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April 2016

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Top 5 Design Tools I Use Every Day

top5_designtools_pinterest

As a designer and blogger, I’m always on the hunt for new and better tools to keep my game fresh. The day I found Creative Market was one of those “clouds clearing, sun shining through, angels singing” moments. The kind they make soda commercials about, or the feeling of the first day of summer.

To borrow a phrase from Cher in Clueless: “I know what you’re thinking. Is this, like, a Noxzema commercial or what?”

In all seriousness, here are five of my favorite purchases from Creative Market. Top 5 Design Tools out of … a lot. I have a serious design tool problem!

1. Kyle’s Dry Media Brushes

Not only is Kyle a talented illustrator, he makes The. Best. Brushes. Hands down. They are super realistic, and they have names like “Deliciously Dry Brush.” Guys? It’s true. It’s deliciously dry. Cannot recommend enough. I use these brushes all the time, especially when making handwritten printables like the 2016 calendar.

Top 5 Design Tools • Little Gold Pixel • Kyle's Dry Media Brushes

2. Crystal Sky Font

Of all the things I’ve purchased on Creative Market, fonts are probably the most plentiful. I love me some fonts, friends. The Crystal Sky font is my most recent purchase, and I’m already really digging the sharp peaks and valleys.

Top 5 Design Tools • Little Gold Pixel • Crystal Sky Font

3. Oleander blog theme

If the Oleander website theme looks familiar, it’s because this is the one I use on littlegoldpixel.com. If you’ve ever had a blog/site of your own, you will hear me when I say it’s so hard to find a theme/template you’re happy with. Well, friends, I am smitten with Solo Pine’s designs. The support team is really eager to help and figure out any issues.

Top 5 Design Tools • Little Gold Pixel • Oleander Theme

4. Gold Rush

The Gold Rush brush package was one of my first-ever purchases from Creative Market, and boy oh boy does it give a lot of bang for the buck. First of all, you’ve noticed that the name of this site is Little GOLD Pixel, so it should come as no surprise that I love gold stuff. Secondly, the quality of each brush is super high, and I’ve found the brushes to be amazingly versatile for myriad projects.

Top 5 Design Tools • Little Gold Pixel • Gold Rush Brush Kit

5. Styled Stock White Frame Mockup

In the great big world of stock imagery, there are some greats and some duds. Creative Market has a lot of greats.  This is one of them. I find myself picking it up often to showcase my printables. It’s light, airy and nondistracting. Basically everything I’d like my photos to be if I took them in a place with tons of windows and natural light instead of the north-facing dungeon I live in now.

Top 5 Design Tools • Little Gold Pixel • Style Stock White Frame Mockup


P.S. See all my design resources here.

Note: This post may contain affiliate links. What this means: You get cool stuff while also helping support Little Gold Pixel. Rest assured, I only recommend things I know, love and use on the daily.

Prince Quote Art Printables / Freebie Fridays

YES! Thank goodness it’s Freebie Friday! Today I’m sharing some Prince quote art printables.

Freebie Fridays • Little Gold Pixel

This is such a bad year for our music legends. First David Bowie, now Prince. These dudes were supposed to be immortal! Long live rock ‘n’ roll and all that! Whimper, whimper, tears.

As I was sitting in a cloud of sadness yesterday, I saw lots of really good Prince quotes floating around the Internet. The one that stuck out at me was “a strong spirit transcends rules.”

Being contrary is difficult. Pushing boundaries is difficult. Sometimes it’s easier to go with the flow or tame your spirit to avoid stress or a hassle. But the Purple One is right. We can only change things or rewrite the rules when we stay strong and true to ourselves. I need this reminder, as I’m sure most of us do from time to time.

Also, because this song is my jam, I made a “Let’s Go Crazy” printable. It was between that and “Act your age/Not your shoe size.” I think I’ll make the latter later, but I want to have more time to work on it. 😉

Both printables are in purple, obviously. My goal was to go for that “Purple Rain” ’80s typography vibe.

Files are 8″x10″ PDFs. For personal use only. Do not sell or claim as your own. Give credit where it’s due. In other words, play nice.

Note: More color variations will be available for purchase soon. Stay tuned for details.

Prince Quote Art Printables: A Strong Spirit Transcends Rules

Prince Quote Art Printables / Freebie Fridays • Little Gold Pixel

Note: This printable is meant to be vertical, with the type on its side. Breaking the rules and all that business. But it could also work horizontally, too. Do your thang!

Download

Prince Quote Art Printables: Let’s Go Crazy

Prince Quote Art Printables / Freebie Fridays • Little Gold Pixel

Download


P.S. Past Freebie Fridays here.

Prince Quote Art Printables / Freebie Fridays • Little Gold Pixel

P.P.S. A few of my favorite Prince-related things: Vivian sings “Kiss” in “Pretty Woman”, Batdance, Little Red Corvette, NSFW: Gett Off from the 1991 VMAs

You Are So Loved Art Printable / Freebie Fridays

Freebie Fridays • Little Gold Pixel

YES! Thank goodness it’s Freebie Friday!

Scroll down to download my new freebie. Here’s what I’m sharing today:

You Are So Loved Art Printable / Freebie Fridays • Little Gold Pixel

You guys, this is way out of my comfort zone. The last time I got this frilly I was being art directed by a 4-year-old.

But I can’t give the kid credit for this one. It’s all me, doodling around and making curly flowers. This is the kind of thing I normally doodle during work meetings, rarely to see the pulsating glow of the Internet.

I don’t know. I’m not sure how I ended up here this evening, when I set out to make a freebie for you. Maybe it all starts with this question:

Have you ever left your purse/wallet in a Target shopping cart?

You haaaave? What a coincidence!

I assume that you also drove very fast back to the scene of the mishap, hoping the purse/wallet was somehow still in the cart. When you arrived and found that your discarded cart was no long in the stable, your heart sank. But still, you ran inside the store in one last-ditch effort to recover the purse/wallet. And miracle of miracles it was actually THERE, waiting for you at customer service desk.

There is love out there, all around us. Good people, doing the right thing.

I feel incredibly lucky to be surrounded by my fellow Los Angelenos, who have shown me nothing but kindness since I first started losing things here 10 years ago. Cellphones, wallets, driver’s licenses. I apparently need to surgically attach these items to my person to avoid future brain lapses.

You Are So Loved Art Printable

Files are 8.5″x11″ PDF in horizontal. For personal use only. Do not sell or claim as your own. Give credit where it’s due. In other words, play nice.

Note: More color variations will be available for purchase soon. Stay tuned for details.

You Are So Loved Art Printable / Freebie Fridays • Little Gold Pixel

Download


P.S. Past Freebie Fridays here.

You Are So Loved Art Printable / Freebie Fridays • Little Gold Pixel

40 Free Botanical Printables Perfect for Spring

40 Free Botanical Printables • Little Gold Pixel

Every year around this time I have an urge to make over my entire home. Or, even more extreme, move. (We’ve lived in our current home for four years, and I’m getting the itch to get out!)

Usually I resort to rearranging my furniture to get that Spring Clean vibe. But, as I mentioned before, we’ve lived here for four years, and there are only so many configurations that even work in our living room. Hello, giant couch that’s here to stay even though it renders me unconscious within 0.5 seconds of sitting down.

If you are in a similar rut, I have good news for you. You CAN spring-ify your home easily, by switching out some of your wall art.

In fact, on eBay I shared five spring wall art ideas. The good news is that even doing one thing on the list would make a big impact.

One of the easiest options is this: kitschy botanical art.

It’s easy because there are so many good, free, vintage illustrations out there, just waiting to be your friend. Of course, I’m always a sucker for a good vintage floral paint-by-numbers, which might be easier to come by on eBay or in the thrift store (if you’re patient).

But how can you tell the difference between vintage old/bland and vintage kitschy? At the risk of sounding vague by saying, “You’ll know it when you see it” — it’s true. You’ll know it when you see it.

Illustration styles, colors, patterns are all subjective, of course, but you’ll get a feeling when something is just meh. Read: Aunt Sylvia’s generic living room roses. Or when something is yesss. Read: 1880 rendering of a rare flower on black background.

Here are some I gravitated toward right away.

40 Free Botanical Printables

40 Free Botanical Printables • Little Gold Pixel

40 Free Botanical Printables • Little Gold Pixel

40 Free Botanical Printables • Little Gold Pixel

40 Free Botanical Printables • Little Gold Pixel

But wait, there’s more

A few more options I found after compiling this list! Other good resources for botanical illustrations/art:

And don’t forget to head over to my eBay post to find out four more ways to spring-ify your home!

Frame Game: Stark B&W Gallery Wall for Science-Minded Couple

Frame Game: Stark B&W Gallery Wall for Science-Minded Couple • Frame Game is an occasional series in which I take readers' gallery wall requests and find art that fits their personalities • Little Gold Pixel

Frame Game is an occasional series in which I take readers’ gallery wall requests and find art that fits their personalities. Click here to see past Frame Games.

Today’s wall was inspired by Keli, who is looking for ideas for her living room.

She recently moved into a three-bedroom home with her fiance, and finally has the room to put together a gallery wall.

“I’m a psychology major (somehow that transfers into me liking fun skull prints).”

In her own words:

“As far as movies go we are total nerds who love superhero movies (Batman for specifics). I actually collect antique cameras and I’m a psychology major (somehow that transfers into me liking fun skull prints), and my fiance is a technician so cars are his thing.”

Frame Game: Stark B&W Gallery Wall for Science-Minded Couple

This was an interesting one, for sure.

The longer I hunted for art for Keli and her fiance, the more I noticed a pattern: Everything I was finding was black and white, and all in a highly scientific engineer print style or, in the case of the skulls, medical illustration.

I decided not to fight the flow. This might be my first all B&W gallery wall, and honestly, I really dig it.

This also might be the first time I’ve split a couple’s gallery wall into an even amount of his/hers prints.

For him: a series of three automobile patent designs (including the body and engine of the Ford Model T, going all the way back to the beginning.

For her: two very cool craniums to appease the psychology major, plus a camera patent design

For them: A poster of the history of Batman logos, a fun brush pattern to pad the bottom out, and the centerpiece quote by Edison. Could this get more scientific?

To download these printables, click on the links below the roundup to go to the original download pages.

Option No. 1

Frame Game: Stark B&W Gallery Wall for Science-Minded Couple • Frame Game is an occasional series in which I take readers' gallery wall requests and find art that fits their personalities • Little Gold Pixel

Option No. 2

If the first options wasn’t enough, I have a bonus for Keli: a diptych of vintage camera posters. Love these.

Frame Game: Stark B&W Gallery Wall for Science-Minded Couple • Frame Game is an occasional series in which I take readers' gallery wall requests and find art that fits their personalities • Little Gold Pixel

If You Wanna Splurge

Sometimes, no matter how long you search for the perfect free printable (hey, it might still be out there!), there comes a time in every curator’s life when you simply must pay for good, quality art. Please do. I believe in supporting artists!

This is what I’d buy for Keli. A fun Batman poster from Lullabuy. Hilariously enough, yes, it’s ALSO grayscale.

http://www.notonthehighstreet.com/lullabuy/product/batman-poster

Interested in being featured on the Frame Game?

Since I’ve started rounding up free printables, I’ve received a lot of emails seeking help with various scenarios you have in your homes. The Frame Game queue is quite long right now, and wait times could be a year or longer.

If you have a pressing decor dilemma you’d like me to solve in the meantime, I do offer gallery wall consultations with a guaranteed delivery date of a week or less.

Check out my packages:

Feel free to contact me for any custom needs or to be added to the looooooong Frame Game queue.


P.S. The frames featured in this post are mockups. Check the individual download pages for details on ideal image size. Want to print something huge but it's sized at 8x10? Consider a larger frame with a mat. (Example here.)

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1980s Doodle Pattern Art Printables / Freebie Fridays

Freebie Fridays • Little Gold Pixel

YES! Thank goodness it’s Freebie Friday!

Scroll down to download my new freebie. Here’s what I’m sharing today:

1980s Doodle Pattern Art Printables / Freebie Fridays • Little Gold Pixel

I’ve been doing a lot of pattern play lately so I thought I’d share one of my screwball patterns with you.

Circles, triangles, swirlies, corkscrews, stars. Essentially, these are the things I doodle when I’m in meetings, only this turned out a million times cooler than anything I ever put on a notepad.

When I was adding color to my pattern, it dawned on me that I have a real tendency to revert to Lisa Frank/Saved By the Bell design. It’s like my sixth grade Trapper Keeper pattern is permanently imprinted on my brain. And I’m not going to admit that I know all the words to the Saved By the Bell theme song … oh wait.

Remember when I made this Heck Yeah printable? Well, get ready to add two more and make it a triptych.

1980s Doodle Pattern Art Printables

Files are 8.5″x11″ PDF in horizontal. For personal use only. Do not sell or claim as your own. Give credit where it’s due. In other words, play nice.

Note: More color variations will be available for purchase soon. Stay tuned for details.

1980s Doodle Pattern Art Printables / Freebie Fridays • Little Gold Pixel

Download

1980s Doodle Pattern Art Printables / Freebie Fridays • Little Gold Pixel

Download


P.S. Past Freebie Fridays here.

P.P.S. What have you been making this week? Share links in the comments below! I’d love to look at some fun designs/crafts.

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