If I were an actor...

...this would have been the Design version of doing Porn for bus fare! 

I actually get to use something from School other than proof of diploma purchase?!

I actually get to use something from School other than proof of diploma purchase?!

Ooooh look at me, using some college project as an editorial spot for my own blog!

Mom I made it!! haha

We've all been there with whatever industry you work in. That "Annnnd we've hit a new low" moment in our career. Well I've had a few to say the least. Not to mention some doozies that have nothing to do with my design career but just times where you have to ask yourself :"where did I go wrong?" or think :"At least I'm not mopping floors at a strip joint" but that doesn't mean we're not allowed to complain about the shitty jobs we've had or poke fun at ourselves. Hopefully you read along and enjoy some funny moments in my working life. 

3 months of mental anguish

3 months of mental anguish

One was where I worked for a local Canadian Tire and I cut my hand because I used a customer's jacknife to cut an inch thick nylon rope where the supplied wire cutters took forever to cut! Damn jacknife had a thing you had to push to close it properly and slippppp I cut my hand. I ended up claiming 3 hours worker's comp. and forced to take a worker's safety class after all this. They even had a new system set up for everyone who worked there to have to put these big-ass goggles on and gloves to cut nylon rope! Christ they hated me there! Thank Eff I made the hockey team that fall and couldn't work there anymore.


Another doozy (which funny enough a friend of mine went through the same ordeal) was when I responded to an ad that said "Want to get into 'Business-to-Business Advertising!??". I was pumped thinking "heck yea I do!"  I get there, and there's this weird almost religious rally was going on in this conference room where people are pumping themselves up and cheering and shit and they come running out of the meeting all smiles and laughing. A couple come around tapping  me on the back asking me how I was and shit and me wondering...um.....huh? Then having an interviewer tell me: "well we'll be getting you out on the road right away! And you'll be with Andrea here (Not sure what her name was) but it was one of those AWWNdreas not Aindrea. I digress. So I end up in this beat up piece of shit car with three other weirdos out in god knows where and this Andrea is pointing to different buildings saying "Ok you'll go there and hit up that whole row and then the other side. I'll take Paul to the Mall and we'll meet up at the Hospital for lunch!" I'm just deer in headlights at this point.  This B2B bullshit was just a bunch of flyer pushers for spas and other joints that wanted us to get people to come by!  So yea. By the end of the day, I was kicked out of a Mall, a Hospital, and left in the middle of North Markham with only knowing that I needed to take a bus south and to get the hell out of Dodge. Oh and I didn't get paid obviously. I didn't mention that I brought my portfolio with me too. What. A. Waist. Of. 8. Hours!  

So a buddy of mine that I used to work retail with was a graphic designer and was first to "GET OUT" of the retail biz and he hooked me up with my first Graphic Design full-time job. 

I made it!

I was in front of a computer that had photoshop and illustrator and I was ready to make a career for myself. Sure it was a PC but fuck it!  It was with a Sports Marketing firm. I wouldn't call it that at all. It's a family owned framing business where the son who had a lot of connections to NHL players decided to take the framing part and throw in autographed photos into them and sell em to collectors. "Yeah I'm in Sports Marketing" is what I would tell people. Pfff!

When they started this whole "Sports Marketing" part of the business, they landed a client that made them some good money. So they bought nice cars, nice homes and it looked like things were in the right direction. That job they landed that made them money fell apart and they ran with what they made. So it was set in stone that they may not have made some great business moves and might not look promising for the future. I was right. 

At one point they (The owners and VPs) became curious to see what they could do with this license they had with the NHL. Where else can you find great ideas? A Trade show for Trinkets, Doodads and Toys nowhere else than CHINA!! 


Off they went with our bonus money to look for the next big thing in sports paraphernalia! Boy they were excited! The next time we see them, they're so happy and smiley and shit it made us all sick. So eventually the designers got to hear what they wanted to create. 

They brought back a bag of bullshit that looked like someone barfed un-recyclable plastic garbage all over the place!  

This was the kicker, I was asked to "Design" a


Good thinking for that Watermark! God knows someone might want to make money off this image.

Good thinking for that Watermark! God knows someone might want to make money off this image.

Good thing they put a watermark on this, or I'd be posting this and trying to make money from it.

I was asked to create a vector drawing of the actual said swatter in form of the team's logo! Want to crush that moth that has been sputtering around for the last half hour around your kitchen light! Here comes a big ass Toronto Maple Leafs logo ready to spread your guts all over the place! 

Well it kept some people in China happy right?

I'm quite sure this factory wasn't making Fly Swatters, but they look like they would love to don't they?

I'm quite sure this factory wasn't making Fly Swatters, but they look like they would love to don't they?

As soon as I was dealt this project, I emailed all my buddies back home.

Remember when all you guys went off to school to be engineers, and I went to art school? Boy I was dumb!

I couldn't go lower. There was nothing but Up left ahead. I think as a joke, I even took all the NHL licensing design assets and made a condom wrapper. 

Oh! and there was this ditty of an idea from China they wanted to do. JERSEY KITES!! yayyyy!!! "Hey mom look! there's a headless, legless, armless boy flying around in the sky!!" how FUN!! 



I was happily not involved with that Award Winner but was privileged to see the people taking this idea seriously so that I may ad to the hilarity and ridiculousness of the this China trip in it's entirety. 

"So Ainsy! what shitty projects have you had since those golden years?" some may ask.  Well working for a pharmaceutical advertising agency I've seen my share of queasiness.  

For instance this happy little gouger called the Ozurdex Gun.

Look Ma' ! A submarine!

Look Ma' ! A submarine!

It's needle that goes right into your eyes and shoots Botox in to the back to help you with Glaucoma and shit. (That's that actual clinical explanation). So instead of just smoking a ton of Herb, get some guy who's making tons off of you to jab a needle into your eye while you're awake to "see it" all go down. 

Which reminds me, I need to take a piss

Which reminds me, I need to take a piss

Ah then there's the Botox Urology. They also have a needle for that. Botox should be like iPhone Apps. "There's an App for that!" well Botox would be "There's a needle for that!" Nothing like looking at a bladder all day though. Speaking of Apps, I was asked to create one for your phone that will allow a patient to keep on top of all the piss he or she is dishing out during the day. I guess it would help some people, but me as a designer and someone who doesn't want to illustrate piss, yea, not fun.

So there you have it! Apart from those horror stories in my design career, and some goodies from before that, things are looking pretty damn good right now. Oh and I hear I'm getting a return on my income tax!! Finally! I don't owe dem jack this year!

If any of you would like to add a horror story to this blog, please feel free to post it in the comments below! I love hearing other people's misery haha

Oh I forgot to mention that at one point working for Canadian Tire, a customer, after asking me where a product was and I said we are all out, he yelled out to me from down the isle :"they're right here you MORON!!"

I'll leave the table open to more fun times! 


No really, I need to take a piss!

No really, I need to take a piss!

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Terrible Clients I have to thank. (no names mentioned)

If there's one thing I hate about the creative business is the money side of things. I never had a stronghold on how to go about quoting jobs for companies or setting standards for the value of my time, but when freelancing became my occupation I had to settle on a number, well a few numbers. Those numbers probably have scared off half of the business that has come my way in the last couple of years and I'm happy to say that at this point in my career you can "Take or Leave it" because I've been through some pretty shady situations and I won't put myself through them again.


I'll let you know a few interesting stories (sorry if it's a little long) that would explain why I can charge what I charge and why you should find someone else if you think I'm too pricey or why I flat out rejected you as a client.

Going back to when I was living downtown in Toronto, working a retail job at the Eaton Centre and making just enough to pay my share of the rent, I dabbled in freelance. After school was done, I sent out postcards with my artwork on them to a number of companies that I thought would be a great fit. One was Thrasher Magazine. Somehow, someone at Thrasher sent gave it to a buddy of his, and turned out that guy was an Art Director for Tony Hawk's Skateboard Clothing line. He emailed me and asked if this was my work, and if I'd be interested in doing a few designs for him. I jumped at the chance and started drawing. I nailed down a few designs and one he really loved and put in front of Mr. Hawk himself along with a bunch of others he had spread out on the table. Tony then said to him :"I want that one on me in the game". The game he was talking about was his 4th installment of his very successful franchise games of Tony Hawk Pro Skater .

So it got chosen to be part of the clothing line and represented on him in his game. The thing about all this was that I found this out AFTER I bought the game for myself! I knew that it was a greenlight for the clothing but this game thing was a total surprise.

What I made was a messily $150!

Now if I played my cards right today, I would have made around $300 - $500 for the initial design, and then I would have set up a permissions agreement along with a fee for the usage on the video game for N. America/Europe/Asia and would have been sitting pretty happy.

What I made was a messily $150 and a free T-shirt that took me calling up their wearhouses in California to find one for me. So this taught me to have everything upfront but did I learn my lesson? No - because I love doing work, and I hate when someone isn't happy with my work.


Here's a pic of a framed Tee along with the game it was on framed and sealed. It was my first real big gig that I got on my own. So she sits in my office well displayed and a reminder that I did something huge, for pennies.

A few years later, I was living with my now wife at her home to save money to purchase our home and I found a few start-up clothing companies. Their subject matter was a tad offside, but I didn't care and I needed money. This kid that I did the job for ended up having more then a dozen designs, and logos to choose from and ended up paying a surprising $400 for the lot. Not a bad gig I suppose, but God knows where he is now, and God knows what's happening to the artwork. Today, he would have got maybe 2 or 3 Designs/logos for that.

Below is some terrible samples I made for this kid.

Screen Shot 2013-04-04 at 11.19.28 PM.png

Enter two years later. I'm found by some guy who runs a tattoo shop and is starting a band in some small town not so far from here. He loved the work I did for a local band that started making it big in Canada.  He wants two things, album artwork for an album that isn't created yet, for a band that isn't "Staffed" completely, and some t-shirts and signage for his tattoo shop that he and his brother ran.
The guy is nice enough to hand me half of the album artwork in cash up front. I'm thinking, this will be fun. Guy has a roll of 20's and 50's in his pocket and he just handed me this without me asking.

I have more work for you. No worries

So as you might have guess, the band doesn't form, artwork is done, project killed, I ask for a kill fee, he says "I have more work for you no worries" I, for some reason, continue doing "business" with him. He wants a logo for his tattoo shop. I pull through. He wants signage where I had to copy an illustration that exists, I finish that. I create a t-shirt design for his shop, he loves them. Done. He gets me to start copying some tattoo he sees online, I stop halfway and say, can I get paid for my past jobs so I invoice. He gets back to me with "I have to see what my brother thinks". He comes back says his brother hates them. I say, ok, but you have to pay for all this. He comes back with "Well if someone doesn't like the tattoo I draw them, they don't pay for it"!!! Are you kidding me!??? Hahaha  Do I look like I'm working in a greasy tattoo shop (do they call them parlours nowadays?). I can understand not liking the work but not paying a dime for it?? He said that he would get me more work down the road (No thank you) and that he would get me paid because he was "... a man of my word".  I could have taken him to court, but it's not worth my time. I can publicly bash his business on his Facebook Account, but I'm not made that way.

So what did I make from that ridiculous job? The initial $400 for his killed album cover for a band that existed for one stupid night in some basement. (as far as I know/care)

Here's some samples of the work I did for this guy.

Screen Shot 2013-04-04 at 11.51.12 PM.png

I will go on the record to say that 80% of the jobs I've done in my career have been for people that know nothing of business and all about taking advantage of someone and their good heart and great work ethics.  Are these people to blame for my demise? HELL NO! This is part of creating a career. Don't get me wrong. I won't be shaking their hands, but they all taught me some valuable lessons. That my time is worth something. That I won't be suckered. That the next clients I have will get something great and something they can be proud to say "I paid a guy to do this for me". 

Now if you have asked me recently to quote a job and have not returned an email. I understand. I'm too pricey and you were expecting someone who doesn't have a mortgage to pay. A baby to feed. A land tax to fufill at the end of the year and someone that just needs some money in his pocket to pay for milk for Christ sakes. Either way, I get it. You want great work for cheap but that's not how it works. It works that way for people that have the time to spend on making you look amazing and in the end of it all have only enough money to make pay for that latest XBox game that just came out.

Here's a popular graph that us designers with a spine actually live by.

Tells it all.

Tells it all.

To those who are reading this and actually did work with me as a client, I hope you learned something from what happened. I hope you never make those mistakes again with the next person that you are lucky enough to find to do work for you.

Oh and if you're that guy that still owes me $350 and gave me every excuse under the sun for not paying it up for work rendered, (he even gave me the "Death in the family" excuse) - Keep it!  Put it into your site that has yet to go live in the last 2 years and no, I will not be adding you to LinkedIn so stop sending requests. Just know that you're embedded in my brain as a person that didn't pay up. I might forget about jobs I've done in the past but you never forget about someone that owes you.

I really could have used a video like the one below. If you are just starting out, please watch this video. Your school may not send you off with all the right tools because hey! you're a designer/artist not a business person! Well guess what, clients don't care and will take you to the cleaners. This video will get your head straight when it comes to doing what you love... and getting paid for it.


Behance is Friggin' Bitchin'


Since the summer I've been doing some contracts here and there and helping out in friends' projects (with a payment in the end of course) but on my off time I tried to do something I rarely do, draw and design what I want to do. Since my last job I rarely touched my drawing book. I rarely dabbled in anything that wasn't related to lame corporate shit that had to adhere to so many things, like dropping in thousands of paragraphs of copy so that some company doesn't get sued if anything bad happens to the patient or creating mindless kiss-ass caricature gifts for clients that are leaving to work in Shanghai or something where at some points "really needed to include a glass of lemonade in the picture because they really like lemonade".  (See Doogy's gif for thought reference)

Regardless, what can you say. I got paid for it and twas the nature of the beast but I still tried to occupy some pages of my drawing book (so i didn't forget how to draw) along the way with intentions on coming back to them down the road. But now, I can actually have a little more time to put something down and follow through with it!

Doodle I ended up inking a year later.

Doodle I ended up inking a year later.

With a little more time to utilize social networking, I got to electronically meet a number of cool and talented people. One of them understood my new freelance situation and mentioned I had to get out there with my work. One site he mentioned was Behance.

I've gotta tell ya, if you think sometimes "what a small world" think again. There are millions of creative people out there and they're a lot better at what you do then you think. Most sites I post work on are quite North American. This site is completely global. Jaw dropping talents from Brazil, Poland, Mexico to the Philippines. All over , you'll meet like-minded creatives who just love looking at projects working on them and displaying their own. It's all so insanely inspiring to just be part of this global village of creatives. Looking up award annuals is one thing but this is the raw talent that can get someone drawing in seconds. These are the creatives in the background that haven't had a chance for a big company to promote them by submitting their works to a big named awards show. The stuff that large companies aren't paying money to have someone say "you're the best this year!!... from the 5 projects we see in front of us"
Awards should be given out every day on this site because there's genius being displayed everyday.

...inspiring to just be part of this global village of creatives.

At any rate, in 1 month of being on there and I've garnered almost 3000 views of my work and have gotten to display my works to people who love looking at creative work and giving out great constructive criticism and compliments.

The really cool part of this site, on top of statistics of how many folks are viewing your work, complimenting it and looking up your profile, is that you can post WIPs (Work In Progress) projects. Followers or folks in your circle can give pointers or anything they want to hopefully have an amazing final product. Below is an example of my initial sketch and the final piece. It was a lot of fun hearing "Wow great start! Can't wait to see this through until the end!". It was like the best boss in the world that loved everything you did and just waited anxiously to see how you'd do. It kept me wanting to finish as soon as I could to see their reaction. Once you completed the project, you can publish it to your portfolio so that everyone can see it, share it and exploit the fact that you love doing what you're meant to do.


So swing by Behance and try to keep up. There is a lot to see and discover. (I sound like a license plate tag line)

Ok I'm ready to pass out bigtime now so night night!


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It's bin a while eh bud!?

So here I am. I'm blogging again?? Aaruuughhh?? (Tim the Tool Man sound)
 Well I figure it's a great way to expel some crap off of my chest, or just or to just to let anyone who is interested into what is up in my little world.

Like I mentioned, my last blog entry on http://paidesign.blogspot.ca/ was February 24th, 2010.  Well a whollllle shit-ton has happened since then reader(s)!

I'll try and throw in interesting pics and links to anything I'm talking about 'cuz let's face it, there's a reason I took art in school and it wasn't for my writing.  I know my mother will just have a fit with the spelling mistakes or my sentence structures and so on, but I'm going to go with it and I'll try to be a clear, informative and entertaining as possible.

So where to start?! My gosh. Well, I married a beautiful woman for starters back on November 6th, 2010. It was a chilly day but everyone had a great time, and I couldn't be happier for what I signed up for. She's the strength behind all of my weaknesses and why I choose to continue to pursue what matters to me. She straightens me out when I'm stumbling and she comforts me when I need to feel that I'm doing the right thing. She's a hell of a cook, she tells me to go out with the boys and she always thinks of others before herself. She's an amazing person and all of my struggles are worth it for her.

My Beautiful bride and I on our special day. Photo by Vicky Brahos

My Beautiful bride and I on our special day. Photo by Vicky Brahos

After our lovely fun wedding we started living our lives just as we always did. A fun couple who lived in a lovely home which had a guest bedroom. But now that bedroom is currently being occupied by someone I still have a hard time believing is part of our lives. My beautiful little daughter Fiona Olive. She was born May 2nd, 2012 at 4:30 am and I was the first one she opened her eyes to and it melted me.  She is now both of our raison d’êtres.

Me and my brand new baby Fiona Olive

Me and my brand new baby Fiona Olive

There really is no resting when it comes to learning to be a Dad. It's on from the day she arrives and it never stops. My wife blew me away with how well she did throughout this whole process but we are so happy she was healthy and ready kick some ass...at baby'ing. It really has changed everything for the better. 

Our little Sleeping Beauty

Our little Sleeping Beauty

So as it goes, really since 2010, wedding and baby can top the list. There have been ups and down and some crazy times like two months after becoming a father, being laid off from a 4 year job but it resulted in me experiencing some of the most exciting career events to come my way since getting accepted into Art School.  I'll get to some of those experiences soon. For now,  I'll just leave it with this photo that sums up my life.

Pauly out!

Dad's a crazy weirdo but he makes me laugh

Dad's a crazy weirdo but he makes me laugh