Love What You Do
Websites, websites, everywhere.
I’m technically on holidays at the moment. So what am I doing? Catching up on study.
Obviously, I’m loving it, otherwise there is no way I would be spending hours engrossed in looking for the best possible example of the worst website I can find (wow, there are some bad ones still floating around…).
While I am taking a break from my ‘real’ study, I’m taking the time to improve my skills and knowledge in something I’ve quietly loved for a while now. Web design.
I feel like I’ve stumbled into an alternate universe where I get to spend my day looking at awesome things and I seem to have tapped into some element of a creative soul that I didn’t know I had.
I can’t draw to save myself. I don’t consider myself creative or artistic. Yet, put me in front of a computer and some graphic design software and I’m having fun.
I have no idea if I’m any good. Judging by my first report card from my teacher, I am. I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many repeated praises (wonderful, wonderful) in one place before. I’m saying this not out of showmanship (look at me, look at me, I’m wonderful because someone told me so), it’s more of an incredulous, “really?” that comes when something you love doing turns out to be something you can do. That pessimistic little voice inside is saying, just wait until you hand in the next assignment, the expectation bar is set really high now, you’re going to disappoint… I’m telling it to shut the hell up and enjoying the process.
What is the process? Well, first I spent hours looking at all of my favourite photo websites looking for examples that highlighted various photographic techniques (an awful way to spend a day, I know). Then I took some of my own photos highlighting various photographic techniques (oh, really, you had to walk all over a beach lugging a camera, terrible, terrible).
Lately I’ve been researching the elements and principles of design – that is, what bits and pieces make something look good. A really good way to do that is to look at what not to do. After all the flapping butterflies, flickering lights dancing in the background, scrolling text, and doleful music left my system, I put together some fun colour palettes, examined my favourite t-shirt suppliers (yep, spent the afternoon researching geek t-shirts), drew some lines that ‘meant something’, created a repeating background out of a sashiko pattern, and looked at some beautiful minimalistic websites that use high contrast designs.
My next major task is to research suitable design elements for my fictitious t-shirt business. So I spent the afternoon looking at steampunk photos and drawings and websites, because my theme is going to be cartoon steampunk.
I won’t be giving up my day job any time soon. I won’t be giving up on my ‘real’ study either, that’s planned to make a comeback in a few months time (I even have a schedule mapping out the next *gulp* three and a half years worth of study). But I’m glad I have this too. It’s fun and beautiful and interesting. What’s not to love?
“Let the beauty of what you love be what you do.” Rumi
“And what is it to work with love?
It is to weave the cloth with threads drawn from your heart, even as if your beloved were to wear that cloth.
It is to build a house with affection, even as if your beloved were to dwell in that house.
It is to sow seeds with tenderness and reap the harvest with joy, even as if your beloved were to eat the fruit.
It is to charge all things you fashion with a breath of your own spirit,
And to know that all the blessed dead are standing about you and watching.
Often have I heard you say, as if speaking in sleep, “he who works in marble, and finds the shape of his own soul in the stone, is a nobler than he who ploughs the soil.
And he who seizes the rainbow to lay it on a cloth in the likeness of man, is more than he who makes the sandals for our feet.”
But I say, not in sleep but in the over-wakefulness of noontide, that the wind speaks not more sweetly to the giant oaks than to the least of all the blades of grass;
And he alone is great who turns the voice of the wind into a song made sweeter by his own loving.
Work is love made visible.
And if you cannot work with love but only with distaste, it is better that you should leave your work and sit at the gate of the temple and take alms of those who work with joy.
For if you bake bread with indifference, you bake a bitter bread that feeds but half man’s hunger.
And if you grudge the crushing of the grapes, your grudge distils a poison in the wine.
And if you sing though as angels, and love not the singing, you muffle man’s ears to the voices of the day and the voices of the night.”
The Prophet, Kahlil Gibran