Design insights & tutorials.

Blank Canvas: Personal Projects

For this installment of Blank Canvas, Go Media is interested in hearing about your forays into the analog world.

With so much design work being created and used online and in digital format, it’s easy for a creator to only see their work on the screen. And typically the work you create is for a client.

Our question this time around: how much work do you create for yourself, and do you exhibit that work in shows and/or galleries? If so, how do you go about finding an outlet for your design work?

We also want to hear from you illustrators out there. How much of your work is personal creation, and do you show your art in community events?

Personally, most of my illustration work ends up being seen on-screen. I’ve been planning to create more personal digital artwork and get it out into the physical world, but to be honest I have been dragging my feet in that area.

At Go Media’s recent WMC Fest art/music/film event, I had the opportunity to display work and worked up an original illustration and had it printed out. The impact of seeing non-client work in large format print was addicting, and I plan to do much more of this in the coming months.

I’m also very curious as to those on the design end of the spectrum, what your thoughts are regarding personal creations and displaying them in a public setting. Sound off in the comments section below.

Go!

About the Author, George Coghill

George Coghill isa freelance humorous illustrator/cartoonist specializing in mascot cartoon character design & cartoon logos. His cartooning & illustration work can be seen at CoghillCartooning.com and at his cartooning and illustration blog. Be sure to follow me on Twitter here!
Discover More by George Coghill

Discussion

We want to hear what you have to say. Do you agree? Do you have a better way to approach the topic? Let the community know by joining the discussion.

  • http://www.markpeckart.com Mark Peck

    Personally I create lots of digital creations in just spur of the moment goofy ideas… tend to be more of inside jokes or just random designs for friends.

    But personal serious projects are getting left behind as work piles up more and more. Kinda depressing… painting used to be such a passion and I just have no time to do it these days. Life wears down on us all.

  • http://rachelecobb.com Rachel

    The other girls in my office along with myself have started a quarterly art project. At the beginning of the quarter (we go by when the seasons start) we pick a theme (quote, artistic style, icon, Dr. Seuss) and each person has three months to create a piece using any medium based on the theme. I use this as my motivation to create something for me and for the analog world. We display the art at work and after a few more quarters we are going to try to set up a show at the gallery across the street. FYI my medium of choice is ceramics.

  • Adam_Wagner

    Great post George. Also, I've got your print! It's safe!

  • Zoltan

    I'm a designer and illustrator, and since in my country (Israel) it's quite hard to earn a decent living as an illustrator (it's possible, but I don't think the little money you get is worth all the crazy hours and dealing with crazy clients), my main focus career-wise in the past few years was design. And because of the simple fact that you have to do something for your soul after a hard days work for someone else, I try to do something for myself every day (not always doable, those 24 hours just fly by, but still). So I take great pleasure in painting and doing the things I REALLY like and find interesting, which are not “mainstream” at all. Hopefully sometime soon I'll get the chance to have a solo exhibition. Just have to finish those paintings already…

  • http://www.mckibillo.com mckibillo

    Man, this post really speaks to me… I'm a full-time illustrator (knock on wood) doing mostly infographics and conceptual stuff for editorial clients. It's great work but at times can be a bit restricting and frankly, a little lonely working all by my lonesome. But… a couple of years back I discovered paper toys and decided to make my own collaborative project called NaniBird ( http://www.nanibird.com ). Since then, I've worked on paper toys with folks all around the world, have been in shows all over the place, and have been published in a number of big, hefty, oversized books. Hell, I even got to put up a big old NaniBird poster in the Shibuya station in Tokyo. It's been a blast! And all from a bit of paper and glue. Getting my hands dirty has been the best thing ever.

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  • OverIthisWire

    Great post! Since the spring/summer season i have been so busy with work for clients my personal projects have come to a halt. Over the winter when things were slow i was working a good amount on personal projects. I have yet to show my work at a gallery but it is something i plan on doing this summer. I'm lucky to be able to print my illustration work in house with my large format printer. So when I'm happy with some of my personal work i turn them into art prints. There is one gallery in the area and the owner of it is a friend, we spoke about putting some of my work in there.. I just haven't had the time to do it yet. Another cool art store/ gallery just opened up right down the road from my shop. They allow any of the towns artist to put their work in there and they also offer to sell it.. the other cool thing is my town is filled with artists of all different types. So the store has many different mediums of art work. I will say when it comes down to hand drawn illustration the majority of it is personal work. My work for clients ends up being mainly in the branding/identity area as well as the more straight graphic design look. I would say 65% of my clients don't ask for anything illustration related. The other percentile would be illustrations for T shirt graphics and those usually always come down to some type of hand drawn illustration. I agree with you George about the prints being addictive. Weather it be a full illustration piece, a digital painting or the graphic look without any hand drawing, it's really rad to see the creation on a large print. I really love printing my digital paintings/photoshop realism stuff on canvas.. it has a great look! A lot of my illustrator personal art work turns into digital prints on vinyl with contour cuts. I use them for wall graphics/paper for either my office or my room. Anyway great post!

  • http://www.wix.com/lyndsey43/lyndseygrosjean Lyndsey

    I am a freelance designer but i have recently been doing things that dont pay. I dont k really know why but I guess I just want to keep creating. Unfortunately, this doesnt help my rent get paid or put food on the table!

    I also used to have a passion for painting and drawing, but after being in front of a computer all day, I have no energy or drive to do what i really want to do. So sad. My own exhibit at a gallery is my ultimate dream . . . I wish

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  • http://www.thombaker.co.uk ThomBaker

    Time is always the hurdle, isn't the ideal 8 hours sleep, 8 hours work and 8 hours play? Earning a living always seems to get in the way of actually living, I have just started full time as an in house designer, and have so far kept work at work giving me time to do my own projects, I have the whole weekend to myself, so it's great, steady income, free time, ideal for me at the moment. I am currently working on a custom painted guitar for a mate of mine, and restoring an old deck chair from Brighton Pier, tidying the wood up and creating my own fabric design for it. I have my own website to finish too, and get that to where I want it. Hopefully I'll get the 8 hours balance, but for now, I've got just enough time to be doing my own thing, its better than nothing :D

  • Biavela

    The walls of my house are my own art gallery. When i got married last year and we wanted to decorate i suggested my husband (who is a graphic designer too) that we should use our creations since we never have the time or mood (we´re always tired) to exhibit them. When family and friends come over they give us their opinion and that´s it.

    It´s hard to create stuff for ourselves on a regular basis. Expending the whole day in front of a computer and using inspiration for comisioned work leaves us dry.

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  • design_monsta

    love the birds! I would love to create one when I find time :D

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  • Climb Trees

    hey keep going with your art despite the time limitations. I was stuck at a horrible little newspaper who grabbed any piece of energy I had through the day and was thrown out at night with nothing left but unhinged nerves and a ungodly feeling of death.. i escaped after four years of hell.. found a better place that I could somewhat breathe at and forced myself to participate in a 'studio hop'. I'm showing my work next week. Showing my artwork for the first time in public been on my mind for six years and the day has finally came. The studio hop is nothing big, it's in a small city – but it's my own studio with my original work. I got there after all of those horrible years of just being known as the pixel pusher and nothing else. Keep going you'll get there.
    Here's my work on facebook:http://www.facebook.com/pages/Andreas-Art/118455678171626
    http://studiohop.wordpress.com/ – Studio Hop Event website

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  • http://www.klavisnurs.com Klavis

    I agree with Geoff. I don’t consider Illustrator to be a layout/design program, even though some use it that way.

    Art Files adds the functionality some may want/need if they use Illustrator to do layout.

  • Tütüne Son

    The walls of my house are my own art gallery. When i got married last
    year and we wanted to decorate i suggested my husband (who is a graphic
    designer too) that we should use our creations since we never have the
    time or mood (we´re always tired) to exhibit them. When family and
    friends come over they give us their opinion and that´s it.

    It´s hard to create stuff for ourselves on a regular basis.
    Expending the whole day in front of a computer and using inspiration for
    comisioned work leaves us dry.