Using the Creative Cloud by Adobe

As many of you know, the job of designing a brochure somehow dropped on my unartistic shoulders.  I created something using the Creative Cloud for our Board Meeting on Saturday, and received immediate feedback about what to change.  This was my first time ever to use Adobe Illustrator, and it represented about 8 or more hours of intensive effort.  I just LOOKS so easy a first grader could do it!  I would not call Illustrator an intuitive, user-friendly program.

My first attempt using Adobe Illustrator
My first attempt using Adobe Illustrator

Today I spent the entire day creating a new brochure with an artsy look rather than a blocky photography look.  My husband helped me on this one by brainstorming with me, then finding me a nice artsy print to get my creative dry mouth (there were not juices) started.  He also agreed with Cotton that the California Bear Flag was the primary symbol to use to anchor this brochure.

I couldn't figure how to color this one blue.
I couldn’t figure how to color this one blue.  I still thought it was cool.  Do you recognize anyone here?

I couldn’t find the same picture he did, and I thought I would be so clever and Photoshop of our own meetings.  It didn’t transfer well into Illustrator, so he emailed me the picture he found.  I made major changes on it before I used it.

This was the best I could do in Illustrator.
This was the best I could do in Illustrator.  Oops a flag pole in the middle of the sky.  Weird.  The colors don’t really go here, but I hat to take a break.

The hardest part after he found the anchor artwork for the meeting was to create a seamless look between the artwork and the background.  I’m not sure I could do any of it again at this point.  I found that it was easier to merge the pictures and the background in Photoshop than in Illustrator.  I couldn’t even get the paintbrush tool to activate on the layer I wanted in Illustrator, and I couldn’t flatten the layers.  So back to what I knew.  I got a little paint on the photos, but I’m hoping it gives that artsy-dreamy look.  I need to brush up my coloring skills.

I tried using the select tools, but forgot how to use them correctly, and so I just colored around the map – that took forever!!!  I also had to do it more than once.  The first time I thought I coud just place it into Illustrator.  Place is how you get your photographs to stick on the background in both Illustrator and Photoshop.  That is in the file drop down menu.

I found out that Photoshop CS6 is different enough from Elements 10 that I had a bit of a learning curve, but I was able to McIver my way through the project.

After I was as pleased as I could be in the amount of time that I wanted to devote to my 4th makeover, I saved the project as a jpeg and then placed it over the first page white blank sheet in Adobe Illustrator.  Then I just added the words.  V helped me with the words, too.  He used to be in advertising, and he focused me on what was really the reason for the brochure – to GET PEOPLE TO JOIN THE ORGANIZATION!  So that went in the top right hand corner.  DUH!

This was my third attempt.
This was my third attempt.  Here it looked like I scribbled around the map because I was dodging the words.  Has any one ever been to the state of Califronia?

I got it all done, and sent out to our Exec. Board, and realized I had misspelled California.  Believe it or not I had to start back in Photoshop and get my three pictures together again on the background.

This was the most time- intensive part.  this was my fourth attempt.
This was the most time-intensive part, and it was my fourth attempt at creating the brochure.

I finally got the words back on  using Illustrator because the words are sharper if you use Illustrator rather than Photoshop.

This is my final draft - SO FAR!!!
This is my final draft – SO FAR!!!

I had a few changes to do to the inside, but those were simple.  So this is the journey I’ve been on for the last few days since our start long ago with the simple cover you all voted on.

You overwhelmingly picked this design for the front of the brochure.
You overwhelmingly picked this design for the front of the brochure.

Thanks so much for all your input.  I appreciate when YOU offer suggestions.  Thanks also to V for all the help you gave me this morning, and the patience to see me through my tears without trying to SOLVE all my problems.  I knew I could do this if I just put my mind to it.  I was not going to be overcome by a computer program!!!!  🙂

My First Photography Up for Sale on Fine Art America Website

I saw Enice’s photography on this website http://fineartamerica.com/, so I thought I’d give it a try as well.  So far I only have 10 pictures posted, but they are also advertised on my Facebook page.  I’m excited, because I finally got myself started.  This business is mostly a hobby, but I would like it to be a successful hobby just because I like to be successful.

The way I will measure success is that 1) the pictures are of technically of good quality ( clear, the right brightness, etc.) 2)  the pictures are well composed (interesting subjects, good balance, framing, etc.) 3)  The pictures have appeal (people just enjoy looking at them), and 4) The pictures have salability (usable for decorating, cups, t-shirts, cards, advertising, calendars, etc.)  Who knows where this will lead, but this is my next experiment.

TC History Gal Productions

I started out with pictures of cats because they seem to have so much personality.  I realize that most of you are photographers as well, so you are not too likely to purchase pictures from me, but I would love your opinions. You have been so helpful in the past about giving me such good ideas.  How would you rate these?

V's favorite is Boulder Monitoring.
V’s favorite is Boulder Monitoring.

V’s favorite is Boulder Monitoring.  That’s what I felt like doing yesterday afternoon instead of driving to Ontario.  But I drove 5 hours instead.  I hope that you will come and like my Facebook Page, and join me on this adventure.  I’ll be sharing how it is going or not going as we go along.

Like me?
Like me?

The next thing I started this week, I did out of necessity.  Earlier this week I asked you to vote on the front of a brochure that I designed in Photoshop.

You overwhelmingly picked this design for the front of the brochure.
You overwhelmingly picked this design for the front of the brochure.

Although I really had no desire or inclination to design a whole brochure, no one else volunteered to do it.   To create this masterpiece, I tried out a new product, Adobe Illustrator.  You can see that the basic design that you voted on  is on the right, which is the cover.  I changed the picture, and used too big of a font for the words at the bottom.  I also included more pictures on the inside flap and back to represent the various branches of social studies.  Wikipedia quotes our own National Council for the Social Studies to define social studies.

Social studies is the “integrated study of the social sciences and humanities to promote civic competence,” as defined by the United States Americans National Council for the Social Studies.[1]   … Many such courses are interdisciplinary and draw upon various fields, including sociology but also political sciencehistoryeconomicsreligious studiesgeographypsychologyanthropology, and civics.

The brochure that you all helped me design.
This is the first draft of the entire brochure that you helped me design.

Ralph, you’ll notice no smelly sock unless you consider the bear smelly!!!  Cotton, I found the Bear Flag on the map, and I thought that was too cool.

I also finished as much as I could with the tri-fold brochure.   Paula made some suggestions for technical revisions, but our board made some other substantive comments that may WILL change it as well.  Here were some of the comments/questions I heard around the room as soon as I passed the out the brochure.

Would it be more effective to have a brochure with artwork rather than photographs?  (I don’t have the ability to do artwork!!!)

This was done by a real graphic artist for our conference in March.
A real graphic artist created this for our conference in March.

If photographs are suitable, what photographs really illustrate these divisions of social studies?

This man is a sailor, which in my mind suggested economics.  Maybe it wasn't the best photograph to illustrate economics.  It got a laugh!!
This man is a sailor, which in my mind suggested economics. Maybe it wasn’t the best photograph to illustrate economics. It got a laugh!!

Even more basic than those questions, do we just illustrate the definition of social studies, or do we move past that to illustrate what the council does?

1) the advocates for keeping social studies as a core subject to continue to be taught in American public schools?

2) provides professional development for teachers grades k-16,

3)  identifies quality instructional resources and

4) assists in developing and implementing state policies including standards, frameworks and assessments.

There is so much to designing a brochure.  The designer and the organization have to identify what is really important and somehow represent that graphically!  How do REAL graphic designers ever do it????

Thanks for coming along with me in my busy-ness this week.  I’ve been so wrapped in meetings this week month that I hardly knew know if I’m coming or going.  You all have helped by my anchors and my boulders.  Thanks for being there.  I’m monitoring you!

Have a nice rest of the week-end.  What are you all doing??  I have a meeting tomorrow for Tulare County Historical Society.  Anyone want to come??  Don’t forget to write to, like love tell me what you think while I’m busy going to meetings.   🙂  Lots of Love, Marsha 🙂

Another New Career: Designing Brochure Covers

I decided instead of not posting while I’m working, I would bring you into my workspace.  Although I am not a graphic artist, I am designing covers for a new brochure for California Council for the Social Studies.  So I’d like you to help me judge attractiveness.  You should probably know what the organization is all about.

Purpose

California Council for the Social Studies

  • advocates for and promotes social studies education as an essential foundation in developing citizens for a democratic society in the 21st Century.
  • provides professional development for social studies teachers through state and regional and local conferences.
  • identifies and produces quality instructional resources and programs to improve classroom instruction of social studies
  • assists in the development and implementation of state and local policies, legislation, framework, standards, testing and other instructional components.

So here are a few brochure covers I have played with.  I won’t be at all insulted if you have some constructive feedback for me because these are ideas.  Paula may redo them all, but I wanted to give her something to work with to start.  One of these designs has an image that may be copyrighted that I have altered a bit, but if we use it I’ll get permission or purchase the image.  Since we might not choose it, I’ll leave it for now.

Brochure #1
Brochure #1
Brochure #2
Brochure #2
CCSS Brochure #3
CCSS Brochure #3

So what advice do you have for me?  Do any of these look like a possible brochure cover?

To Do List, My Lazy Blogging Excuse

Like all of us, I actually do have a life.  And often it gets in the way of my blogging.  I started blogging in April, and by August I had to quit my day job so I could blog full-time.  Such a sad excuse to retire, but V says I go after blogging like I did my job, and according to V – not my boss –  I was a workaholic.

We're really working.   Proofing the Conference Program.
We’re really working. Proofing the Conference Program.

 

 

The Conference is March 8-10.  So much to do.
The Conference is March 8-10. So much to do!!!  

As you may know, I am still heavily invested in the social studies teaching community through California Council for the Social Studies, San Joaquin Valley Council for the Social Studies and National Council for the Social Studies as well as the Tulare County Historical Society, and I am just about to join our local Kiwanis Club thanks to Running P Ranch Co-Captain, Sally Pace.  This week three of them have had meetings.  The funny thing about meetings is that there is always work attached.  On top of that V’s son is having a birthday soon, and we are celebrating with him.  Paula’s son just had a birthday, and we will celebrate with them on Sunday.

Meet V's son, J.  Isn't he handsome?  Can you guess his age?
Meet V’s son, J. Isn’t he handsome? Can you guess his age?

 

Edward1

How old is this handsome “grandson” of mine?

 

I say all this to apologize if my posts for the rest of this month may be sketchy or nil.  I’m not sure if I can stop blogging altogether.  I am super addicted, as you can tell.  But if I do neglect to get up a post or two, please feel free to rummage around in my past posts.  I have tons.  I can’t stop myself.  Some of them are better than others, but my WordPress friends are probably glad to let you know in the sidebars which are the most popular.  They are all pretty random.  They are streaming thoughts, after all.

This also means that I have been and will continue to neglect my visiting of your blogs somewhat.  Again, I don’t mean to.  I am reading my reader as I travel – if I’m not driving!!!  unfortunately it sends me tons of blogs I hardly even know, and who never write me back.  I am prejudiced and I really prefer to visit people who actually visit me, and write back to me when I scribble out a few comments on their blogs as well.  My reader tries to expand my repertoire, but it often misses my valued closest friends.

My email notifier is good, but I find when I click from there many of your blogs make me sign in three or four times before I can even like what you said.  I have to admit that when I am on my iPhone, I have no patience with those sign ins.  I hit the wrong keys, and end up having to enter tchistorygal@gmail.com at least 6 or 7 times before I get it right!   I’m bouncing around in a car, so I get mad and go back to playing Farkle.  I’m sorry – did I just tell you that?  So mindless of me.

All that to say, if you don’t hear much from me this week, it’s not because I don’t love and think about you.   🙂  ML

So that you can keep  me in line, here’s my list.  Feel free to comment.  Marsha, did you call… or did you …  And if you think of anything else I missed, be sure to comment that, too.  Except you, Ralph.  You’ll have a complete additional to do list for me that I’ll never be able to finish!!! JK  haha

Marsha’s REAL TO DO LIST

Home

  • Call Scott with model number  3712
  • Call John  and arrange for him to drive the trailer to Scotts.  (Yes, we’re selling our Layton 39 foot trailer – anyone interested.  You can see it on Ebay or on my FB page.)  We’ll deliver if you live in Spain or England!!  JK  🙂  We can’t tow it  –  it’s LONG, but spotless and comfy.  We store it mostly.
  • process pictures
  • input hilton honors information

CCSS

  • Proofread the conference program
  • Look over the BOD packet (haha that’s Board of Directors, Ralph!!  Don’t get all worked up!!!)
  • Avi needs to have someone write up the motion for the board packet.  
  • I need to write a motion to accept the changes in the bylaws.  
  • I will highlight sessions and workshops.   Three or four compelling topics in each subject area.  http://ccss.org/Resources/Documents/conf2013/2013_Program.pdf
  • I need to write up motion for reverse brokering.
  • Work on the membership brochure at least the text.  See if Paula or V will help me with the graphics.
  • Mary is drafting a letter that will go to people who will be new members.  As one of the benefits you receive a complimentary membership to CCSS. 
  • I need to pass the brochure on to Mary.    
  • I need to follow up with Mary to make sure she has written the letter.

TCHS

  • email Laile with the results of our conversation tonight

Isn’t this fascinating?  Am I desperate for something to write or what??  Can you guess which ones are done????

What have I missed Avi?  Brent?  Terry?  Sharon? V?

Packing Table Grapes

My friend’s son went off to college in Louisiana.  His sophomore English teacher asked the class what product comes from sheep.“Cotton?” his fellow student answered.   At least he didn’t answer grapes.

I don’t excuse the teacher for asking such a kindergarten question, but the answer clearly indicates that there is a vast divide between the American public and the agricultural productes they consume.Even for those of us who live in the heart of agribusiness most of the time when we drive past fields of crops all we see are crops.  Fruit, nuts, cotton, corn and others quietly, stealthily growing.   No people.Yesterday as my friend Connie and I drove back to her home from our lunch at Orange Works, we passed a grape field teaming with activity.  Cars lined both sides of the streets parallel parked neatly in the dirt.  I had to stop the car and see if these folks would let me take pictures of them working.They were all so gracious.  They kept working as they smiled at me.  I didn’t want to disturb them for long, or to ask many questions, but I thought you might enjoy seeing them at their task of insuring that you have grapes to purchase at the store.  The weather was perfect at just past 1:00, the temperature was still in the 80s, maybe creeping up to the low 90s, but bearable.  The dusty air was still, and the workers chatted quietly or did not talk at all as they weighed out the three bunches of grapes to fill each plastic sack.  They did not seem hurried or frantic as they packed the sacks of fruit into boxes, carefully arranging them so that the sweet, plump, green orbs were as comfortable lying in their new bed as my puppy is in her bed on the bed.Connie, who grew up here in the Central Valley, told me that the rows of grape plants had white plastic over them to keep the grapes from blistering in the hot sun, and to keep birds from beating humans to the sweet treat.

I remembered way back to when my family had just moved west to Oregon.  It was August, 1967, and on the 30th of that month, the grape harvesters in Delano had just won a great victory.  They were allowed to have a union represent them.  They started to strike.  As we entered the grocery store in Portland, Oregon, a mass of people clustered around the entrance to Safeway pressing fliers into our hands and entreating with us not to buy grapes or uvas, as they called them.  As a rebellious teenager, I didn’t want to be told not to do anything.  I probably asked my mom for grapes even though I could take them or leave them – I preferred a 100% diet of chocolate ice cream, and weighed slightly over 100 pounds then, so felt justified in eating chocolate over grapes any day.  I don’t remember what we did, I just remember being indignant at being accosted by strikers, and thinking how different shopping was in the West compared to shopping in Indianapolis.  Little did I know at the time what a huge impact that strike had nationally.

The origin of that great strike was in Delano, California just 7 miles south of the Tulare County border.  If the strike made an impact nationally, it certainly made one in this county.

At our California Council for the Social Studies CCSS Conference in March 2013 we will honor the 50 year anniversary of the Birmingham marches for civil rights.  At the same time we will honor the reflection of those times in our own area – the marches and strikes for minimum wages and safer working conditions for agricultural workers.

So the next time you pop a healthy grape into your mouth instead of a spoonful of chocolate sundae, I hope you will consider the kind workers helped bring that table grape to you.  AND to any city slickers like my former self, PLEASE DON’T EVER TELL any professor that grapes – or cotton –  come from SHEEP!