I'm a big fan of Richard Zielenkiewicz's artwork, and decided to try reproducing one of his pieces in Adobe Illustrator, similar to the way I free handed a United Airlines piece by Joseph Binder last year. Monsieur Z's artwork is well known in the advertising world, and has often been described as edgy, retro, and even swanky. Colorful, cartoonish characteristics abound, often with a dash of whimsy thrown in. Below is a side-by-side comparison of his original masterpiece next to my reproduction.
Hard to believe, but we are approaching eight years living in Colorado. It was quite a trade-off sacrificing a military career for maintaining a high quality of life for my family. I can't help playing the "What if" game now and then, and wondering how things could have gone differently. But none of my alternative scenarios would have had us having this much outdoor time and such good friends. Thanks Colorado!
Still learning the ins and outs of this fabulous software. Happy 40th Anniversary to Star Wars fans everywhere!
"Star Wars enthusiast" doesn't begin to describe my affection for this storied franchise. I saw the original film 40 years ago when I was just four, and have been hooked on a galaxy far, far away ever since. It has been a lot of fun creating Star Wars vector art in Adobe Illustrator the past two months. Here is my latest creation from tonight's endeavors. Feedback and comments are always welcome.
Another Saturday; another irresistible meme. This time it is "Flag Color Representation Parodies," which exploded across the interwebs this week on places like reddit and knowyourmeme.com.
My satirical examples are below and all created in Powerpoint. My European Union Flag is trending on knowyourmeme.com right now and currently has over 5,000 views. Enjoy!
After nearly a year, and working around an overseas deployment, we are calling our Harry Potter reading room complete! Besides being furnished in a Gryffindor Common Room style, (including a Lumos/Nox light switch, stuffed Hedwig Owl and a 9&3/4 pillow), this reading room also features much of my Harry Potter artwork created in Adobe Illustrator and Microsoft Powerpoint, (most of it in 20" X 30" posters.) It also comes with a Marauder's Map tapestry, House Gryffindor banner, and of course a Harry Potter collector's steamer trunk and two wands from Ollivander's wand shop! Let us know what you think!
Hello everyone! It has been a whirlwind few weeks returning from a year long deployment abroad and being thrown into the middle of a busy semester teaching a new course back at the "home 'drome."
In between adjusting to being back with family and working around dozens of projects I had put on hold for the deployment, I managed to complete one of my goals from 2015; becoming a trained SKYWARN weather spotter for the National Weather Service!
Hi everyone! I've returned from a long deployment overseas and am enjoying some R&R. Here is my latest cartographic creation. I'm slowly adding in more content on each map as I develop my skills. "The Northlands" is my first attempt at adding hills and creating a monolithic ruins. As always, feedback appreciated!
Everything in this map is created entirely within Microsoft Powerpoint; no clip art! Most of the map is created using the shapes tools.
Hello everyone! I added a few more icons and experimented with some different water features on this map. Feedback welcome!
Hello everyone. I decided to see if I could create detailed map icons inside Powerpoint using just the basic shapes tools. The "Royal Lighthouse" and "The Citadel" on this map are the products of that effort. Both are modeled after internet finds and recreating them from scratch in Powerpoint was painstaking, but doable. As always, thanks for visiting and I hope you find my work here inspiring for your own presentation work and creative endeavors!
Created inside Powerpoint without any clip art and using just the basic shapes tools. Most people have no idea how easy it is to do serious artwork inside Microsoft's premier presentation software. One of my goals with this website is to showcase just how versatile Powerpoint can be when you get away from templates and clip art.
Showcasing Creativity is the Goal
What is the purpose of this website? I'm using it for a variety of reasons that all fall under a general goal of showcasing creativity and changing perceptions people have about presentations.
Firstly, I wanted to change perceptions about Microsoft's Powerpoint software. It is actually incredibly versatile, and remains the benchmark presentation tool for many good reasons. Always the scapegoat for every bad presentation, the truth is usually that the presentation was bad simply because the presenter and the material they put together was bad. In short, Microsoft makes a great product and takes the blame, when the presenter is usually the one at fault.
I'm currently a military briefer for senior and mid-level military leaders, forced to employ the absolute, most hideous slides anyone has ever seen. Think about a Steve Jobs presentation and his supporting graphics......and then realize I brief the exact opposite of those design principles and what you see in those presentations; daily. It hurts my soul.
What do these slides I labor under look like? Is there text filling all available white space on the slide? Check. Font size 10 for an older audience wearing glasses sitting up to 50 feet away? Check. Tables, Charts, maps and graphs strewn about the slide in an unorganized manner with the only logic being to cram as much as humanly possible on one slide? Check. Color palettes that resemble a Rainbow Bright vomitorium? Check. You've seen it yourself wherever you work. It is painful. We can often do better. When we can't, or aren't permitted to do so, then we can do the next best thing and at least show the world it doesn't really have to be that way. That's what this website does. Call it an outlet for some of my workplace frustrations.
A second goal for me here at powerpointparade.com is that I wanted people to think differently about default templates, and other pre-canned layouts within presentation software. Making your own graphics is actually quite simple and allows you to truly customize a presentation exactly the way you want it. I'm a jack-of-all trades Air Force navigator who has been an aviator, a military aviation instructor, an executive officer (a glorified secretary), a Space wargame director, and a geography college teacher. I also have seven years in the grocery industry and picked up a smattering of insider advertising tips occasionally helping build the weekly full-page newspaper ads. I have no formal training in art or graphic design though, and my academic degrees are in history, political science and geography. So, if I can do it, so can you.
Third, I'm a meticulous borderline workaholic. Despite all my hobbies from cycling to numismatics, this is a genuinely fun and satisfying outlet for me. I just enjoy working hard, and relish the focus that comes with crafting creative projects. For me, creating something elegant, appealing, and useful is a reward in and of itself. The cynic in me realizes that art is really exactly the same thing as a military strategy called deception; (all art is an illusion getting you to see something that isn't really there; and this is a very useful military skill for survival). But the goal here isn't victory; just the satisfaction that comes from creativity and educating people.
Lastly, I'm approaching the end of my military career. I have no idea what's next. But after a lot of disappointment in the Air Force, I'd like to return to the civilian world and corporate America; perhaps designing education materials or working in advertising or some other graphic design venue. I have a solid ten years of public speaking for audiences ranging from classrooms to large auditoriums of mid-level and senior government and industry leaders at home and abroad, and would consider that as a gig, (as long as I had control over the presentation material.) I'm hoping potential employers see this website and are intrigued with my work, my unusually broad background, and my "talent stack," as Dilbert creator Scott Adams calls it. What say you?
2016 was a truly historic year. Undoubtedly, one of the biggest stories was the resurgence of nationalism in western nations. Citizens rose up at the ballot box against statists, globalists, elites and the status quo, demanding a restoration of national sovereignty and individual rights for average citizens that have been forgotten. Populism and patriotism have forced governments to refocus efforts away from special interests towards the betterment of its citizens. This is nationalism; plain and simple.
Effects from Brexit, and the election of Donald Trump in the United States, are likely to carry long-lasting policy changes around the world for decades, as citizens shift away from globalism, and back towards nationalism. Globalism and nationalism are more often than not pitted against each other, despite being in a constant search for win-win scenarios with each other. And both carry serious pros and cons.
The forces behind globalism threw everything they had in 2016 at citizens to prevent the election results in Great Britain and the United States from happening; but to no avail. The multi-polar world of geopolitics just became even more massively complex, as everything from stalwart treaties, to the mundane, day-to-day low power politics such as the basic movement of goods, people and services is now on the table for adjustments. Voters demanded serious change; expect to see it. Brexit may very well be the catalyst that collapses the EU, as other nationalist movements throughout the trading bloc are gaining traction quickly.
One of the more visible and immediate results of the resurgence of nationalism in the United States, has been a diminishment in the power of corporate mainstream media, as opinion polls clearly show trust in these institutions has sank to historic lows after their obvious attempts to influence the election outcomes against populist movements. Will this damage to the mainstream press be permanent? Perhaps. Alternative media from Talk Radio, to bloggers, to the mighty Breitbart, are all rushing to ensure mainstream media's stranglehold on information, aka "propaganda," is permanently broken. In my opinion, the more sources of information that are available, the better off average citizens are. Hopefully, the free market will produce the best possible sources of information from here on out.
Monumental change is happening so fast in the United States, that it is difficult to keep track of it all. Starting with a quintessentially nationalist inaugural speech, a historically unique, workaholic President who has decades of experience producing profitable results and making deals worldwide, is now harnessing the power of the competitive leadership model in the executive branch, while simultaneously leveraging party advantages within the legislative branch to implement massive changes swiftly and decisively. Regardless of your political leanings, it is a fascinating sight to behold! And you can thank nationalism for all of it!
The graphic above is a faithful reproduction of the "Arsenal" album art for the band, "Bronnt Industries Kapital." I stumbled across it in a google images search and instantly thought it would be perfect as a future template for a lesson on nationalism in the geopolitics class I teach. My version is created in Adobe Illustrator to the 4:3 standard Powerpoint slide size. The font is "Red October" by Neogrey Creative on Dafont.com.
Everything else below was created in Powerpoint, using just the basic shapes tools.
Hello again everyone! I stumbled across a great example of art that is a perfect fusion of map, message, and minimalism by Travis Ladue. I found his "No. 50" here at: https://designschool.canva.com/blog/cartography/
His personal website is: http://travisladue.com/
Here is my recreation of his work in Microsoft Powerpoint using just the basic shapes tools. Total time: about two hours. I hope you like it!
This one is at a larger scale......created entirely using the shapes tools in Microsoft Powerpoint.
Happy 2017 everyone! Work and the holidays have been busy, and my aggressive agenda to learn a bunch of new map making skills in the early part of the year has been pushed back UFN. In the meantime, please enjoy this simple fantasy map created in Microsoft Powerpoint.
All elements were created using just the basic shapes tools, except the scale bar, which was pasted in to save time.
Hello everyone! I'm taking a break from Powerpoint for a bit to learn the art and skills associated with hand drawn cartography. Here is the result of Day Two, after watching WASD20's excellent YouTube tutorials. Feedback is appreciated!