March, WTF?

Seriously though, March?

Life comes in waves of ebbs and flows. Somedays I find myself hanging on to the down, dark, the negativity, or the I like to call "The Why Me Moments". I can talk about them for hours or casually bring them up as if I'm still in the moment. Seldomly,  I bask in the light. I don't normally find myself saying "Yes, today was a good day!" I can usually hear myself.. complaining all that I didn't get to do, want to do but not there yet, or just flat out whine. But lately I've been finding myself say, "Today was good" or dancing in my car to the end of a good day. Right now, life is flat out... good. With that I say:


At work, I am constantly challenging myself to "master my craft". Design is an ongoing thing, it constantly evolves and changes so you never hear a designer say "Oh yeah, I know it all.." As a creative, my brain is always turning, even on my lunch or potty breaks. I'm constantly sketching out ideas as they come because at any given moment, it will hit you like an epiphany. I've learned so much as the years passed, in school, in previous marketing agencies and I can tell you one of the most important things to takeaway is "It's in the details." The slightest space between two letters or moving things one pixel to the right or left, makes all the difference. When you pay that much attention to your craft, you've already honed in on a good habit. Slowly but surely, my practice and attention to detail is paying off, I am producing work that I'm proud of and getting noticed for that to. 

So peeps, Believe in Your Dopeness! 


Finding My Inner Basquiat...

I always seem to end my Saturdays this way:


Nothing like a margarita to make it all better. 

I begin my week with an early morning Monday class called "Mandatory Drawing 1".  I say mandatory because I just have not been blessed with the innate ability to draw. I know I haven't given this class a shot and I should keep an open mind, but like the kids say "I'm not feeling it." But I will try to keep an open mind and a positive outlook all the while trying to find my inner Basquiat (if it exists). 

But it's kind of tough when you walk in and you see this:


And as a first timer charcoal-user , this is the best I could come up with... 

Earlier this week, I texted my son a photo of the set up and my compilation errr excuse me, my interpretation of the stimulus. He asked us to draw this without looking at it, rather using our eyes as the hands that holds the charcoal. So.. I call this masterpiece, "Scribble over Scribble, Over More Scribble.."

But my son's reply was the best!


I'm telling you.. I love my kids especially this one, he's got his mama's humor and wit. Glad to see I've done my job as a mother! 


I'll keep pressing on with a smile and laughing at myself the entire time.. but always taking everything I do as a learning experience. I admit, getting dirty with the charcoal has been somewhat liberating. I think my inner artist ended when I was 6, maybe not having the opportunity to explore this side of myself and partly growing up too fast, giving myself restrictions and seeing the world differently. I wish I still had that playful and carefree spirit of 6 Year Old Ronalyn. Who knows, maybe she will come out and play this semester. 






Margaritas + Convos.

The other day the co-workers and I decided to hit the bar for some drinks + convos and I simply cannot say "No" to Margaritas + Good Company. So, as I'm sitting there, gulping my first drink. (What can I say I was thirsty) We get to talking about why we are back in school, what our plans are, and basically the burning question we ask ourselves every night after leaving work, what do you want to do with the rest of your life?

So as I sat there explaining how my first class is a "real art class" equipped with nothing but stools and large easels. I tell them I cannot "draw for shit." Perplexed, they ask "So if you don't like to draw? What do you do as graphic artist then?" 

Ah.. the common misconception that all "Graphic Designers" were born with a picasso gift or a love for sketching three dimensional fruits in a basket. As I stumbled over my words (working on drink number 2) I say things like, "Well the problem with design,  is that it's so simple, it's complicated". Oh now I'm quoting things I've heard along the way of this journey. But as I sat there trying to defend my inadequacy of being able to sketch a naked person in great detail, besides the stick figure I could promise in return. I realize most people, sans fellow graphic designers, simply don't get it. Much like I will never understand what electrical engineers find fascinating about their career field, (You do you..). It's quite difficult to explain, what I am so passionate about. 

So he continues to say "So you alter things you've seen.. like you copy things?" 

Mind you, I'm on drink Number two plus a shot of I'm not sure what it was on an empty stomach because our Fully Loaded Nachos were short of being loaded with anything... I barely answered his question with justification. But here I am, two days later, hydrated, well rested, with all the aspirin I took to get me to function through my weekend of working. 

So this is here is what I do aside from sitting in front of the computer with all my Adobe Applications open...

I am a problem solver.
Say you started a new company. You need branding, marketing, all the visual guides to get you out there. You want to be so recognizable like IBM logo, or the FEDEX sign. Your identity needs to be visually strong that it's almost subtle. My mind works like a camera with a hard drive that has no limits. I am constantly snapping images that you may not notice. Like the way a diagonal line slashes through the letter, or the way a bold stroke from a typeface makes it stand out, I notice it all. I will take every detail around me and formulate ideas for you. You see there is a rhyme and reason for every design. There is a reason why the letters are closer or further spaced, why some are bold and some are thin, why we use graphics and why we don't.  There is some sort of math in design, to make a design "feel" right, you have to understand all the elements involved. And lastly, as designers, we have that "inner voice" the one we've learned to trust over the years. 

I am a researcher.
As designers, our learning never ends. We are constantly learning, reading, researching because every client, every assignment is different and they all come from somewhere, someone's idea, someone's distinctive style or taste. We need to learn to adapt our sense of style to what they love and the only way to do this is to research. One day I did a project on Mikhail Gorbachev, and I literally ate, slept, and breathe Gorbachev. 

I am an inventor.
I take your ideas and evolve it into something tangible that the world around us can decipher. How does the world decipher these ideas? Familiarity. Even Picasso said:


Everything we see has already been created. So we are constantly (if you want to say) copying. 
People relate to good design because they are familiar with it, they don't have to think to hard to translate it. Good design makes you look it twice and say, "Oh that is so clever and simple, why didn't I think of that?" Good design is so simple, it's difficult. 

So there you go my Maragarita Friend... That is what I do. I was never meant to be an illustrator, but simply the courier between someone's ideas and fruition. 

(Some work I did last semester for Typography 2 and Design Comp 1)
The thing I love more than the final outcome of designing, is the process.. That's when you know, you love what you do. 



A Reason.

People come into your life for a reason.
They might not know it themselves, why.
You might not know it. But there's a reason.

Just like my Instagram profile says: I am constantly "intrigued" by the world around me, mainly by the people. I am the epitome of being a people person. I genuinely love meeting and interacting people, well people who fascinate me. Which, for a person that moves around as many times as I've had, would easily shun myself to the world. But I've found a way to use these experiences to my advantage and make the most of any situation.

It could be as subtle as our common interest in a particular movie. Or the way we both inadvertently do the same things or think similarly. I particularly do not go out and seek people to interact with, it just happens one comes along my way and I say to myself "Oh, hey there fellow human, you are interesting, I will keep talking to you..." That is kind of the way I think of it. But once in awhile I will come across another human being and say to myself, "I want to be just like him/her..." I literally look at him/her and just feel overwhelmed with the vast intelligence, an aura of passion that seems to fuel this person, and radiates out of his/her very existence. Sounds pretty intense, huh? I've only met a few handful of people who live a life with passion, more importantly doing what they absolutely love. And it's these very people that make me turn my head twice and makes my heart smile.

From the moment I stepped into my professor's class, I knew... that everything that had to happen for me to be in this very classroom, was for a reason. I like to believe that people come into your life for a reason... Looking back, I see things happen for a reason.

On the last day of my favorite class, I waited to talk to my professor. I'm not sure what I was expecting, maybe some "yoda type advice" where I would leave that class with all his wisdom and his magical creative powers embedded in a sword or in my case in my external hard drive. 

As he called me, I walked towards him with my head held somewhat high, but with an almost bow-like posture wanting to pay some sort of homage for being graced by his wisdom twice a week for the past 16 weeks. That's what he was to me, someone I looked up to, someone I wanted to be around all day just so I wouldn't miss anything.  I wanted so much to ask him to be my mentor, to be my personal guide in this journey of mine. 

As I sat next to him, he looked over my last project. He paused and smiled. I never know what to expect whenever he does that, it keeps me on edge and eager at the same time. Throughout the years, I've learned to develop a thick skin for this field, I've learned that any critique is never a personal jab at you, and most importantly I've learned to listen, to not react to quickly with the urge to be defensive and to argue my reason for doing what I did. He taught me that, to just listen. 

His pause felt like hours, as I tried to decipher what his pause meant. Finally he said, as he turned my project around looking at every crease, every word, and every corner. "There are two kinds of people in this field, there are people that work hard to become a graphic artist, they read every book, they create, fail, create again, fail again, but they never give up. Then there are people who possess an innate ability for this craft, being creative is almost effortless, their craft is flawless because they knew this is what they were meant to do, so they do it well, every single time. They are almost obsessed about it, but these people call it their passion. You are the latter. You possess a gift that makes it so clear to me that this is what you were born to do...."

I was speechless. The only response I could give him was "Thank You, hearing this meant a lot to me.."

Little did he know that this meant EVERYTHING to me. If he only what it took for me to get here. If he only knew how badly I wanted this. If he only knew what he just told me will forever stick with me and fuel my passion even more and when that day comes where I'm finally where I aim to be, I will pick up that phone, call him and say "Thank you professor for believing me."

School, Thus Far...

I can't even begin to explain how incredibly INSPIRED each and everyday when I am in school, and I am not exaggerating. 

There is a significant difference between a 17 year old, fresh out of high school in college and an almost 40 year old furthering her education. The difference being, I am more driven, focused, passionate, clear (as far as knowing what I want and knowing how I will get there), and see life in an entirely new perspective. Its safe to say, that maybe (hypothetically) kids should work a little bit, dabble with in the real world, figure out what it is they really want and then go back to school. I may have gone a different route than most people, but nonetheless, if I didn't I would've never discovered my true passion. 

I can't help to think that, when I was a Sophomore in high school, I was clueless as to what I wanted to "be, when I grew up." I sort of closed my eyes, scrolled down with my finger in the list of occupations and just picked "teacher" for the heck of it. That was the plan (for a while). Had I taken that route, I would've been like most people, just getting by, just to get by. 

At a very young age, I already loved design, photography, marketing/adverstising, and overall being creative. (I used to pretend to create my own magazine based on cutouts, crayola pens, construction paper, and a stapler to bind it together) But I would have never known how to pursue it, I'm sure my mother would've talked me out of that one. After all, she was more familiar with occupations titled "Teachers, Nurses, Doctors.." But a "Graphic Artist" she would've gawked at me and wondered how "drawing" would get me anywhere. But I'm sure if she were with me today, seeing me raise my family, putting aside my dreams in order to focus on my family and support my husband's military life, she would've supported me in every aspect. I often imagine her smiling down at me. 

This is a typical day in class for me, nothing but smiles in my attempt to take selfies with each and everyone in class that day. 



I can't help but to feel a sense of camaraderie amongst the CA students despite the gap in age. In a sense, we are all "starving artists" just trying to make sense of it all. Art is so subjective, everyone has their own style, taste, and work flow. So what's inspiring to me is watching everyone evolve. 

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Then there's amazing teachers like Sandy...who pushes her students because she believes in each of us. I always wonder what it's like to be an "Art Teacher" because you can't teach individuality, which art is. So how do you guide a student to help hone in on their own artistic abilities? I don't think its something you can teach, in terms of formulas like in math, but making them see things differently. But she has that gift, that enables us (students) to want to learn more and be better than yesterday (well at least for me that is). 



So.. school thus far has ignited a fire within me, that has always been there, it just shines a bit brighter with a new sense of direction. 

There is this song by Macklemore "Ten Thousand Hours" that always fuels my creativity... 

This is my world, this is my arena
I stand here in front of you today all because of an idea
I could be who I wanted if I could see my potential

See, I observed Escher
I love Basquiat
I watched Keith Haring
You see I study art
The greats weren't great because at birth they could paint
The greats were great cause they paint a lot
I will not be a statistic
Just let me be
No child left behind, that's the American scheme

Generation of kids choosing love over a desk
Put those hours in and look at what you get
Nothing that you can hold, but everything that it is
Ten thousand hours...