A Comeuppance (& Twitter Birds)

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For those of you unfamiliar with MacThemes, it’s a wonderful resource not only for finding the cream of the crop of freeware and shareware icon, wallpaper, and skins, but also a great place to go for advice on how to create such interface elements and how to improve your designs. I’ve been a silent visitor to that site for several years and just last Friday, decided to go ahead and post an announcement there of the release of my Art Deco Series of icons and included a handful of examples. To put it mildly, my offering didn’t quite get the reaction I had either expected or hoped for and it really threw me for a loop at first. But after reflecting on all the comments (over 40 to a single posting, which is more than I’ve gotten to all the posts on this blog combined!) – I realized that I needn’t be so glum. For one thing, the controversy drew a number of visitors to my blog who had not been aware of it before. (Echos of the old smart-ass saying “There’s no such thing as bad publicity as long as they spell your name right”) But more importantly, a few of the latter comments actually offered some very specific, constructive criticism. As to the hints about technical execution, I am reminded that not all users have the same set-up as I (I’m working on a MacBookPro, OSX 4.11, 1920×1200 resolution with millions of colors on a matte-finished LCD screen and have all my Finder views set to 128×128 icons) – and so need to make sure that my icons look good at ALL sizes and all possible resolutions. Before I was forced to retire, I wouldn’t have thought twice about investing whatever was necessary to keep current with the tools of my trade but without any means for a return on that investment, I’d been reluctant to upgrade to the Leopard system which actually uses the 512×512 size as well as 32-bit graphics because I wasn’t sure I could justify the cost of having to likewise upgrade most of my software. This is something I need to reassess.

As to the comments that said my icons looked “dated”: The difficult part is trying to figure out how to meet the marketplace trends without having to give up my own personality in the process. I had always thought that the idea of third-parties creating icons for use as alternatives to the originals embedded in their operating system and applications was to give a choice for those who wanted something more distinctive. Yet if the perceived quality of those 3rd party icons is substantially based upon their compliance with this month’s committee-determined color palette and Apple’s or Microsoft’s chosen viewing perspective and lighting effects, then don’t we just end up with cookie-cutter icons that have barely perceptible differences from the original? And how does one fit within the confines of the latest trends even when trying to depict a specific historic period and style?

I’ve got a lot to mull over, research, experiment with, and hopefully will improve. I made a first stab at it over the weekend as you can see from the following side-by-side comparison. (Don’t bother trying to download this preview as there is no release at this time on the revised version as it’s just at the beginning stages – but if you’ve got any thoughts on these, preferences, constructive criticism, etc. I would love to hear from you in a reply to this post.)

Comparator

As for tonight’s offering of downloadable icons/clip-art, I’ve created the following half dozen specimens that can be used on your desktop for Twitter – or wherever else that might strike your fancy. Enjoy!

Free Clip-Art / Icons of the Day

The following images are either full or reduced size previews. Simply right-click (or control-click) on the preview to save the image(s) of your choice to your desktop. (Unless otherwise noted, downloads are 512px X 512px in .png format). As always, usage of any of the images offered in the “Free Clip-Art / Icons of the Day” section are free for your personal use, subject to the limitations of my Creative Commons Non-Commercial – Attribution – No Derivatives – Share Alike- 3.0 license. (See sidebar for Terms of Use) For commercial or any other use, please contact me for directly.

Bird-in-Tree-5Bird-in-Tree-3

Bird-in-Tree-11Bird-3

Bird-in-Tree-10Bird-in-Tree-7

A Steampunk’d Alphabet

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My husband was a mechanical engineer for close to forty years, designing and managing the teams that design the machines that make every conceivable type of light bulb. He’s also a musician who not only plays incredible rock & blues guitar but has often taken his instruments apart, tweaked and rebuilt them to be gorgeous and unique, just as he has done with a variety of sports cars and vintage motorcycles. When I was 19, he taught me how to solder and bought me a kit to build my first amplifier and synthesizer and a few years later bought me the components to build my first computer. So you might think, “This is a grade ‘A’ geek” and fully expect him to be a Jules Verne fan and a Steampunk devotee. Well, you’d be spot-on about Jules Verne, but fuggedabout the geek (that title belongs to me in this family) and as to Steampunk? I was shocked to learn tonight that he had never even heard of it! Yeah, I know we’re old foggies but, geez, I hadn’t thought I was married to a dinosaur! 😉 Just joking, Sweetie…

In any case, I sent him a few links as an assignment tonight (testing to begin tomorrow). Actually, those links offer such a great intro to the uninitiated as well as a delight for those already captive to the romance of the innocence, excitement, and optimism of the scientists and engineers of the industrial age, I’ve decided to include them in this post rather than try to describe what it is about this genre that draws me in. Following that, I’ve created a complete alpha-numeric set of icons aptly titled “Steampunk’d”. Enjoy!

GREAT STEAMPUNK LINKS

Steampunk Wiki

The Steampunk Blog

Dr. Grordbort’s Infallible Aether Oscillators

Art Donovan, Steampunk Art

Steampunk Workshop

Free Clip-Art / Icons of the Day

The following images are either full or reduced size previews. Simply right-click (or control-click) on the preview to save the image(s) of your choice to your desktop. (Unless otherwise noted, downloads are 512px X 512px in .png format). As always, usage of any of the images offered in the “Free Clip-Art / Icons of the Day” section are free for your personal use, subject to the limitations of my Creative Commons Non-Commercial – Attribution – No Derivatives – Share Alike- 3.0 license. (See sidebar for Terms of Use) For commercial or any other use, please contact me for directly.

Steam-Punk'd

SP_UPPERCASE-PRE

SP-Numerals-Pre

SP-PUNCTUATION Preview

Cleveland Indians & Art Deco Icons

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This time of year always puts me in a nostalgic mood. Remembering walking to school in the mornings while it still was dark and being spooked by the sounds of the neighborhood waking up; freezing my buns off at the after-school football games because mini-skirts were far more important back then than keeping warm; and going through the roller-coaster emotions wondering whether my city’s home team, the Cleveland Indians, were finally going to make it into the World Series. The latter memory has been a perennial obsession for most of us in northeast Ohio. We want to believe so much in our team but just about every year, the team’s owner’s do their best imitation of Lucy to the fans’ Charlie Brown by stealing our chances away. I’m not a gambler but for those of you who are, here’s a tip. Watch the Cleveland Indians for the first half of the season and whoever is the best player, our best chance of making it to the Big Game, not only can you count on that player being traded away before the season’s over, whichever team they are traded to is a near-perfect predictor of at least one of the teams that will play in the World Series either that year and/or the next. This is not my imagination nor, of course, am I the first to notice this phenomenon. This year, it’s C.C. Sabathia who’s now a Yankee and our old coach, Charlie Manual, who’s brought the Philadelphia Phillies to the Series. I am by no means an expert sport’s analyst, but with a long pattern like this, it’s hard not to wonder whether the Indian’s are in fact not a major league team but rather the world’s best AAA-baseball team rewarded by being allowed to play with the majors but never taken seriously by their owners. As Charlie Brown would say, “AAUGH!”

Well, enough moaning and moping. Tonight I’ve decided to catch up with the rest of my Fox Spokane icon series (copper-toned art deco). If you haven’t already got the previous entries, check them out here and here. Enjoy!

Free Clip-Art / Icons of the Day

The following images are either full or reduced size previews. Simply right-click (or control-click) on the preview to save the image(s) of your choice to your desktop. (Unless otherwise noted, images are 512px X 512px in .png format). As always, usage of any of the images offered in the “Free Clip-Art / Icons of the Day” section are free for your personal use, subject to the limitations of my Creative Commons Non-Commercial – Attribution – No Derivatives – Share Alike- 3.0 license. (See sidebar for Terms of Use) For commercial or any other use, please contact me for directly.

Fox Spokane - pkg 1 - Preview

Fox Spokane - pkg 1 Preview - CLICK TO DOWNLOAD

Fox Spokane - pkg 2 Preview

Fox Spokane - pkg 2 - CLICK TO DOWNLOAD

Fox Spokane - Servers

Fox Spokane - Servers - CLICK TO DOWNLOAD

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