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tutoring, ostrom

Personalized Tutoring Sessions $50.00

My teaching philosophy is simple, learning new skills should never feel intimidating or overwhelming. My computer classes focus on basic principles you will use everyday. Each lesson is broken down into small easy to understand tasks that gradually build on one another. Although much of the subject matter we discuss tends to be on the technical side, it is always taught in a simple, practical manner. My goal is to make sure students gain a total understanding of how and why things work the way they do. 

 

 


 

What are Students Saying?

What are students saying about classes at BobTeachesArt.com?

Bucky Jones – Illustrator

Wow, Bob Ostrom is an awesome teacher! Seriously, what he covered in 1/2 an hour, and how he was able to explain it in a way that even I could understand...just awesome! If you ever have the chance to take a class or have a lesson with him, I highly recommend it! Thanks, Bob!

Candice Davies, Author Illustrator

I'm writing to sing the praises of Bob Ostrom. It's clear from his artwork that he's mastered his media and is an accomplished artist. But being accomplished doesn't necessarily equate to being a quality teacher. How many of us have had that 'genius' professor that was just plain incomprehensible? I have. Paid big bucks for "industry standard" gurus before I met Bob, and each one left me feeling more inept and discouraged than before. Fortunately, Bob is one of the rare jewels in which craftsmanship and quality instructor coalesce. His delightful sense of humor makes learning fun and his sincere desire to help his students unlock their potential make learning relevant and exciting.

Tara Urbach – Artist

Thanks Bob! I'm so happy I took this 3 pack of classes for Illustrator. I was proficient coming in - but I knew I could benefit from Bob's years of professional experience and the fact that he stays so current with the upgrades. I picked up a lot of tips that will help me with my speed and efficiency - which was my goal. Mission accomplished! Thanks again!!!

Latest Posts

How to clean up sloppy brush strokes in Adobe Illustrator

illustrator tips imageSome of you may remember a couple of weeks ago when I was complaining about the brush tool in Adobe Illustrator. I mentioned it sometimes gets a little sloppy on tight curves. I was frustrated that after so many years of using this program I still hadn’t found a decent solution. I decided to see if any of my fellow artists had any better ideas. That’s when I hopped on Facebook and asked for your help. There were a lot of suggestions. Some were actually pretty good. As you know though I am always trying to find more efficient ways to use these programs. I was beginning to lose hope but you guys came through with some great workarounds. Three in particular caught my eye.

I spent the last week and half trying out these solutions. I put all three to the test by actually using them, on real live paying jobs, for real live actual clients. While they all had their strong points I felt couldn’t just keep them to myself. That’s why I decided to dedicate this week’s video tutorial to the top three ways to fix sloppy brush strokes in Illustrator. Before I go any further however I’d like to thank my pals Wendy Martin and Tara Urbach for their winning suggestions. For everyone else please feel free to use these tips to improve and speed up your work flow. If you’re reading this and you know another artist who might be struggling with the same frustration by all means please send them a link and let them know where you found it. Happy Illustratoring, see you next week!

improve your design quick tip

Design like a Pro – 5 Surefire Ways to Improve your Design.

Thinking about a career in design? Here are 5 super easy to remember tips that will improve your design, keep you out of trouble and help catapult you from rookie to pro. The great thing about these tips is that they are 100% timeless and 100% free. Adopt them now and I promise you they will benefit you throughout your career. So in no particular order here are the five most important things you should remember about great design.

1. Legibility first, design Second.

As designers we love things that are beautiful. We want our viewers to look at our work and fall in love with it. Design should of course be beautiful but how do we know when we’ve gone too far? The answer is very simple. Our number one mission as a designer is legibility. When the message become illegible the design has failed. Keep your designs beautiful but never let that get in the way of legibility. It is a common mistake but remember the ancient story of narcissus. One day while wandering the forest he happened upon a stream. Gazing down at the stream he noticed his reflection. That was as close as you could get to a selfie in those days. Narcissus fell so in love with the beauty of his own reflection that he became blind to everything else around him. It was all he could see. Do not be like Narcissus. He would have been a terrible designer. Falling in love with your design at the expense of legibility is an affront to the god of Legibility and she will not take it lightly.

2 Use decorative fonts sparingly.

Remember way back to rule number one when we talked about legibility first, design second? Well, I suppose you could consider rule #2 as an extension to rule #1. Decorative fonts can be beautiful. You see them used everywhere and sometimes when used correctly they can be a thing of beauty. Be careful though they can be difficult to read in large amounts. Hell, they can be difficult to read in small amounts. If you are ever tempted to use a decorative font please remember to use them sparingly. Think of it this way. Cake is delicious. Cake with icing is even more delicious. No cake all icing is pretty much inedible after the second bite. Think of decorative fonts as your icing. Make sure you don’t forget to put some cake in there somewhere because too much of a good thing is too much of a good thing.

3. Visibility

Visibility is just as important as legibility. Here are some very simple rules for improving text visibility. Why? Because if your type is invisible no one can read it. If no one can read it your design fails.  The following is a list of situations designers often run into. Study these carefully and remember as a designer it’s your sworn duty to remember and apply these rules on a daily basis. Although you may find a few to be tempting but don’t take the bait, keep your type visible by avoiding the following scenarios:.

  • If you are using yellow type on a white background, stop it! It’s invisible, it’s impossible to read and when you step back  it completely disappears. Yes, even if it’s just one letter in a headline. Don’t do it.
    Bob, are there any exceptions? I know sometimes clients can be insistent so if you simply must use yellow on white you’ll need to do two things. First have your client sign off on the design acknowledging that they’ve made a terrible decision. Second push the yellow it as close to orange as you can get away with. Add a drop shadow, an outline or both. Either way good luck you’re going to need it!
  • If you use 6 point text or smaller, you’ve probably developed a lot of enemies along the way. 6 point type is unreadable even to eagles and fighter pilots. Give your reader a break and go with a larger font size.
    Bob, what size should I use? 10-14 point is the sweet spot for most typefaces when it comes to body copy. Headlines are a completely different story and a topic for another post.
  • White type on a light colored and or textured background is something best left to amateurs and hacks. Especially when it comes to body copy. Do not do this to your readers unless you hate them or want to be responsible for their migraine headaches.
    But Bob, I love working with patterns and pastel colors. Great, keep the patterns as simple as possible and make sure there is very little contrast. Remember the focus is on legibility.

4. Guide the reader.

As designers we set up simple rules to help guide the reader through the message. Certain design elements like headlines, bold text, italicized fonts, etc. create focal points. Think of your focal points like elements on a map. They are there to help guide the reader along the way. Not all focal points are equal. Some information is more important than others. Understand where you want your reader to go and use your focal points accordingly. If all focal points carry the same weight your design quickly becomes confusing. Where do want them to start, what comes next, what information is less important? Answer these questions before you begin then convey that information throughout your design. Not only will your design be great but your readers will thank you.

5. Visual VS. Headline

Diving a little deeper, let’s take a look at one of the most important areas of design, your message. Every good designer knows that since the focal point is the most important part of the design it should reflect your message. Know your message. What  is your story? Grab your reader’s attention then tell them your story. Most non-designers and clients have a difficult time with this concept. Many want to shift the focus to their logo, thinking that’s the most important part of the message. Bigger logo, bigger logo they cry until the message becomes so watered down nobody has any idea what you’re talking about. The focal point should always reflect the message. It can be conveyed by many things a photo, a headline, a well written story but be careful. Make sure whichever you choose reflects your message.

 

Are there exceptions to these rules? Of course, there are exceptions to every rule but you have to know the rules before you break them. Understanding and use these five simple rules will vastly improve your design. There are many more rules when it comes to good design.  If you want to learn more of them stick with me on BobTeachesArt.com and I will show you. For students who are lucky enough to join me for classes in the Raleigh area this is exactly the kind of material we focus on in The Ultimate Dream Team Class here at Wake Tech. For those of you outside the Raleigh area, don’t worry there’s no need to sell your houses and move to North Carolina. I’ll be bringing this material to an online classroom very soon. Want to find out when? Excellent! just sign up for my super cool mailing list and you’ll be the first to know! Cya next time!

 

simple tip from BobTeachesArt.com

Following Through

They Found YOU.

This week’s post is just a quick tip to help get you out in front of your competition. Super simple, super fast. A very basic rule every business knows but doesn’t always practice. I guess this is as much a reminder to myself as it is to the companies I’ve been trying to hire for the last few weeks. So without further ado here is this weeks advice especially for all my freelance and entrepreneurial friends out there. Follow Through!

There are two types of jobs that will show up on your door step, the ones you chase down like a dog and the ones that drop right into your lap. The latter, also known as the low hanging fruit, are the ones that come seeking you out. They may have found you through your website, a referral, or even through an ad. Whatever the case may be THEY found YOU and now they want to HIRE you.

Low hanging fruit.

When someone wants to hire you, your number one job is to make it simple for them. That means when they contact you, you actually RESPOND!!! My job had me collecting quotes last week. I asked about 5 or 6 companies for an estimate on a fairly simple job. I made it very clear I wasn’t just out kicking tires this was a real job and I needed their help. Out of those 5 or 6 companies I heard back from 3 and only 2 actually came through with quotes. There you have it, the low hanging fruit. If you’re serious about getting work, all you need to do is respond and you’re automatically ahead of more than half your competition. Doesn’t get any simpler than that.

How it works

Did you ever notice how requests always seem to pile up right when you’re at your busiest and don’t have the time to respond? You push them to the back of the pile in favor of what you’re busy working on, then suddenly a week goes by, then two. Next thing you know the opportunity has slipped by. So you tell yourself, next time I’ll do better. Next time I’ll be all over it. It happens all the time but let’s face it, that’s a terrible excuse. I know because it even happens here at the studio and it’s frustrating as hell. The last time it happened I decided it’s time to take this monster head on and make sure it doesn’t happen again. Here’s what I decided to do.
Step one: Grab the email requests that’s have fallen through the cracks and analyze them.
  • What do they have in common?
  • Why did this one fall between the cracks?
  • What was the request?
  • How could I have I responded in a more timely fashion
As I read through them I realized that for the most part they fell into a few basic patterns. This was good. Next I chose one from each category and wrote a response. I know what you’re thinking and, no I didn’t send them. Instead I filed them on Google docs and labeled them to fit the assigned category. There’s nothing fancy going on here just a simple response, short and sweet, get to the point, get back to work.

Part two the website. You might be thinking, what in the world does your website have to do with your email? Well I’m glad you asked because here’s how it works. I went to my website and prepared a longer more detailed explanation of the questions people were asking. I dedicated several pages of the site to corresponding categories of requests. This gives me an opportunity to keep my email response short and sweet because nobody wants a fifty page email response. Some people do want more info however and this is a great way to let them choose how much time they want to dedicate to the decision making process. We call that the ol’ one, two punch.

Putting it to the test.

Flash forward. I’m sitting at my desk super busy as usual and my email chimes. I take a quick glance and see it’s a request. I decide to give the new system a shot right then and there. I look at the email and see it’s a rate request from a new student. How much do I charge for tutoring and how do they set up a session? I see this fits nicely into category two, How Much do You Charge? I pop open my Google docs, head over to category two and copy/paste the info into my email response. Finally I swap out the contact info and personalize the first and last sentence. No need to do any more than that, the body of the email doesn’t need to change because it’s just basic info. How much is a session, how is it set up followed by a link to more info on my site with about scheduling and billing. Done! In and out in under two minutes. Happy customer, happy Bob.

How to make it work for you.

We know most clients request similar information, so answering that info can be pretty simple if you set up your system ahead of time. The way I did it was two fold. First, respond directly to the question. Next, provide a link to my website with a more detailed explanation of how things work. The email is short and sweet because in my experience nobody in their right mind is going to read an email that is longer than a couple of sentences.

Here’s how it looks.

Part one:
Q: How much do you charge?
A: I charge this much.
Q: How do I set up a session?
A: Here’s how it is set up.
Part two:
For more info on A and B here are a few links you might find helpful.
There you have it. One of the main reasons we are slow or don’t respond isn’t because we’re lazy or inconsiderate. It’s because putting together a response takes time, drags you away from your train of thought and derails your work flow. Even if our best intention is to dedicate a response time later in the day we often get busy or distracted. Pretty soon before you know it the opportunity slips away. Don’t let that happen. Have the your responses cued up and ready to go, that way you can focus on the most important task at hand and keep potential new clients happy at the same time.
Got a great business tip? Feel free to share it in the comment space below.

Bundle Deal is Over but Don’t Worry the Classes are Still Available.

Rats!!! The Bundle deal is officially over. I hope you didn't miss it.  Don't worry you can still pick up theses classes individually or in the full bundle at the normal rate by clicking on the links below. I'm sorry if you missed the super amazing, great deal I ran last week but I have lots more classes coming up and some may even be at discount rates. If you want to know when the next one will be available or when I'm running my next deal don't forget to sign up for the mailing list. Here's the other really cool part about the mailing list. I have tons of free videos and tutorials I send out all the time. I don't know about you but I could really go for a pop quiz right about now. What do you say?

Pop Quiz:

When Bob from BobTeachesArt.com sends out free videos and tutorials who get them first:

  1. People who are friends with Bob from high school
  2.  People Bob runs into at the grocery store
  3.  People signed up for Bob's Mailing list

If you answered number 3 you are one hundred percent correct. People who sign up for Bob's mailing list are the first to know about all the great new deals and upcoming classes I offer. What do you need to sign up for my mailing list? A first name and an email address. That's it. Once you've signed up all you need to do is sit back, grab a cold one and relax. Before you know it you'll be getting lots of free stuff and special deals. Don't worry, I won't flood your mailbox with junk and I never share my mailing list with anyone. So if that sounds good just use the sign up form at the bottom of this post and you can be one of the cool kids. See you there!

 

 

 

Even though the discount may be over you can still grab these classes here!

advanced line art part one image

advanced line art techniques part 2

the big class of color image

3 part class art

Subscribe to the BobTeachesArt.com Mailing list:

 

For info on upcoming classes and more…

Classes

discount bundle art

Discount Special - $50 (ends 8/27/16)

 

advanced line art part one image

Part 1 - $10.00

 

Part 3 - 39.00

Part 3 - 39.00

 

the big class of color image

Part 2 - $39.00

 

tutoring, ostrom

Personalized Tutoring Sessions $50.00