Category: Art Blog

10 ways to stay creative in 2023

Happy New Year people!!!

In this blog post, I discuss ten ways to stay creative in 2014 and not get bogged down with the reality of getting back to a day job after the new year party is over.

1. Practice your creativity

Practice makes perfect so make sure you do keep practising regardless of your creative hobby. For my profession, I realise that I need to keep abreast of technological advances and also improve my graphic design ability to take the next level from advanced to a master’s. To improve my skills regularly I find websites like YouTube ( for free videos ), and a great source of improving your skill set and also improving your creativity as you will know what will and won’t work when designing websites and graphics.

2. 365-day sketch challenge

As you may know, I also like to create art as well as graphics, brands and websites but trying to find the time or inclination to draw and paint whilst trying to earn a living working 9 – 5.30 can be challenging. If you can allocate 30 minutes a day to try to create a sketch it will make you a better creative and probably cross over in your day job too.

3. 365 photography challenge

Those who feel they can’t paint ( although everyone can! ) or don’t feel they have time may prefer to point and click every day to record a special moment in their lives.

This is a great way to create a pictorial journey and with the advent of social media programs like Instagram it could be quite easy to keep a log book of what you are doing even if the highlight simply is washing the dog, or sending an email, it’ll make you look at mundane things in a whole new way, enhancing your creativity for that next project you think seems difficult to make exciting!

4. Challenge yourself

Have you become complacent and comfortable in where you are in life? Is your life becoming a bit dull? We all aim for comfortable living and able to do what we want when we want and living in a nice house with nice things is the dream of every living human but sometimes difficulties and challenges can help you advance yourself and your creativity more than being comfortable can. Setting some challenges or pushing yourself through difficulties will make you look at life and things slightly differently which will of course, once again, improve your creativity!

5. Study new things you’ve wanted to learn

Want to be an ice skater? Learn how to do it. Want to fly a plane? Do it! New experiences open up new creative avenues for you that haven’t been tapped before. Push your boundaries and be determined to learn something new you never know where new skills will lead you even if it isn’t directly related to creative professions.

6. Travel to new places

When you travel to new places it really does open your mind, my solo journey to Colombia a while back was an eye opener and this year’s travel to Norway and Mexico. Travelling opens you up to new people, new ways of living, new beliefs and new cultures and new art. These experiences will stay with you once you return back to your studio. The world is a huge and fascinating place and if you don’t at least attempt to travel to some destinations I believe it will keep your mind shut, they do say, ‘travelling broadens the mind’.

7. Believe in yourself and keep going

It is really easy to get demotivated, particularly in January, many people get the January blues straight after Christmas, it was so much fun and very relaxing but don’t worry, you will get over it!

To try and help you get over the feeling of sadness that the Christmas fun times are over put your favourite music on, get some positive vibes flowing and shake that booty, Stevie Wonder needs you!

8. Turn the TV OFF

Our lives are becoming more and more full of constant distractions! TV, computer games, smartphones, social media ( although handy for business I admit… ) and gossip…it is all endless! Take some Zen time and turn away all that nonsense and focus within, thats where the creativity resides and once you stop focusing on mind-numbing media you will find you have acres of time to improve your own skills and creativity.

9. Study the works of others

When it comes to painting and drawing I try not to study the works of others as it can influence the way I work myself but sometimes when the creativity is dried up it can be helpful.

Whether we like to admit it or not all creative professionals are influenced by each other and each creative develops a ‘style’ and usually in the style of something that has come previously by those with more experiences in life. It may not be an exact representation but studying other artists and designers that you admire it can help boost your own creative thinking and your own processes.

It really is not a bad idea to take elements of others’ ideas as long as you can add your own touch to the finished product ( and of course, you are not breaching copyright! ).

10. Do things that make you (and others) happy

It’s no rocket science to figure out that if you are happy it is easier to be creative and become motivated to act on your creative impulses and likewise when you make people happy, even a complete strangers, it is a feeling of satisfaction that you know someone is feeling good.

That positive vibes that you feel after your good deeds or just generally doing things that make you happy give you the motivation you need for the creative sparks to be ignited within you and who knows, helping others may just inspire your creativity and artwork in a theme for a painting or making a connection with a like mind you may even work together on a project!

How do you find your creative sparks when you have a creative block? Please share your own ideas of how you stay creative below.

New Years Resolution do more art underway!

For the last three years, I have been entirely focused on up-skilling my digital skills, after all, it is how I earn my living so it is of the utmost importance that I do so, particularly at the rate that technology and design trends change. Unfortunately, due to this circumstance, it means my art, painting and drawing have taken a back seat but that is something I have decided to rectify and my canvas, paints and A2 sketchpad have finally arrived today!

Continue “New Years Resolution do more art underway!”

The hidden beauty within Toxteth

As a part 1 architect student we were asked to develop a collage that depicted our area we had been given to design an architectural masterplan, not one to stick to the rules very often I decided to develop an art installation instead.

I designed  an installation that tried to explain that Toxteth, an area given a bad name since the 1980’s riots, still had hidden beauty and gems that not everyone thinks or knows about when they think of this particular area of Liverpool.

Being from the region and my mother being born in this part of the city in particular I knew the  area fairly well and wanted people to see that there were good qualities about the area that must be preserved when in the redeveloping the area.

History covered up

When I visited the area for the site analysis one particular row of 19th century terraces had been bordered up with metal shutters to keep squatters out. These houses had been bought by the local council from its tenants in order to replace them with new designs that the architects in mind had planned.

Noticing that one of these metal boards was leaning against a wall I had an idea. Using the metal sheet project the hidden beauty of Toxteth through it using projectors, filling a space with dots of light from pictures of the area.


 Exposing the beauty within

It is quite a symbolic design, a metal shutter that had been residing on these hundred year old terrace buildings with aeons of history behind them, abandoned but with many stories to tell, are now telling new stories through pictures, light and the thing that were once covering them up in the first place, showing viewers that beauty exists in the places they didn’t expect and sometimes the only way to see the beauty of something is to actually go in to the space and see for yourself whether you deem it bad or not bad at all.


Above a fellow architect student helps set up the installation.


The light of the projector starts to shine on the metal boards borrowed from the Toxteth Region of Liverpool





Other students visit the space to experience the beauty within





Light projection starts showing the images of the Toxteth Region and starts showing people the beauty of the area through light and colour.






 Making our own perceptions

Sometimes when we look at something we consider what people have told us in the past instead of making our own perceptions, Toxteth has a lot of history as well as hidden gems like Toxteth.TV (visit the website here ), a great community, a varied cultural background and a lot of green space for an inner city suburb all things that should be preserved when regenerating the area.

The installation formed the basis of the idea behind a masterplan for regenerating the Toxteth Area, preserving the historical artefacts of the area when adding new architectural designs to the space already being used.  I will include the masterplan of Toxteth that I ( along with two other students ) created in the near future.

Old Architecture works – 2008 part 1 architect graduate

As you may already know, long before I became a graphics and branding designer I attended a BA Hons degree in Architecture at Liverpool John Moores University,  graduating in may 2008 when the recession was at its peak and the building trade had all dried up, even worse in the north of the UK so a part 1 architect position was not exactly oozing out of every crevice.

I have decided to include my past works in my blog as I feel this was a stage that did develop my creativity and led me on to where I am today.

This project was called the Kente Locus based around fashion and dedicated in memory to the African connection Liverpool has. The concept was that everyone who was on the boulevard had to pass through the building so that the fashion designers who reside in the building can people watch and get inspiration from the varying cultures of the area and also be a multifunctional space that could be used for catwalks, fashion pods, lectures, a research space, a meeting place and an exhibition space on the top floor. The below plans were drawn using AutoCad 2008


Depending what event was on at the Kent Locus the lighting within the Locus would inform the passer by what was happening. One colour may be a fashion show, another for general creative use and another for an exhibition etc.


The facade of the building is clad in reflective metal and glass for two purposes, firstly to reflect the surrounding georgian buildings that the dockers of Liverpool used to live in thinking of the past that created the wealth and history of the city, the long form of the building like a piece of cloth that Africans make to fabricate a cloth together and secondly so that the building can get passive solar gains from the internal concrete walls of the building to ensure it can make the most of its sustainable credentials.


In this section it shows how the central space can be used in various ways. From a lecture being conducted, to a catwalk etc



This is a closer look of a lecture being conducted with light tunnels filling the space with natural light. This was not the final design as it was decided that bridges should cross the space on the third floor so that observing others fashion was easier.


These 3d pictures were created with the use of 3ds max 9 and photoshop, the largest image is the entrance to the Kente Locus, a space made of concrete and plain metal so that the colours of the people would be the features of the building rather than the building itself. The two pictures on the right of the large picture show two people observing people as they enter the building and below shows that there are many different angles you can observe people no matter where you are in the building.


This shows the OMAA DA boxes, boxes that can be place together to create seperate private spaces and be used for different purposes. In this illustration you can see the space being used as a pop up shop, an art class, a changing room or even a meditation pod for quiet reflection.



In this section it shows clearer details of how the building is constructed and how both the passive solar gains would work and should there be a fire how the smoke could be removed from the building as quickly as possible due to smoke being the main killer of a fire rather than the fire itself.


Unfortunately I don’t seem to have taken pictures of my model or I have mislaid them but in my next post I will be showing one of my most popular models that I constructed which was a book shop that sold radical books on a bridge. The Architecture course was a great experience and I don’t regret any of it, the subject will always hold a place in my heart and I am still a fond studier of construction and buildings. Please feel free to leave any comments below





Money talks – John Moores Entry 2014

For the last three years I have been entering some of my paintings into major competitions in the hope of making a living out of my art rather than just as a hobby.I have developed a style that is unique to me and maintains a conceptual theme about personal life experiences as a 2008 graduate from the worst economic recession in history.

My latest entry was ‘money talks’ for the 2014 exhibition but alas, again, out of over 2000 entries I didn’t get through stage 1. It does not dishearten me as one of the reasons I enter is to keep my creative/philosophical side of my brain active and to express myself in a way that I seldom do in any other way. In this blog post I discuss the concept behind my latest piece ‘money talks’

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When I was 21 back in 2004 I was ambitious and enjoying the art foundation at Liverpool Community College. My works as a graphic designer and artist were quite appreciated and my tutors often commented about the works I was producing. One tutor’s comment had always stayed with me and that was ‘have you ever done a life drawing before? That is really good if you haven’t’ and another occasion when they asked me to explain a life-size drawing I did of myself that exposed all the chakras of the human soul and how they related to myself to the whole of the art foundation class.

It was a very proud ( but slightly embarrassing ) moment to be standing in front of over 100 other art students discussing my piece but obviously they were trying to encourage me into the right direction. Stupidly, instead , I applied for architecture because a) my father was a building contractor and I did occasional labouring for him and b) the prospect of lots of money when I graduate and my work standing the test of time when dead and gone rather than graphics that tend to change from day-to-day and you don’t earn as much.

Building a dream

Architecture was great fun, very tough but up my street (pardon the pun) as it allowed me to be conceptual and use my artistic skills in my family background of building maintenance.

I completed my degree with an extra course in Autocad & 3ds max in May 2008 but unfortunately, it was possibly the worst time to graduate as an architect in the history of the modern world and I was quite disappointed, actually…I was very disappointed by the lack of opportunity, particularly in the north-west of the UK, especially after trying so hard to have the skills required to do a good job as an architect.

At the time I  was with a long-term gf who had a job in the area so couldn’t look anywhere else in the country for an opportunity and so in need of a wage and knowing you get a bursary to train as a teacher I tried that even though I never in my wildest dreams saw myself as a teacher but I needed the money.

Teaching me a lesson

As already stated I never really considered myself a teacher, even when  I was doing the course I knew my heart wasn’t in it as much as it was when I was doing architecture but I needed a profession and I guess teaching didn’t seem a bad second choice on reflection.

Receiving a fairly good wage, a good pension and inspiring others to achieve their very best seemed quite beneficial but then I started teaching and found it to be a bitchy bullying environment…and that was just the staff room!

I had to attend three schools, the first an all girls school but I only taught maybe 10% of the time so it gave you a taste of what schools are like, the second school that I attended in 2009 I got sent to was a school that was shutting down due to an amalgamation proposed by the labour government so the tutors who were meant to help where loosing their jobs and firstly they admitted they didn’t want me there and secondly they really didn’t like me even though all I did was tried to do a good job for the children…

…they made my life very awkward, being unprofessional, informing me to tell lies to the children, shout at them, playing inappropriate music and didn’t want to help me learn when I was struggling with certain parts of teaching and then…behind my back, contacted my university saying i wasn’t coping even though I was doing  three times as much as anyone else in my university!

These are just a few of the terrible things they did whilst I spent my time with them, there was a lot of mind games…

Eventually, towards the end of the placement, they made me feel worthless, I couldn’t pursue architecture, my first choice as a career and now they made me feel I couldn’t teach either… I couldn’t carry on, I had a bad break down…a very very bad one, so bad that when I had to return back to the school environment I was very low, lacking confidence and always very anxious, I didn’t want to be in that industry after what I had experienced but I pushed through to get the course finished as I wouldn’t let anyone stop me doing something I really wanted to achieve and maybe, just maybe I might use my teaching degree in another form or venture abroad to teach those with very little in the future.

The good news is that I completed it and thus beat those wicked women who tried to make me quit! I was finished!

Money holds the answers

A couple of weeks passed after graduation, relief fell over me but then I collapsed on the floor. I was mentally exhausted.

It was summer 2011 and I had given everything I had to give, I was hugely in debt after two degrees and no opportunity or understanding what I was to do, my relationship was not good either and aiming to make lots of money had actually put me in a large negative spiral in the hope of a good profession on graduation and now I knew I didn’t want to teach and I hadn’t done any architecture for over 2 years so I didn’t feel that wasn’t an option and even worse now with my qualifications taking smaller jobs was virtually impossible as I was over qualified…

what was I going to do? How was I going to repay my financial mistakes and begin my career so much older than I expected?

Dreams collapsed

Feeling totally lost and extremely low I drew away from the world, hardly going out. All my dreams of a fulfilling career and happy life had crashed and burned in my 20s’ and mostly due to things out of my control, I didn’t want to be here any more. I’d been so driven by money and dreams of high positions that I had lost my health in the pursuit. Due to how a bad state I was in I phoned my family and told them how terrible I was feeling and how I want to end it all…thus they came around to my flat and took me the doctors.

Doctor diagnosis

I got asked a questionnaire by a doctor, a standard questions sheet that they ask everyone who is ‘depressed’ or ‘low’ and if I was playing bingo I would have surely won the main prize!Instead I was informed I was at high risk of suicide, the only thing that stopped me considering it as a viable option was the fact I have my family who care for me otherwise I may have taken the next step, I felt so hopeless…

I was put on a very high dose of Citalopram, offered cognitive behavioural therapy and was looked after by family rather than live with my ex…I wanted to be back where I felt safe, in my childhood home with my parents and my relationship was one of the reasons I felt pressure into trying a profession I didn’t really want to do.

Flipping coins

Back at my parents I was sleeping a lot, even if I wanted to be awake my body didn’t want me to, my mind needed rest. When I was awake I wrote in a journal to keep my thoughts in. It was a suggestion of my family so in time, as I improved, I could see how I got better.

A technique I chose for myself was flipping coins…

From a very young age I had been interested in the unexplained, spirituality &  more recently I studied the basic theories of quantum psychics and alternative universes. At the time I believed that if everything was connected to each other as ‘one energy’ and if alternative dimensions existed where there are other possible outcomes dependent on the decisions made in the mind then it is possible to predict the future through flipping a coin to receive the answer to my dilemma as the coin would connect to my thought to the correct reality of thought, a scientific ‘theory’ gone mad.

Looking back now with a healthy mind of course it seemed a strange thing to do but that is how ill and desperate I had become, I had reached the lowest point in my life and I needed answers or a helping hand from someone or somewhere, quite ironic really considering that the reason  I chose Architecture over Graphics was to earn more money and here I was flipping a coin with no money in my bank account!

Getting well again, lesson learned

Eventually after 6 months rest, my ex left me and I started trying to enjoy life again and I found the will to start going out again by walking our new family dog around the locality and studying something with all my free time that I knew I loved doing, web and graphic design.

My hometown unfortunately didn’t seem to have opportunity for me ( later I found out the area was one of the worst effected in the country) so I applied for jobs all over the country. If I didn’t get a job in the UK I was preparing to apply abroad, I had to start my career somehow, I was ageing and I had already lost too many years stupidly wasting my money and time in further education training to teach.

Working on improving  myself

After applying for jobs all around the country the response was much better than before and I found a job the other side of the country.  It was the best thing that could have happened to me!

I still wasn’t 100% well, I was still taking Citalopram on full dosage but I knew working was one thing that would help me find my confidence again as well as begin my career long over due!

Things continued to improve when I found this job opportunity and a year after moving away from my hometown I was off Citalopram as well as meeting a woman who helped changed my life even further, so really I am already a rich man, maybe not in monetary terms but I have a lot of love in both my family and my wife as well as a job I love doing.

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The Painting


The painting measuring 2 metres x 1.5 metres, is painted entirely by hand/finger. I don’t paint my paintings with brushes as I want my emotions to come across on the painting and by using a paintbrush the accuracy would obviously be there but my technique and concept is to express emotion of the experience I have had and without the direct contact I feel I can achieve this.

Flipping coin on hand


The hand is my own and represents the stage when my mind was at its deepest darkest lowest point. Within the  groove of the hand is lacking any form of detail for a reason. I did not want to show anything inside to represent the feelings of emptiness that I had during that time due to the pursuit of money and graduating at the recession…I reached a point where I felt nothing but despondency.

The technique of painting shows the sweeping of the paint across the hand representing the scars and wounds of bad past decisions and that although you heal the pains of the past they always remain regardless of new circumstances.

The thumbnail is a different colour to the rest of the fingernails to represent looking for answers in the coin I was flipping as though the coin/money was going to give me the answers to my problems.

The coin

The coin is not recognisable as any currency in the world, the reason for this is that sometimes when we focus too much on money as the main objective for all our decisions we begin to lose our identity and thus the coin itself is loosing its recognition and its purpose in the reality that is created by focusing solely on monetary gains.


The background is half red and half green. The red side for the negative thoughts, actions and decisions that money can persuade us to make and the green side for growth, positivity & enhancing actions that money can also have the power to give.

Negativity Background


It could be said that money has been one of the main reasons to blame for lots of the plights of humanity. For example, removing funding from the north in the 1980s in the industrial sectors of the north UK destroyed many generations of families stability as there was no replacement just a cut to jobs in the north and most new investments going into the south that still can be seen having a ripple effect in the north/south divide to this very day.

The recent war in Iraq was without question to gain the oil reserves of the country and financial gains for the west. China’s supremacy as an economic super power allowed them to invade Tibet without any interference from the West as they knew interference would result in less investment and trade would have been impacted so vastly it could have destroyed our way of living so humanity was forced to watch as many native Tibetans had to flee their land, those who stayed suffered greatly and still do.

Others want quick financial gains and those who travel to South America may be tempted to try to smuggle large amounts of drugs from one continent to another in the pursuit of vast amounts of money but no regard for where the product is going to go or ruin the lives of the consumer and the family that care for them when it reaches these shores and some of the super rich avoid paying taxes to the respected countries they trade in exploiting the lower working classes in the process.

This is just a few examples of the power the coin has in a negative stance of the human psyche…

But thankfully money can also be a force for the positive.

 Positive Background


Money when invested into the right places can alter the lives of normal people quite drastically so much so that it bring about bliss.

For example when humanity is faced with natural disasters the world comes together and gives what it can to help others  give what they can to charities to help those they have never met.

Taxes are paid by the majority so a free health service and benefit system to those struggling can be provided to everyone who lives in the UK. Others may invest in great business ideas generating work and careers for normal people benefiting society as a whole.

New buildings can be built and fantastic carnivals can be created. Money can create great changes in our lives and can help us make good decisions as well as bad ones, it is whether we think with greed and selfishness or love and morales that is what makes the difference on whether its one side of the coin or the other.

Flowing thoughts


At the base of the hand is water, the water represents the unsettled mind of decisions based around money. Money can quite easily flow in or out depending upon the thoughts and actions of the person holding it so whether the negative or positive energy falls into the pool it will continue to have a ripple effect and either increase in size or pull the owner into a pit of despair.

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Main message

We should never let the pursuit of money come into our big decisions of life such as choosing a career for the sole purpose of monetary gains.

When I was 21 I was much better at fine art and graphic design than I was at 3d and spatial design but regardless I pursued Architecture mainly for the purpose of money ( as I knew Graphics wouldn’t earn as much ) even though I’d never really made models and my artwork was not technical, I was more  expressive than Architecture appears to be.

Be driven by the love of things

What should drive every decision we make is…


It may sound cliche but John Lennon got it right, all you need is love! If you love a subject or topic then usually you become a master at that topic. Thinking with the heart makes life experience a lot more positive, having money and lots of it is of course great but as long as it isn’t your main goal in life otherwise it is likely that you will not enjoy life and possibly destroy yourself in the process.

This painting is a reminder to me and anyone who  views it that I/you must always choose the love of something rather than love of material gains as love will always bring more joy and satisfaction in life than the pursuit of financial wealth…this does not mean that financial wealth is not achievable but…

Love what you do and everything else will flow to you.

This painting will be available as prints on society6 and various other products, if you are interested in buying the original please contact me directly for details.


Boost Your Creativity With Diet And Exercise

Many people believe that creativity will come to you, and that inspiration is something you must wait patiently for — and that’s simply not true. If you have a creative job, you’ll know that waiting around for your muse is impractical and unproductive. Thankfully, making a few small changes to your daily life can mean the difference between feeling despondent and feeling inspired. Here are five tips to improve your creativity and concentration using exercise and diet:

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Drink more water

Sitting at a desk all day can be thirsty work, but most of us reach for the coffee, which dehydrates us even further. A glass of cold water can wake up your brain just as efficiently — without the crash that comes with caffeine consumption. Rather than setting yourself a target amount of water to drink, just make sure you’ve always got a glass on your desk, and refill it whenever it gets empty.

Take short walks

It doesn’t matter how cold it is outside — you’ll definitely feel the benefits of a brisk walk when you return to your desk. Some people find that it helps to think about creative problems whilst walking, whereas others find it best to let their mind wander. Taking a shower has the same effect, but is somewhat less practical!

Have a smaller lunch

Struggling to keep your eyes open after your lunch break? You might be eating too much. It’s almost impossible to concentrate when you’re drowsy, so prevent this by avoiding carb-heavy food like bread and pasta. Instead, opt for something lighter like a tuna salad. Fish is excellent brain-food, and can help you feel more energised and inspired for longer.

Try yoga

Yoga exercises your mind as much as your body, and can dramatically increase focus and concentration. Mindfulness, better posture and deeper breathing can prevent work-based frustration from building up and blocking your creativity. Even if you work better under pressure, stress can still be bad for mental well-being and creative thinking.

Go swimming

Swimming is an excellent form of exercise, and isn’t too strenuous — and this is exactly what you want when trying to solve a creative problem. If you swim too fast, you’ll be too focused on the activity to think of anything else, but a calm and leisurely swim can really free your thoughts and help you make difficult decisions.


Nuts and seeds are the perfect work-day snack: they improve cognitive function, boost your brain power and can even help stabilise your mood. Walnuts, sunflower seeds, almonds, cashews and pumpkin seeds are best for this, and are delicious mixed with energy-boosting dried fruit.

Of course, food can only do so much to alter your mood. If you’re constantly finding yourself down and unmotivated when at work, it might just be that you’re doing the wrong job. Many people find that their creativity returns upon finding a more rewarding profession. There’s no such thing as the perfect job, so don’t feel that there’s something wrong with you if you don’t enjoy work as much as your colleagues. What suits one person won’t necessarily suit the next, so don’t be afraid to find a career that works for you!

Featured images:
  •  License: Royalty Free or iStock source:

By Sam Wright

Sam Wright is a freelance writer working for Brand Republic. He’s been freelancing for six years, and faces a constant battle to keep focused.

History behind Famous Works of Art

What do you know about some of the most famous paintings in history?

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From Leonardo da Vinci’s The Last Supper to Pablo Picasso’s The Dream, each work of art has its own backstory and legacy that not everyone is familiar with. As you learn more about the paintings that you see on display in galleries, you may decide to purchase reprints to hang in your own home. It can be tough to find just the right painting, but when you see something you like that speaks to you it is that much harder to say no. The top ten most popular fine art reprints that people purchase include The Mona Lisa, Starry Night, and Andy Warhol’s Marilyn Monroe. You can learn more about each as well as the rest of the paintings on the list by reading through the infographic below. This way you can get a glimpse of pieces that you can add to your personal collection.


Created by Coastal Printworks, provider of provides Museum Quality T-Shirt Screen-Printing, Digital T-Shirt Printing and embroidery.

Gifting Something That Is More Than Just Being Customised

As human beings of a social world we like to be social and celebrate our events and others as well. These can be events like birthdays, baby showers, weddings and even house warming events. So a good party present can help make the event even better, and you can ensure that your gift stands out from the crowd. So make sure you are not left with gifting the same run of the mill gifts or even recycling the old school gift options.

Sometimes you may also be stuck with having to buy a gift for someone who is too picky. So you may have to come up with something that is truly special that they can appreciate. So what can you do – a nutella box with pears and flowers, a bouquet made with carrots or s’mores on the stick? Well the aim is to not just customising the gift but to take it a step forward and make them truly unique.

Any of these gifts we mentioned are customised but they are also a little bit more as they are a joke between friends, a romantic gift and a joke between colleagues. What is great is that these are gifts which offer a little more than just being customised.

Creating a gourmet gift basket

With this you can go beyond and above than the usual customised gift services. You can take a regular gourmet basket and add items to it, or customize the basket entirely. You can also gift them a basket which does not have any food inside it at all. Instead put together other luxury items or items that the person you are gifting to would like to receive. This is completely up to you, and you can be as thoughtful, quirky or creative as you want.

Creating a DIY gift for the recipient

There are number of items you can create yourself to provide an extra meaning to your gift. Creating drink bucket with their favourite drinks, an album of all their favourite moments, or putting together a tour package with all the favourite haunts in the city they love. You can even bring a store bought gift and add to it, in terms of packaging for that can make it stand out. For e.g. a wine bottle with a personalised message written with a paint pen can add a little extra touch. Take a lantern and add a bunch of small gifts inside the lantern to give it to the recipient. You can even create their favourite drink Popsicle and give them a batch of them frozen to have when they want.

It is more rewarding to gift to someone you loves something that you have especially created for them. The value of the gift far exceeds the sum of the parts as the meaning gets embedded far more than what a mass produced item has vs. what you create for them specifically. It goes beyond customisation as it adds a certain depth of story and meaning to the gift that cannot be added to something merely bought.

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Karen Denver is the author of this delightful post. She is a professional blogger and a romantic at heart who believes in happily ever after. She feels even simple things likes ordering gift hampers online can bring back the romance in your otherwise dull life.

From Canvas To Computer: The Rise Of Digital Art

With technology becoming ever more developed, those devices that were previously reserved for communications – such as computers, mobile smartphones and tablets – are becoming an essential element of the creative process of art. Digital art is the umbrella term for any artistic works or practices that use digital technology as a key part of the creative/presentation process, so what is exactly does this new fangled method of creativity entail?

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A Brief History of Digital Art

Also known as computer art or multimedia art, digital art has been around since the 1970s and is considered a method of new media art. Previously favoured artistic methods, such as painting, drawing, sculpture and audible arts have been transformed and repositioned in a digital environment – something that sparked mass resistance from the more traditional of creative beings.

Once the resistance subsided, artists across the globe started to embrace digital art, with some even pioneering new practices such as net art, digital installation art and virtual reality. In the modern day, the term digital art is applied to works that use some method of digitisation within their creation or, alternatively, art that uses methods of digital mass production when it comes to presentation.

What are the techniques?

There are hundreds of ways to produce digital art, but one of the most used methods is computer-generated art – also known as fractal or algorithmic art. Developed in the 1980s, computer-generated art is created by calculating fractal objects and representing the calculation results as still images, to produce a larger often abstract work of art.

Some artists however use materials from other sources to produce their work. Often images are scanned into a computer and used as an element within the final work (similar to a mash-up piece), whilst other artists work with vector graphics that are produced using a mouse or graphics tablet.

Digital paintings are also prominent in new media art. Produced in a similar way to traditional paintings, digi-paintings are created with the aid of computer software that produces pixelated brush strokes on screen or in the final print. Digital paintings are often printed as an image on canvas, just like their oil/acrylic/watercolour predecessors, or displayed on an electronic screen.

Prominent pop artist Andy Warhol was one of the first famous artists to incorporate digital art into his portfolio. Using a Commodore Amiga, he manipulated an image of Blondie front woman Debbie Harry, that was originally captured in monochrome using a video camera. He edited the image by adding colour through the method of flood fills, using an early graphics program called ProPaint. This article of Debbie Harry is widely considered one of the earliest and most notable works of digital art.

Andy Warhol’s Debbie Harry Digi-art (1985)




What can I produce on a computer?

Computer-generated visual media

Visual media generated on a computer can be divided in two categories. The first is the creation of 2D visual information that can be displayed on an electronic monitor, whilst the second is information that is mathematically translated into 3D information. The latter is usually viewed through a perspective projection on an electronic monitor.

Graphics in their simplest 2D form are created via methods that reflect how artists draw using a traditional pen and paper setup. However, digital 2D graphics are drawn electronically, using a graphics tablet with a stylus or a mouse, but the final images still appear as a realistic painting or pencil drawing whilst on display on screen.

Meanwhile 3D imagery is created by using using geometric shapes in the production of three-dimensional objects and other scenes that can be ultimately used in sister media, such as film, game design or print, amongst others.

Computer-generated animated imagery

Animated digital imagery is usually produced using models that are created by specialist 3D artists. Computer-generated animated imagery is known in the film industry as CGI, and is often used in the production of special effects for the likes of the movies in the Harry Potter franchise and in Marvel films such as Iron Man and Avengers Assemble, amongst others. Computer images have been in used in movies since the 1970s, although it wasn’t until the late 90s/early 2000s that CGI became advanced enough to create animated images that looked impressively realistic.

Digital installation art

Digital installation art is often interactive, in that viewers can manipulate the art to put their own personal stamp on the installation. Most digital installations involve the use of projections or live video capture, but there are also many other techniques utilised in the production of installation art. Digital installations are a particularly good method for those artist-imagined pieces that wish to play on the viewer’s senses. Fruin’s (2003) installation at the University of Illinois in Chicago, US – entitled The Cave Automatic Virtual Environment – is a prime example of digital installation art.

With many subtypes beneath the umbrella of digital art – such as motion graphics, music visualisation, pixel art and others – this field will continue to grow alongside the further development of technology. As an already interesting field, creatives and fans of art can only become even more intrigued by the notion of digital art; it will be interesting to see which technology becomes the next virtual canvas.

Vicky works alonside Stuart Morris, a design and print studio. She is a keen illustrator and craft enthusiast who writes a range of art and design history articles as well as how-to tutorials.

Considering composition in your design work – part 1 of 3

To the untrained eye an advert, web design, graphic or art piece may seem to have been designed without any thought of how it all fits together, the reason why this is so  is because the composition has been placed so well that it is almost unnoticeable. In this post I will be discussing why designers always consider composition in mind as they begin a new piece of work and how you too can take this skill and put it into your creative arsenal.

Dividing spaces

Everything in this world is made up of careful space arrangement from where you place your chair to where you place your monitor for optimum experience also known as ergonomics. If your chair is too low or your screen too far or too close to where you are sitting then you will not get the best user experience. All design work has this kind of spatial arrangement from architecture to fine art dividing spaces in a way that is appeasing to the eye is important.



Without placement this dot is centered and provides no interest or movement in the piece it simply draws your eye to thet middle. This method of placement does have its use when you have one main focal point or you want your viewer to look at one main thing.


Carefully offsetting the main visual component from the centre starts to draw one’s eye to other parts of the complete composition creating a feeling of movement and exploration drawing the viewer into the message the piece of art is holding.


Lastly, when you have more than one main point of interest in a composition consider the relationship between the two, looking at the above image you can see that there is a relationship between the two dots and the empty space.

Task : Study some adverts in a magazine notice how the main composition is layed out and how they relate to each other. If there is only one graphical element how is the text layed out in comparison to the product or element in the advert?


You’ve got a set of flowers in a beautiful bulbous crystal vase and you have three options where in your home you want to place them.

You can place it in the window so others looking in can see the colours of the arrangement or a table against a wall painted magnolia thus adding vibrance to a once drab corner of the room or thirdly, in the kitchen so when you are washing up you can smell the bouquet and feast your eyes on their natural beauty.

The message here is that depending upon your key goal placement can play a part in your judgements. Here is an example….

Example of placement

Image you the designer of a layout for a car advert, you have different options how you want to layout the image depending upon the message you want to portray. If you want people to imagine hitting the highway for a road trip maybe you would include more of the road


Or what if the marketing message was that by owning this car it would give you freedom, would more sky in the advert communicate this?


Or thirdly, do you want to promote the elegant design form of the car for those people who like their car to look sleak, with an excellent body? A close up of the form might be more interesting to that target market.


Although we all have varying tastes when it comes to design most composition tends to follow a set of rules to be seen as aesthetically beautiful and this rule is know as the Golden Ratio.

Don’t worry if you don’t understand these elements of design just yet, simply practice and be conscious of the visual layout you are creating with each and every new design you make and you will find it becomes your second nature.

Part 2 of this blog post about composition will look at the golden ratio and the rule of thirds. Do you know of any good pieces of art or design that show great composition design? Please comment and share in the box comment box below.