And so, after just over 3 years, university, life dramas, and all manner of things, this blog comes to an end. Ahhh.
'Oh em gee!' I hear you cry. 'What will I do without it?'
Well don't worry. It's only moving :)
As I have mentioned a few times before, I have moved this blog over to my website, so my blog and portfolio can sit side by side like the good friends they are. If you're reading this in an RSS feed, that means you were nice enough to subscribe the first time round. And so I thank you, and hope you have enough energy in you to subscribe to my new blog address, simply by clicking here.
If you still like to hear about my illustration adventures, thoughts on advertising, design, fashion, culture, music and other bits, then please do subscribe again; I really love having you around. If you don't care anymore then... well. See you around.
Don't forget I'm also on twitter @rachillustrates.
That's all folks! *violins, exit music, woman with handkerchief*
Sunday, July 25, 2010
And so, after just over 3 years, university, life dramas, and all manner of things, this blog comes to an end. Ahhh.
Wednesday, July 21, 2010
Just spotted this via @ActionaidUK's twitter feed and I love the concept. Guerilla marketing/advertising + charity campaigning = thumbs up in my book. If you follow Actionaid's campaigns and efforts then you'll know they're waging a bit of a war on Asda at the moment because of their alleged pay level for their foreign workers who make their clothing for George. "If ASDA paid just an extra 2p on a £4 t-shirt, it could mean the difference between poverty and a decent standard of living for the people who make clothes for ASDA George in India."
NOTICE: I have now moved this blog over to my website www.rachelsayshello.com so this blog is now obsolete - click here to subscribe to my new blog and continue to get my amazing updates! You know you want to. It's way better. This post can be found here.
Sounds pretty fair to me. The rise of cut price, bargain-tastic, too cheap to be true clothing in the last few years has summoned a kind of collective joy and simultaneous guilt in Britain. Think Primark, supermarket fashion - a dress for £9? Why the hell would you shop anywhere else? If you don't mind the quality and throw your clothes out every year, then it's amazing. But everyone who shops there (I hope anyway...) surely has that voice in the back of their head whispering 'cheap labour...' when they make their purchases. I certainly do. I use to shop ALL the time in George at Asda at uni, seeing as our halls were practically in the carpark and you couldn't beat it for student budget, but you do worry where exactly your money goes, or rather, how far it can stretch. That £4 t-shirt, after you've taken into account raw materials, distribution costs, any kind of profit, what are you left with for the people who actually make it? Not a lot it would seem, if 2p is the difference between poverty and stability. I wouldn't mind paying an extra 2p. Hell, I wouldn't mind paying an extra £2. I avoid Primark, George, etc etc whenever I can but I admit I still buy from there. If there was a guarantee the workers got paid enough to live on then I wouldn't feel so bad. Also when I get start getting paid more, i'll be able to afford to NOT shop in horrible, mass produced shops like that.
So ActionAid have summoned up this campaign and I wholeheartedly support it. Here's what they're doing to raise awareness:
"Campaigners from the charity ActionAid are slipping a secret message into thousands of items of clothing at ASDA stores around the country to highlight the company’s lamentable record on paying poverty wages to factory workers in developing countries.
The secret messages will be placed in clothes’ pockets and any customer who finds them will automatically receive an ActionAid t-shirt and entry into a prize draw to win fair trade food and clothing. They’ll also be invited to send a message to the head of ASDA to demand an improvement in workers' pay." Read more about ActionAid target Asda here.
Simple, brilliant. And I bet you it works. There's nothing better than putting on a jacket you haven't worn for months and finding a tenner in the pocket. This works on that ethos; consumers love finding stuff that seems like it's meant just for them, and also free. What's great is that they've thought this through; "The ActionAid secret messages are made from the same material as clothing labels, so they won’t run or damage clothes if the shopper doesn’t find the label and puts it through the wash." Aha. And I imagine they're not doing anything technically wrong that Asda could sue them for or whatever; so long as they don't ruin the garments, encourage theft, or spread lies about the brand (these seem pretty accurate to me) then I can't see any legal problems, really. I doubt Asda will be happy though! They'll probably get their minions/goblins* to ransack the pockets every morning. (*We used to call the Asda night shift workers such names as this as it always seemed a bit Harry-Potter esque when they'd quietly fill the shelves up at 3am, glaring at you. Usually because you were drunk and trying to figure out if cheesecake is a good idea after Oceana. Respect to the night shift workers. They must have hated us.)
An example of the label you'll find in the clothing.
Posted by Rachel Lewis Illustration at 22:03
Sunday, July 18, 2010
Things left to do are:
- Try and reformat the fonts used; not loving these sans serif things. And also get rid of the black on the header! Ew.
- Upload my entire portfolio. This will take a while. I’m trying to grapple with plugins etc to make it work.
- Contact page, twitter plugins, all the rest. RSS feed. Automatic post to fb and twitter. Etc etc.
But I actually managed to make it work :D Yay me!
Thursday, July 15, 2010
I saw this is the paper yesterday, intrigued me. Audi are showing off their new A1 range using a concept called 'AreA1', which will play host to all those who want to see the A1 and get close to the newest addition to the Audi range.
Wednesday, July 14, 2010
I haven't blogged in weeks - this is very bad. It's not for lack of content - I've got 8 draft posts that are half finished! The past few weeks have been so busy and I just have not had time. That's bad I know. Lots of good things have been happening though, as well as work being ridiculously busy at the moment, and swanning off to various places every weekend for various things. That doesn't help. But hey, I like to have weekends!
Anyway, I was talking recently about how I want to move this blog over to my own domain name, and I've pretty much decided that I will do this. Hopefully this weekend if I get time. So even though I didn't mean to not post, maybe it's a good idea not to... then just wait until I move over and start again. I don't really know.
How do you people with full time jobs manage to also blog a lot too?? It baffles me. I think it's my commute though- if I lived in London I'd be home by 6.30 and maybe then I'd have the energy to write. At the moment all I want to do is eat and sleep.
I've also been ill for about a week and a half now and it seems to be getting worse :S right now I have no voice! Very annoying. But I read this post today by Ben Terrett over at Noisy Decent Graphics about 'Being Busy' (have been following the blog for years... you should too) and it's timing is very well placed.
Read the full post but it's summed up in 5 points:
1. Work when you work best
2. Healthy body, healthy mind
3. Don't do everything on your to do list
4. Ask for help
5. Little and often
It's extremely good advice and I really recommend you go and read it. I need to take heed. We covered all this stuff, and more, in the CSM Immersion course I attended, but it's so easy to slip back into 'crazy mode'.
Monday, June 21, 2010
This is awesomely exciting: I was contacted recently by the lovely people at Cleo Magazine, in Australia, who really like my recipe illustrations and wanted me to produce some more for a feature in the September issue! Amazing!
So I allowed them to reproduce two of my old ones, and did two new ones for them as well, which I want to post up here:
This recipe is one from my mum - she always makes this at BBQs and get-togethers etc and it's so amazing (as the title suggests), and pretty easy too. The feta and the capers make it stand out against shop-bought couscous, it's perfect for summer days!
Nom nom nom.
So these illustrations will be in the September issue of Cleo, out in August. If (like me) you don't live in Australia then you won't be able to get your hands on a copy, but I have some friends in Oz who hopefully can send me it!
This is the first time my work has been published onto actual physical paper so I'm really happy. It's just on an exposure basis but who knows what could come from this? Good times! Thanks Australia, very random but cool!
Sunday, June 20, 2010
This is going to a long-ish post so I apologise. It's one of my rare 'thoughts spilling out' posts but I'll try to keep it interesting. If you'd rather have pretty pictures then.... come back tomorrow.
I recently started subscribing to David Airey's brilliant blog and came across this article: Seven blog mistakes to avoid. I thoroughly recommend you go and read it (the whole blog, if you have hours to spare, or just that article) because it's great. And so useful if you write your own blog. It's started me thinking about this blog, and my website too, and now I have a big conundrum that I need your input on.
His first mistake in the article is 'not using a self-hosted blog.' Oops. I fail at the first hurdle. I've known for a while the benefits of hosting your own blog (you will actually own your content) and yet I still use blogger. Ol, faithful, annoying, uninspiring blogger. Why? Because it's safe. It works. And I'm terrified of moving! I wish I had started using wordpress, but I started this blog in 2007 and it was meant to just be a 'this is my work' blog. Obviously, it's a whole lot more now.
I own my own website - www.rachelsayshello.com and yet most of my hits come to this blog, not my website. Here are the pitiful stats: my website (which is basically just a static portfolio which gets updated say, once a month) gets about 6 hits a day, this blog gets about 40. Sometimes a lot more. Basically though, both are really bad. You do the maths! Surely it makes way more sense to host my blog on the same domain as my portfolio? My blog will do the work, being constantly updated with fresh content, and my portfolio will benefit from all the added exposure. At the moment, you have to click on a button over there ----> which takes you to my website; which at the moment is an external link. I've tried to link the two a bit more (the title of this blog is now rachelsays...) but this blog is still hosted at www.rachellewisillustration.blogspot.com, which is a mouthful and nothing to do with my website. And I'm paying for my spangly domain name. Why not use it as much as I can?
Mistake #4 from David Airey's post sums this up quite well: "When I launched my first website about two years ago, I wanted my portfolio to be its primary purpose, and the blog a secondary aspect. Then last year I discovered blogs. It didn’t take long to realise the number of clients I could attract first through my blog content, and then directing them to my portfolio. It’s generally the content I publish that attracts visitors, rather than the work in my graphic design portfolio."
Which is exactly what I should be doing. I write about good stuff. I'm pretty cool, people subscribe to what I say here, they're vaguely interested in my point of view. So I'm missing a huge opportunity in that my work is not easily accessible right from here. And that also, this is clearly a blogger template. E v e r y o n e uses this one because it's the least offensive. But it doesn't stand out! I'm a pretty unique girl, and this blog says 'hey, I use blogspot, cos I don't know nuffin about the mintynet' which isn't true.
So... the obvious answer here, is switch to wordpress (and I mean .org, not .com... download the template and install it in the root directory of my site). Move the whole shabang over to rachelsayshello.com, start again. Stop using indexhibit (it's great, but quite restrictive) and get a custom/nicer wordpress template over there. Make the blog content the primary landing page, and then all my portfolio work as a secondary, but still lovingly presented and relevant.
Sounds great! Except.....
1) I would lose all my SEO and links and everything. I would probably still keep this blog running but everything would die. I'd probably have to rebuild my subscribers again and I'd really miss you all if you didn't follow me over.
2) I know a teeny bit of html but no way could I deal with a custom wordpress thing, with code and all that. I could install it in my root directory, I'd get that far, then I'd have no idea.
3) This all sounds like it's going to take more than a sunday afternoon. I work full time. Help will be needed, help which I can't afford.
4) I'm scared of messing with things in case it all goes tits up.
So, I don't really know. I want to change things up, but I just really don't know where to start. There's a few peeps on my twittersphere who could probably give me advice but generally, I'd have to muddle my own way through. Argh. All I know is that the way things are is not really helping: I'm paying for a domain name which is getting less hits than my free blogspot page. And blogspot isn't really that cool.
Incidentally, my website is down right now and I have no idea why. Which is slightly worrying. I'm sure it's probably just godaddy being weird and it'll be back soon, but I don't like it. Make it come back!
What do you think, minions? Is it worth the hassle, to switch and be all spangly under one domain name, or just stick how I am and be all amateurish but safe. Your insights are very much welcomed, I am trés confused.