I Launched a New Website Using Weebly This Time Around Called Artistic Counterculture

F8C41266-706D-4CC9-9634-4EBB0E8A22C8So I have decided to launch a new website using a visual and drag-and-drop style of a web design interface called Weebly. The website is available here. It has been in the planning stages for months. I wanted a service site that is less of a personal site focusing on me, my ontent and resume, but on services I or my friends/co workers can offer. I also wanted a site I can showcase some of my skills, such as graphic design and video editing, past writing, reporting and type.

Again, I used Weebly for its creation process and surprisingly I mostly did it all from my iPad, although I also used my Macbook Air for certain things or simply because I did not have my iPad at hand. Weebly is similar in some ways to WordPress and different in many ways as well. I would say that I prefer it to WordPress when using the app on iPad and how easy its drag-and-drop interface is when compared to the mobile WordPress app. It is seamless from mobile and allows you to add videos, slide shows, backgrounds to image layouts with ease.

Obviously, it works more efficient or loads faster as you upload new content from a Mac or PC than iPad, but it is still great on Apple’s tablet from my experience. Once you make your changes, however, be sure to publish them after clicking preview on the upper right-side bar. It even has blogging integrated and many styles of templates you could work from.

Another reaosn I prefer Weebly to WordPress in certain instances is that it is simpler to use overall to accomplish certain Web design tasks. You do not have to worry about navigating various menus or sub menus such as WP Admin, or the various plugins to accomplish basic tasks. It has search, maps and various things integrated form its main drop down menu you access when clicking the plus sign. You then just drag such features onto where you want them to appear on your landing page or any other page of the site.

6DE83E73-0497-4C23-91B6-FFD48E55171BThere are obviously a lot of advantages WordPress has over Weebly and similarities as well. It is good to be able to use various web design services, apps and software and get a good perspective that way on the type of templates or sites you want to work from. WordPress seems more integrated with CSS and HTML in custom creation of content and editing, but then again I am currently just starting to work with Weebly and on the free plan, so I will see going forward what else it offers.

I also like how you can use WordPress, as long as you have at least a personal site plan, to store multimedia content and share the url of such files or content elsewhere. You may have noticed that the search bar in the image above does not appear on my Weebly page. This is because the feature that I accessed simply from the drop-down menu is not available with the free version of the site. Another advantage of WordPress I find is how easy it is to modify the custom url of a blog post, or site section for further sharing and linking.

I have been using the Artistic Counterculture tagline or brand name in certian instances, such as some content on my Facebook sister site as well as some video content I uploaded to Youtube. Thus, I figure this is a great name to my site and potential company (or at least an icon/emblem of my services) I am in the process of realizing. The reason I choose Artistic Counterculture because I enjoy mixing street art, urban culture, graffiti and the like with an artistic flair. I enjoy taking pictures, capturing video content from my iPad or digital camera and modifying it or adding effects to make it art. I also enjoy traveling to strange or scary places and adding flair to the captured content I find there with the aid of visual tools — whether video or still images/graphic design.

Also, if you have been following this blog, you may have seen my other recent posts such as this one, which showcase the way I combine street art through photogrpahy with graphic design for added flair and ideas. This is also part of my Artistic Counterculture idea. I think the name sounds right for the type of content I enjoy doing, hence the reason I used it for the new site, which again is: https://artisticcounterculture.weebly.com

I like the way the portfolio section looks on the new site and the way that Weebly let me organize it with my custom background of a rock wall I actually took from my iPad and uploaded it to Weebly. I also like the slide show feature of Weebly and utilized this on the landing page of my site or the home page. There are clearly advantages of using various templates and some services have better ones than others, but overall with certain workarounds and navigation you should be able to create the type of content you need for your site or brand across services, with some differentiations along the way. The other thing, is some services have better free vs paid tiers than others as well as advantages and disadvantages like I already mentioned above. Bottom line, however, is you can always use custom HTML code and CSS to design things your way outside anything a service or template may try forcing on you or your design.

WordPress really just started out as a blogging service and turned moe into custom web design software over time. Weebly offers blogging as part of its templates pages, from the get go, as you can see in my template along with a news section. This is one way it integrated full web design with blogging as just one of its features rather than the focus.


I also like how Weebly has the various insights integrated right into the main app rather than having to navigate to see how many visitors or clicks you got from some separate menu. Anyway, check out my new site and send any suggestions or comments as well as ideas. I may try integrating more of this site with it or link between sections, however I still have uet to add a full service page with a bullet list (I simply linked to the Facebook sister site). So it is obviously a work in progress. Also, you may have noticed that a lot of the content I have posted over the last few months, or so, on here I have integrated into the new site across the pages and into the portfolio as well. I will try to keep the themes or focus more segregated as it is a bit of a jumbled mess right now.

Oh and yes I do get that the background may be a bit unsuited to the writing on the portfolio page due to the rock wall image. It makes the writing a bit hard to read, but I am still trying to figure out if there is a way to segregate that background or rock wall into only secitons with specific content on the sub page (portfolio) and not across the whole page. However, I am not willing to rid of the beautiful background just yet.


Some Apple Computer Concept Images I’ve Created

I’ve decided to keep playing with my previous work into new concepts and ideas, particularly those bordering on the abstract. This time it was with Apple-related stuff, including an iPad which I created digitally from scratch and some previous images I out together.





Here are some other revisions:


These are just some ideas I’ve been throwing together in making Apple abstract, but still serious in what it represents. Some of you may remember Apple from back in the original Macintosh days when the famous 1984 commercial (inspired by George Orwell’s famous book) made it stand out among competition and had the revolutionary edge to it. Here is that commercial:

All artwork included in this article was created by me (Maciej Duraj/Mike Lata) and is copyrighted @ Mike-Lata.com. If you want to use it, contact me for commissions.

I Created a Little Youtube Ad for My Graphic Design Work

As some of you may know, I am a journalist by trade and mostly a freelance writer by profession focusing on tech. However, slowly and surely I have been expanding my skills to other endeavors and passions. One of them includes graphic design. Another includes video creation and editing.

Here is a little ad I created recently with iMovie on iPad using stills from previous graphic design projects and photography. I mostly tried creating a graphic design ad, but at the end I included the option to do video marketing ads or commercials as well if anyone is interested from my custom work, or other assets I can work with. Here it is:

Here is a second bersion of the ad showing a little bit different scenery and samples:

There are a lot of things I plan on revising or changing in my next ad such as keeping it one language with both the catchphrase text and ad menu descriptions on Youtube. I also plan on making a new version using Final Cut Pro on my Mac and changing the zooms from automatic algorithms to the way I want it exactly. There is also the fact that the music isn’t too interesting and the text options that I have to rework using better alternations of text added through images and texts later added with thevideoe editing programs. I need more time on this idea, but felt like posting it anyway.

By the way, since I originally created the ad I also ended up revising it and making changes. This includes this little graphic I created:





IMG_5582And to top off my work in terms of the visual inspired by the ad:


All artwork included in this article was created by me (Maciej Duraj/Mike Lata) and is copyrighted @ Mike-Lata.com. If you want to use it, contact me for commissions.

Another Evolution Concept of Drawing Digitally

As you guys may have recently seen, I posted a blog post about using the iPad and a stylus to digitally restore or enhance pencil drawings from black and white to color. You may also have noticed the various interpretations that can result from each piece as there are so many different ways to accomplish this: from different filters to brushes and layered effects.

I wanted to add another project here as unlike my previous blog post about the pencil drawing turning into a digital piece, this one I mostly started digital from the get go — outside of photography I added and the two soldiers from the previous piece I worked on. This project started out from a basic concept of a cloaked warrior or wizard standing in front of a gate; this being similar to how many computer games or RPGs, in particular, have as either a box art or in game title screen art. However, over time somethings got worse while other things improved in the pieces you will see below. Either way, it was an interesting learning experience.

Here was the very basic outline concept as I worked my way down into something completely different using photographs for pillars I took (on iPad) and inserting them into the digital image along with a door I took as a photo in Barcelona Spain (also with an iPad).

(Oh and by the way, I mentioned how I started working on this piece at the end of my last blog post.)











I am thinking of working out the concept further with the last piece, but including the solders as ai recently reanimated them or some other additions. I also do not know id the metallic or artificial-looking pillars are cooler looking than the photograph-based versions. It is in the eye of the beholder to judge.

Here are some ideas for cover art or marketing ads that could be done (Obviously instead of “Welcome to Mike-Lata.com”, it would say something like “Welcome to Spiderweb Software”).



[Heavy Edit]: And after all that, here is something else I created:


Here I tried to make the cloaked figure more into a wizard:


The mouse seemed to big so I changed it along with a glitch near left side of ghost soldier where vapor or mist is hitting:



Some ad ideas I created, or potential marketing pitches (before last revision though, which could be done to it or any of these revisions):



All artwork included in this article was created by me (Maciej Duraj/Mike Lata) and is copyrighted @ Mike-Lata.com. If you want to use it, contact me for commissions.


Using the iPad to Turn Pencil Drawing Into Something More

I recently decided to experiment trying to use my iPad and stylus in order to turn one of my pencil drawings into something more digital and alive. This drawing I decided to work on I thought is almost medieval or game-like in appearance and could be used for game cover art or something so that is why I choose it. It is currently available in its original form (and has been for a while thus you may have noticed it) in the Artwork section of this site.

The way I spiced it up, and you will see the overall process of progress below, was done all using the iPad, a stylus, amd some filters within an app called Artstudio Pro. I also ended up adding or changing bits and pieces of the original to make it quite different from its original form and more vivid. Here is how the step-bystep process and progress that I am showcasing as the artwork went from a simple hand drawing to a digital and colorful piece:



















Here is the final piece or close to my final vision for it. I took the bottom of hanging latter out cause it didnt make sense with the water fall there as that is farther back and cliff is in front. Also note how there is no mouse this time like there was in the original pencil drawing, but a cat somehow materialized instead.


[Edit] I’ve decided to keep working on it (hence the new feature image) and turn it into an ad for this site of sorts (and below that a further revision of the weapon or iron hammer):


Some more variations:


With some text thrown in for good measure and the filter effect fixed that made the arms on the figure on the left too wide and too narrow in places:


I have also been exploring in creating multimedia content by adding up previous hand-drawn work with photography and graphic design into something I will reveal and showcase soon.

All artwork included in this article was created by me (Maciej Duraj/Mike Lata) and is copyrighted @ Mike-Lata.com. If you want to use it, contact me for commissions.



Continuing My Idea of “Out of This World Computing”

So, you may have read my recent post about minimalism and a concept I created using Artstudio on the iPad with a theme of “out of this world computing” built into the idea. You also may have read that I created the whole art from scratch and used various Artstudio for iPad tools such as line drawing mode and various brush samples, such as watercolor to get the background star-like effect. Well I have been playing with what I created and have taken it out of the minimalism category of art.

Part of the reason why I have been doing this was because I recently ended up purchasing the pro edition of Artstudio on the iPad. This is really a great app and what is very ironic and interesting is that it is designed by a Polish group from Lods, called Lucky Clan. I have actually been talking with the main guy behind the company that produced and continues to update this app and may be working with him on a technical manual in the future.

Artstudio Pro comes with a nice variety of changes and additions from the base app. For one, there are very interesting filters or effects now that I got to play with and implement into the many variations of my latest piece. Yes, there are many versions and you will soon see below the variations I have done using various effects and designs in Artstudio Pro.

There are also many more brushes available from the get go and an option to both import and export brush designs. The program is really becoming an iOS solution to Photoshop in my opinion and combined with a stylus has really come into its own as a serious graphic design tool. Even the way it grips the standard stylus or the Apple Pencil, I have been told, is superb. The way you can add masks, use layers, import photos, add filters and just get busy creating things, Artstudio Pro is really an awesome app to have on the iPad or Mac. I myself enjoy combining photography with free-hand art and this app is perfect for this.

With all that said, here is what I have been working on as of late and the base concept is taking my previous minimnalism design of “out of this world computing” and inputting it into a 3D supercomputer of sorts with a metallic filter. I actually was able to combine two flat images together into the supercomputer that I superimposed on top of another layer of content that I ended up creating by playing around with the swirl effect and others such as bumpmap. Here it is below:





As you can see the designs vary depending on the use of bumpmap and other effects on the shadow and the overall background layer. The last image above, which is the  image showing the shadow with a thick pumpmap, is I think the best version of this design. This is because the blue section looks almost like a lake or water around the structure and the metallic object in the back almost looks like a pin. It has a vary surreal vibe to it and it came out pretty well I think.

If anyone is interested in using any of my art here or anywhere else on the site I created let me know, or if you are interested in purchasing any screen or silk prints I can make, please also let me know. With that said, I will continue to use my previous designs and ideas and run with them to create new content.

Latest Graphic Design Project on iPad

So I’ve decided to do a little Art Studio for iPad project of the day to add to the previous blog post I wrote about Grid Autosport landing on the tablet and iOS devices in general. You cam see my blog post here and the image is there.

Below are a few different versions of the image before I got to the final corrected one. Please don’t expect something spectacular, as this was a quick project I did for a single article or because I was simply bored.

Note, I used a prefious drawing of an iPad, which I also used Art Studio to create, thus the whole image is from scratch and done on iPad. Here is the stock image I used from the game:


And here are the images from working progress to completion:




also decided to update the graphic design section of the site with this image and two others. One of the new added images on there (the man going iside the TV screen) I was planning on adding to the site for a long time, or that secrion, but forgot about. It was an augmented reality scaling distortion I did for an article that you can still read on PC Gamer about the future of AR and my research about the tech. The article with the image I created cna be found here. Here is the image:


So there you have it. As you can see, with apps like Art Studio for iPad and many other newer offeirngs, the iPad is a great tool for digital artists, content creators and bloggers.