More Joy & Color

{screenshot of Ingrid Fetell Lee’s TED Talk}

A sweet friend of mine posted a clip of this Ingrid Fetell Lee’s Joy TED Talk on my FB page and I just had to share it. I mean, a talk on joy and color, what could be better?!

Ingrid is a designer, writer, and the founder of The Aesthetics of Joy website and community. As an expert in design and joy she took the stage to talk about our fundamental need and desire for, you guessed it, joy.

“On the most basic level the drive toward joy is the drive toward life.” 

In her research on joy she found that even though “the feeling of joy is mysterious and elusive, we can access it through tangible physical attributes, or what designers call aesthetics.” She began referring to these moments of joy in the world as the “aesthetics of joy.” Boy does that speak to my creative heart!

The aesthetics of color, patterns, multiplicity, and the shapes of objects in our world are definitely a few things that get me excited, I may even jump up and down. It’s true joy is mysterious, but wherever we find it we need to surround ourselves with it. As Ingrid notes, “each moment of joy is small, but over time they add up to more than the sum of their parts.”

I believe she is right, to live a joy-filled life we need focus our hearts and minds on the things that bring us that jump-up-and-down feeling. To pursue joy rather than happiness helps us find the richness and abundance in life we inherently crave.

Hopefully this talk and her website can inspire and encourage you to take the time to notice the aesthetics of joy around you and focus the things and moments in your life that lift you up. Maybe your joy will be contagious and inspire others to pursue more joy. You may even find a way to infuse joy into your sphere of influence through your skills, talents, and giftings. I’m excited just thinking about it!

Here’s to a joy-filled day!

kdg

Follow The Aesthetics of Joy on Instagram and Facebook

Inspiring Creative: Marissa Moss

IACW_2955.jpg

Nurturing creativity in our children is one of the most important things we can do for them. Last week, Lindy-Ann shared an inspiring TED Talk by Sir Ken Robinson. He eloquently and wittily shared that our public education system, around the world, is broken when it comes to this crucial skill set. For this reason, I am so overwhelmingly thankful that we are able to send our son to the American International School here in Israel, where he is given opportunities to flourish creatively and encouraged to embrace how his brain thinks. The most recent celebration of creativity was a week of workshops hosted by children’s author and illustrator Marissa Moss.

IACW_8966

Marissa spent the week holding writing and illustration workshops for each grade. Through her stories and her own personal experiences she encouraged each child to embrace their unique story because, as she puts it, “everyone’s life is interesting.” Marissa also taught them the importance of making mistakes.

On Friday, at our monthly Parent Teacher Association (PTA) meeting, she spoke with us parents about some of the activities they did and how important it is to help our kids hone their visual storytelling skills. She even answered questions on how to encourage our budding creatives in ways that would challenge them lovingly and encourage with sincerity, not false praise. She also encouraged us, as parents and teachers, to help the children harness their innate critical reading and thinking skills, because “kids won’t read bad books; if it’s not good, they’ll tell you.” This critical reading by her own sons is how Marissa knew that children would enjoy her books. She even told us that her sons are her best and most brutal editors.

IACW_2947.jpg

There are two truths that Marissa hoped to leave with our kids that I think hold true for everyone, no matter what age you are.

Truth #1 Revision is your friend

In working with the second grade classes, Marissa had them work on crafting and revising a great opening sentence. As you can imagine most kids struggled with the fact that their sentence was not perfect the first time and did not want to revise it. In order to help them understand that revision is a good thing she showed them one of her sketches of a first draft – all lines and scribbles, and then the final published revision. Reworking and revising can actually be fun and exciting as you get closer and closer to that “A-Ha!” moment and the children were able to learn and experience that.

I asked my second grader about his sentence, and he exasperatedly told me he had to do it twice, but in the end it was a great hook: Peter has a big secret.  Did I mention Peter is a piece of toast. I’m intrigued, aren’t you?

IACW_2942.jpg

Truth #2 Mistakes are opportunities

I first heard this exact truth from my incredibly talented artist friend Joy, as I struggled to perfect a craft we were doing for fun at a girls’ night. Silly Katie.

Back when Marissa was an art teacher she saw this struggle in her own students and she was inspired to use one of their true stories to help other children see the beauty of making mistakes. She wrote and illustrated Regina’s Big Mistake and has helped other children be bold and just get something down on paper. It is the ideal book for the little perfectionist in your life.

Funnily enough, even when signing the books I purchased, she misspelled my son’s name and beside it she wrote “sorry, I make mistakes all the time.” It’s truly a great life lesson for everyone, not just creatives.

“Let yourself explore, take risks, and make mistakes. You never know where a mistake will lead you.” -Marissa Moss

IACW_2944.jpg

After hearing Marissa Moss and Sir Ken Robinson words I’m impassioned to encourage my boys and the other children in my sphere of influence to take those risks and be creative. I want them to be a part of this creative revolution we are experiencing and help shift the tide.

Learn more about Marissa and her books here. I also recommend the After School Monster, which I bought for my 4 year old. It’s a great story of being brave and conquering your own monsters.

IACW_2951.jpg

A NOTE OF THANKS

Marissa, thank you for your time and your heart for our children. I know all you taught them will impact how they see their {art}work going forward. Hoping the all best for you and your new authors!

Cheers,

kdg

Manifesto 13

1DSC_9534

Having an art brain child, I always wondered how best to nurture her interest and whether I was enough to guide her and help her grow in this field. I was so happy and relieved when I came across Manifesto 13. This is a beautiful art studio, here in Kuwait, that offers long term courses with in depth hands on tutoring of styles and subjects through fine art. It’s more than just an environment where someone gets to practise their hobby. It’s truly an art education for kids (and adults), a safe place where a self expression and critical thinking coming together.

To hear my 7yr old come home and talk about Piet Modrian with the same level of interest that I had when I was 17, is so exciting. I feel so thankful that I found this school for her.  Each course runs over a few weeks, usually similar in length to a school term, and at the end, we as parents get invited to an art exhibition where we get to ‘oooooo’ and ‘aaaahhh’ over art created by our precious little pumpkins.  And I love it.

1DSC_9574

If you too have an art brain child and are within the desert walls of Kuwait, then I highly recommend Manifesto 13.

For more information – Tel: (+965) 226-50335 – Mob: (+965) 656-52524 info@manifesto13.com

Cheers,

la

Our Must-Have Photography Accessories

IACW_7873.jpg
Many of our tutorials or blog posts are inspired by mentoring conversations and workshops sessions we have with our DGRCP community of photographers. One topic that arises almost every time is “what are our ‘must-have’ accessories”. Lindy-Ann and I can only speak to the items we have used ourselves in the field, so this list is not all encompassing. That said, if you don’t see a brand or item on here that you love, share it with us! Our goal is to help others get the most out of their photography journey and build community, so we are always open to hear from you and about your experiences!
IACW_7839
1. UV filter There are several types of filters out there, but this specific recommendations is for protecting your lens. I have firsthand experience of when a UV filter protected my lens during traveling when I opened my bag and the filter was cracked, but my lens was safe. Filters are dependent on the diameter of your lens and there are several good brands out there, with prices range from $15-100 depending on the quality of the glass. The downside to any filter is that it is one more piece of glass for your image to go through, which can possibly degrade it. However, weighed against the potential for scratching your lens, I would use still use it.
IACW_7841
2. Lens pens – this is a great gift for photographers! Throw them in your bag or car and pull them out whenever you see a smudge or dust spec on your lens. They are a awesome!
IACW_7847-Edit.jpg
3. Flash Sadly, the kit flashes that most cameras come with have ruined many a photograph. We all have to shoot in low light settings at some point and an off-camera flash (also referred to as a “speed light”) is a huge improvement on your kit flash, with the ability to bounce light off the wall or ceilings to add diffused light to your subject. There are good third party alternatives to the main camera manufacturers that are quality products and less expensive for the novice or hobbyist photographer. That said, I highly recommend looking at your brand specifically (ie. Canon or Nikon) as the camera and flash will be able communicate well and the TTL (auto settings) will be better paired.
IACW - Kelly Moore Bag - 7927.jpg
4. Camera bag This is one of those subjective accessories. It is highly dependent on your style and specific needs. There is a great market of stylish bags that don’t even look like camera bags! I have had two Kelly Moore bags and I love them, plus their customer service is fantastic. Lindy-Ann has Epiphanie. One of our manly photog friends loves his ONA bag.
IACW_7866.jpg
5. Straps Ask any photographer and they will tell you that the strap that comes with your camera is not very forgiving and can cut into your shoulder as you wear it. I recommend getting a softer, padded, and more stylish one. They even make infinity scarf options that are soft and look great! I really like the patterns and styles from Mod Straps, another brand we really dig.
IACW_7860
6. Tripod There is a tripod for every possible need and use! When selecting a tripod, it is important to consider your budget, your goals (capturing yourself in the images, night photography, etc), and read reviews. Here is a link two great articles listing their recommendations: The Wire Cutter and The Shot Kit.  A gorilla pod is great for traveling, light, and malleable, I just used it over the weekend camping for a shot of our whole group! I also have a  Zomei that I use for most tasks. It is sturdy and can change from tri to monopod easily.
IACW_7864-Edit
7. SD cards  Using a dSLR, you will definitely need at least one of these. From personal experience it is important to have backups, so let’s say you need at least two! I recommend Sandisk or Lexar brands and you can purchase these almost anywhere. It is important to note that if you are shooting in jpgs (not RAW) the lower storage may work for you. That said, in addition to the quantity of the images the memory on the card is capable of storing, I would consider the speed of capture (looks like: 95MB/S). If your card’s writing speed is slow it will cause you to miss the in-between shots and won’t be able to keep up if you’re especially trigger happy.  I personally use 32MB and 64MB cards with high speeds of capture.
We hope this helps you as you consider your equipment needs. Just remember it is never the equipment, or the stylish accessories, that makes the photographer, it is about you and your unique perspective. Get out there and snap away friends!
Stay tuned as Lindy-Ann kicks off our new “what’s in your bag” video series, where we, and our photog friends, will share what we carry to and fro living the photog life!
Cheers,
la-kdg-signature

Tutorial Tuesday: Camera Care

IACW_9151

This #TutorialTuesday we are talking about camera cleaning and maintenance. Whether it is a point & shoot, digital SLR, film camera, or smart phone, caring for your camera will always help with getting the best images you can and prevent dust spots. Here is a video of some “best practices” on how to care for your camera.

If you have other thoughts or tips on caring for your camera we would love to hear them! Feel free to share in the comments below!

Keep snappin’

kdg

Links:

Mod Straps

Lens Pens

Camera cleaning kit

Filter

 

Tutorial: Website to App on the iPhone

tutorial tuesday.jpg

Happy #TutorialTuesday everyone! Today I’m sharing one of my favorite tricks on the iPhone. I have to give a shout out to our school’s Director of Technology, Brian, for teaching it to me after I inquired about a school app. I was hoping to simplify the process of getting onto our parent portal and this tip did the trick!

Let me know if you find it as handy as I do!

Cheers,
kdg

Fresh Starts & Fall Resolutions

IACW - fall.jpg

I love the Fall. It affects all my senses. The smell of the crisp air, the feel of the temperatures going down and the cozy sweaters, the taste of all the pumpkin spice deliciousness, the sound of leaves crunching on the ground, and the way the light changes to a bluer tone. It is definitely the season where I miss Virginia the most. I know, the first day of Fall is technically not for another month, but schools are starting and I can already see the light changing. No matter where we are, about this time every year, I feel energized and a thrill of excitement for the adventures Fall will bring.

Especially the start of the new school year, which is more motivating than New Year’s Day to me. It is a fresh start, ripe for new and better habits and routines. Like the blank pages of our new notebooks and agendas, this year is free of blemishes and scribbles and open for all the possibilities that learning and imagination will bring.

IACW - writing

With a new set of school supplies I always felt armed and ready to be the best student I could be. I would sit at my desk that first day, open-hearted and eager to learn. Now as a mom, I get that thrill for my kids. What will they learn? Who will their teachers be? Will they make new friends and rekindle their old friendships after a summer apart?

Whether it is a new school or a familiar one, stepping foot on campus that first day everyone will be able to feel the vibrations of excitement in the air, both nervous and joyful.

IACW - AIS walkway

This is the first week of school for my soon-to-be second grader and it is turning out to be busy. As I sat down with my brand new Simplified Planner, by our grace-guru Emily Ley. I was that little girl again, full of hope for a great year. I know this Fall will be busy for our family, there are already lots of events that need to be added to the calendar, but I am hopeful that we will find the balance between being busy and being overwhelmed. Rather than waiting until January for a New Year’s resolution, I’m committing to balance as my Fall resolution. I promise to be intentional with my planning and say “no” more to make room for the better “yeses.” Honestly, it is never too early, or too late, for a fresh start. Will you join me? #fallresolutions2017

IACW - 2017 Fall resolution printable
Download printable here

How are you feeling about the Fall coming? If you are already feeling overwhelmed then I want to encourage to take a moment to enjoy the spirit of Fall and remind you that you have a choice you can be intentional with your time and say “no” to the things that don’t bring you joy.  Seriously, the holidays will be here before we know it!

Happy Fall everyone,

kdg

 

She {SHARES} Truth

IACW_0165

I have a confession: I judge books by their cover. As a visual person I cannot help but be drawn to books with well-designed covers. I could spend hours in a bookstore being inspired and shocked by the choices of the authors and publishers – yep that’s me browsing and judging all before I read one word inside.

When it came time to choose the next book for our Bible study I was drawn to several books – friends, we are so blessed with so many great Christian authors (and cover designers)! Then I came across this beautiful black, white, and yellow flat lay with a yellow binding and a clean logo on top and I had to know more.  Open Your Bible was simultaneously a simple title and a call to action.

IACW_0169.jpg

I sent it to my co-leaders as my choice and, as with all things meant to be, they had both chosen it as well. This six week study changed all of the lives of the ladies sitting around my dining room table. The authors Raechel Myers and Amanda Bible Williams, of She Reads Truth, spoke straight to our hearts; they challenged and encouraged us. The core of the study is that the Bible is for all of us and for now. Through sweet anecdotes, wisely chosen scriptures, and prayers – not to mention beautiful images and clear layout design – they spoke Truth to and over us, as well as taught us how to approach the Bible on a daily basis. {Bless their hearts!} I highly recommend this study, it will meet you wherever you are in your faith walk and grow you.

On the same day as we made the decision to go with their study, my co-leader Kristy sent me this promo video for the She Reads Truth Bible. A Bible for the creative heart and visual learner. A Bible designed {and GOD breathed}…for me.

IACW_8335

We talk a lot about inspiration here on It’s A Colo{u}rful World. We have shared people who inspire us, books we love, places we’ve been, and gushed over the array of colors that surround us. To a creative, inspiration is like water to our parched souls. For this creative heart, divine inspiration is like a frosty glass of ice-cold water in the desert.

IACW_8371

Needless to say, I was inspired, and since my birthday was coming up I made my prayer warrior momma proud and asked for a Bible for my birthday. Let me tell you I LOVE THIS BIBLE!

IACW - SRT 2

It was made for creatives like me who geek out over custom fonts, beautifully lettered graphics, streamlined infographics (maps, charts, and timelines), and lots of white space for notes and sketching. I have never seen a Bible quite like this. The attention to detail and intentional design make my heart so happy and it inspires me to dive deeper into the Word daily.

“Every human word and element  in this book is an intentional invitation for you to both read Scripture and grow in your affection for it. ”                     Raechel Meyers & Amanda Bible Williams

IACW_8342.jpg

In addition to all the aesthetic beauty that was added to the most beautiful words ever written, the ladies at She Reads Truth added reading plans and devotions for each book of the Bible. Each book has a section with a key verse that summarizes the book as well as a description of the author, context, message and purpose, genre, and how it fits in the larger picture of the Word.

IACW_8347.jpg

In the front section there is an overview on how to read the Bible, including a summary of the topics covered in the Open Your Bible study. Then, following the key features pages, there is an introduction to the Christian Standard Bible translation. You can tell that every element was prayerfully and purposefully executed.

IACW - SRT.jpg

If you have been searching for more from this life, for a place to go when you don’t know what step to take next, or if you are hoping to grow your faith, this Bible will inspire you. Take a step toward the ultimate Creative and He will meet you there, even in your mess.

“We are more sinful and flawed in ourselves than we ever dared believe, yet at the very same time we are more loved and accepted in Jesus Christ than we ever dared hope” – Tim Keller

Come. Seek. Find. Be inspired!

blessings friend,

kdg

LINKS:

IACW_8393

 

Portraits & Trust

IACW_9004.jpg

We are indeed our own worst critics. I know I am guilty of it as well. Compound that with a few incidents of people speaking ugliness into your life and you start to believe those lies about yourself. It makes me so sad when friends and clients tell me they are not photogenic. My response is always the same: let me try.

IACW - portraits.jpg

Ok, I know not everyone is a super model, but hear me on this. If you tell yourself the photo will be awful before it’s even snapped then your inner thoughts will be all over your face. Half of the equation for a good portrait, selfie or otherwise, is being hopeful that your inner super model will shine.

IACW - Toni & Brenda

The other half is the photographer. Let’s face it, there are bad portrait photographers. Not every professional photographer should work in portraiture. We all have our strengths. I for one, am not a landscape photographer – I want to put people in that field! So, what makes a good portrait photographer? Skills, obviously, but beyond that it is the ability to capture that inner beauty we all have. Seriously, no matter what you have been told or think of yourself, you are beautiful, or handsome as the case maybe.

IACW - Jen.jpg

It is our job as photographers to make our subjects feel comfortable and trust us. It is on us to ask questions and listen to the answers as we get to know them, and then hone in on what makes them light up.

IACW - portraits - kids.jpg

Lindy-Ann and I are blessed with the ability to be self-depreciating and goofy for the sake of our clients. There is no silly song, word, face, or conversation we won’t try to engage our subject from behind the lens. I’m talking about our grown up subjects too, not just children!

There is a triangular relationship between the subject, the photographer, and the camera. It is normal for my boys to talk to me through the camera, but that is not everyone’s reality. Therefore photographers have to help their subjects see and hear them between snaps, poses, and faces, and build that trust.

View More: http://dgdesignsphotography.pass.us/jankord-family-2015

Here are a couple of our tips for capturing a portrait that says more than just a face.

  1. Pre-Session chat – We recommend meeting, emailing, and/or calling your clients beforehand if you don’t know them. {This is even easier if you have an existing relationship, yay for coffee dates!} Ask them questions that will help you to get a sense of who they are and what they are about.
  2. Night before prep – Go back over those prep notes and communications. A person’s name is important to them, so if you are like me and are horrible with names, then the night before is the best to double check that list of the family member’s names. It also gives you a chance to make sure you pack any props or other items you discussed with them. This will go along way for them to trust you have their best interest at heart.
  3. Names – We are going to hammer this in: USE THEIR NAMES! Saying,  “You, with the blue shirt, move over to the right” will cause them to withdraw from you. Engage them by using their names and those things you learned about them. Now, we must have a little grace with ourselves, because in the midst of shooting even I still get a little confused and call people the wrong names, but I make up for by saying, “I’m so sorry I know your name (INSERT CORRECT NAME HERE).” Again, they will trust you are focused (literally and figuratively) on them.
  4. One-on-One – at some point each session you will be focusing on one member of the group and it is those moments you have to up your trust game. Remember the things they like and ask how they are doing. Talk and help them relax.
  5. Art Direction – This maybe one of the toughest and most intuitive parts of photography. Art direction is taking in scene and eliminating and adding to the scene as well as directing the subjects poses and body placement, all to make the photograph. Thanks to mirrors and selfies, most people have practiced their  “best looks” so allow them to be a part of the art direction. To be clear, a part of the art direction, not the director. You must remain in charge, which also lends to the client trusting you know what you are doing.
  6. Pause – There are a few stages in a session that we recommend you pause. When you start out, instead of ducking behind the camera right away (Guilty!), pause and engage them in conversation. Another moment to take pause is just before snapping, to see them, really see them, through your view finder. Pause on their face and appreciate, as an artist, their unique characteristics. SEE THEM. I’m reminded of that scene in Hook when the littlest lost boy smushes Robin Williams face around and then says, “Oh, there you are Peter.” He saw him.
  7. Be goofy – Be ridiculous, laugh, make fun of the awkwardness – all of this will help them let you in and let down their defenses. Instead of the stiff fake smiles you will capture the genuine joy and laughter.

Next time someone you care about says they are not photogenic, we challenge you to try and capture what you see in them. We guarantee that if you are thoughtful about it, the photo you take will make them smile.

Keep snappin’-

kdg

Here’s to the Volunteers

IACW - Helen Keller quote

This post is dedicated all those mamas and papas who volunteer on behalf of their children. To those of you coaching little league, helping in classrooms, volunteering with the PTA, and the other countless and thankless tasks, we salute you.

We are huge supporters of our children’s schools and both volunteered at many events thrown by our fearless parent associations. We know first hand how disheartening  negative people can be, especially those who also never seem to step up themselves to help. It can be defeating, frustrating, and just plain sad. It’s in the spirit of cultivating kindness that we had to write this post to say THANK YOU.

Thank you to all of you who have at some point borne the brunt of the naysayers and negative feedback. Who’s hard work and hours spent was ignored by the Monday morning quarterbacks and playground mom-squads.

IACW - Teddy Roosevelt quote

We also challenge those of you who have stayed on the sidelines thinking your positive thoughts were known, we encourage you to say something. Tell your people you appreciate them. A little goes a long way, and you never know who may need a little affirmation on the day you cross their path. Their hearts need to be filled up and appreciated and your words of kindness and encouragement will be welcomed!

magnets-stop-me-before-i-volunteer-again
Anne Taintor

We also wanted to share our most recent experiences with our respective International Days. Expat communities really know how to host a good International Day! They are colourful, lively, and educational. It is a fantastic day for our kids to share in, and  learn to appreciate, other cultures and countries. It breeds tolerance and acceptance, which we all know this world could use a little more of.

IACW - ID - flyers.jpg

Funnily enough, we shared similar roles of logistics and graphic designers at our respective schools’ events merely a week apart. There was drama and unintentional hurt feelings, but, for the most part, both events were successful and the children, for which they are ultimately for, had a fantastic time and learned a great deal. That really is all that matters in the end, right? It’s why we volunteer for our little people. For them to have a good time, but also to show them how to serve.

International Day 2017 – Kuwait Style

IACW - Int Day - Q8.jpg

International Day 2017 – Tel Aviv Style

IACW - Int Day - TA.jpg

We are all called to serve, in one place or another, and our children need to learn that lesson and look outside themselves, as well as recognize and appreciate the efforts of others. It would be amazing if we could teach our kids that it’s not always what we get out of this world, but it’s what we can give back to it, that matters most.

we-already-have-enough-pta-volunteers-said-no-one-ever-f62ed
link

So here’s to all of you volunteers.  We are cheering you on and supporting your efforts! A special shout out one of our favorite volunteers and crafty friends, Kate: as always, anything for you friend!

IACW - Kate.jpg

In the spirit of John F. Kennedy’s famous words, the next time an opportunity to serve comes your way ask not what it can do for you, ask what YOU can do for your others.

Don’t forget to thank a volunteer today, they will really appreciate it!

xoxo,

la-kdg-signature