Minted Artists Pay It Forward

It takes a community to thrive as an independent artist.

To celebrate Minted’s extraordinary community spirit, we bring you Pay It Forward, our campaign to help Minted artists connect, collaborate, and succeed during the 2016 Holiday Stationery Design Challenge season. Because artists tell us that peer critique is one of the most valuable aspects of the Minted community, we’ve compiled these resources to help you give and receive quality feedback, stay inspired, and get the most out of the Minted challenge process. Stay tuned for updates.

Julep Features

Critiquing Advice
7 Ways to Master Art and Design Critiques (insights from Parsons School of Design faculty)
10 Tips for Critiquing Minted Art and Designs (insights from the community)

Thrive During the Holiday Challenge Season
5 Ways to Connect With the Minted Artist Community
6 Tips for Success in Minted Challenges
4 Mantras for Being Boss in Work and Life
How to Thrive During Minted’s Holiday Challenge Season

Creative Inspiration
7 Podcasts for Inspiring Your Creativity
Minted’s 20 First-Place Challenge Winners of 2015

Coming Soon
Your Guide to Asking Questions During the Feedback Period
Remember the Winners from Past Minted Holiday Challenges?


Critique Awards

Chance to win a Minted feedback session

To recognize constructive feedback, we award critiquers in every Minted Design challenge.

Give fifteen or more constructive comments in the New Year’s Challenge by the time voting opens and you’ll be automatically entered in a random drawing to win a one-on-one feedback session with a Minted merchant of your choice! Remember, this is not a numbers game — quality feedback is much more valuable than quantity of feedback. Make sure to use the “Mark as Constructive” button to reward great feedback when you see it.This will be based on the Feedback leaderboard for each challenge, and we will combine results from the foil and non-foil version of each challenge.


Community Connections

Join our Facebook group
The Minted Community Facebook Group is open to all Minted artists who have submitted to at least one design challenge. Connect, share resources, and ask questions in this active global group. Learn how to join here.

Call in, meet up, get involved
The Minted team hosts weekly office hours, quarterly calls, meetups, and other community events. View and subscribe to our events calendar here. Are you interested in hosting a Minted meetup in your area? Fill out this form.

Join the Buddy Program
The Minted Buddy Program is an opportunity for you to make a deeper connection with one to two other artists. We pair people based on personality, experience, and category (art, stationery, etc.). Learn more here.


How the Minted Artist Community
Pays It Forward

Jennifer Postorino
Eight-time Minted Critique Award winner

“Taking time to critique designers is important to me, not only for their growth, but for mine as well. It keeps my current skills in check and allows me to continue learning as a designer. I’ve learned so much from so many designers. I honestly can’t believe where I am at today. Not only do I feel like I have gained some real friendships simply by reaching out to people, but my design skills have gotten so much better.”

Christian Bennin
from in “Ever Thought About Your Creative Turnoffs?” on Julep

“I get over creative blocks faster as I get critiques from other designers, and the creative briefs for each project really help me focus my thoughts. The story of my first Minted design challenge illustrates my point perfectly. The first competition I entered was the grad challenge. I was a bit over-eager and posted a quickly created design that hadn’t been thought through very well. Once I submitted my design, I saw how the critique process worked and got really inspired by it. I decided to sit down and really do this. I sketched and designed two versions of a new design and used the community polling feature to narrow down to the option that eventually won me my first award! It was a great eye-opener to me and example of how the process can work.”

Julie Green of Up Up Creative
from “Meet a Minted Artist” on Julep

“I once left a comment on one of Jen Wick’s designs with a few minor-detail suggestions about sizing this up, rotating that, and moving it all over or something like that, and she commented back to me privately that I’d make a good art director. Ever since her comment, I think I approach my work very differently. Having a designer who I like and admire point out this strength just changed me. It has added a whole new layer to my interaction with my own work, and it has helped me better understand what I like and don’t like about stuff out in the world. I think the work I’ve produced in the time since Jen’s comment is more confident, more purposeful, more polished, and more wholly mine.”

Susan Brown

“When I was a newbie and saw Karly Depew‘s save the date design ‘Timeless’ in the Jan 2012 challenge, I went to her page and asked her advice. She sent me an email where she presented my design in three different type styles and explained the importance of typography. So special.”


Published March 24, 2016 • Want to join the Minted Artist Community? Submit to a Challenge here.

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7 Podcasts For Inspiring Your Creativity

What inspires your best creative work—audio stimulation or the sound of silence? Some artists need absolute quiet; others, not so much. Jennifer Wick, a prolific artist with 283 Minted Design Challenge wins to her name, says she is unable to work in silence, so she fills the void with good music and talks. “I remember getting my first walkman in sixth grade and raiding my older sister’s mixed tapes, finding a whole new world of music that put me in such an inspired mood,” the Pennsylvania artist says. “From then on, I’ve always worked with music or the news in the background.”

Especially during Minted’s busy holiday stationery design challenge season each spring, Jennifer’s working ritual includes several podcasts per week, in addition to Pandora, HGTV, and the Food Network. If you’re looking for recommendations for podcasts to help stimulate creativity, you’ve come to the right place. With so, so many great podcasts to choose from, we’re limiting our list to seven, but we’d love to hear your ideas—share them in Comments below.

Podcasts About Art, Design, and Creativity

The Jealous Curator: Art for Your Ear

Danielle Krysa is the blogger behind The Jealous Curator, the author of Creative Block, and the host of Art for Your Ear, the podcast featuring “inside-scoop stories from the artsiest people” she knows. Minted artist Kelly Schmidt likes Art for Your Ear for its tips and tricks about artists’ technical aspects, creative process, and materials. “Danielle talks to artists about challenges they face and how they found success,” Kelly says. “There are common themes about artists who are parents, as well as comments about insecurities as artists, which I’m guessing many of us relate to.”

Kelly suggests listening to the episode featuring fellow Minted artist Jaime Derringer (“Design Milk by Day & Sketchbooks by Night”), and to inspire holiday spirit, Kelly likes “The Best Gift Ever,” in which 12 artists talk about the best gift they’ve ever received. She also loves: Xochi Solis: “Paper Nerds Unite“; Kiana Mosley “Late One Night“; and Maryann Moodie: “Textiles Treasures, and a New Tribe.”


The work of textile artist Maryanne Moodie

Design Matters

Design Matters is the world’s first podcast about design and an inquiry into the broader world of creative culture through wide-ranging conversations with designers, artists, curators, musicians, and other leaders of contemporary thought. Host Debbie Millman has interviewed more than 250 design luminaries and cultural commentators, including Massimo Vignelli, Malcolm Gladwell, Dan Pink, Barbara Kruger, and Seth Godin.

Creative Commoners

Creative Commoners explores a particular topic about the creative process, with each host bringing their own flavor and experience to the mix, and plenty of witty and tangential banter to keep things fun. Jennifer Wick recommends “Episode 140: How the Creative Mind Works” (skip to 15:35), in which the speakers talk about their creative processes and the mind exercises they do to help get ideas flowing. “For me, I’ll do whatever it takes to put myself in the holiday mindset,” Jennifer says.

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Meet a Minted Artist: Derek Overfield

A series where we highlight a member of our Minted artist community. Featured this month: artist and designer Derek Overfield, who is currently based in Fairmont, West Virginia.

Derek Overfield studied fine arts and graphic design at Fairmont State University alongside his wife and fellow painter (and Minted artist!) Lauren Adams. Working with charcoal and pastel on paper, as well as latex and acrylic paint on canvas, his bold pieces focus on the human figure. Here, Derek discusses life as a working artist, including overcoming artist’s block and challenging himself to create at least one drawing a day.

Meet a Minted Artist: Derek Overfield

How did you end up doing what you’re doing now?
Making and studying figurative art has always been a big part of my life. As a child I studied very closely the dynamic figures of comic book art, learning what I feel is the unique and expressive language of the body. That study of the figure continued into college where I was introduced to so many amazing examples of the human form in art history. This is also when I began to work from life models and from my own image. I set a goal as a student to complete a large-scale figure drawing every day, which I have stuck to as closely as possible since. I continue to be amazed at the potential of the figure in art.

Did you study art formally in school?
Yes, I have a degree in Fine Arts and Graphic Design from Fairmont State, where I studied with acclaimed painter Lynn Boggess and met my future wife (and also a Minted artist), Lauren Adams.

Where do you currently reside?
I live in a small town in West Virginia and have always been proud to call this state my home. It has remarkable beauty and my family’s roots here go back to the 1700s.

Meet a Minted Artist: Derek Overfield

Can you share the schedule of a typical day in the life?
I work on at least one drawing a day. On top of that, I usually work on canvases or do the not-so-fun stuff of  building our stretchers, stretching and priming canvas, etc. There’s always other work like photographing pieces, answering customer’s emails, updating my website, and social media.

What are some of your own “rules” for living and working?
I feel that art should come from a place of love. It’s difficult to explain, but I feel the artist should be moved by the subject matter first, before they can ever hope to move their audience.

How would you describe your artistic style?
Expressive, simple and bold, classic and modern.

What painting techniques have you been working with lately?
My works on paper could be characterized as a sustained gestural technique. They take elements from both classical drawing and expressive work. My works on canvas have a similar approach, and I’ve developed a technique of painting that feels very much like drawing.

Meet a Minted Artist: Derek Overfield

Please tell us about your studio space.
We have converted part of our 1935 two-story house into a studio space. We’ve renovated two rooms into one studio space, large enough to accommodate both of our needs!

When did you begin painting?
I began painting in college, watercolor landscapes on location.

What medium(s) do you most enjoy working with?
On paper, charcoal and/or pastel. On canvas, latex and/or acrylic paint.

What is your creative process like?
I use my works on paper as a way of preparing for and experimenting with themes for my larger canvas works.

Meet a Minted Artist: Derek Overfield

What are your favorite subject matters?
The human figure, usually in reference to a heroic or tragic theme.

Your work primarily focuses on the human form, almost always with the male figure. How did you arrive at this?
I’ve done figurative work of both genders, but the stylistic approach I’m currently employing has a very masculine feel to it. I feel it works best with the male figure at the moment.

Is there a movement in art history that speaks to you?
That’s a great question. So many movements have embraced figurative art, so they usually always speak to me. I would say that the most essential would be the late classical period of Greece/Rome and the High Renaissance of Italy, with their humanistic focus on the figure as the epitome of artistic expression. I respond to non-figurative work as well, and really admire the work of the Abstract Expressionists. Their embrace of the artist’s personal touch and view of art-making as an event, very much influences my approach to art.

If you could sit down with any artist past or present, who would it be and where?
Couldn’t pass up the chance to witness Michelangelo at work, or anywhere, really. I don’t think I’d have the guts to speak to him though!

Click through to read more about Minted artist Derek Overfield and his work

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How to Photograph Your 2-D Art

Written by Marlo Miyashiro

You’ve spent hours, days, weeks—perhaps even months—on your latest masterpiece, and now it’s ready for its close-up. We’re here with tips to help you take high-quality photographs of your 2-D artwork in preparation for digital production. Before we begin, we want to emphasize that it’s always best and worth the expense to work with a professional photographer to capture images of your work for fine art prints and other applications. However, if hiring a pro is out of reach or you want to learn a new skill, we encourage you to give these tips a try.

Choose Your Background

The ideal background is a flat-white or neutral color wall with minimal texture. If you don’t have a naked wall, designate an area that you can clear of furniture and other items that might reflect unwanted colors into your photos.

Set Up Your Artwork

The best way to set up your artwork is to hang it on the wall at eye level or vertically on an easel. This will allow you to take accurate distance measurements from the floor to the center of your piece and match that distance to your camera lens in order to make your photo as distortion-free as possible. If you can’t hang art from a wall, you can prop your work up against the wall, taking note of the angle of the face of your piece so you can match that as well.

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Graduation Art Gifts Challenge: Special Prize Winners

Announcing the special prize winners from our Graduation Art Gift Challenge! With graduation just around the corner, we’re looking forward to celebrating the class of 2016. Graduation is a large, important event in our customers’ lives, and parents and students alike will be looking for that perfect keepsake as a graduation gift for their daughters, sons, or fellow graduates. We looked to you, our talented Minted community, to create pieces that would help customers remember one of life’s greatest milestones. A huge congrats to all the winners!


Out of the Box Award
For the most unique and creative graduation art gift
Done!“ by Alisa Hall


Collage Award
For the best photo art gift incorporating 15+ photos
The Years Flew By“ by Carrie O’Neal


Class of 2017 Award
For the best photo art gift that incorporates the student’s graduating year
Golden Date“ by Erin Deegan


Classmates Award
For the best art gift for a fellow graduate or group of friends
Senior Year Snapshots“ by Christina Novak


Words of Wisdom
For the best piece of typography for a graduate
Bright“ by Grace Kreinbrink

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4 Mantras for Being Boss in Work and Life

By Kathleen Shannon

Whether you’re a full-time creative entrepreneur paying the bills by doing what you love or hustling to build your dream job on the side, you have to get in the right mindset to really be boss in work and life. Because the truth is this: Blending work and life—doing what you love for a living—isn’t always easy. At times it can be downright scary, hard, and lonely. And getting in the right mindset can be tricky when you feel like a fraud (surely we’re not the only ones who feel like we’re faking it sometimes, right?) or close down shop and crawl under a rock. We use mantras, phrases, or affirmations we repeat to ourselves over and over again, to literally carve out neural pathways in our brains that keep us positive and productive. We’d like to share four of our favorites with you.

Don’t Quit Your Day Dream” limited edition print by Matthew Taylor Wilson

1. “I Chose This”

When we interviewed Lisa Congdon and her wife Clay Walsh on our Being Boss podcast, the full-time artist told us she gets through the roller-coaster ups and downs that come with self-employment by remembering that she chose her path. She reminds herself with every pressing deadline that she chose to live the life of an artist. It can be so easy to get wrapped up in your own daily grind that you forget you’re living the dream—and if you’re not, you get to make different choices.

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A Day in the Life of Amy Carroll

Animals are the heart and soul of many of Amy Carroll’s photographs, including “Staredown,” a portrait of a bull that is one of Minted’s most popular limited edition prints. The Michigan photographer has weaved a life centered around family, animals, and creativity. As she shows in this video and in her own words on her Minted Artist Store, you can find Amy traveling abroad or exploring her backyard. “Beauty abounds,” she says. “Take time to see it.” Here, the Minted CMYK artist (who is at the highest, “K” level for art), shares a day in her life.

Portraits of Amy Carroll by Sam Vanderlist

“Staredown” limited edition print by Amy Carroll

8 AM-ish: We start our day roughly between 7:30 or 8 am each day. We co-sleep with our two-year-old son Mayer, so when he’s ready to get up, we get up and all start our day by fixing breakfast together. Our recent favorite is banana pancakes, which Mayer loves to help me make. I’ve been trying to be more cognitive of my time with my family and instead of hopping immediately on my phone or computer, spending quality time with Jeff and Mayer and enjoying a slower and more mindful start to our day.

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15 Minted Artists to Follow on Instagram

How did we narrow this list to 15? With Minted artists around the world creating beautiful Instagrams, it wasn’t easy, but we considered three things: compelling content, a cohesive look, and posting on the regular. This is just the tip of the creative iceberg—we want to hear your recommendations for other Minted artists to follow on Instagram. Share your suggestions in comments at the end of this article.

Patricia Varga
@parimastudio
Patricia’s Minted Artist Store
The abstract acrylic and new media artist shares the brushstrokes of her process
and takes you inside her Oxnard, California, studio.

Being bold #dscolor #bright #colorful #designinspo

A photo posted by parimastudio (@parimastudio) on

 


Annie Bunker Mertlich
@WildFieldPaperCo
Annie’s Minted Artist Store
Get a look up close at the artist and calligrapher’s elegant, nature-inspired work.

Packing orders all day! Love these kind of days!

A photo posted by Annie Bunker Mertlich (@wildfieldpaperco) on

 


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Meet a Minted Artist: Sarah Brown

As an “M”-level artist in Minted’s CMYK program, Sarah Brown has 125 winning designs on minted.com, but her success didn’t happen overnight. When she entered her first challenge, the 2009 Seasonal Save the Date Challenge, she submitted what she describes “a few terrible designs” and says she was mortified by the scores. “That experience really motivated me to become a better designer and to improve my skills,” she says, in hindsight. “Continuing to enter the design challenges is also a great incentive to keep your work fresh and try new things.”

Here, the designer from St. Joseph, Michigan, shares insights about her experience as a typography-driven designer, and her a-ha! moments along the way.

You’re a self-proclaimed typography enthusiast. When and how did this happen?
I’ve never considered myself a traditional artist—my drawing skills are pretty limited, and I’m generally too impatient for painting. Because of this, I struggled for a while as a designer to find my niche—there’s only so much you can do when you don’t paint or draw. After my first Minted winning design, “A Very Merry Christmas,” in 2010, it clicked with me that beautiful typography is an art form in itself. I received such a great response from that design from the community and consumers, and I began to focus on type-driven designs. I’ve tried to learn all I can about typography from books, online resources, and lots of trial and error.

Merry First Christmas” by Sarah Brown

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Top 10 File Prep Tips for Minted Artists

By Olivia Goree

If you’ve won a Minted Challenge, congratulations! While you’re still basking in winner’s glow, you’ll receive a file request email from my team, Minted Files. We understand that there are a lot of elements to keep track of when setting up your customizable art and stationery files. In light of our file submission policy for customizable art and stationery, we’re here to help you. Here’s a list of what we consider the Top 10 File Preparation Tips to help you clean up your files and get your designs launched as quickly and seamlessly as possible.

1. Use Provided Template Layers

The layers in your provided Minted templates are not only there to help us with our production process, but also to help you organize your artwork. These layers mimic how a customer is able to customize your design on our site, so placing elements in the correct layers is very important. The foil layer, for example, is placed on top, as this is the last piece printed on top of all other digital elements.

For more information on how to utilize these layers, read the File Prep Instructions PDF included in your request email or check out our Template Tutorial Videos.

2. Tackle Tricky Text Boxes

When formatting text boxes, it’s important to put yourself in the customer’s shoes. Text in each text box should consist of the same font and character settings in order to work in our customizer. For example, in “Safari Party Animals” by Snow and Ivy, you’ll notice that each text treatment is separated out in the design file, which allows a customer to change text in each area while keeping the same styling. Important reminder: Avoid using glyphs in any editable text, if possible.

To learn more about setting up text in your files, watch our Text Best Practices video.

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