How to Remove “Events for” title in Tribe Events Calendar WP Plugin

This works for version 3.11.2 of The Tribe Events Calendar WordPress Plugin.

Simply navigate to the plugin folder for the Events Calendar and go to “src => functions => template-tags => loop.php”. On line 152 for month and 161 for day, delete “%1$s for”.

Unfortunately, this will probably get erased when the plugin is updated. But I’m not a good enough php coder to figure out how to add my own function to override this. If anyone out there figures it out, let me know!

How Many Logo Variations is TOO Many?

That is a tough question. Obviously it depends on how much your client wants to spend, how picky they are, how complex the logo, whether they know what they want or not, whether they *think* they know what they want or not…(more below)

Groovr Logo Collage

These are just a few of the 66, yes 66, variations I did for groovr. The client knew what he wanted but as we worked those desires morphed into something more refined. I’ll leave you to guess which is the final version.

Let’s say for the sake of argument that your client has the tenacity of a bulldog and unlimited financial resources. In that case my answer is that there is no “too many”. Not because we want to milk every dime out of your client but because it is our job to get them the logo they need and desire. Sometimes that takes a great deal of patience on our part.

The process can be a killer on your pride (which is a good thing). You do something that you think is “AWESOME!” and the client reacts with something like, “Oh, that is way too technical.” or the classic, “That is very nice…but not what I’m looking for.” My advise, don’t react as soon as you read the email, or if you’re on the phone just let it roll by and move on. I get the impression that many designers forget that our job is a service job…we serve the needs of others. Servants don’t tell the boss, “You have no clue what you are talking about and you need to listen to me!” Servants say, “Yes sir.”

Don’t get me wrong, we are trained in the art of visual communication and folks should often put their ideas in the hands of the professional, but that is not always going to happen. Also, like it or not, aesthetics are a subjective matter. There is a bit of gray area (although not as much as is needed sometimes!)

So when you’re tired and weary you have two choices:

  1. Have a bad attitude and allow your pride and ego to say, “This moron doesn’t know what he’s talking about, why won’t he listen to me!” (which I think we all feel that way when we first get shot down, but to hang onto it is pretty immature)
  2. Accept the challenge, let the situation push you to your best, to new discoveries and, hopefully, to your client saying, “Well Done, it is better than I hoped for.” I’ll tell you from experience that that is a good feeling.

I’d love to hear your thoughts…

MacX DVD Ripper Pro Review

MacX DVD Ripper Pro Review Screenshot

MacX DVD Ripper Pro Screenshot

Like any other Graphic Designer, I enjoy visual stimulants…don’t we all? Movies definitely fall into that category. Not too long ago two things happened; my dinosaur of a laptop’s dvd player stopped working and I got a smartphone. As a result I found myself more in need of a way to convert my DVDs into digital format…enter MacX DVD Ripper Free. While this is not a review of the free edition, it works well for a free version. Basically, if your DVD doesn’t have the new Disney Protection (perhaps other protections, I’m not sure) it works well. I ripped Kung Fu Panda, Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightening Thief, Night at the Museum & others.

But, then I tried to rip Alice in Wonderland to no avail. So, I got a copy of MacX DVD Ripper Pro. I must say I’m impressed. I’ve ripped Thor, Marvel’s The Avengers, The Hunger Games, multiple Looney Tunes Gold Discs, The Jungle Book, Tinkerbell & The Lost Treasure, Up and more with no trouble.

The interface is clean and user-friendly. The options for ripping the DVDs are vast (size, quality, etc). Playback is sharp with no jitters, hesitation, etc. And, after about a month of using it…I’ve had no troubles.

Lastly I’ll say two things; First, I DO NOT use this for ripping movies I don’t own…illegal and not cool. Second, oddly enough, I still haven’t ripped Alice in Wonderland (but I have no doubt MacX DVD Ripper Pro will work fine!)

Digital Painting for the Complete Beginner: Book Review

Digital-Painting-BeginnerCarlyn Beccia writes this wonderful how to book with a comfortable, almost conversational style. It feels personal, which is really nice for a how to book. It is divided up into two sections: Digital Painting Essentials and Tutorials. It also covers two programs, Photoshop CS5 and Painter 12. But this is not just a book about how to use this program, it is also a book about artistic techniques, terms, printing, scanning and a multitude of other useful info. Well worth the $15 I paid for it.

Digital Painting Essentials Section

Not being a “Complete Beginner” myself I read through the first few chapters easily and everything was familiar, but a nice refresher. But as I’ve walked through a few of the other Essentials chapters I’ve been really impressed with the simple tips and steps she gives with excellent results. I actually bought a copy of Corel Painter 12 because of her easy to understand explanations of the difference between it and Photoshop! (and I’m SO glad I did)

Tutorials

While I haven’t walked through each tutorial yet, I have given them much more than a cursory glance. What I like about her explanations is that they are not only relevant for her. These are things everyone can use and modify as needed. She gives you a nice combination of a look into the programs and artistic techniques. Her approaches seem to have a nice variance in each tutorial while maintaining artistic integrity.

Featured Artist Sections

Ms. Beccia also threw in these nice morsels of eye candy for all of us art junkies (which, if you buy this book you probably are one).

Conclusion

I read a review on amazon.com that said something like “I don’t like her style, so I don’t like the book” …somebody call the WAAAAAAAAMBULANCE! Her style is irrelevant to the usability of the book.

This book is what it’s title proclaims and more, unless you’re a very savvy digital artist I’d say this book can help, and with the modest price tag, why not? Digital Painting for the Complete Beginner on Amazon.com

Faerie Araneae (Spider Fairy)

This being the second post in the Operation: reDRAW series…

Last time I showed you an image of a not-so-proportionally correct faery. BUT, I liked the clothes, position and even attitude (altitude) of the drawing. So, here it is in a more refined/finished drawing. The photoshop painting is slowly coming along and I may show you a pre-finished version soon. (I did some brief research on Faery lore and I’m re-writing it as I go) Oddly enough, I watched the trailer for Epic yesterday, which looks to have some potential similarities with my ideas, although I don’t know that they call these tiny humanoids faeries or not. Nothing new under the sun I guess… See the caption for a description of the Faery Araneae.

Check out facebook to see some other sketches that are eligible for the O.R. (Operation: reDRAW).

Faery Araneae Spider Fairy

Faery Araneae in “free” attire, spider hair woven garments covered in light webbing. ~ These fae, while not overly fond of war are extremely capable warriors. They are very devoted to their charges yet are often forced to battle them for their own safety. Daily skirmishes also arise with the Faery Insectum for obvious reasons. F. Araneae worship the Creator in a quiet solemn fashion, with humility and extraordinary gratitude.

Operation: reDRAW

Faerie-Araneae-or-Spider-Faerie

I’ve already begun a new sketch of this and some photoshop painting on it.

I have been disturbingly uninspired lately to draw anything. Maybe it has something to do with not posting to my blog since May. Hmmmm…. It may also be related to having so much to do in the web design and graphic design portions of my work world. All of my creative juices seem to be flowing into the Net and Ink. Mind you, I’m not complaining, just desiring to feed the artistic wolf within who has been hungry with no food in sight…or so I thought.

Anyway, having remembered the wisdom of other artists I began looking through some old artwork, from this year and years past. And came up with the super-not-original idea of tackling some old work, whether sketches or completed pieces, and sharing them with my loving audience.

I will be posting some other work on facebook that I think may be worthy of revisiting. Also, feel free to peruse my portfolio and say, “Hey Mike why not tackle this from this angle”. I’m open.

Business Card Trio

Clarksville-Water-Sports-Business-CardHave I ever told you how much I enjoy business cards? I think it’s just the forced simplicity that makes the design challenge so wonderful. Let’s face it, complexity and business card design go together about as well as ice cream on a hot dog (unfortunatly there are people who like both I’m sure…somewhere). I’m not talking about the length of time it takes to design the card, it can take hours, I’m talking about the finished product. Is it legible? Easy to read? Does it make you feel cool to hand it to someone and say, “Here’s my card”? (OK, the last one is subjective).

Junk-Removal-GA-Business-CardI hope that in my pursuits to create legible, lovely, awe-inspiring cards I actually hit the mark (God gets the credit when I do). Let me know what you think…

dot-dot.com-Business-Card

Dot-Dot Revamp

Before and After Dot-Dot.com Logo

top: Before / bottom: After

Has it really been since February…holy toledo! Artists, puh. To the left please notice the revamp I did for Becky Barnett of Dot-Dot.com (this is one cool lady, and she knows her business…she is an SEO Titan.) We haven’t implemented the new logo on the link I’m giving, but I am working it into another site of hers yet to be published. I wasn’t excited about her desire to keep the purple and red at first, but it has really grown on me and now I know she made the right call. Way to go Becky!

Reptillian Ocular Anatomy Study

Lizard-Eye-Drawing

not a great representation...but a good study. I didn't capture the 3 dimensional quality at all.

Sounds fancy doesn’t it? All I really did was draw a lizard eye. But it is a study any time you draw anything in detail…yeah, hence the word study. My wife and I bought this wonderful 18″ x 24″ Rainforest book for our girls as a Christmas gift (they’re pretty nuts about books). There are some wonderful photos in there and Daddy is going to put them to good use as well.

I am amazed at the “squiggly” details inside the eye and the elegance of the scaling patterns…no wonder I used to try and draw dragons so much. I may pick it up again. The best part of any type of organic study for me is seeing the hand of God at work in his creation. It is altogether humbling and awe inspiring. Good food for a creative person, not to mention a worshipful exercise.

On another note, I’m seriously considering a Masters Degree in Illustration from the Academy of Art University (MFA). Its very exciting, very expensive and brings that curious feeling of terror and adreniline just thinking about it. Pray I make the right decision.