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Random questions from the blog’s users

9 February 2010

Articles, Ask me, Freelancing

Random questions from the blog’s users
Choose your language / Elige tu idioma:englishespañol

Hey buddies, I’m finally back from my “holidays” (they weren’t holidays really, I spent this time to move to Berlin). I’m already settled and ready to go on with the blog.

Today we have a post with some questions from the blog users: about copyright, confidentiality, how to improve our drawing skills and how to learn to design web pages.

So let´s go!

I’m in a rap band and I’ve designed a logo for it. And my doubt is whether I should register my design or not, just in case I could have any problems in the future.

Law (in Spain) protects the artwork since its creation. Registry is not necessary, although it’s good evidence that you’re the author of the artwork.

The best choice would be to go to a copyright registry office, as far as I know it’s not very expensive.
But be careful, registering the design and registering the brand is not the same, the registry of a brand is much more expensive. Moreover, the name could be already registered, or be very similar to some registered brand in the same sector.

There are some companies dedicated to advise their clients in this area, although you probably don’t need them by now.

My client ask me to sign a NDA (non-disclosure agreement). It´s fair? Do you have any contract you can share?

I state in my terms of service page I don’t offer confidentiality by default (5th point) since my portfolio is my only marketing tool to promote my services. If somebdoy ask me to sign a NDA I charge a fee, it varies from 0-100% the standard quote depending on my workload, if I’m extremely busy I charge 100%, if I have no work in that moment I negotiate with the client and I even could accept it with no extra charge.

The client should ask the NDA upfront since the quote can vary, but sometimes he does when the order is already finished, then I just redirect him to my terms of service page. I always charge 50% of the order upfront, so the client has 3 choices:

  1. He pays the fee: I sign the NDA and deliver the files.
  2. He doesn’t pay the fee but he pays the remaining payment: I don´t sign the NDA but I deliver the designs.
  3. He doesn’t pay the fee and doesn´t pay the remaining payment: I warm him he would loses the design and the down payment, I keep the files to sell it as stock images or for personal projects, I never resell the designs as custom work.

This is not set in stone, if he’s a good client and he’s easy going you can make exceptions, but you need to cover yourself for worst case scenario.

A confidentiality contract and a copyright transfer, are they both the same thing?

No, they aren’t, a NDA is a document for confidentiality while a transfer of rights contract is a document where you agree it´s a work by hire and the client owns all rights about your designs, though a contract can include both of them.

While I don´t offer confidentiality by default, I always transfer all rights to the client, whenever a client ask a contract I provide it.

You can download some contracts here.

How can I learn to give expression to my characters? I usually draw them all with a psychopath face.

I’m afraid there are no magic tricks to improve your drawing skills, just practice, lots of practice… and lots of observation.

I have a file of facial and corporal expressions, and photographs and images from other artists as well. At first I used to copy a lot, with some time you’ll create your own style.

My advice is to search different sources so your style can be as rich as possible.

I’ve read your tutorial about creating a web page. It has made some things clear for me but, how did you begin? Did you use any tutorial in particular?

I’m afraid it’s not that easy, but you can make it with some patience.

  1. Create a portfolio in some online community, Deviantart for example. This way you have something to show and you can make yourself a name. Besides, there is an area to create a portfolio independent from the community. It’s not perfect but suitable for a start.
  2. Learn to use Dreamweaver, it’s a good program, very easy to use and you can design web pages visually. It’s not the ideal but a good training for the next step.
  3. When you’ve get to have a good command of Dreamweaver, you’ll have basics of HTML. Try to improve and understand the meaning of each tag. You can continue using Dreamweaver or just the Notepad.
  4. Learn CSS to separate content from presentation. It’s a simple language, the main inconvenience is to manage to make your web look the same in the different browsers (cross browsing).
  5. Learn about usability, study the trends and practise a lot.
  6. The next step would be to study PHP and MYSQL to add functionality to your web.
  7. If you want to go further, you can learn Rubi, Ajax, Javascript…

If you enjoyed this post, please tweet it!!!

This post was written by:

- who has written 58 posts on SOSFactory Blog.

My name’s Sergio Ordoñez I´m illustrator, graphic and web designer. A selection of my work is included at SOSFactory. If you want to support this blog, please be an active member: tweet the posts, participate in the discussions and the exercises :)

Contact the author

  • morcio

    Hola Sergio!
    hace mucho que no leeia tus blogs… estavas un poco perdido en esas vacaciones! :D … pero bueno… te deseo muchos exitos en todos tus proyectos y enserio muchas gracias por cada tutorial… he aprendido demaciado!


  • Troyi2007

    Sergio estoy tratando de hacer el tutorial de Mascot Design III Coloring y no me trabaja la herramienta de history brush tool. Que puedo estar haciendo mal…

  • Sergio Ordonez

    Hello Morcio, you are welcome :)

    Troyi, be sure you check the small square at the left of the history state you are interested in. Anyway this is the matter of the next tutorial.


  • Diana

    Hola, Sergio, qué bueno que ya has regresado :) por cierto intenté descargar el archivo con los contratos pero uno está dañado el de NDA and transfer of rights de todas maneras debe ser este supongo


  • Sergio Ordonez

    Hola Diana, volví a comprobar los archivos, no me da ningún problema. A ver si alguien más tiene problemas.

    Ese que enlazas es un NDA básico, no dice nada de la transferencia de los derechos, pero seguro que encuentras alguno por Google.


  • Darell V

    do you have a tutorial here about coloring your lineart starting from scratch?? as in you start from black and white…i really dont know how to start!

    oh and thanks for the lineart videos! those really helped me to get started!

    • Sergio Ordonez

      Darell, just the previous post is about this.

  • Diana

    Sergi, tengo una duda, ¿qué hacer cuando alguien pregunta si el diseño que uno ha hecho es modificable,y le pertenezca al cliente, cobrarle un impuesto? y si es así, ¿Para este caso se usa el documento transfer of rights?


  • Sergio Ordonez

    Hola Diana, si transfieres todos los derechos, transfieres todos los derechos.

    Si quieres que nadie modifique tu diseño deberias especificarlo en el contrato aunque dificilmente el cliente aceptara esta clausula… (modo Troll on) estan deseando sacar al artista que tienen dentro y “mejorar” en 5 minutos lo que tu has hecho con horas de esfuerzo y dedicacion (modo Troll off).


  • Diana

    Gracias por tu respuesta, no sé porque piden un diseño para “modificarlo” luego si uno hace todos los cambios que necesitan, usando esquemas de colores adecuados, etc..Es como el caso del diseño que hiciste para Linerider :P


  • Sagnik

    Hi Sergio,

    I’ve been following your blog for a loooong time now. It’s more than 2 years. I love the tips & tutorials you give to us. For me, I’m a web designer & I love to do illustrations. I just bought an Intuous 3, and practising on it.

    I had a question, how do you draw crisp clear lines? My lines turn out to be grainy/jagged. I tried various brushes in Corel Painter that came with the bundle. Do you use different software or is it practice?

    Thanks in advance.

    • Sergio Ordonez

      Hi Sagnik, thanks a lot :)

      The key is using high resolution canvas, I use around 7000x7000px in Photoshop.

  • Enzo

    Hola Sergio: primero te agradezco por compartir tus conocimientos…Quisiera saber si entre Flash e illustrator encuentras diferencias para ilustrar ya que estoy muy acostumbrado al manejo de flash y no me sea necesario aprender ilustrator siendo q se puedan lograr los mismos resultados

  • Mikael Cubillan

    hello sergio… can I ask too?

  • Sergio Ordonez

    Sure Mikael, just email me.

  • Diana

    Hola, Sergio, no sé si será una pregunta medio tonta :P pero para firmar un documento asi ¿uno debe solo escribir el nombre o hacer la firma digital con una tableta?


  • Sergio Ordonez

    Hola Diana, lo ideal sería firmarlo de puño y letra y enviarlo por correo, pero la firma digital también vale.


  • Diana

    Hola, Sergio, gracias por tu respuesta. Algo que olvidé en mi pregunta fue sobre un documento que se llama Work For Hire y alguien me pidió eso, según leí, con el se transfieren los derechos del diseño, ¿es recomendable firmar eso y se cobra también?


  • Sergio Ordonez

    Hola Diana, este documento es muy común, normalmente lo usan las empresas para dejar claro al trabajador que es un encargo puntual y que no conlleva ninguna otra responsabilidad como subsidio por desempleo, baja por enfermedad y esas cosas… vamos que no eres parte de la empresa.

    Además veo que añade los apartados de cesión de derechos y el típico apartado diciendo que todo lo que haces es original.

    Lo de cobrar o no cobrar por algo así es muy personal, yo no cobraría.


  • Enzo

    Quisiera saber si entre Flash e illustrator encuentras diferencias para ilustrar ya que estoy muy acostumbrado al manejo de flash y no me sea necesario aprender ilustrator siendo q se puedan lograr los mismos resultados

  • Sergio Ordonez

    Hola Enzo, no soy un experto en ninguno pero sí que hay diferencias, Flash es principalmente para animar e Illustrator es principalmente para ilustrar.

    Con ambos puedes hacer ambas cosas, pero cada uno es más potente en lo suyo.


  • ivan

    Hola sergio, realmente un trabajo estupendo el que has realizado con tu sitio, tiene muy buen contenido y de calidad, quisiera saber si puedo robarme algunas imagenes de tu sitio para crear un banner y ponerlo en mi sitio web, lo que quiero hacer es crear una referenci apara los usuarios, que conoscan que tambien hay sitios de calidad y en español.


    • Sergio Ordonez

      Hola Iván, si lo que quieres es crear un banner para enlazar a este blog entonces no hay problema.


  • kakashi

    i was wondering how would i resize a picture (make it bigger), without the picture becoming blur, or stretch out

    • Sergio Ordonez

      Hi Kakashi, you can´t do that. Whenever you enlarge a picture you loose sharpness.

  • Diana

    hey kakashi Sergio´s right but you can´t do that with shapes, using the shape layers option :)

  • Diana

    oops sorry I mean you CAN resize anythign but images as shapes with “shape layers”

  • Diana

    Hello, Sergio
    ok, I´ll try to ask this in english..:P
    For design or illustration work, is right to work with a laptop or a desktop and how many RAM memory it is necesary?


  • Sergio Ordonez

    Hello Diana, thanks for trying :)

    I switched to a laptop around 1-2 years ago and I hope I had done it sooner.

    I have an Asus computer with 4gb (though Vista 32bits just can use 3gb), it was around 1.000€ and it works smooth. Latelly I´m having memory problems with Photoshop CS5 but there is lot of people having these issues, I bet it´s because this version is not too efficient.

    If you need a relative portability (since the battery works for a few hours you always depends on an electricity source), don´t do heavy tasks (3d, video edition…) and can spend some extra money I completely suggest going for it.

    Another advantage is the calm, forget the noisy fans!

  • Diana

    Thanks, Sergio!

    I´m going to upgrade my old computer and I was thinking in a laptop, because I don´t have too much space, lot of people tell me “buy a Mac” or “build your own PC”,or get a Dell computer, the first one is too expensive,

    I guess I´ll be able to do the same work (plus 3d, I hope so) with a 4gb desktop computer, if you recommend me any brand it would be nice :)


  • Sergio Ordonez

    Hi Diana,

    I wouldn´t look for a brand, I would look for the best configuration at the lowest price. Mac computers are expensive.

  • Pete

    Hello there. I got kinda noobie question, I got the basic idea, just want to make sure.

    In a simple way; how to make your designs print-ready? I mean, what sizes and resolution I should set when working on CD covers, posters, t-shirt designs etc… ?

    Thanks upfront

    • Sergio Ordonez

      Hi Pete,

      you must use the real size at 300dpi for the best quality.

  • aylum

    Sergio…are you are design a mascot for this it’s very similar with your design for'm afraid your design has plagiarize/copy from unresponsible designer.very embarassing it’s happen from my country Indonesia.
    i hope no more plagiarize case from Indonesia, i’m
    very love your blog.your struggling until like now give me a lot inspirations for newbie like’s why i’m written are the best mascot designer Sergio!


    • Sergio Ordonez

      Another epic ripoff, thanks a lot for taking the taking to comment mate, it’s much appreciated. I will contact to my client so he will take whatever actions he likes.