Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Down the Foxhole - ActiveDen

Down the Foxhole - ActiveDen

Link to Envato Notes

Author Interview: Chrisatlemon

Posted: 26 Dec 2011 10:00 PM PST

Living in the south of Spain, loving retro video games, being committed to lifelong learning, and sitting at his desk at least sixteen hours a day. This week we meet Chris Herrmann (chrisatlemon) from GraphicRiver.

Tell us a bit about yourself. Where are you from, what do you do for a living?

I am a German national but I live in the south of Spain, in Sevilla. Long story … :) Working in the Internet/design business allows me to pretty much work from where ever I want to as long as I have an Internet connection. And Sevilla offers great quality of life and … lots of sun! :)

I am the director of web/design at energylinx.co.uk. I’ve been with the company from the start and it’s a very exciting work environment with constant changes and challenges. I feel very fortunate to have such a satisfying ongoing project to work with.

Privately I run a little design partnership which is “Lemon: Digital Design”. (www.lemon-digital.com) I do this for several reasons:

  1. I love designing websites/web graphics so whatever little spare time my day (and night) job leaves me I spend designing things for fun.
  2. I need to and want to keep up with the latest trends and developments. I want to learn more, I want to see more and I want to get better at what I do constantly. For that I need to be involved in the design/web world outside of what I do to pay the mortgage. Call it “lifelong learning” – always strive to improve.

In summary: I’m a (web) design nut ;)

Which marketplaces do you belong to? What types of files do you sell?

I belong to the GraphicRiver marketplace. My portfolio is still small, I only started a few weeks ago and, as I stated above, I do this in my spare time. The files I sell are web graphics. Banners, useful elements you can place on your website or for print flyers, posters etc.

I do intend to expand and also offer logos, print graphics, illustrations and once I have a solid GraphicRiver portfolio I will look at useful files I can create for CodeCanyon.

How did you get started? Have you had any formal training?

I’m completely self-taught. I do have a university career, but it has nothing to do with either web or design. What got me started is my love for ancient (retro) video games. I’m one of the founders of “MAMEWorld.net“, one of the largest retro gaming websites on the net. (Now here’s a site that needs a redesign! :) )

Building that site and community has taken me from a pure Internet user to learning everything about web design.

The love for the old games has taken me from being simply a gamer, to starting to create my own graphics.

From there it all spiralled out of control and I knew what I wanted to do was to design for the web and then later on a more broad level.

Describe your home workspace.

I sit between four screens which are split up over my main workspace with a dual monitor setup, and two laptops. And I usually try to hide any redundant joysticks or steering wheels lying around to make it look more professional. :)

Next to me are my guitars which I like to use whenever I get stuck on a blank screen without ideas, to celebrate a great idea that actually worked out. It’s really important for me to let off steam every once in awhile, especially since sit at my desk at least 16 hours a day.

Describe your creative process. What steps do you normally follow to create your files?

I’m definitely not a blank white paper guy. I always need some sort of inspiration. I continuously browse the web, I take photos whenever I see something I like, I always accept all flyers/posters/cards, what ever is handed to me and always take note of things I like. And when something really clicks with me I usually start off by thinking: “Wow this is cool, let’s start here.”

I may get inspired by a pink circle and end up with the green square. So the issue is not that I I try to create something similar to what I saw. The issue is that usually something I see inspires me to do anything at all. Once I have the first few lines on paper things just start to flow and from there it really depends on what I’m doing:

  1. Do I do work for a customer or a particular project and need to confine myself to its requirements? Then I have to respect certain limits and styles.
  2. Is it way past midnight and I’m just working on something for myself, for fun, for GraphicRiver? Then I can just let it flow anywhere…

What is your advice to other authors regarding how to create a successful portfolio?

Quality, quality, quality. I think that applies to everything in life. If there’s one thing I dislike then it’s mediocrity, simply because there’s no need for it.

Always try to create something outstanding and always push yourself to make it better. Always sleep over it and leave the file open for the next day, and I can guarantee you that you will make small tweaks and amends when you look at it again. And it’s those details which will make your file stand out from the rest.

What do you do to market your files?

Very little at the moment. I’m still in a phase where do this for personal satisfaction, for personal improvement and simply to get something out there which earns the approval of other designers I admire. But of course it would be nice if there are some sales to underline that. And in the long-term I do want this to also be a success financially.

I am definitely very active on the forums. I always promise myself to really get my blog going. I’m trying to be interviewed. :)

What are your three favorite files, and why do you like them?

4 Web Buttons by Blendshape.

To take something as simple as a button and take it to a whole new level, set the standard, is simply astounding. I had seen these buttons before on the web and they had called my attention. When I first saw them on GraphicRiver it was like an eye opener: “wow, that’s where they come from!”

Essential Web Marketing Set by designfire

So simple yet so perfect. You see it and you think: wow that’s so easy. Until you realise that you’re looking at perfection :) It’s not the Mona Lisa, but it’s just so right for what it’s supposed to do.

Elegant Glass Text Effects & Styles by Webtreats

Simply because it is so representative of what is GraphicRiver: items that are of such quality not seen on other marketplaces or resource sites. Try and find a glass button/glass text photo shop tutorial on the web which will deliver results of such quality. Try any other vector/stock/elements marketplace on the web and find items of such quality. I haven’t!

This is what lured me to Envato: I download these files not because I need them, but just because I want to see how it was done! :)

Apart from yourself, who is your favorite marketplace author, and why do you like them?

Blendshape. For what I said about his item above.

What do you do in your spare time?

Most of the items I post/will post here. Play the guitar. Try to keep fit (swimming, jogging, rollerblading). Spend time with the kids.

… Not necessarily in that order :)

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