Friday, September 12, 2014

Motivational Quotes / Pretty Haute Mess

Weekends are hard for me because part of me wants to do nothing after a full week at the office, and the other part of me wants to use ALL my time to do my own design work.

I’m hoping to get a lot of work done this weekend and these quotes were perfect for getting me motivated.

*You can find these art prints in the Kimsey Price shop on Society6.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

I had forgotten how much I loved creating mood boards until recently when I did this graphic for Nest Studio Blog. And like most things in my life, it presents a long existing insecurity of mine…

In order to be a “legitimate” designer, do you need have childhood journals full of collages? Also, are you still a “real” designer if you like digital mood boards better than analog?

These are just a couple questions I consistently ask myself, but secretly don’t want the answers to, if there are any.

Mood Board / Pretty Haute Mess

Do any of you ever feel this way? What’s your mood board process and how long have you been doing it? Since before they were “mood boards” and they were just teenage bedroom decor?

This has also prompted me to think about what my hobbies were as a child… besides sports. I come from a sports-loving family and I happened to be blessed with athleticism. Growing up, there wasn’t much time for anything else besides school and gymnastics.

Once I entered High School, although I was no longer doing gymnastics, I was still very involved in sports, mostly volleyball and track. Around my Sophmore year, I “retired” from sports to focus on my grades because I knew I wanted to attend UCLA and needed the grades to get there. I’m proud to say I graduated from UCLA and all I had to give up was High School.

Who am I kidding, I didn’t miss out on High School because I was a smarty pants who did nothing but study, I was and still am a very skilled introvert. So, it didn’t help that my mom taught Spanish at my High School and since her and I are very close, I spent most of my time with her when I wasn’t in class or practice.

This close relationship with my mother is wonderful yes, but….. NO

I spent so much time (and still do arguably) thinking about my mother, my parents and my family that I forgot to think about myself. When I wasn’t at school or practice, I was never left alone long enough to really develop any hobbies. If I was in my room for more than 20 minutes, my mom would come in and check on me. Alone time was seen as rude, whether that was her intention or not.

So maybe I’m insecure, or jealous, of those designers who knew they wanted to be designers from the age of 8 and have stacks of journals and sketch books to prove it…

And maybe I just need to understand how my childhood groomed me into who I am rather than feel insecure about a time period I can’t do anything about.

I’m just really curious how our childhood hobbies (or lack of) affect our career choices.

What are your childhood experiences? When did you know what you wanted to do? Did it relate to any of your hobbies? I’d love to hear your stories….

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Last week I attended a basic type class and a lettering workshop through TypeEd so I wanted to share my experience, what I learned AND even some work I did…..

I really wanted to post a recap right after attending, when everything was fresh, but of course when I sat down at my computer on Sunday, I had to spend more time working on the projects I started in workshop.

TypeEd / PrettyHauteMess

If you’re a loyal PHM reader, then you know that I just started graphic design a couple years ago after entering the design world through interior designer. That being said, I’m always on the lookout for cool ways to develop my skills and expand my design knowledge.

TypeEd’s mission is to bring the craft of typography back to design education. They help designers build a typographic foundation and improve the integrity of their design. It doesn’t hurt that they are located in a super rad downtown building in the Old Bank District of Los Angeles.

The Basics / PrettyHauteMess

They have several different classes you can choose from, whether you’re wanting to learn the basics of type or how to make beautiful lettering fit for a handsome whiskey bottle label. I took their Type 1 The Basics as a refresher and I also attended the workshop In The Loop with Leah Faust as the instructor.

In The Loop / PrettyHauteMess

The Basics was great, going as far back in type history as the first alphabets. Michael Stinson, Partner at Ramp Creative, knows his shit. He filled every minute of the three-hour class with information on type, kerning, x-height, negative space, etc. Then, after class we all went downstairs to the design library where he showed us examples of good layouts and type settings. None of us even cared that it was 10pm on a week-night.

General Assembly / PrettyHauteMess

Leah was great as our instructor for the In The Loop workshop, which was located on the West Side of L.A. at the very cool headquarters of General Assembly. We broke down an existing typeface and also created some of our own lettering, beginning with paper + pencil sketches.

The critique sessions, where we all put our work on the wall, were great and went longer than other workshops I’ve attended. You can learn a lot from a lecture, from watching someone demonstrate their craft and most importantly from practicing… But getting critique on work you’ve done is priceless. And bonus, as I continue working on my two projects I’m still getting critique on-line, which is pretty awesome. However, I’m also learning that constructive criticism won’t make my work look pretty, I actually have to do it. Great lettering IS SO HARD!

Eagle Rock Tattoo / PrettyHauteMessThis is the first of our two projects from workshop. Our task was to help brand Eagle Rock Tattoo (a fictitious business). We had the choice of using two different fonts, but we couldn’t use the fonts as they were, we had to break them apart in vector, making them look like a completely different font. I chose Burgues Script and decided to remove a lot of the decorative elements, contour some of them and add my own flourishing. Note: flourishing is also VERY HARD. Although I didn’t complete this project in workshop, I was pretty  happy with my end result from home. For now.

Escondido / PrettyHauteMess

Our second project was custom lettering. We had the choice of writing our name, the name of a loved one, favorite city or birth place. I chose the city I was born in, Escondido (San Diego) which means hidden in Spanish. I tend to believe this is the cause of my introvert personality. Joking aside, I like the word and though the “E” would be fun. Turns out, that’s all I really like from the end product. I’ll keep working on it, possibly scrapping everything but the “E”.

My take-away is that the two founders of TypeEd, Michael and Rachel, really love what they do. This is why I believe I gained so much from the class and the workshop. They pulace a sincere effort in making sure their students walk away knowing something they didn’t before, meeting fellow creatives and are inspired to learn more.

Images (top three): TypeEd

*This post was sponsored by TypeEd, but all experiences and opinions are my own.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

I recently did some fun artwork for the Studio Nest blog and it got me thinking…. I should do this more often, both for my own blog and for anyone else who might fancy my digital illustrations.

illustration / PrettyHauteMess

I also recently got a new MacBook Air (which I LOVE) and have discovered the downfall to a new lap top….. Now, I have no excuse not to do more work in the evenings after my day job, even if I just feel like lounging on the sofa and not sitting at my desk with the iMac.

No excuses.

Another very big reason I don’t do more illustrations (besides, you know, the day job) is because I have no confidence whatsoever. I’m assuming this is the case for most designers, but screw that. I won’t get better if I don’t do it more often.

No fear.

That is all. Continue on with your day….

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

I created my first miniature digital magazine. My portfolio was lacking in the multi-page, story-telling department. I also wanted to play around on InDesign. Voila, a cheesy little style story. Enjoy…






Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Growing up with two older brothers (one of them now in the film business) and being married to a sci fi geek (also in the film business), I am naturally a lover of the sci fi genre. Which means, I saw Elysium over the weekend. My favorite films are those that combine science fiction with social commentary, which Eysium does. If you liked District 9, you’ll like Elysium.

Concept art is Neill Blomkamp’s visual shorthand.

What’s even more cool than (most) sci fi films is the preparation involved in making them. Fast Company wrote a cool piece about Elysium, Neill Blomkamp on Designing Dystopia in Elysium.

Blomkamp and his team did a great job branding the characters, creating logos, etc. As the director describes it, “Those details are the kind of thing I just go mental over.”

Love this guy.

Side note: Have you seen the newly re-designed Refinery 29? Love their new logo, but I also love their new content strategy. Not sure I remember seeing an article this cool on their site before… The Thinking Girl’s Guide to Science Fiction.

Images via Fast Company

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Read Part 1 here / Read Part 2 here

The answer to the question that we left off with in Part 2 is both simple and complex.

Pretty much everything that I have talked about in the first two parts of this blog post has nothing to do with my career or previous lack of direction in that area. I had to figure out what was holding me back this entire time before I had any chance of really moving forward and finding something I loved doing. My problem went a lot deeper than growing up sheltered and just developing insecurities in college. I had a real problem that needed to be addressed.

For most of my life I have felt like there was a huge weight on my shoulders. For some of that time, I had no idea what it was. Then, for several years I had a theory, but was too scared to address it. Now, I have not only addressed it, but feel very strongly in talking about it with the hopes that this might reach someone and they might not wait as long as I did to take care of it.

I was recently diagnosed with depression and an obsessive disorder for which I was prescribed Prozac a few months ago. Only more time will truly tell if my diagnosis is accurate and my prescription is appropriate, but I can say with certainty that I feel like a different person. Lamont has even referred to needing to get used to this new version of me. I am level-headed, happy and far less emotional than I was before.

The reason I am opening about this personal issue is this…. Around the time I was diagnosed I discovered The Pastry Box where different people share a thought for the day. It’s “sugar for the mind”. It just so happened that the day I discovered it, Cole Henley wrote about depression. It was a beautiful post where he wondered why, when 25% of people suffer from a mental health problem, is it so taboo to talk about. The reasoning he gave is because frailty is regarded as weakness. As he pointed out, this is not true and people need to know! I can attest to this. I feel stronger now than ever before. Ironically, I was weak not to address this problem sooner.

The way this relates to my career journey is that before this diagnosis, I was constantly getting in my own way. Now, I’ve stepped aside and honestly feel like the sky is the limit. It is really an amazing feeling. I can’t help but kick myself for not addressing this mental health problem sooner. However, wondering what could have been different is a waste of time and I’ve already done enough of that.

This is my third personal project on Illustrator. I’m trying very hard with all of my projects to create something personal, funny and hopefully smart. I could simply copy other designer’s work for the sake of gaining practice with the pen tool, but after everything I have learned about Graphic Design and what I love MOST about it, is that computer skills are the least important thing of all. The design, the concept and the context are by far more important. So, while I build on my computer skills, I’m trying to develop my design skills as well.

Since starting my medication, I have allowed myself to discover Graphic Design, begin creating and I have even lost 25 pounds. I’m running every morning and reading every night.

The elephant that was both in the room AND on top of my shoulders has been deflated.

UPDATE:  As of this week, I have sent off an official contract for my first illustration job. It is a small diagram for an Oxford Press publication about the history of music. That’s not all, as I was writing this post I received an email from a friend sending me a potential client for a business card design.

I can’t wait to see what happens next! (i.e. packing up a bag + a husband and spending some time gaining experience in NYC maybe……???)

**If you read one or all three parts of this post, you are awesome! If you want to talk to me further about anything please don’t hesitate to contact me at

Top image via Hunger TV