Behind the Project: Dreamy Swim-scapes in time for Summer

In this series, we’ll look deeper into some of the projects on Behance.net that were especially admired in our community. Yuku Shimizu is a New York based illustrator. She has won numerous awards for her work (and was named one of Newsweek Japan’s 100 Japanese People the World Respects). Her other projects include illustrations for the New York Times Book Review as well as a collection of commissioned illustrations repurposed to create “slightly demented children’s stories.” We spoke with her about her recent project, Into the Water, a collection of images focusing on swimming and the water.

What was your inspiration for this project?
This is actually a collection of illustrations I have made over the years for various clients.  Since I got an account on Behance, I’ve been thinking about how to present my work in a different context than on a personal website. What I have started doing lately is to put together different projects under a theme. The weather had gotten warmer in New York, and summer was about to start, so I decided to put together a theme of swimming and underwater.
I make a lot of images that fit this theme; I think it’s because I have severe hydrophobia. I never learned how to swim properly, and going into water deeper than my chest scares the hell out of me. But in my drawings, I can go anywhere. These are sort of my fantasy illustrations. Whenever I can use a water theme, I sneak it in!


 

I never learned how to swim properly, and going into water deeper than my chest scares the hell out of me. But in my drawings, I can go anywhere. These are sort of my fantasy illustrations.

 

 


Can you describe your process in creating this project?
Each project is completely different. They are all published work, so some of the themes were very open ended and let me do whatever I wanted, while others were more art directed. Usually the process of illustrating begins with receiving the story to illustrate. Then, I come up with some concepts and create an ink drawing based on an approved idea, and I finally finish the image with coloring on Photoshop.



Some images and projects do come easier than others, but some come harder than they should be, which can be a struggle. Easy or hard, finishing an image or a project gives me a sense of accomplishment like no other. I guess that’s why we’re artists!


Did you expect it to be as popular as it’s been on The Behance Network?
I am always very excited when a project I’ve posted gets featured; I’ve also received so many encouraging comments to continue producing work. This is a very supportive community, and I really appreciate that.

Did you go through many versions and iterations before coming up with these final pieces?
I do a neurotic number of thumbnails. For me, composition is just as important as the images or the concepts themselves. So, I do plan every little bubble in the picture. Sometimes move them around in the coloring stage till it feels right. Some images and projects do come easier than others, but some come harder than they should be, which can be a struggle. Easy or hard, finishing an image or a project gives me a sense of accomplishment like no other. I guess that’s why we’re artists!

Did anything interesting happen as a result of the success of this project?  (fans contacting you, job opportunities, blogs picking it up, etc).
This got picked up by multiple blogs and sharing sites within a day or two of being posted. I did get more phone calls for jobs since I posted, and some are new clients, but I didn’t ask them where they found me.  I am thankful for that there is an audience for my phobia turned into images. It is very humbling. Thank you.

Portfolio Review Week #4 is coming….sneak peek!

If you’ve been a Portfolio Review Week host before, you know that one of the best moments is receiving your package of swag, filled with custom branded materials like posters, handbook, nametags, stickers, and the coveted “Appreciation Coin,” all sent to help you host a great event.

Portfolio Review Week #4 is upcoming this November (dates coming soon), and our design team is in the midst of updating all the materials that will be sent out in packages this fall.

Here’s a sneak peek into our prep for PRW #4 and what some of the materials will look like!

Get up to speed on Behance Portfolio Reviews before this next one here: Behance Portfolio Review Week.


A look at the next version of the “Appreciation Coin”…only on paper for now!


Raewyn, Behance’s Communication Designer, hard at work on the new materials

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Behance Testimonials- Stephanie Bullock & Trina D. Lambert

Stephanie Bullock (Behance.net/stephanienicoleb)

“Netflix contacted me about a design position in California.  At first, I thought the message was spam, but curiosity got the best of me and I received a message back within hours!  Behance has the power to elevate you to a level you didn’t even think you were ready to play on.  Thank you, Behance Crew!”

Most Appreciated Projects: Monthly Roundup

Appreciations are a way to send genuine kudos to another creative professional on Behance. This is our community’s way of curating the network, so that the best projects gain the most exposure. Here’s a look at two of the most appreciated projects on Behance this month:


Artful package designs for Chinese tea, mooncake and gifts by Print Designer Ken Lo. Check out the full project and more of his packaging explorations here.


Illustrations and an infograph by  Romualdo Faura for The Outpost’s 2nd issue. See the full project here.

App Update: Creative Portfolio App now in 9 additional Languages!

The Creative Portfolio App is now fully integrated and functional in 9 additional languages: Spanish, French, Russian, German, Polish, Simplified Chinese, Italian, Portugueses, and Japanese.

We’re very excited to finally be able to recognize the global nature of our community with this update. Even more good news: the app automatically detects the language preferences of your iOS, making it even easier to sync your portfolio, access it offline, as well as customize your portfolio’s display.

Behind the Project: A More Playful Packaging

In this series, we’ll look deeper into some of the projects on Behance.net that were especially admired in our community. Steve Simpson is a Dublin, Ireland based illustrator. His projects have ranged from an award –winning projects based on sign language to a children’s book. We spoke with him about his recent project, Illustrated Barcodes, a playful take on a portion of product design most take for granted. 

What was your inspiration for this project?
A few years ago, I was given the chance to design and illustrate a packaging project for an Irish hot sauce company, Mic’s Chilli. I’ve done some graphic design, but I’d primarily been working as an illustrator; to me the 2 disciplines were quite different. So, I decided to treat the design as one big illustration.
By looking at the project from a slightly different angle, I was able to question things I’d previously taken for granted—namely the humble bar code. Did it need to be so ugly? What could I do to make it blend more with the rest of the packaging? I searched the web for answers and rules and was surprised to find very little information on what you could do and what you couldn’t. For the most part it’s been about experimenting and it’s surprising just how far away from the white box, black sticks and digital type face I’ve come.


 

By looking at the project from a slightly different angle, I was able to question things I’d previously taken for granted—namely the humble bar code. Did it need to be so ugly?

 


Can you describe your process in creating this project?
I had collated all the illustrated barcodes from a variety of projects to show as examples to a new client. I hadn’t initially planned on putting them up on Behance but the thought occurred to me that it would be handy to have them all in one place.

Did you expect it to be as popular as it’s been on The Behance Network?
No, not at all. I was quite shocked to see how quickly the appreciations racked up. Shocked, but delighted.

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Meet the Team: Raewyn

Who are you and what do you do at Behance?
Raewyn Brandon, Rae Rae for my friends. Patterns, music, antiques, wood, flowers, jewelry, color in summer, dark in winter, vintage & eclectic at home, simplicity in my design.

I am the Brand & Communications Designer here at Behance. I spend most of my time designing all of our printed materials. I make sure anything printed that leaves Behance not only communicates a cohesive message, but also looks beautiful and in brand. Some of the work I’ve done lately includes the 99U Conference collateralthe 99U Books, Portfolio Reviews collateral & our Manifesto Letterpress poster.

What are three desktop tools you can’t live without?
1. Illustrator – Lets me create beautiful designs
2. Spotify – Music is my best friend.
3. Creative Cloud – Love seeing notifications as people comment, appreciate & follow my work.

What have you worked on recently that you’re extra proud of?
The design for this years 99U Conference. It was an awesome feeling seeing all the materials come together, and having twice as many people as last year looking at all the designs was extremely rewarding! Oh, and I absolutely loved the fluorescent color we used!

What do you listen to while working?
It depends what I’m working on. Generally I listen to fun upbeat music like Pheonix, Darwin Deez, Postal Service or the Black Keys. When I need to focus, I listen to chilled out stuff like Bon Iver, Kings of Convenience, The National or Radiohead.

Where did you grow up?
Most people know my country as ‘The Shire’. Yup, I’m a proud kiwi! Born and raised in a small town – population 5000 – called Te Kuiti, also known for the mass amount of sheep. Yeah, we have a “running of the sheep” down our main street once a year haha!

See more of Raewyn’s work and keep up with her latest projects on Behance

New Feature: Responsive Projects

Behance projects just became responsive!

We’re so excited about the newly responsive project displays for a few different reasons, but most of all because it means viewing Behance projects will be easy, intuitive, and look great on a wide variety of devices—tablets, smartphones, and desktops alike.

That’s because a responsive site molds to fit to the context within which it’s being viewed—scaling itself to adapt to each display. In other words, viewing the responsive Behance home page on an iPhone screen does not require resizing, zooming out, or scrolling in order to have an experience that rivals viewing the site on a desktop computer. The page molds itself to fit onto a smaller screen proportionally by registering information from the site.

The move towards responsive design has also been a big learning experience for the Behance team—our very own Jackie Balzer recently wrote a piece for Net Magazine about the nitty gritty behind the dev and design decisions while making the search and discovery tools on the homepage responsive.



In other words, viewing the responsive Behance home page on an iPhone screen does not require resizing, zooming out, or scrolling in order to have an experience that rivals viewing the site on a desktop computer.
 


As she explains, transitioning to a responsive design required the Dev and Design teams to reconsider everything from the organization of their code, to the way basic navigation tools would be displayed. The big changes included hiding the navigation toolbar (in a “basement”—accessibly only when pulled up) and removing the ability for users to zoom in (hopefully, there’s no need to), but the project also required countless smaller detail tweaks. The next step after the code and design building blocks were in place? Testing, testing, and more testing… on a variety of different (real!) devices and operating systems.

Jackie’s article has lots more information about just how much we were able to learn during this process. If you’re curious about coding specifics or the other design decisions, you can find it here.

 

Pioneers of Now: A Talent Audition by Wacom Europe

Are you a creative pioneer with unique style and vision?

Wacom Europe is looking for its next “Pioneers of Now,” an evangelist program designed to support a group of the most visionary, daring, innovative creatives. To participate submit a self-portrait in any medium, that represents your “Pioneers of Now” spirit (artwork from any creative field that is exciting, original and dynamic, and bonus points if it was created using Wacom tools).

Participants can upload new work or select any past project from their Behance portfolio to enter. Click here for the full rules, more info and how to submit.

→ Find out more about Wacom’s “Pioneers of Now”