Finding Joy in Others

Jealousy. Envy. Defeat. These were the heavy burdens that once ruled my heart when I saw someone’s work that was so much better/different than my own. This happened a lot when I was first starting out in web design. But I think it’s more than just designers that suffer, it’s a human condition. We want to be better than everyone else. But when we only focus on ourselves we miss the bigger picture. There can not be community without unity. No “I” in team. That whole thing. Recently my heart’s been transformed to see and appreciate the gifts other people have. Not just appreciate, but really be happy and excited for them. It’s been a long process happening in me as I’ve become more comfortable with who I am as a person/designer. I like making things that aren’t perfect and I’m okay with that. A lot of my friends are killing the perfect pixel or doing other hand-drawn stuff and I love it.

I’m excited to be a part of the design community. I’m excited to see more people come in to their own and really shine. I’m seeing it happen more and more. I can’t tell you how good it feels to have these heavy burdens lifted and replaced with love and joy for others.

What Inspires You?

inspire Where did the greats like Michelangelo, Da Vinci and Rembrandt draw their inspiration from? It's hard for me to imagine being that we live in the age of computers, where there are no limits to what we can find. Especially inside the design community where there is a huge playing field of resources available for all our inspirational needs.

But how much is too much?

Personally, I think we've already crossed that line and are now left to wade through all the muck. All of these inspirational blogs are only hindering us from creating something truly original.

Take a look at Shephard Fairey for example. He started out making "Andre the Giant Has A Posse" flyers and stickers. From there he took the stencil art world by storm. And we all remember his Obama campaign poster that gained him national (even global) attention. But how many rip-offs have we seen of his Obama poster? I'm not saying that it is wrong to be inspired by another artist. But I am saying that we shouldn't set the bar so low as to copy someone else's work and be proud of it.

Dare To Imagine

So is it so hard to imagine that maybe the classic artists, the greats, were able to paint, design and craft magnificent pieces of artwork without having to look at hundreds of others work? Maybe there's something to be learned from a life without computers. Where people actually interacted with one another and had discussions face-to-face instead of on facebook. That's why I love meeting up for a drink with friends to talk shop or finding local meetup groups that share my interest. Or even taking my dogs to the park for that matter. Just getting outside and communicating with other people is so refreshing.

We need to be more creative in the ways we get inspired. I don't want to compare myself to others whose work is amazing and feel like giving up. I'm sure the people behind those great pieces of art/design didn't make it just to make the rest of us jealous. But instead did it from a place of passion and wanting to push the envelope. And I bet if you talked with any of those designers that inspire you they would tell you to do work that is original and that you can be proud of.

I think true inspiration is a gift that's given to us. Some have called it a Muse, others have called it drugs, but I think it's the One who created us that imparts it to us.

Originally posted on on February, 05 2009

Hire Joel Beukelman

JoelBeukelman In my attempt to continue to support the design community, I am copying this post in hopes that you will take part and pass the news. In today’s suffering economy many people and their families are paying the price caused by a decline in work or loosing their job all together. Is this fair? Of course not. Call it what it is, but I am wiling to play a part and do what I can to help a brother out.

Meet Joel Beukelman

Joel is a friend, passionate designer and a contributor to the design community. He is also looking for a new job. He’s a talented all around designer that specializes in Branding. His work speaks for itself. Oh yeah, he is also an incredible photographer as well. So if you're in need of one hit him up. Check out his portfolio, resume and design blog below:

Joel has alot to bring to the table and would be a valuable asset for any project or company. If you are in need of his skills hit him up, If not then I am asking you to pass this on and spread the word. It’s important we stick together and help each other out when needed.

Leave comments if you like, BUT PLEASE help spread the word! Hire Joel Beukelman!

Contact Joel

Email :: joel [at] whoisjoel [dot] com Skype :: joelbeukelman Facebook :: Twitter :: Flickr :: LinkedIn ::

Two For One Special

Giving Thanks

A Huge thank you to all of you for your continued support and love through twitter and the comments you have been leaving. And now that Chat Creative is underway I feel like I get an even bigger chance to give back to this great community that I love so much.

Meet Firehost

If you haven't heard of Firehost yet, just wait, they are taking the hosting world by storm right now.

A few weeks ago I was having issues with my old hosting company, which seemed to be a regular occurrence, and while venting to a friend of mine was recommended that I try out Firehost. That same night another friend on twitter messaged me about a partnership opportunity Firehost was offering. So I filled out the form and BAM! the very next day I got an email from the CEO telling me they would love to partner with me.

Needless to say the past week has been a breeze getting my site migrated over to Firehost. Their support team is friendly, courteous and very knowledgeable about what they're doing. This opposed to my previous hosting provider who I held on this pedestal as the "Best Thing Since Sliced Servers", but ended up leaving me dumb-struck as to what all the hype was about. So please, go check them out at and learn about their Advance Secure Hosting services.

Back to School

Going back to college has been a constant struggle for me over the past year. One day I will convince myself that it's a good idea and the next just blow it off and continue working.

Well this past weekend my wife and I were able to spend some quality time together and talk through some things, one of which was school. And now I feel confident in my decision to go back to college and finish my degree. The plan right now is to finish my core classes at a community college the next two semesters and then starting in the Fall 2010, transfer to the College of Visual Arts and Design at University of North Texas.

I know it won't be easy, and I'll probably feel like giving up more than once, but with a good support system (a.k.a. my wife) I know I will pull through. And in the end I can look back on what I accomplished and feel proud that I stuck it out.

Meet Josh Cagwin

I first met Josh in tinychat over a month ago, and then just a few weeks ago met him in person when I flew out to Southern California. Josh recently just launched his website/blog over at where he shares his thoughts and experiences in design. Yesterday he posted up a new article called "What Makes Us Hungry" where he poses the question about what inspires us to do what we do.

I think that we as creative people, more than any others, wrestle with feelings of inadequacy and the desire to always be better. You can read more about that here. But what I really feel inspires me the most is the chance to meet (and work with) great people and do great things. Fame is fleeting but change is permanent, meaning that I could care less about being famous and more about helping people realize their true potential.

On faith

I'm not usually one to be so open about my faith. But when I'm passionate about something I can't help but speak what's in my heart. It's been a hard lesson to learn, and I still have a long way to go, but I'm learning that I don't need to be approved by anyone to feel complete in what I'm doing. God has already approved me. But I just like to share what He has done.

Taming Your Tweets

I was reminded today of how much power our words hold. A simple personal opinion on twitter today really stirred the waters in the creative community. I think the whole thing got out of hand honestly.

Basically we need to put our pride aside and embrace the creative community as a whole. There are no "groups" or "cliques" here at Chat Creative. We are open to anyone interested in connecting with other creative people.

My stance from the beginning of Chat Creative is that this is nothing new. People have been sharing thoughts, ideas and information for hundreds of years. Only with the internet and the recent rise of social networking has our scope of who we can reach broadened. I don't mind promoting others out there with similar ideas, and I hope they would be willing to promote us as well.

So let's put ourselves aside for a second and look at the bigger picture of what we're trying to accomplish. I'm positive that when we do this we will see how we can work together, instead of against.

Seven Eight Nine

Without further ado I'm pleased to announce the first ever tinychat design panel. I've been working out the details over the last few weeks and finally got word back from everyone on the panel, so I decided now is the time to let you all know.

I'm really excited about this, as it's different from other "design chats" in that we will actually be live via tinychat and will be able to answer your questions.

However, this is the first time I've done something like this, so I'm not expecting it to go perfect. But that's what living is all about, getting our hands dirty and learning by experience. So over the next few weeks we will be working out the details and getting everything in order. As of right now I'm not sure where we will be hosting the site. My initial thought was to embed it on my site, but there's also talk about creating a new site branded just for this event. I really like the way Mashable has set up the lounge on their website.

I hope you will join us and get even more excited about it than we are. Joining myself on the panel will be:

Confirmed: Aaron Irizarry - Chad Engle - Chris Spooner - David Perel - Graham Smith -

Tentative: Adelle Charles - Liam McKay -

Please use the hashtag #TCDP when tweeting about this event.

Vlog #01

Here in my first "official" video blog I talk about the design community and give some shout outs to a few people worth mentioning. I recorded this last night in bed, armed with just a few notes on what I wanted to talk about and my sleepy dogs for comfort.

This is part of a process where I'm learning things don't have to be perfect in order to be posted. So please, I would love to hear any and all comments (so long as they're constructive) and any tips to making it better. Hopefully this will become a regular part of my blog.

Links Mentioned

Brandon Muth - on twitter @brandonmuth Matt Simo - on twitter @m_a_simo Joseph Allen Kohlhas - on twitter @joseph_allen Designer(d) Advice from Joseph Allen Kohlhas Arcade theme and free wallpapers at From-The-Couch