Cat's a bit of a wiz on Illustrator but can sometimes get frustrated when trying to use that programme's equivalent tools in Photoshop. Take the pen tool; a great device for creating beautifully curved lines. But why oh why doesn't it act the same in Photoshop as it does Illustrator? For example, when drawing a curved line, if you want to turn a sharp corner instead of continuing the curve, in Illustrator you have to click on your node to lose a bezier handle before continuing with the line. In PS, you have to alt+click. It took Cat quarter of an hour to find this out, trawling through a very lengthy, but informative, pen tutorial.
One of Pinkeye Graphics' recent collaborations was with Isle of Wight charity Footprint Trust on its new 'Energetic' initiative - a project which helps young families and young people to save money through sensible use of domestic energy. As well as designing the branding for this worthwhile project, Cat also created two leaflets plus her biggest design job to date - the back of a Southern Vectis bus.
Cat created the artwork in Adobe Illustrator. It was important to create it in a vector format as the design had to be scaled up to the size of a double decker without any loss of quality.
The Energetic bus was launched in St Thomas' Square, Newport on a beautiful bright day in October 2010. Ray Harrington-Vail from the Footprint Trust plus Neil Hartwell, trustee of the ScottishPower Energy People Trust were there to unveil Cat's work and the designer herself was persuaded to come out from behind her virtual drawing board to help things along.
We've just started using 37signals Campfire collaboration software for a client. They wanted a private chatroom where a group of individuals could have online discussions and upload files to share. It was a fairly corporate organisation, and so needed to be fairly straightforward - no fancy avatars or smileys are necessary. Campfire seemed to fit the bill very well, so we signed up and the discussions got going.
It's been an interesting experience. As ever with new stuff, there's good and bad points. So, how did it go?
It's all web-based so setting up an account is easy enough. I asked some support questions by email and within 8 hours a helpful response came back. No technical skill is required.
Cat likes to browse the intertubes for inspiration. For all those people who sit slack-jawed in front of the TV, there are plenty of others enjoying a virtual life google-eyed in front of their monitors, learning how to knit organs, cowering at videos of evil chihuahuas (that's four minutes of your life you won't get back), and writing about how to make a groovy spiral in Illustrator.
What makes artists and designers similar is their signature style. Cat uses quite a lot of regular design themes and, when in doubt or suffering from designer's block, she can often been seen to reach for her trusty box of tricks. It's always a good idea to keep a sketch book of ideas; an unused design can always be recycled next time around. Not only can this apply to ideas but also techniques.
Pinkeye Graphics Limited is a small and lively company which specialises in producing the distinctive collaborative design work of Matthew Chatfield and Cat James. Here's the blog where they publish news about Pinkeye Graphics as well as other matters which they feel worthy of drawing to your attention.