even if she did not draw at the level she draws now, Esgalor would still be drawing. Art is not all about “drawing
“I want the people to draw without fear. If you love something, do it! If you don’t get the results you expected, keep practicing. That’s something I do with my drawings. I always try to learn and improve with each drawing I do,” Esgalor firmly stated. Youth in art brings us closer to our dreams. You can visit her gallery at esgalor. deviantart.com. by Adam Lewis LaValley
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by Carlos E. Quevedo
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ARTICLE ALT ATTRIBUTES
Why you should never ignore the alt attribute The alt attribute was first introduced in HTML 2 (1995), so it’s been with us for an awfully long time. This little three-letter attribute is so important; not only does it help with Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), but it also improves the accessibility of your site.
Alt attributes and accessibility Accessibility on any site is vital, and alt attributes help by offering a readable text version of an image. If a user has to use a screen reader (for example, due to visual impairment) then they will have the alt text read out to them. This means that the text you put into your alt attribute needs to make sense.
Good Examples Bad Examples
“Three potted plants suspended in the air near a window.” This is clear and concise, and tells us exactly what is happening in the picture. By including the fact that the potted plants are suspended alleviates any ambiguity as to where the plants are situated.
“Boat.” There just isn’t enough information here about the image. Yes it’s a boat, but what time of boat is it? Depending on the context of the site, the location and type of boat may be important. If they’re not, include detail about the appearance of the boat, whether it’s decrepit, etc.
“A refreshing glass of water with sliced lemon and mint.” Whilst including the fact that the drink is refreshing is subjective, it may be useful if the site is about a person’s wellbeing, or mental health. Only include adjectives if it makes sense within the context of the site.
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“The word RESOLUTIONS spelt out in Scrabble letters. The R is worth 1 point, the E is worth 1 point, the S is worth 1 point, the O is worth 1 point, the L is worth 2 points, the U is worth 3 points, the T is worth 3 points, the I is worth 1 point, the N is worth 1 point. In
total the word scores 15 points.” This is just unnecessarily long... Alt tags this long belong in a caption, rather than an alt attribute - especially if the information is important. Ideally, just the first sentence should be used. It’s important not to make your alt text too long. It needs to be as succinct and descriptive as possible. Alt attributes are an alternative to an image, and the text should reflect the nature of the image; for example, an error icon should state “Error!” rather than a literal description of the image (“Red circle with a white X inside” for example). If you don’t include your alt attribute then screen readers may spend an eternity reading out the URL for an image. Decorative images may not need any content within their alt text, so an empty alt attribute should be used rather than excluding it completely.
In early versions of Internet Explorer, the text within an alt attribute was rendered incorrectly as a tooltip. This caused some developers to misuse it when they wished to display additional information about the images, rather than using the correct title attribute. This was rectified in Internet Explorer 8. by Natalie Rowlands
How the alt attribute aids your SEO Bots can’t read an image; however, they can read alt text. As long as you choose a logical file name, and sensible alt text, it will help improve your SEO as it helps to explain why the image is relevant. Be aware, that if you copy text from another section of the same page and paste it into the alt attribute, it can be detrimental to your SEO. This may occur because it looks like copied content and the bots crawling your site may think that you’re purposefully spamming the phrase.
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Designing a User Interface (UI) in 5 steps. This step-by-step guide will help you deign beautiful interfaces for any application. It’ll cover everything from the colour palette, the layout, and how to create an engaging user experience. By following these steps you’ll learn how to design a consistent, practical, and beautiful looking user interface for any project.
appropriate for your product? • Does it reflect on the personality you want to create for your application? You could use the popular 60–30–10 rule, where 60% is the dominant colour, 30% for the secondary colour, and use 10% as an accent colour. This rule is popular as an interior decorating guide, but it is also known to work particularly well with user interfaces. 2. Layout
1. Colour Scheme As I see it, the first thing you need to do is pick a colour pallet - and stick to it! Selecting a colour scheme is easy (you can just use a site like colourlovers. com), but the truth is that picking the right colour scheme is more than just clicking ‘generate’, or moving a few sliders around. You need to ask yourself a few questions: • Is it psychologically appealing and
This includes everything from the number of columns to where the navigation goes. You should take care when creating a layout since it affects how people interact with your application, making it an essential component of a good user experience. By all means, be innovative when it comes to your layout, but don’t reinvent the wheel. Look at sites like Medium and DeviantART; Medium is an example of a very minimalist layout, with very clean colours, whereas
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DeviantART has a more complex layout which is very successful in its environment. These two layouts are popular around the web because they work. They’re familiar, and follow a pattern which users feel comfortable with (for example, navigation along the top, or left). If you want to stray from this path and create something unique and innovative, just remember to maintain a foundation based on what you know works – else your users may be put off the unfamiliarity of it. 3. Style Once you've completed the two steps above, half of your work on the user interface is done. Now you just need to create the elements based on a common style. Your common style could be anything from a border-radius of 4 pixels, to a uniform flat theme. The style you choose doesn’t have to be applied to
every element, but to enough to help tie it all together. Once you've covered the steps above you've basically got yourself a strong user interface; but there is more to making it work. You need to consider the user experience.
it easy for the user to achieve a certain goal within your application. You could even say that a good user interface enables a good user experience. One of the best ways to create a better user experience is to maintain a flow of content. Your interface should: • Tell a story. • Have logical menu and sub-menu items. • Be clear to the user.
The UI is only half of the story. Let’s talk about UX. In this next section I will cover the steps to creating a successful user experience. 4. Flow It’s important to note that the user interface and the user experience are not the same thing. Designing the user interface involves sticking every element on to the window beautifully. The user experience is about making
For example, in a form situation (such as a registration form) the fields should be clearly labelled, and any “next” or “back” buttons distinctly visible. Simplicity is key to a good user experience. Massachusetts-based application analytics form, Localytics, recently completed a study in which it was discovered that 1 in 5 apps downloaded are only used once. http://info. localytics.com/blog/app-retentionimproves One of the main reasons for this could simply be down to bad user experience.
5. Responsiveness These days, most people own multiple devices with various screen resolutions, and as web designers it is our duty to make sure that our applications can be accessed with ease from all of these difference gadgets. Create your layouts and user interfaces in a way that they can easily be adopted to difference screen sizes. Just take a look at the website, Medium, on a mobile. Their current layout easily adapts to any mobile screen size. To Conclude Following the steps above is one of the easiest and fastest methods to create a well-rounded user interface. It’s something I personally use all of the time to draw up user interfaces for my projects. Not only does it take into aspect the design and identity of the product, but also the user experience, which is just as important. by Udara Jayawardena
To avoid bad user experiences you need to think like a typical user. Plot out the various scenarios that a user might follow within your application, and then try to make them as simple as possible. It is also important that you show your interface to a typical user and get some direct feedback — a new set of eyes can give you a difference perspective, which always helps.
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Fan Art Feature
By Natalie Scullion www.redbubble.com/people/deer-head-xiris
By Nick Savino www.hybridmink.deviantart.com By Tony Nguyen www.chobi-pho.deviantart.com
By GreyRadian www.greyradian.deviantart.com
By AquaGalaxy www.aquagalaxy.deviantart.com
By Caterina Corsini www.supercaterina.deviantart.com
By Destron23 www.destron23.deviantart.com
By Millicent Mok www.kitsuneotakumangaka .deviantart.com
By Hina www.black-rabbit-constellation.tumblr.com
By Ana Martins www.polarstar.deviantart.com
By orangeBLAZE002 www.orangeblaze002.deviantart.com
By Abboz www.abboz.deviantart.com
By Brittany Tucker www.unibat.deviantart.com
By Denise Maritato www.sserenita.deviantart.com
By ShadowWhisper446 www.shadowwhisper446.deviantart.com
By Caroline Stanton www.fingerpaint888.deviantart.com
It's not about the destination... by Natalie Rowlands
GYRHS Interviewed by Natalie Rowlands DeviantART gyrhs.deviantart.com Tumblr gyrhs.tumblr.com Facebook facebook.com/GYRHS Pixiv pixiv.me/1991224 Store Envy gyrhs.storenvy.com
First off, could you introduce yourself to our readers? Well, hello everyone! I'm GYRHS; part time physics student, part time freelance artist, and eternal fan artist. I've been on DeviantART for many years but I wasn't really active… though I did upload fan art from time to time. Now I mostly work on commissions, or on my own projects; but even so my gallery is mostly full of fan art. Do you tend to focus on one area of fan art (games/movies) or do you just do whatever you're into at the time? Usually I draw fan art of manga or anime that I'm watching; for example, this summer I made a lot of stuff from
“Free”; but you could say that I have been focusing on creating fan art of Hetalia and CLAMP. I even made some doujinshi of CLAMP characters! I also enjoy creating fan art of western series and movies; such as Sherlock, Marvel, and Harry Potter. What enticed you to start creating fan art? Oh, it brings me a lot of old memories… when I was a kid I always drew Goku. At the beginning those drawings where reproductions of screenshots from the anime, but later I began to experiment with different poses and clothes. In 2006 I made my first fan comic about Kurogane and Fai from Tsubasa Chronicles, and it helped me to discover that most of the time I prefer making fan comics rather than my own comics. Do you think fan art is negatively received by other artists? Do they see it as “cheating”? Unfortunately, I think that fan art can have a lot of “cheaters” – people who only reproduce original art and claim it as their own – so maybe other artists do think it. They make it hard to be a fan artist… though thankfully almost all artists have been really nice to me!
attention than illustrations which I have dedicated a lot of time to, and given meaning. What the fan art belongs to also makes a huge difference. All of these things make standing out as a fan artist hard; however, making fan art is something that I really enjoy, so in the end it doesn’t matter to me. Do you have a favourite character that you like drawing? I have many favourite characters, but usually I’ll draw Fai D. Flourite from Tsubasa Chronicles, or Russia and England from Hetalia. I’d love to draw all of the Avengers, or maybe more Harry Potter fan art… but I just don’t have the time for it. Any words of encouragement to other Fan Artists out there? Sometimes it can be hard to stand out in a fandom, but if you really enjoy it, just do it. Fan art is there to show your love for a series, character, or movie. It lets you meet a lot of great people with the same interests and helps to spread the love to your fandom. You shouldn't care about drawing skills, it’s all about sharing your love of something (besides, skill comes with practise)!
The fan art genre is quite saturated. Do you find it hard to stand out? A lot of great artists find it difficult to stand out making fan art; because of this I try to do my best in each illustration. Sometimes though, art which I’ve made for fun gets more
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The Complicated Process of Keeping it Simple Don’t ignore design. It’s the core element of EVERYTHING. whether it’s a website, car, new pen, or laptop, each have to be exquisitely designed and executed in a meaningful manner. If done right it’ll make customers fall in love with the product.
“Everything is design. Everything!” ― Paul Rand I’m not exactly an impartial judge of this. As a self-taught designer I always tend to look at things from an aesthetic perspective, and it has always been a very important part of who I am and how I do things. Design, in its bare essentials, helps solve visual or physical problems;
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“Design is the fundamental soul of a man-made creation that ends up expressing itself in successive outer layers of the product or service.”– Steve Jobs If you were to examine the competition of any business - Apple versus Microsoft, or Facebook versus Google Plus - we see that design is one of the main factors that sets them apart from each other. Yet, with all this we still see few businesses take design seriously. One way or another everything is
designed, and if leveraged right it can be the only difference between a successful company like Apple and just another high-end computer manufacturer. When someone says minimal, crispy-white designs the first thing that comes to my mind is a product designed by Apple. Their success can easily be attributed to the fact that they’ve made design a core part of the company’s strategy. Everything from the product (inside and out), advertising, and the launch is carefully planned out and designed. It’s no wonder people say they’d buy anything with an Apple logo etched onto it. If you were to take a page from Apple’s book, it’s that design should be used to make products easy to use. Making it easier for consumers to understand is a bare essential to designing anything. You don’t always have to reinvent the wheel Sometimes going out of your way to take a fresh and original approach to design could lead to something that consumers find unfriendly and unfamiliar. The best example of this is Facebook versus Google Plus. While Google Plus did take a fresh approach to the timeline and the whole interface, most people found it confusing and didn’t even consider making the switch; the Facebook
user experience is something social networkers are used to. Designing similar user experiences for social products can actually increase the odds of success, and the chance of users adopting your product/ service. The same theory applies when designing other products; leverage the experiences people already have. Always go minimal This is a two birds with one stone strategy; by keeping things minimal you automatically make the product more understandable and unobtrusive. Well, actually, you could take down as many birds as you want if you just go the extra mile to make sure that it’s also designed to be long-lasting and an honest product. “Design is a funny word. Some people think design means how it looks. But of course, if you dig deeper, it's really how it works.” Steve Jobs Keep focus Always keep focus on the important elements in the product you’re designing. Medium.com is a very good example of this – they always focus on the content. Have you noticed that the header menu only appears when scrolling up, otherwise the whole window has complete focus on the blog? This
is what makes it such a compelling publishing tool for writers. While keeping focus, design to the last details. Leave nothing to chance. Flawless design equals fewer problems and happier users. Colour Colour is directly related to simplicity. In truth any choice of colour can be used to create minimal designs – the defining factor is the number of colours being used and how much they contrast with each other. To me dark grey and pure white makes a perfect blend for minimal interfaces; for others it could be anything from black and white, to red and blue. The important thing isn’t what colours you use, it’s about using as few as possible and taking advantage of contrast. Fitting the entirety of a products functions into a minimal design whilst retaining a good user experience takes a lot of planning. Minimal design does not mean easy design, it anything, it might mean more work! Despite all this, try new things! You never know what does and doesn’t work until you’ve tried it! by Udara Jayawardena Featured image: www.soletopia.com
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Interviewed by Adam Lewis LaValley DeviantART ross-86.deviantart.com Are you looking for someone to bolster your art spirit? Make your body melt in awe at a piece of art? Looking for someone who has time to speak to you, and make you feel like you matter? Look no further than DeviantArtâ€™s Ross-86. Sweet as can be, and still making room to improve, she will not disappoint her friends and watchers with her kind nature or her art! Ross is a very good friend of mine. Out of all the artists I wanted to interview, I believe Ross earns the right to have her voice spoken first, for the wonderful person she is!
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Do you have a nickname in the art world? I will always be “Ross” in the art world. My closest friends have called me Ross since I was 15, so this is my real name, even if my mother calls me differently! How long have you been serious about creating art? I've always made art for fun. It was my way of taking a break from real life. When I first discovered DeviantArt I used it to showcase my drawings, but one day I met Zio-san and he introduced me to paid work! I have to thank him for everything; he's actually my first manager. But yes, I think it was one year ago that I started drawing seriously. What art medium do you specialise in? Actually, I'm still specialising in digital drawing; I use a tablet and Paint Tool Sai. I've also done traditional art with watercolours, pencils, real brushes and so on.
me; just sitting on a bench in the park or at the shopping mall, and watching people pass by gets my inspiration sparked.. These are all ways to get new ideas for drawings. Who is your favourite artist? I have tons of artists I love! My favourite above all is Alphonse Mucha, the founder of Art Nouveau. On DeviantArt I like: Inma, NekoRina, Sakimichan, and so many more. What is the name of the artwork you chose for this feature? What kind of feelings does this work inspire in you? Her name is Cotton! She’s my newest creation. I'm really proud of it, it's the best I can do at the moment with my level and every time I see it I realise just how much I have improved. I usually don't feel confident in drawing real backgrounds, but this time I'm really happy with the flowers and the trees on the back.
improving is always possible. They just have to want it, and not worry about how much time it takes. With hard work, everyone can be great! Is there anyone you would like to thank for all the hard work you have
Where do you get your inspiration
The purpose of Designn Magazine
accomplished so far, and expect to
is to inform and spread art culture
accomplish in the future?
around the world. How would you I always take inspiration from other artists; trying to do the same they do is a good way to improve. Sites which allow me to see a list of images, such as Pinterest or Society6, also help me. Real life also massively inspires
like to be an inspiration to other aspiring artists? I don’t think I’m good enough to be a real inspiration... but I hope that beginner artists will learn that
Well, I want to thank all the people who have supported me from the beginning: all the watchers I have, my first manager Zio-san, my dad who always supports me from heaven, my Mommy, and my dog!
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Beauty, Romanticism, and Two Artists An artist’s story always begins with three important tools: the experience, the mind, and the hand.
Writing about artists is a whole different level for me. Writing about a living, feeling human being allows me to search for deeper answers about the world. Artists have the ability to show their feelings visually, and tell me stories with hidden answers about the world. One such artist on DeviantArt, PiraruChan and Suarez Guillen, has a story like you. Who are Piraru and Suarez Guillen? “I am working on two very different aspects,” Piraru explained to me. “You could say that ‘PiraruChan’ is the fictional side of me; the innocent girl who wants to pursue art professionally. The other is my
realistic side, Suarez Guillen, who is an author dedicated to finding a hidden message; trying through beauty, shapes, and the natural to find even the smallest touches of what makes her.” An artist’s story always begins with three important tools: the experience, the mind, and the hand. The inspiration to create art starts from an experience which builds in our mind. We are then pressured to re-imagine or bring new life to the physical world. As time moves forward, we improve and enhance, to satisfy the feelings we are reaching for. “I still have much to learn, much to
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work with, and represent. After a while, you may develop your work and feel more as an artist. You can always improve.” As a child, Piraru found inspiration in manga, comics, magazines, and a real world full of colours. Her childhood days of primary school were spent at home, indoors, where she could focus on her art. Her selfless love for illustrated characters found a special place in her heart. With Piraru, we find that even as we age the youth inside us lives on. Is “Piraru” truly fictional if she can bring her youthful fantasies into reality?
I always wondered why I was attracted to the artistic nature of a woman. There is a beauty most of us do not see and appreciate. In Piraru’s story, I came closer to that answer than I would have on my own. Piraru has the love for drawing women, like most artists; however, she draws women for the notable strength a woman represents: the sensuality of the female figure, the beauty, and the intelligent mind. I was surprised to realize that she is a Romanticist. “I’ve always been a Romanticist. I think the way they feel life is similar to mine. I love dealing with beauty, the drama in the painting, the dark and hidden path, and the dim light of the candle.” Piraru is a woman. She is strong, dedicated, and expressive. Her childhood has influenced what she knows now. She sees herself in two lights: the innocent little girl who loves to draw, and the mature adult dedicated to finding her own hidden message. In creating her art and characters, Piraru is still discovering her own character. by Adam Lewis LaValley
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The Designn Magazine is a free digital publication founded and compiled by the Designn team. You can purchase prints or download this times...
Published on Jan 29, 2015
The Designn Magazine is a free digital publication founded and compiled by the Designn team. You can purchase prints or download this times...