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** I am unavailable for freelance work until January 2014 **

If you'd like  to get in touch about a freelance project or just to say hi, please send me a message using the form or via twitter at @ivonnekn.

~ Ivonne




If you have a budget in mind, please let me know.
Do you have a timeline for your project or a hard deadline for launch?


Designer and illustrator specializing in brand identity design, web design and UI/UX design, based in Toronto via Milton.


Filtering by Tag: inspiration

Relationships that feed you

Ivonne Karamoy

I came across this article on Medium by Shuna Lydon, a pastry chef in Brooklyn. The article is a piece about Gina DePalma, the renowned pastry chef of Mario Batali's Babbo restaurant in NYC, and one of Shuna's first mentors. Gina has worked with Mario Batali for many years at Babbo and before that with Claudia Fleming at the Gramercy Tavern. The article talks about Gina's passion for and adherence to the integrity of Italian cooking throughout her career. I love food and I love anything Italian - the food, the culture, the land, the people (I married an Italian) but this isn't about Italian food or anything related to food really - that will be for another post maybe... In the article Shuna quoted Gina as saying this about working with Batali:

When you have a strong, creative relationship with someone, you feed off that energy; you can’t wait to share your own ideas and get more from your colleagues... in the beginning years he inspired me with just his energy and excitement about food and ingredients, and our mutual love of Italian cooking.
— Gina DePalma on working with Mario Batali

It reminded me of the importance of surrounding yourself with people and relationships that inspire you. I've learned through my career, through school, through personal relationships that nothing can replace a great relationship. Whenever I've lost my heart or my motivation I can always relate it back to relationships that drain me of energy. Whether that relationship is with people, with work, with my surroundings, whatever. Finding relationships that are truly great means finding relationships that inspire you, excite you, motivate you, challenge you, and even scare you (in a good way). And if you can find relationships with people that do all that, then that's the best kind.


Ladies Learning Code

Ivonne Karamoy

ladies learning code

For those of you who don't know, Toronto has a pretty fantastic developer community! There's a bit of a startup vibe in this city and that helps to encourage and feed the developer and designer community. Designers are eager to learn from developers and developers understand more and more the importance of designers.

I've been getting involved in the community when I can and the biggest instigator of that was Ladies Learning Code (LLC).For those of you who don't know about Ladies Learning Code, they are a not-for-profit who provides reasonably priced development workshops targeted for women (though men can attend). The demand has been astonishing! They've had at least one workshop a month, two per month in 2012, and each one has sold out almost instantly! All of their workshops are lead by volunteer instructors who are working in the tech industry. Each workshop is aided by volunteer mentors who also work in the industry and are there to help the students with any questions they may have during the workshop.

Heather Payne along with Melissa Crnic, Breanna Hughes, and Laura Plant run LLC together. They are such an enthusiastic group of women that you can't help but be excited about it!

Since I met with Heather back in December I've become a volunteer mentor at their Wordpress workshop this past January and this weekend I'll be there again to help out with their HTML/CSS workshop. It's such a great vibe and you meet such wonderful fellow mentors in the industry and amazingly enthusiastic people who are eager to learn! I'm also mentoring at their Intro to Photoshop & Illustrator workshop next weekend.

If that wasn't enough - and this is one of the biggest reasons why I wanted to get involved with LLC - they are also running a March Break camp for girls called Girls Learning Code. I will be one of the instructors for the full week and I'm incredibly excited to help the girls feed their creativity in technology. You can find more information here.

Ladies Learning Code has major plans to expand and provide more and more opportunities to encourage women and young girls. Last week they launched a job board that helps to connect people in the industry with the LLC community to find talent for various positions. The job board itself is based on a Wordpress theme that they purchased but Heather asked me to modify the CSS to be consistent with the Ladies Learning Code website and branding. Check it out... it may lead you to a great opportunity!

For more info about Ladies Learning Code, check out their website. You can also sign up to their email list, or to volunteer as a Mentor - and I would highly recommend it! - join their developer email list.

Be True to Yourself

Ivonne Karamoy

The one drawback about being a creative person is you have ideas running through your brain constantly and at warp speed. Actually, let me correct myself, that's not a drawback that's what makes creating fun! But the drawback is in trying to sort through all those ideas. I am constantly looking for inspiration and because my work is mainly digital I spend an awful lot of time on my iMac. So I surf the web. Constantly. Twitter, especially, makes it easy for me to follow people who inspire me and I see and am introduced to more and more things every day that inspire me. And as most creatives are, I am an avid note taker. I make notes, I bookmark links, I draw sketches, I buy books... anything and everything to try to jot down my thoughts for later reference. This is great but I'm constantly inundated with stimuli. The difficult task is to sift through everything and find something that truly means something to me and is inspirational in a way that allows me to be true to myself.

I admire a lot of designers in the web industry, in illustration, in graphic design, in fashion design, in art... there's so many! And I'm guilty of looking on in awe and failing to refine my style. I'm still trying to find it. I don't even know how to define my illustration style... accurate is the only word that comes to mind and that's such a boring description of something that should be so free and creative. I'm so OCD about my art that I stress over inaccurate details, which can be a good thing but also a hindrance to developing personal style. If art school taught me anything it was to make work that is you, there is no perfect in art, there is only true genuine reflection of you and what you perceive.

I guess more important than developing my personal style in my work is to be true to me. To be instinctual enough to make decisions based on what I like and what works for me - or, of course, my clients and their projects. Basically, what makes sense to the project at hand. There's always going to be designs and illustrations that you look at with envy because you admire them so much, but they may not be appropriate for the work you are producing and more importantly, they're not you.

It's also about being confident in your work to know when to stop. Art school also taught me that. You can constantly rework things, redesign things, redraw things, but the best artists are those who know when to stop. Take the abstract expressionists for example. To us looking on it seems that they haphazardly placed colours on the canvas until they got tired. But they made elaborate decisions on which would be the last brushstroke.

In my current efforts to redesign my website I am currently at the third iteration of my redesign. And yes, of course, experimentation is a part of design, but I can't keep changing my mind every time I think I've finally come to a decision. I need to stop looking at other people's websites and do what is true to me and when that happens I'll know to stop. I need to try to listen to my instincts and not try to emulate something I admire but let my ideas flow. I'm sure my struggle isn't a unique one. It's a constant struggle for creatives. And maybe the equivalent of a writer's block for artists is not just a lack of ideas and inspirations but also too many ideas clouding your own. The only thing I can think to do now is to stop looking at my favourite designs, stop looking at other websites, stop following links on twitter. Return to the sketchbook, clear my mind and try to hear my voice amidst the chaos.

I suspect that the process of sifting through one's ideas and finding one's voice doesn't end. It's there with every thing you create... in fact, it constantly happens through life. So I'll also try not to be so hard on myself and just let things go... Besides as artists and designers we hope to always do better and better work so the process is constant.

From Me To You

Ivonne Karamoy

Meet Jamie, a NYC based photographer, whose blog, From Me To You, I was introduced to thanks to Smashing Magazine. I don't have an image here to show you because they are her beautiful images. I wouldn't do them justice anyway because you have to visit her blog and really get a feel for it - everything from the photographs and her tumblr theme is magical :)Just go visit it! NOW...

Her work is clearly a reflection of her interests: vintage cameras and classic images. I absolutely fell in love with her photographs! What's even better is her use of animated gifs to bring to life her beautiful photographs and create a certain ephemeral quality about them. These images move, subtly and beautifully. But the quality of her work is evident in the photographs themselves. Yes they move, but they are beautiful even without it.

Anyone can use this technique by combining jpegs and animated gifs but I love Jamie's work for the images themselves. It's just a bonus when you see a flutter of a piece of fabric on a beautiful dress or a lock of hair swaying across a model's face... And, as a shoe lover, how bout those Louboutins shimmering in all their beauty?! Her images of fashion week are so delicious. I love all the behind the scenes moments and the images of the garments just waiting to be taken down the runway.

Jamie, you have made me a fan. I am in love with your work and I can't wait to see what other images you come up with! I wish I could buy them all - actually I wish I were the creator of those images! Jealousy is the best form of flattery :)

If you want to know how this animated photography technique is done, check out this article Positioning an animated gif over a jpg image.


Ivonne Karamoy

I came across this while reading one of my favorite artist's blogs, Eliza Mazzone, and I just had to share. This is incredible video of artists SupaKitch and Koralie at work on a large wall piece. I think it is absolutely stunning and you can see from the video just how intricate their work is. It's work like this that inspires me to create and get back to my art. Graphic design work is wonderful, but there's something about drawing/painting that is magical.