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Category Archives: Education

How’s your computer looking? Would you call yourself a messy booger?
If you had to rate it between 1 and 10, what would you give it?
Can you find your files with ease?
200 files all over your desktop?
Got a lot of duplicate files?

and….
the one that usually gets people so upset.
Do you backup? (whoops…. lost half of you there)
or perhaps mirror your drives? (there goes the other half!)

Documenting your artwork to your computer is a very worthwhile thing to do, but so too is how you store it once it’s on the machine. So many times I’ve had people come to me in tears looking to restore a crashed machine or a bad drive just because I know computers. Sometimes you get lucky and it can be done, but why are you counting on luck with something so important?

For Mac Users, you really have no excuse. Time machine and the time capsule are no brainers to storing and having effortless hourly backups of your virtual movements.
Another solution is mirroring your drive. Mirroring takes an external drive and duplicate it to another drive. Superduper is a great software program that automatically does that at scheduled times for you.

If at all possible do not store ANY of your data on your main computer other than your software programs. If you get hit with a virus, jolt of electricity or whatever, you need to not be worrying about losing anything but the machine. Surge protectors and battery backup is nice too if you can afford that, particularly for anything that storing that precious data.

Remember.. your machine is NOT priceless. What’s ON it is!

Now on to a filing system. For years I just had files all over the place and created quite a mess for myself. Finally I had access to a Fortune 500 design database and it opened up my eyes with how to create a working documenting system, so I mimicked their technique. I’ve been using it for 5 years now and want to pass it on.

Look at the diagram below. Spend a little time trying to understand it as explaining this the first time isn’t all that easy. The folders represent folders on your computer going from left to right.

Filing System

To start with you have a single folder on your desktop dedicated to just YOU.
If you are a designer with multiple clients,  you would have another folder prior to the ‘Art YOU’ folder and title it ‘CLIENTS’ and then ‘Art YOU’ would be one client.

Inside that main folder are three other folders titled:

Assets:
This is where you would keep all of your media including artwork, your logos, photography and signatures. You may have to reference them often so putting them in one place saves having duplicate files all over the place.

Communication:
Communication is where you have any loose information to get you to websites, ftp information, addresses for things, etc.

Jobs:
The yellow folder is the one you duplicate each time you have a new job. Inside that folder are Completed (Finished artwork.) Correspondence (Emailed and changes you need to not forget) and Working (these are the layered documents like photoshop files etc. The intellectual property of the job.)

The number system on the jobs are easy once you work it out.
AR is the beginning name of the artist or client. In my case I use AP (Adam Parsons)
10 is the year
01 is the job number – followed by a loose description of the job to find it later.

So let’s say next year I want to make a new website. The folder would be called “AP1101 Revamped Website” (for example)
This keeps your jobs documented by the year and neat.

and that’s it!
I hope this all makes sense. Feel free to comment below if it does not and I’ll try to be clearer.
It REALLY works. If you have a better one and it works for you, then that’s great, but if not, this will get you cleaned up and your desktop clear for you to create.

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One area that so many artist fail in is the documentation of their work, especially with larger paintings. The quality of presenting your final piece is essential for your remote viewers to fully appreciate  what you’ve created.

Here’s a video documentation of a process I’ve been using for years. It is a time consuming and mundane process and if you don’t have a fairly decent computer, patience and a love for coffee then this may not be for you. The only reason I’ve been doing it this way for so long is the results that it produces at the end are incomparable to most anything I’ve seen other than full-sized commercial scanners.

The first time you do this you’ll want to quit. Guaranteed! This method isn’t for everyone. I’ve just been asked many times over the years how I have such vivid colors and detail in my online work. This is why.

Here is the finished piece:

Bottled - Scanned and pieced together

Bottled - Close up of scan