Four ways to be a graphic artist and change the world

After a day of sitting at my computer working from home, I needed to get some fresh air. I took a short drive out to the country to one of my favorite farmers’ markets. It was one of those shopping trips where I needed nothing but it was oh-so-fun to look. Everything was making my mouth water, especially the Amish cheese. I made my selection (havarti) and as I was purchasing cayenne peanuts, the cashier and I struck up a conversation. Upon hearing about my profession serving nonprofits as a graphic artist, she became very interested and shared that she had been considering doing something similar for nonprofits. She had never met anyone who was actually doing it, so I gave her my card.

It occurred to me, there are probably a lot of people out there who would like to do the same thing but don’t know how! Since I was about 15 years old, I told God that what I wanted to do with my life was to serve churches and ministries by making websites and graphics. I told Him,

“I don’t care how much I make! I just want to serve you!”

Little did I know that my first “real” job after college would be doing just that.

So what are some ways to do good as a graphic artist?

1. Work on staff at a nonprofit.

This is probably one of the most obvious choices. There are many nonprofits who need in-house graphic designers, but depending on the size of the organization, that position would likely be combined with others. For example, at my current nonprofit, I’m the web developer, print publication designer, brand manager, social media expert, and the PR/marketing person. I’m all those things not because they are my “official” job description per se, but because those are the things that need to be done and no one else is doing them. Some days I get caught up in the mundane tasks, but I’m energized when I re-focus on the mission that brought me there in the first place.

2. Start your own graphic arts company and give discounts to nonprofits.

This is also a great option and is how Skylift is structured. If the a corporate career ladder is not for you and your personality (like mine) requires a philanthropic aspect to be fulfilled, the key is to stay focused on your mission even if your business is for-profit.

3. Create art in the exact moment the world needs it.

This is the kind of thing can’t usually be planned. A case in point is Jean Jullien, whom I wrote about here. There was no way for him to predict how meaningful his little sketch in response to the Paris attacks would become. He didn’t do it to get famous. Just by being himself and consistently creating, he gave the world an image to visually express her pain, solidarity and condolences.

4. Work at a for-profit company and shine your light in that environment.

Someone who comes to mind in this category is my friend Ranae. She is a talented, hard-working illustrator who wants to design characters for video games someday (as of last time I asked her). It is unlikely that she would find a position creating video games for nonprofits, though I’m sure it’s out there somewhere. She would more likely find herself either working in a for-profit company or starting her own company. Could she still change the world? I believe she can (and will). God wants to shine His light in all realms of society. As Ranae stays true to her faith in God and soaks in His love, she will influence those around her, ultimately having the potential to influence the whole video game industry and beyond.

What are some other ways that a graphic artist can change the world? Leave a comment!

 

How to set up private name servers at 1and1 Internet

This month has been full of technical snags and recurring customer support nightmares. Through it, I’ve learned more than I thought I could and I’ve experienced peace and joy even when circumstances were frustrating.

My usual go-to for technical questions is the internet. Usually at least 100 other people have the same issues I do. One of my tasks this week was to change a domain name server (DNS) at 1&1 Internet and specifically to create private, custom nameservers on the domain.

In general, the process for setting up private name servers is actually quite simple:

  1. Create subdomains on the domain you wish to use as your private name servers. For example, on domain.com, you would create two subdomains (usually something like ns1.domain.com and ns2.domain.com)
  2. Assign your hosting company’s provided nameserver IP addresses to each subdomain
  3. On the domain that will be using the new private name servers, change the name servers to ns1.domain.com and ns2.domain.com
  4. Give it 24-48 hours to propagate

Sounds simple enough, right?

If 1&1 is your domain registrar, wrong.

Once the subdomains were created, my logic was, “Okay now I need to go to each subdomain and apply the host’s IP addresses.” But there was no way to do it! 1&1 does not let you add an IP address to a subdomain unless you are using their 1&1 name servers. I even tried calling 1&1 two different times, but the support reps didn’t seem to understand what I meant by “private name server” (It’s okay, we got the great meme above out of that experience. I don’t think English was their first language.)

1&1 changed their interface recently, so all my internet searches were returning tutorials that no longer applied. Hence, to start pulling my weight for the hundreds of tutorials on the internet that have saved my scrawny neck, here is my first tutorial article to help some poor soul. That is, until 1&1 changes their interface again…

Applying IP addresses to subdomains at 1&1

1&1’s method is very weird. As I said earlier, you can’t actually change the IPs of the subdomains individually. You have to actually edit the DNS of the main domain and it automatically detects when you are inputing that domain’s own subdomains as nameservers. When it detects that, then a box opens up to put an IP address. They call it a “glue record.” This method could be a problem for some because, as in my case, I didn’t want to change the main domain’s DNS yet! I just wanted to set up the private nameservers so that they would be ready when the time came. With 1&1, it seems to be one step.

Let me walk you through it from the beginning:

  1. Log into your 1&1 Control Panel
  2. Choose your package
  3. Under “Domains,” click “Manage domains”
  4. Create your subdomains (ns1.domain.com and ns2.domain.com)
  5. Once back at Domain list screen, click the little arrow on the right side of the main domain (step 1. in screenshot A)
  6. On the pull out menu with more options, click “Edit DNS settings” (step 2. in screenshot A)
  7. Select the radio box for “Other name servers” (screenshot B)
  8. Input your new ns1 subdomain and 1&1 will automatically recognize that you are setting up a private nameserver and give you a field to input your web host’s IP address for the first nameserver (screenshot B)
  9. Next to “Additional name servers” choose “My secondary name servers” (screenshot B)
  10. Again, once you input your ns2 subdomain, the IP address field will appear and you can input your web host’s IP address for the second nameserver (screenshot B)

That’s it! Save the settings and propagation will begin.

Please leave a comment if this helped you! Maybe it will encourage me to write another tutorial sometime…

Screenshot A

Set up private nameservers 1&1

Screenshot B

1&1 private nameservers

The 5 Gears

As a small business owner, I’m constantly aware of the importance of balancing life and work. It is not always easy to succeed in this area, especially if you work from home and never actually leave the office.

I just finished watching a short video series by Jeremie Kubicek and Steve Cockram from GiANT Worldwide. The topic was based on their book, The 5 Gears: How to Be Present and Productive When There’s Never Enough Time. The “never enough time” part resonated deeply so I knew I wanted to glean what I could from them. In the first video, Jeremy explained the concept of the five gears as different types of modes we switch between all the time during day-to-day life, such as social or task modes. His emphasis was:

We need to be in the right mode at the right time!

How do we achieve this balance? In the second video, he outlined three tools that can help:

  1. Know yourself, lead yourself
  2. Support/Challenge Matrix
  3. Five circles of influence

He touched on each very briefly. I’m sure more is found in the book, but I’m grateful for the understanding I received even from the short video series.

As a bonus, here’s a great tweet from Jeremy:

 

I used to think I was stupid

While listening to a United Pursuit album in my car tonight, I had a flashback.

I remembered that I used to believe I was stupid. Growing up, I would argue with my family when they would tell me differently. I was convinced! I remember even in college I had remnants of that lie lingering.

I’m not sure when it left me completely, but I realized tonight that it’s been at least a couple of years since that thought even entered my mind.

So it made me want to ask this question:

What lie do you believe about yourself? Just because you believe it doesn’t make it true.

 

Paris & Jean Jullien

On Friday last week, terrible things happened in Paris.

Within very little time, graphic artist Jean Jullien posted this on Instagram:

 

Peace for Paris

A photo posted by @jean_jullien on


In an interview with Wired, Jean shares his experience of creating the illustration. I was amazed to learn that it was an immediate reaction for him. It spilled out of him within minutes. In looking at Jean’s Instagram feed, it’s obvious that he is constantly creating. He posts a brilliant new image almost daily. I would like to propose that when you have practiced and practiced your art form, and then practiced some more, you have the ability to use your skill at a high level under great stress, sometimes even without mental exertion. You no longer have to think because your skill has become so engrained that your heart is free to simply express. Those daily exercises and disciplines to which I challenge myself are actually worth something cumulative. Keep going, soul. Incredibly, Jean got some criticism for posting his Peace for Paris image. A few people on social media — there’s always those few — accused him of using the attacks to gain exposure. Such a reaction makes me sad. For one thing, there is no way he could have known that it would go viral. It gives me a new perspective on some “reactionary art” I did recently after the shooting at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon.


 

 


I was so impacted by the story of these bold American martyrs who refused to denounce Christ that all I wanted to do was go home and create an image that would express my gratitude for their courage. I wanted to honor them. Unlike Jean Jullien who created the image immediately, it wasn’t until four days after the tragedy that I responded artistically. As I develop my skills, enlarge my visual vocabulary, refine my craft and practice my talent, that could change. 

Free footnote:

In another realm of creativity, Tony Anderson created this stunning piece of music in response to the Paris attacks. Close your eyes and listen…

Book Cover: Living Above Average

 

This past Wednesday was Veterans Day. I am privileged to know a courageous World War II veteran named Walter Fleming. He operated a Higgins boat (LCVP) rescuing wounded from Iwo Jima’s Red Beach 1. He is a true hero and I love listening to his stories. His uniform is on display at the Iwo Jima Museum in Harlingen, TX.

After his time in the service, he helped found World Indigenous Missions and worked for many years as a missionary planting churches in Mexico. It’s harder for him to travel now, but he and his wife Cathy have found a new outlet for ministry: book publishing. Walter and Cathy amaze me with their dedication and efficiency. This summer they helped a pastor in Africa publish a book. I had the honor of designing the cover shown above.