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Hello all! I’m chipping away at The Roommate Book one spread at a time. Here’s a modified version of said spreads.

I want to let you know that I’m regularly updating the home page of www.beckycmurphy.com with new art that I’m creating for 100 Days of Getting Started (the 100 drawings I’m creating for my first quarter in my Creative Residency.)

Here’s why it might be relevant to you:

1. New art in any capacity is cool, right?

2. I’m jotting down my process / tools used for every new piece from now on (including the last nine).

3. I also include the original scan, unedited. It’s easy to highlight our process—to show on Instagram what we want people to see. This is the raw footage.

My hope is for this art to become a resource for aspiring illustrators or those looking to compare notes. Check out the rest of the page. I’m still deciding if I want to make the animals black or keep the white cutouts. Thoughts?

If you’re interested in these updates being delivered to you via email every other week, sign up below. I promise I will never send something just to fill the space. Also, a newsletter that’s 90% pictures? TOO EASY.

Biweekly art & notes

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Do you know about the 100 Day Project? Read about it here on the Great Discontent.

We can accomplish great things when we do a little bit at a time consistently over time.

The first quarter of my Creative Residency is devoted to making art.

How do we make the best art? How do we make the worst art? How do we make any art?

We get started.

Like I said before, if there’s one thing I know it is that it’s better to start somewhere now than it is to start somewhere later.

And this is why I’ve been posting #100daysofgettingstarted on Instagram.

Mark Twain said it best: “The secret of getting ahead is getting started.”

My 100 Day Project will display 100 illustrations in varying degrees of completion. I’m updating the home page of my website (almost weekly) with new work, complete with original sketches and tools/process used. If you want to see more, check that out or follow me on Instagram.

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Greetings from Charleston!

I have so much to talk about. 1. My talk at Giant Conference yesterday! 2. Marriage! 3. Deciding what to do about my last name! 4. My 100 Days of Getting Started project! 5. Illustration on the go!

Let’s chat about the last one, illustration on the go.

We all travel. If you’re like me and you like to draw, you probably give your sketchbook extra attention during this time. I don’t mind staying analog for a little while, but what if a project is due? Or what if I want to actually finish one of my 800 sketches? What if I don’t want to haul my laptop around the city, but my iPad fits in my purse?

See this this travel clothing collage up top ↑? I created it without even opening my laptop. Here’s the short version: hand drawn → vectorized in Shape → edited in Draw with my Adobe Ink on my iPad (also used Color to help with the palette).

Now for the more detailed version.

1. I drew the most basic clothing shapes on the most basic paper with the most basic marker. Nothing to see here, folks.

2. I took a picture of each item with my Shape app on my phone (iPad works too). For those of you who aren’t familiar, get familiar. Shape is *so* easy to use and saves a *ton* of time. It vectorizes anything and everything. I like to use it for line art (see below).

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3. Time to grab your Adobe Ink and open up your Draw app on your iPad (iPhone works too). Now it’s the fun part! Start placing and arranging each shape. You can change the size, orientation and even outline color.

OPTION B: If you don’t own an Ink (digital drawing pen made by Adobe and works effortlessly with these apps), you are in luck because you can still finger paint. Follow steps one and two, but fill in the color with your little fingies (see example. In said example, note that I also drew it with my fingers). The finger painting method yields less detail but more charm (unconfirmed). But seriously, check out what’s possible with this app.

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4. After images are placed, create another layer below the outlines for color.

5. Now it’s time to go gangbusters. You’ve arrived at Destination Coloring Book. You earned it, warrior.

Tip: you can choose from and create rad color palettes in the Color app. See a cool book cover/bouquet/tapestry/bathroom tile with like, the BEST color palette? Snap a picture with Color and it saves it in your library (which can be accessed in the Draw app. If it sounds confusing, don’t worry—just open the app > library and you’ll figure it out. It’s quite intuitive). Here’s an example of one of my saved color palettes paired with its original photo.

6. Time for details. This is where the real magic happens. I know I talked a big game for #5 but this time I’m serious. This is where the big dawgs hang out. The kind of big dawgs who have gothic lettering tattoos above their belly buttons. Their bumper stickers say, “If you can’t stand the heat, stay out of the kitchen” and so forth. This is the point where we add some finesse. Draw little patterns, change the line weight and add new colors. Remember: subtraction can be powerful too.

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7. And before you know it, you’re done! Enjoy the fruits of your labor. Share it on Behance, Instagram and Twitter. Or don’t stop the fun just yet and bring it into Illustrator to turn it into a repeating pattern.

Want to know more? For an easy 9-minute tutorial on Adobe Illustrator Draw, watch this video. For more tutorials on Adobe’s mobile products, check these out.

BONUS: Adobe just released a ton of handy updates TODAY. Check them out and be the leader of your pack.

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For the first leg of my creative residency project, I’m doing 100 pieces of art (still thinking of a name). You can follow along by way of Instagram, Behance and my portfolio site. The home page of www.beckycmurphy.com will showcase my progress, and in the future I’ll list the tools used to complete said projects. I’ve already added a handful. Check it out.

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You know when you have those moments where you’re like, “I know very few things for certain, but this…this I know this for sure.”…? Yes? No?

I’ll skip the rapport and get to the point:

Just try it.

HA! It was in the header this whole time.

Last Thursday I spoke at Adobe’s Austin Creative Jam. It was a real big time. Local designers competed for a few hours, then a crowd full of students and professionals gathered for Foodapalooza grub and booze. We mingled, then four of us spoke for 15 minutes each on our process. The grand finale was the room voting on which design they liked best. It was a great night. Be sure to check out the other speakers: Lin Zagorski, Ty Wilkins and Ryan Hamrick. 

How’d I spend my 15 minutes?

Talking about books, of course.

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*Photo by Bonnie & Lauren

I’m working on my second book, The Roommate Book. I forget that it wasn’t long ago that I didn’t think it was possible for me to be a published author/illustrator at this point in my life.

Let me explain via the rewind button.

In college I knew I was pretty okay, but “all my classmates are way better.”

I almost moved to South Korea (to teach English) because I didn’t think I’d get a job in “this economy”* PLUS “I’m not even that good.”

I always wanted to write and illustrate books but I didn’t think I had it in me until “Sometime in the future when I’m older and better and have more time.”

I put off starting I’d Rather Be Short because “I’m not a good writer” and “I’m not even qualified.”

I didn’t think I could get a book deal because “I’m not that type of person—the type to get PUBLISHED.”

Once I did have a book deal, I didn’t think designers I respected would take it seriously because “I don’t draw the right way.”

And on and on and on.

But somewhere between those lines read,

“You may not be the best, but what if you just try?”

“You are qualified at you. You are an expert at your story” and

“Just because this hasn’t happened to you yet doesn’t mean it can’t or isn’t going to.”

“Big deal” stuff is all relative. If your name is Lorne Michaels, why are you reading this? Please keep working on your show that I will always love despite the dummies who say it hasn’t been funny since the 90′s.

Back to the rest of us. If [insert creative dream] is indeed a dream of yours, then I imagine that while you are inspired by the possibilities, you might also find yourself on the other end of the spectrum. The part that feels like it’s too good to be true or too “advanced for where you are now.”

But that’s hogwash (I can make that joke because I’m from Iowa).

The best person for the job is the one who is doing the job. Not the one who says they’re going to do it, or the person with the most qualifications, but the one who is actually doing it. 

We have no idea what we’re capable of. What we do know is that we’re capable of more than we think. The least we can do is try. Just try! Just wait and see! Let’s get off our twerking booties, computers, Instagram and Farmville (really?) and MAKE. Make dinosaurs out of tin foil and necklaces out of macaroni, record a song in the bathroom, I don’t know! You do you. It might be bad, but do it. Make it. And then put it into the world.

If it’s nagging at you now, it will nag at you later. THEREFORE, It is better to make a crappy draft sooner than later, my friends. Back to one of those few things I know for certain:

It is better to start somewhere now than to start somewhere later.

Just do the thing.

Or, if this is easier,

just try the thing.

*I realize I just quoted ‘the economy’ but you have to remember it was 2010 and people were blaming canker sores on the economy.

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Please join us at Creative Jam tomorrow at Vuka (7 PM) for a night of process and story telling. I’ll be sharing the journey of how I ended up in the publishing world. Better yet, you’ll also hear from Lin ZagorskiRyan Hamrick and Ty Wilkins and learn about the process from our creative leaders in Austin. RSVP here.

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Two things.

1. When in doubt, draw what you see. In my case, I looked at my desk and here we are. Sometimes I blank because I want to be clever or soooooo original, but my eyeballs keep me grounded.

2. Do you sometimes wonder about other people’s illustration process? Me too! Do you have Photoshop? Below I share how I took a modest doodle and turned it into a HeyThisDrawingThingIsFun.JPG.

I often work in Illustrator with vector files, but I spend my fair share of time in Photoshop. This is also more or less how I illustrated I’d Rather Be Short and The Roommate Book.

Let’s begin.

1. When I use a regular scanner*, I scan the drawing at 600 DPI so I always have the option of making it bigger (you can always make it smaller, but you can’t blow it up and maintain quality…also a reason why it’s great to be short…I’m talking about how you can always hem a good pair of pants but you can’t make them grow, but I digress.)

*I often use my phone as a scanner. Either the ScannerPro app, Adobe Shape (if I’m making it a vector) or just a straight up photo.

2. I make the image black and white, level it out, then I might clean it up a bit and HECK, I may even crop the dang thing.

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3. Next I convert it back to color (CMYK or RGB, depending on the purpose).

4. Sometimes I drag in a specific image for color inspiration (good app for this is Adobe Color). In this case, I snagged this art from Pinterest under my “Illustration: color” board. Image source: 2014 MOMO lookbook. Originally found via Miss Moss.

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5. Now it gets fun. Unlock the background layer and create a new background (use the Eyedropper tool to pick background color from the image).

6. Now multiply the illustration layer (make sure to keep this layer on top). This will ensure that only the black stays visible.

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7. Use the Eyedropper tool to pick a fill color from the image.

8. Create new layer (remember to keep it below the top illustration layer).

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9. Click on the illustration layer, then select the Magic Wand tool and click on a portion of the illustration you want to color in. It needs to be a bounded space without any gaps. Then click on the new layer and Paint Bucket the selected area. Make sure to add a new layer for each new color.

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TIP: If you want to change the color of a layer, double click the layer (not where the text is), then the layer styles will open, then go to ‘color overlay’ then click on the color thumbnail and change it to the desired color.

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10. Rinse and repeat. There are countless ways of achieving anything in Photoshop, but this is just one. Play around with it. If anything doesn’t make sense, test drive a new route. We all learn by doing.

Lastly, this is my first written tutorial. Please let me know if you found this helpful (or confusing), as well as how I can improve them in the future. What are your favorite tips and tricks?

What do you do when you suddenly have the time, space and resources to fully unleash your creative potential?

1. You find yourself “weak at the knees” or “scared shitless” or “extremely humbled.”

2. You pull yourself up by your favorite-colored bootstraps and put a little meat on the bones of this project* you set out to do.

3. You wish to flesh out this list for the sake of adding more idioms.

4. Okay, now let’s talk about this here Creative Residency and what one (me) plans to do in the first three months.

Like I said in my previous post, I’ve found myself in a unique situation (huge opportunity). Before this all came about, I was making teeny tiny baby steps toward transitioning my business into full-time art sellin’. As you know, side hustle forces us to make the most of the little, precious time we have to work on the side projects we are so passionately side hustling in the first place (efficiency! Great!). The sometimes-downside is that it creates, at least for me, an ultra-productivity mindset. If I have an hour, I’m going to make it count.

But we know that making space to explore and play is where we find the insightful, clever, thoughtful and impactful art.

I want to make and sell my work and I want it to support me and I want to teach others how to do it too. I also want to help folks realize their creative potential.

Because of this year-long creative residency through Adobe, the whole process will be accelerated.

There are a lot of unknowns, and that’s why this is so good for me. Like I said, I tend to be very methodical. I suspect the hardest part for me will be making space for exploring, learning and failing. For the first three months, my focus will be on making art. I’m going to create 100 pieces and I’ll be posting them on my website. I plan to update the home page weekly (probably starting in the next week or two), so please follow along on my journey. I’ll also share my process (thoughts and tools).

In an effort to prioritize the actual illustration process, I created a skeleton schedule. Check out this post by Jessica Hische (sent to me by my fellow traveler and figurative running partner, Jen). I have no doubt it will be more fluid than my “2-3 PM: catch up on email” plan, but making time to make is going to transform my flow. I’m looking forward to seeing how this impacts the life of my work.

Last thing! Next week (Thursday, May 14th), I’ll be speaking at Vuka alongside some other talented designers at Adobe’s Creative Jam. Sign up and join us for a night of inspiration, process and tomfoolery.

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Some exciting, big changes are happening around here.

Aside from my recent engagement and progress with The Roommate Book, I now have the opportunity to work with Adobe to actualize a dream of mine since I can remember (and have gotten serious about in the last six months).

I’ve been a self-employed cowgirl for the last two years and three months. It’s been awesome and it’s been hard. I wouldn’t trade it for anything. The best parts have been seeing myself get tougher and realizing my long-term goals (and seeing them change over time). I’ve observed what gets me into my flow and what gets me out of bed early. The last year has especially groomed me for the road ahead.

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My dream career is to make and sell original content. Content being art and ideas.

I’m talking books (check), prints (check) and now a lot more stuff. That’s where Adobe comes in. They have a brand new program called the Adobe Creative Residency. I’m one of their first two creative residents, alongside the talented, whip-smart Kelli Anderson. Check out her work and watch this video where she shares more on her creative process.

Over the next year I will forgo client work in order to focus entirely on making my illustrations a sustainable business.This will give me the time to make art, explore new methods, fail, succeed, experiment, collaborate and share the process along the way. Adobe will also provide mentorship and software to make it happen. Check out this interview to learn more about why I’m so excited.

But this isn’t all about me. I know I’m not the only one with this kind of dream. My hope is that my participation and commitment to sharing the process will help accelerate this dream for everybody else too. To learn more about what I do (and what I plan to do this year), Check out this interview to learn more about why I’m so excited. You can read about why Adobe is excited by checking out David Wadhwani’s post, One-Year. Unconstrained Creativity.

And lastly, here’s a bit more on the program from Adobe:

With Adobe’s support, the creative residents have access to the best tools, resources and mentorship in various creative fields throughout the residency. Residents are encouraged to explore their strengths and weaknesses through the support of mentors both inside and outside of the company; and to share their insights and work at conferences, workshops and online.

The Adobe Creative Residency is a way for Adobe to support the community and to honor creative individuals whose work elevates the use and value of visual content in our culture. The residents are future creative leaders who produce work that changes the way we see and interact with the world. They are individuals who are eager to share their skills with others. They are visual explorers, willing to take on risk and fail, while knowing they will learn from their challenging experiences.

Pretty soon I’ll write more specifically about my role in this program and what I’m trying to accomplish by the end of the year. I’ll be posting my process and what I’m learning along the way. If you’re a creative entrepreneur who dreams of selling your work, where are you in your journey? What are you learning? What do you want to learn?

Let’s band together. Like the African proverb says, “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”

Now let’s do this.

Follow on InstagramTwitter, and check out my studio.

Currently reading: The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo.

I’ve been drawn to downsizing, discarding and minimizing over the last couple of years. While I’ve made great progress as an ex-pack rat, I still struggle with believing I too can be one to just let things go.

Susan Bolotin of Workman Publishing said, “There’s a dreamy quality to it…It’s a book that promises something that is almost beyond imagination. It’s magic.” (Read more from this WSJ article)

Susan is right.

This post isn’t a summary of the book, but a notation of a couple of personal paradigm shifts.

1. Re: discarding. Kondo asks every client to answer the following question before deciding to keep or toss:

Does it spark joy?

2. If our belongings don’t spark joy, why are we making space for them? What if we only made space for that which we really treasured?

“To truly cherish the things that are most important to you, you must discard those things that have truly outlived their purpose.” —Marie Kondo

3. Beauty for the sake of beauty is enough. If we decide to only own what we really love, then doesn’t beauty and art move up to highest priority?

If any of this brings you a small sense of serenity, you won’t regret giving this book a read (or listen). I started it yesterday and I’m almost finished.

Perhaps you’ve already read it. What did you think? Did it spill into other areas of your life?

Follow on InstagramTwitter, and check out my studio.