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December 2015 ArticlesDecember 2015 Articles

29 Dec

Year End Digital House Keeping

Get Your Computer Files in Order

The year end is a great time to do some digital house keeping. I’ve spent the last few days backing up and organizing my digital devices. Admittedly, I should be doing these things on a more regular basis, but work happens and some things get away from me.

At the end of every year I take a hard, honest look at my digital clutter. Here’s my year end check list to get things back in order. What is yours?

Time Machine Backup

Time Machine runs year round on my Mac Pro. Most of the time this works without me having to think about it, but occasionally the backup drive stops working for no apparent reason. So this week I reformatted the Time Machine backup hard drive, after first running a Time Machine backup to a secondary external drive.

Time Machine screen

How To Set Up a Time Machine Back Up

Permanent Offline Archives

My completed projects are burned to DVD disks and removed from my working drives. Each disk is numbered sequentially and then scanned by the app DiskCatalogMaker.

Disk Catalog Maker

The disks are stored numerically on spindles. On the rare occasion that I need to find an old file, I search DiskCatalogMaker for the project name. The database returns a list of disks containing the search criteria. Within a few seconds I can determine which numbered disk the file resides on. I’ve been using this offline archive method for nearly 10 years with 100% success rate.

Mobile Device Photo Download

iPhone photos and videos are downloaded to my computer and imported into my Lightroom catalog. I prefer this method over the iCloud Photo Library storage because eventually I would run out of free iCloud space.

If iCloud Photo Library is enabled on an iPhone or iPad use the OSX Photos App to download the images to a computer. See Copy content from My Photo Stream and iCloud Photo Sharing on your iOS device, about halfway down this page.

If iCloud is not enabled, use Image Capture to transfer images from a device to a computer. Image Capture is found in the OSX application folder. 

Once images are downloaded to my computer I delete them from my device and/or iCloud storage.

Mobile Device Backup

iPhones and iPads are backed up to my computer using iTunes. I prefer the computer backup method over the iCloud method because I don’t have to worry about running out of cloud space. The iTunes device backup does not include photos, which is why the photo download is done separately. How to back up an iPhone.

Old device backups are then deleted from my computer. 


With my digital house in order I am ready to jump into the new year with space to work and peace of mind.  


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18 Dec

2015 Christmas Card

Family Illustration

2015 Christmas Card

We thought about using last year's Christmas family portrait for this year's Christmas Card, but that just wasn't unique enough.

I know that I should draw more. It comes up during every self-reflection. For this reason I decided to illustrate our family portrait, thinking that it would be pretty simple.

family line art illustration

I started the project on my iPad with Adobe Draw, where I traced the outline of our shapes. 

color Draw

Still using Draw, I filled in some color block shapes.

rough sketch detail

I thought this part would be so easy, because after all I was just tracing a photo. After spending too many hours working on my iPad, I just wasn't happy. Mr. Jackson thought he looked like a fat Mr. Miyagi. Family can be tough customers.

I decided to jump over to my desktop applications where I am much more comfortable working. The Adobe Creative Cloud makes this part so easy. WIth a simple tap on the screen, like magic my Illustration opened in Adobe Illustrator on my desktop.

Background Line Art

I drew some background doodle graphics with Illustrator's blob brush.

Lights Line Art

Holly line art

I drew some lights and holly to put on top of our portrait. I only drew three different leaves, which I duplicated and skewed for variety. I'm not sure I have the patience any more to draw each shape individually.

Finish Detail

Each of the individual illustrations were then brought into Photoshop where I applied the color using all my favorite Photoshop techniques, including color fills, glow effects, drop shadows, and custom brush textures.





I cleaned up the line illustration for each of us, and created a much more detailed painting in Photoshop, including freckles. I just couldn't help myself. I think it's both a lack of skill and a personality trait that makes me fuss over the details. 

It's time to embrace who I am and just let it be.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.



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