Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Busy Times Ahead!

I just wanted to give an update here!
I have ceased to take on freelance jobs for now, as I am now in school!! :)
I have begun taking classes with the Art Institute of Pittsburgh--Online Division. So far, I have completed their orientation class and am a week away from completing Computer Literacy, which includes beginning use of Photoshop and Illustrator, which has been very challenging! I am learning a lot and cannot wait to move forward!
My next class is going to be Fundamentals of Design, followed by Color Theory in Print. From there, I have several traditional art classes to take as well as plenty of computer classes!
My goal is to get my Associate's Degree in Graphic Design. I decided not to go for a BS because I already have a Bachelor's and all of my core classes would have transferred leaving me with mostly art and graphics classes. I didn't feel I needed another bachelor's.
As I get more classes under my belt, I may very well take up freelance again, although the best option for that may be via the college, who offers this service to students.

Additionally, I have of course gotten more and more pregnant! :) My due date is now 2 days away and my body is finally giving me the ol' high sign that labor might be imminent. I will henceforth be consumed with our newborn daughter and Christmas until mid-January when school starts again! As I complete more in-depth school projects, I will post them here. :)
Thank you for your interest!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Real Estate Logos, page 5

Finally, he brought in some wallpaper from an LA nightclub he wanted to use in some way, as a background. He wanted high-end hotel, nightlife, sleek, modern he said and to play with it. So I found some similar wallpapers in digital format (he had literally sent me a photograph of the interior of the nightclub) that I could work with and came up with some other items.

Real Estate Logos, page 4

Here is where I began working with a different person within the company (not the owner) and he requested a color scheme change to blues and silvers and to continue along the same vein, but with simpler font. Then he said he wanted modern, almost futuristic but still feminine, hence the background patterns.

Real Estate Logos page 3

Moving on to the burgundy and black logos, still doing text-only at this point. Some of the changes are very subtle, such as removing lines from around text boxes or slightly changing the size of the font. There is also a condensed logo, which can be useful for many things, such as just wanting to place your mark someplace small on things attributable to you and your company!

Real Estate Logos 2

The text-only logos are what we started with and then added the burgundy color. Next there was a color scheme change to blues and silvers. The third set of revisions asked for edgey, modern, sleek font (with examples provided to me), where I added the fractal patterns in the background. Finally, I was asked to replicate a nightclub/luxury resort/LA type of feel, which I endeavored to do, to their other detailed specifications, including changing the name of the company to "V Realty." More logos to follow, but now you can sort of see the transformation process!

Logo Project

It has come to my attention that the real estate company I was doing the logo for is no longer interested in my services. They felt we were not on the same page. I am including the logos I did complete for them in my portfolio. Please take a look! I did a ton of work for this company, so other images will follow, but blogger only allows 5 at a time!

Saturday, August 29, 2009


Here is the very first logo I ever created! I was 19 and created it by hand. They then took it to the shirt shop they were using where it was scanned and used digitally. The director requested 2 samples to choose from.


I worked on the committee for my high school reunion several years ago. The coordinator wanted several styles, so I gave her three to chose from. She chose the top one with a few changes.

Magazine Ad

This is an ad for a magazine in Maryland. I worked within the parameters given, including a deadline, limited color selection and size requirements. This was the first one I did, because the owner was having a hard time adding the snowflake clip art she wanted included and I managed to fix it! So I had the job of doing the ads according to her specifications on other occasions as well.

Post Card

Here is a post card for the educational store for their grand opening. I am including both the front and back of the post card.

Flier Sample

Here are several fliers I did around 2001 for the educational retail store where I worked for several years. The Severna Park location is now closed, but they have opened in Annapolis Mall since then. Their link is listed under "Businesses I Support" on the right.

Business Card 2

This one I did when I couldn't afford the Mary Kay business package! the clipart is generic but I really liked the picture and I modeled the layout after other MK cards I had seen.

Business Cards 1

Here are some samples I finally scanned into my computer. I will separate them by type so that they can easily be found via the Labels to the right. They are also viewable on iFreelance.com under Taylor Ink.

This one I did for a gift basket business I started in conjunction with my mom's craft business. I loved this card! It was so simple and clean! Unfortunately, we started it at the same time the recession started and we didn't get very far!

Monday, August 17, 2009

New Artwork Posted

As you may have noticed, to the right, I uploaded some more examples of my artwork. I am also now a part of www.ifreelance.com and www.odesk.com both for freelancers. I have an extensive portfolio also visible on ifreelance.com. I am hoping to bid on some projects, expand my portfolio, attract some long-term clients and get some more experience under my belt.

I am also trying to expand my skills by trying out Photoshop, reading up on the software and researching local schools for classes.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

On the Road to Success Trifold Board

This was a challenge outlined and issued by a national director that one of my directors wanted to use. I created a road from black construction paper, using a white crayon for the detail. I cut slits in the paper using an exact-o knife and anchored small paperclips in them at each of the monetary goals listed on the road signs. I printed cars out and put them into plastic sleeves (much less expensive than laminating and reusable!) which can be "parked" at each stop as they reach it.
There is a place at the bottom there, the 2 blocks backed by black, showing the goal for the number of consultants in the unit and the number of consultants currently in the unit, which is changeable with another sleeve and paperclip duo.

Title and contest rules.

One of the cars "on the road." Additionally, a blank spot was inserted on the car doors, where either a number can be put directly in pencil (then erased and a new number added as needed) or a smaller piece of paper can be inserted in the sleeve with the current number of "passengers" or teammates that sales consultant currently has on her team.

Prizes awarded upon completion, made up to look like billboards on the side of the road, with ribbons denoting which prize level is which.
I can do any visual and am quite good at creative solutions. For example, with these 2 boards (this plus the Lucky 7's board) Anna wanted to reuse old boards plus not spend too much more money on them. While she paid me for my time, on an hourly basis, she paid less than $6 in expenses and office supplies for BOTH boards! I was pretty proud of myself! :)

Lucky 7's-themed Trifold Board

After much work, the 2 trifold boards are complete! :) The Director in question (a Mrs. Anna Santamaria) seemed a little overwhelmed and I believe she said, "This was so much more than I was expecting!" So I was pleased!

Note the handy ribbons (left and right) that are pulled through a slit and anchored with tape on the back. No more coloring in blocks as you are moving towards a goal, here's a nicer way to do things! The larger center blocks are covered with baseball card pages, cut to fit. Now there are 3 to a strip and a picture can be inserted over the goal of the team member who has reached it. On the left are numbers for sales in $300 increments. On the right is for recruiting, one at a time.

The Lucky 7's board in its entirety.

The right side of the trifold, detailing prizes.

The left side of the trifold, where Star Tracking is graphed (handy color-matching star stickers are included in an envelope on the back of the board). Additionally, the Mary Kay titles of Queen of Sharing and Queen of Sales are denoted with playing cards, the Queen of Hearts and Diamonds, respectively, in keeping with the theme.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Flier Sample

Here is another flier sample I did for one of the Mary Kay Directors whom I assist. She has given me a stack of fliers to re-do, so those will be showing up slowly but surely. These would probably have more impact if you could see the outdated originals, but I don't have permission to use the originals! Also, the pink and the pictures at the top are NOT, in actuality, gritty in any way, but smooth and crisp.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Tri-Fold Board Assignment

My first official job will be for a Mary Kay Director, Anna Santamaria. She has requested two trifold boards for tracking her unit's progress on 2 different challenges. I will post pictures as soon as I'm done!

Mrs. Santamaria will now be listed as a "Client" over on the right hand side with a link to her site. This will be standard operating procedure for all clients--I will advertise for free on my blog as well!

Anna Santamaria's Mary Kay Website.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Writing Sample: Novel Excerpt: Fantasy

Dream Journal Entry
Earth time: June 12, 2006

Some part of me knows I am asleep and yet I am still overwhelmed by fear. That night again, in front of my eyes, and this is all I can see: Lily smiling, orange firelight casting a sickly glow on her face, on the snow on the ground. The falling snowflakes, the fire, Lily, they are all silent. The only noise I can hear is the pounding in my ears.

I brace myself for what I know is coming.

I feel I am her, and yet myself at the same time. She leans in close to me, her features becoming distorted like a funhouse mirror reflection... her voice low, garbled and frightening. I cannot understand her and I jerk away from her, feeling guilty at being scared of one of my best friends.
And then, my perspective changes, expands, and Lily comes into normal view, standing before a fire. I see movement out of the corner of my eye, my head swivels unwillingly, knowing what is coming, I am looking expectantly. I see a shadow of a man emerging from the woods, a teeth-baring smile upon his face, his eyes lit up with an unholy fire.

Shard, his presence takes over my dream, he is all I see; pointed teeth, hair and eyes the color of blood, his skin pasty white, although I know that is not how he really looks. Some part of me is whispering, he is a Half-Man, he does not know what he is doing. But I don't care. I can see what he is doing. I unable to forget...."

For this novel excerpt in its entirety, please click here.

This novel excerpt is currently ranked #4 out of 389 excerpts under this title by my writing peers.

[Please note: This excerpt is over a year old and no longer resembles what has actually ended up in my manuscript! My hope is that the way in which I have transformed and used this section is better! ]

Writing Sample: Poetry: Fantasy

"Gaze Into My Eyes

My pale face
Shimmers in the starlight.
Framed by black hair,
My eyes shine and
Darken to midnight blue.
My aura is so controlled
That I am the essence of illusion,
The Mistress of Magic.
My hood falls back,
My cloak swept from
My narrow shoulders.
The staff I possess
Helps me not to walk,
But announces my presence;
Strong and slender,
It parallels my stance;
It is the instrument
That centers my thoughts,
Or will be wielded
For my defense. "

For this poem in its entirety, please click here.

This poem is currently ranked #3 out of 163 by my writing peers under this title.

[Please keep in mind I wrote this when I was about 18 years old!! :) ]

Writing Sample: Must-Haves for Your Child's Playroom

"When we moved into our new home, we had the traditional set-up of both a family room and a formal living room on our first floor. Having a teaching background, I was chomping at the bit to design our playroom, knowing just what I wanted. I quickly made up a list of must-haves for my sons' new room: a comfy, well-organized reading area, a kitchen and dress-up area, table and chairs for creative play and a play table to start.

Being an avid reader myself, books and a comfy, well-lit place to read them were a must. Therefore, we included a hand-me-down couch that was slip-covered and a bright floor-lamp. Using a hand-me-down couch meant that it didn't matter if it got anything on it. For extra seating should there be friends over, we also have two bean bag chairs. Containers are a must to keep everything well-organized, even the books. I chose baskets, as I was incorporating this room into our regular living space and I wanted an overall homey feeling. For larger toys or categories that cannot be contained in a shelf-sitting basket, an old-fashioned toy box is a great alternative. Make sure to look for one with the special hinges that keep the lid from slamming shut on little fingers."

For this article in its entirety, please click here.

This article is posted on Helium.com and is currently ranked by my writing peers at #7 out of 29 articles under this title.

Writing Sample: Gray Wolves Rebound in the U.S. NW: Feds Give Hunters a Green Light

"I have long been fascinated with wolves. Like primates, the social interaction of wolves is very close to that of humans. They have a social hierarchy, display a wide range of emotions, and display intelligence. Wolves have long been a source of debate, fear, study and wonder.
My eyes were opened to the debate about wolves when I read The Loop by Nicholas Evans.

The story drops you right into the middle of the fight, showing the lives of both ranchers and a wolf biologist, trying to coexist in Montana. I was mind-boggled with some of the attitudes illustrated by this story, including the total lack of respect or care for our Earth.

As with most debates, the core issues need to be rooted out.

The reason the government is considering raising the ban on shooting wolves is because ranchers and other humans living close to the habitat for wolves are experiencing some issues. They say that wolves are hunting their livestock and sometimes their pets. I can understand wanting to protect your home and your family pets, but then if you are not contributing to the solution, are you not part of the problem? If the wolves are getting at the livestock, is there no other solution besides shooting them? Since the ranchers are infringing on the wolves' territory, perhaps the ranchers should install privacy fences and the government could facilitate that. Or since most wolves are probably already tagged, maybe they could collar them and put a giant electric fence around Yellowstone. Maybe some could be transported to other habitats where wolves survive, such as areas of Asia or Canada? Something besides just killing them after taking the time to help them live!"

For the article in its entirety, please click here.

This article is posted on Helium.com and is currently ranked by my writing peers as #1 out of 10 articles under this title.

Friday, July 3, 2009

List of Services

I have divided my services into three categories:
Proofreading & Copyediting
Graphic Design & Advertising for Small Business
Website Content
Brochure Content
Research and Fact Checking
Website Content
Academic Papers/Articles
Creative Writing
College Papers
Brochure Content
Business Cards
Logo Design
Coupons/Magazine Advertisements
Newsletter Design and Maintenance
Commissioned Artwork
Scrapbook Pages
Letterhead & Return Address Labels

My Price Guide

Just as an example, here's the layout of my price guide. You can click on this to get a close-up view and actually read it! :)
A word about pricing:

It was highly recommended to me (via several professional books) to price my services competitively. I did do research online on local writers and feel that these prices reflect the average pricing for the services I am offering. Furthermore, I am a perfectionist, a hard worker and extremely organized--you will truly get more than you pay for with me. AND, I work by project, so it really depends on how much time I think it's going to take and how extensive the project will be, including any planning, researching, procuring of supplies, etc that will be needed before I can even start! This mostly concerns my graphic art work. Pricing will more often than not be by project. PLEASE just ask!
Thank you! :)

Direct Sales Flier

Text has been grayed out to protect the privacy of the client. Much of my work, at least at first as I build a client base, will be for the two Mary Kay Directors whom I assist. So please excuse all the pink and black! Although I love the color combination myself, I am not actually trying to insert it into everything I do; they are simply company colors!

My New Logo

A Casual Resume

Hello! My name is Lara Taylor and I am a freelance writer and graphic designer.

I have basically been creating since I was a small child and am interested in drawing, painting and even a little sculpting. I enjoy using acrylics, watercolors, colored pencil, charcoal and pastels.

I moved into logo design at the tender age of 19 when the child care I was working for discovered I could draw. I designed the logo for the child care and later, a logo for the director's husband's lawncutting business.

Next, I helped the college library I worked for to design interior signage and flyers. Later, the retail store I worked for had me designing flyers, sales ads with coupons within the parameters dictated by a magazine, post cards used for mass mailings, interior signage, calendars and even business forms specific to that retail store's needs, including spreadsheets with working formulas and clipart.

Since being in direct sales, I have of course done all my own flyers, mass mailing letters, post cards, business cards, letterhead, labels for various uses (such as some with a logo and tagline for use on gift tags), brochures, newsletters and more. I currently do all of that for my direct sales Director and her offspring Director. I have also translated mass mailing letters into more modern and eye-catching flyer-type letters, instruction sheets for customers with attractive clip-art and anything else they require to help advertise and organize their businesses. For the offspring director, I also re-vamped and maintain her monthly newsletter.

I have also worked for family members starting businesses by helping to come up with business names, logos, taglines, business card designs, pricing signs, and catalogs.

At home, I have put my creativity and organizational urges to good use, creating calendars that consolidate schedules, creating invitations both by hand (a collage-type) and by computer, and CD labels. Additionally, I have created frame-worthy artwork for my home and the homes of my family members.

In the way of writing, I have been slowly but surely writing a science fiction novel. I joined Helium.com and have written a number of articles and submitted previously written poetry. I enjoy writing humorous stories and engaging in debates. I feel comfortable with both education and medical terminology. I am a stickler for spelling and word flow. I am confident in my abilities to proofread and copyedit.

I have a dual college degree in Elementary Education and Liberal Studies, graduating magna cum laude with a 3.89 gpa. I have an Associate's Degree in General Studies. I have joked I have taken at least 3 (or more!!) classes in every subject. I am particularly interested in history, women's history, ancient world, health, politics, education, women's issues/feminism, motherhood and domestic issues. But I am such a such a perfectionist, anything I can proofread and correct, I am on it!

My goal here is just to let people know what I can do, to have a place for potential clients to find out about me, my background, and my abilities. Additionally, I will gladly promote my clients by broadcasting current projects, websites and showcasing samples.

Keep checking back for samples of my graphic design portfolio.


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