Nela Dunato Art & Design Blog

Use your planner to plan smarter and track your creative cycles

Use your planner to plan smarter & track your creative cycles

Here's a tip on how to use your calendar or planner in a different way than you might be used to — instead of just looking forward to things that you planned for the future, you can also look back and learn from it. Companies invest millions of dollars into "big data" research that helps them make decisions that will bring in even more millions, so what can we learn from this example? That data can be extremely useful when we know what to do with it. Read more...

Creative peak

Stop wasting your peak creative time on chores

Did you ever wake up one day super motivated and excited, with your fingers itching to make something today, only to get lost in menial work that isn't really what you had in mind? And then the evening came, and you realized you didn't get to do a single thing today that you were so excited about. But tomorrow morning you aren't really that motivated or excited. You don't really feel like doing any of the stuff you wanted a day earlier, even though you have time to do it. The magic is gone. Yesterday was your super awesome day, and today isn't. That's just the way things are sometimes. Read more...

Case study: Wild Moon Spirit logo design process

Case study: Wild Moon Spirit logo design process

When I asked people what they would like to know about logo design so I can write about it, most of them were confused about the process itself, and they didn't know if it's bad if they have no idea what they'd want their logo to look like. In this post I share the entire logo design process for one of my clients, so you can get all the inside info about what goes into making a logo, from sketch to finish. Read more...

Be A Creative Powerhouse

“Be A Creative Powerhouse” Free EPUB eBook now available

Download this free guidebook and you'll learn: how to get more brilliant ideas, how to keep & organize your ideas and how to turn those ideas into reality. This book is formatted as a series of texts in which I share tips and inspiration, followed by worksheets with exercises so you can take action as soon as possible. Read more...

How to ask illustrators and designers for help

How To Ask Designers And Illustrators For Help

If you're not a visual creative yourself, and you find yourself in need of some design or illustration services for your project, there are two options: pay for them, or try to ask a friend to help you out for free (or cheap). If you opt for the second route, here is a short guide to help you approach your friend in a way that will not endanger your relationship and create resentment on either side. Read more...

Mind Detox Retreat

Mind Detox Retreat – A Cure For Burnout And Overload

On several occasions during the past few years, I've had a feeling like I've lost my mojo. I was overworked and stressed, and even the things I used to love lost their appeal. Getting up in the morning was a horrible experience in itself. A practice that has helped me to get out of this negative spiral was something I now call the mind detox retreat. In this post I reveal what exactly is that I do during this mind detox, the benefits I get from a media sabbatical, and why it might be a good idea to try it, even if you're not a tree-hugging hippy. Read more...

Sketchbooks video

Why I Think Every Visual Creative Should Keep A Sketchbook (+ Video sketchbook flip)

I'm a huge fan of sketchbooks, so I'm very passionate about this subject. I hope that in this post I will give you enough reasons to finally start using them, and of course even if you don't consider yourself a visual creative, sketchbooks are a lot of fun! In the end I'll also share some tips how to get the best from your sketchbook practice, and I'll show you a video of my sketchbook flip. Read more...

Should you turn your hobby into a job?

Should I turn my hobby into a job?

I'm a bit of an expert on the subject because all my work experience was based on my hobbies. I never trained to become a creative professional, it just happened that I was offered opportunities to make a living with my hobbies because people saw what I was doing for fun and offered me money to do it! Isn't it amazing when that happens? Well, I've learned that it isn't just sunshine and roses, and it doesn't work for all people and all kinds of hobbies. Read this post to learn the potential pitfalls of turning your hobby into your full time job. Read more...

Inspiration from Nature: Maple leaves on the sketchbook

Inspiration from Nature: Maple Elemental

Stuck with ideas on what to draw or paint? Wondering where do I get my ideas? Here's a post in which I describe how I got inspired to do one of my latest works. Of course, every work has a unique story and I don't go down the same route twice so it's hard to compile a 'recipe' - but I hope you'll find these tips helpful anyway! Read more...

Branding Venn graph

How to create a brand for your business on a budget

If you're just launching your new business or creative venture, you're probably on a tight budget. Designers (myself included) insist that you should not be skimping on the quality of your presentation, but I understand that it's difficult to invest upfront in something that you aren't even sure will take off. So let's skip the preaching how you should absolutely let a professional do your branding and visual identity (it kind of goes without saying). I'll give you some tips how to handle it if you absolutely can't afford it right now, or at least not all of it. Read more...

Sometimes you just need to delete stuff

Sometimes you just need to delete stuff

I periodically delete things from my gallery. I don't have a set time-frame, but let's say that once in 2 years I go over my entire gallery and remove everything I deem not 'good enough' for my current standards.In this post I explain the reasons why I do it. Read more...

NelaDunato.com illustration rebranding

A small change in my branding

When I started my website, I wrote about my branding and how it came to be. I wanted NelaDunato.com to embody all my creative work and hobbies, so that people may see the entirety of who I am, and not just one facet. However the homepage image was bugging me a bit. The image I wanted to portray was 'I do all these different things, and I'm managing it well! No reason to specialize, you can trust me even though I claim I can do the job that normally takes 3 people to accomplish!' I'm not sure if that's what came through. All I know is that I did some heavy soul-searching in the past 6 months... Read more...

Courage

The Fool’s leap

They say even a kick in the rear is a step forward, and I tend to agree. As of September 1st I no longer have a day job, and it's just the kick in the right direction I needed. If you're wondering how this came to be, read on. I could potentially sum it up in a paragraph, but where's the fun in that? Read more...

How perfectionism is ruining my chances of accomplishing anything

How perfectionism is ruining my chances of accomplishing anything

I've realized (not recently, but it keeps hitting me on the head often) that perfectionism is number 1 reason why my projects don't get done. When I want to make a project 100% on my own terms and the way I imagined it, and I realize it's not possible for me at this moment, I choose not to do it. I postpone it for some future time when I'll have all the resources I need to do this project properly. I just wanted to share this because I'm probably not the only one to feel this way. And because I'm trying to break the annoying myth of "Nela has everything figured out" that I just can't live up to. Read more...

Fox ink and watercolor sketch

Sketching in the museum — a new adventure!

I've been planning to go sketch in a museum for a very long time. But I always had something 'more important' to do, and I was so very 'busy'... As I was going through my to-do list for this year, a bullet point "draw in a museum" caught my attention. And I said to myself, 'Tomorrow it shall be. I'm going on an artist date in a museum.' Read more...

Why I start my logo design work on paper

9 reasons I start my logo design work on paper

Every graphic designer's work ends up in a digital format. But during the beginning stages of my design process — logo brainstorming, website wireframes, illustration sketches, poster compositions — I prefer to work on paper. If you're wondering why, here are my reasons, accompanied by some rough behind-the-scenes sketches. Read more...

Top 10 things you can do when your creative business is slow

Top 10 things you can do when your creative business is slow

Most creatives I know are very, very busy. We always have more ideas than time to execute them. But in the rare event that you — a designer, an illustrator, an artist, a photographer or a craftsman — find yourself out of work and without any ideas what to do about it, here are some suggestions. Some of these are also great content marketing ideas for creatives that I have personally found to work very well. Read more...