i learned from the best (remix)

Body Positivity, day 10-part 2:
I’ve been crying my eyes out for the last ~20 minutes. But I took a deep breath, wiped my tears away, and smiled for me anyway.

In a week, it will have been six months since I chose me first, for the first time. That’s half a year of learning about myself and learning how to best love me. Today makes 179 days of me loving myself unconditionally.

And yes, I sumble, I fall, I make mistakes. But every day I get back up, brush myself off, and keep loving. Because loving myself saved my life.

So today, I’m thankful for the life in my eyes. I’m thankful for the last 179 days of love. I’m thankful for me, and for God, because together we brought me back from death.

I’m thankful for self love.
I choose me. Everyday.

anonymous asked:

Hi there Mr. Kole! I was wondering if you could share some ways to improve at creature design. Yours have such lovely energy & life, the shapes all work together to give the feeling of power/speed/etc. and I don't know how to do that. Thanks so much!

Woo! Okay.

Creature design. 
I don’t get to do enough of it these days- but I do love me some monsters and critters. 
I used to be mesmerized by the act of creature design as a teen- taking Dragons as an example, they were just so obviously cooler than anything that actualy existed. I would spend hours drawing scaly, beasty faces (so I suppose step 1 might be obsessive, if misguided, practice). But they were just copies of other people’s Dragons and (to paraphrase Ursula from Kiki) not very good copies, either. 
Then I went to a zoo. Mind: blown. I talk a lot more about this in an older blog entry: On God, Art, and Dragons, but the gist is this- you don’t know what you don’t know. Without getting out there and looking at the creatures that do exist, you’ll never be truly equipped to design creatures that don’t. Unless you reach out for real reference, you’ll just be regurgitating other people’s work and shoring up your weaknesses. God is WAY better at creature design than you or I, and taking a sketchbook to a zoo or an aquarium is a great first step towards better design!

Regarding shape language- that comes from a basic understanding/study of human and animal anatomy, so you know which rules to bend and break- but also from a focus on motion and dimension. There’s no silver bullet here- shape language and the elegance of form comes from practice- only once you understand the anatomy and forms you’re working with can you start designing them in a way that convincingly and dimensionally communicates motion, weight, power or speed. You can’t skip to those until you understand the meat and potatoes of the design. 
To put it simply: you have to draw a whole lot of awkward clunky dragons, and lizards, and bats while figuring out their anatomy, before you can remix those elements elegantly into a chimera. 
(What’s funny to me is that I am by far not the best at this- Claire Hummel springs immediately to mind as an example of someone who is much further down the road than I am. But we’re all learning!)

SO! My advice boils down to this: get out there and study from life, draw creatures non-stop until they get better. You have great designs in you, but they’re hidden under all the not-so-great ones that you need to draw through first. I’ll be drawing right alongside you. 
Press on :)

So I’ve been reading various top brony songs of 2013 lists, and I think I’ve learned enough to predict what songs will be at the top of the list for 2014. My predictions based on popular vote:

10: This is a Sad Song (feat. Feather)

9: Rainbow Factory Pt. 4: The Factoring

8: Alex S. - Will You Bronies Please Leave Me Alone Already (ponification)

7: The worst or best song from the new Balloon Party album

6: BlackGryph0n & Mandopony - Bronies Are Pretty Cool I Guess (feat. Forest Rain)

5: The Living Tombstone - The Living Tombstone (feat. The Living Tombstone) (The Living Tombstone remix)

4: a SGAP song that has already been deleted

3: a song feat. mic the mic (who doesn’t rap in it)

2: whatever song KanashiiPanda or Animated James animates next

1: Space Jam (the movie)

10 Times Rap Lyrics Explained Social Better Than Adweek

Sorry, Adweek, but you can’t knock the hustle.

For better or for worse, like it or not, hip-hop and rap culture is growing. It is in your homes, on your phones, in your offices. Your grandmother listens to it, your bosses start their mornings with it, your children remix it on Snapchat. You get it.

But now, it is coming after your jobs because it can explain how to perform yours better than you can, and do so in a way that is memorable and timeless.

Proof: here are 10 times rap explained social better than Adweek, or any social publication for that matter.

Disclaimer: These lyrics have been slightly modified due to expletives. Keeping it clean, mostly.

“I shine different, I rhyme different/Only thing you got is some years on me, man f–k you and your time difference.” – Drake, Pop That

This one is dedicated to all the senior marketing strategists who have yet to extend social the respect it deserves. Social is a novice compared to other veteran strategies, but does that make it any less impactful?

Originally posted by thatmanrj

Social is different – it yields different results. Though in the grand scheme of marketing, it is of the same echelon as traditional advertising – if not greater. Social is to marketing what Drake is to hip-hop/rap: a fresh face with an unprecedented arsenal of talent and authority. Like the Champagne Papi, the only thing traditional advertising has on social is some years – but disregard that time difference. 


“Speak softly, watch from the crowd.” – J. Cole, Knock Tha Hustle (Remix)

Social listening – this is for you. Brands lose sight of their voice and originality trying to break into conversation, or implement social strategies entirely. J. Cole said it best on his feature verse of Cozz’s “Knock Tha Hustle”: listen before you speak. Monitor conversation to understand who is saying what and how. Learn from these dialogues and note the best way to insert yourself into the conversation. Avoid an André 3000 and do not talk just to speak. And when you do speak, make sure it matters. 


“Crazy I tell you all of this in the middle of a club/where words tend to get thrown around lightly like, like-like, love.” – André 3000, I Do

Talking in social is like meeting a young, attractive woman at the bar. She has been the object of countless affections coated in vapidity. Those approaching her toss around smooth one-liners seen on television, heard from friends, rhymed by their favorite artists. But it never makes any sense – and the unlucky pursuer will continue to throw around words lightly, like, like-like, love.

Brands, you are the pursuer. Not only are you speaking with yourself in mind, but also saying words you do not mean. You are solely working to achieve an end goal. Brands do this with buzzwords or whenever they latch onto a national trend. Be the one who enters the room, bar or club, and says what you mean. Make sure it makes sense, swoon us, and we may love you forever.


“What’s better than followers is actually fallin’ in love.” – Chance the Rapper, Interlude (That’s Love)

Originally posted by lxrda-mercy


Quality over quantity. The only thing better than having a large following across social is having genuine brand advocates. Followers will only make you appear influential online, but having those who believe and champion your brand makes all the difference in actually influencing others. Chance the Rapper explains this in his melodic Acid Rap “Interlude.” Unlike the other artists on this list, Chance intentionally discusses social with this verse. He recognizes that having those who truly understand and appreciate you for you is better than having a mass Twitter following, or being the topic of countless Tumblr posts. Brands should follow suit.  


“I guess it took 10 years for me to be an overnight success.” – Big Sean, Dark Sky (Skyscrapers)

Social became popular seemingly overnight; your execution will not. It takes artists years to obtain the mainstream popularity that yields financial success, respect, and influence. The same holds true for social and its campaigns. Smart social executions require time and patience. You will need more than one night to etch G.O.A.T (Greatest of All Time) into one of your campaigns. Ideation rooted in research and social listening on its own guzzles a significant portion of time. Any agency that says otherwise is a liar, and you should fire them immediately. You will not succeed without it and the time it demands. That being said, what is the rush? Pace your overnight success.


“By not preaching to me, but speaking to me in a method that was leisurely.“ – Common, I Used to Love H.E.R

It’s Common Sense: social is a conversation. It is a dialogue between a brand and its audience. But this is an amazingly, almost embarrassingly, overlooked aspect of social. Brands dedicate a lot of time targeting people to communicate with that they actually forget to communicate WITH them. You often see this with community management and conversation ambushing. If you received a dollar every time a brand has latched onto one of your tweets and mentioned their products and/or services, how rich would you be?

Practice the Golden Rule of Social (Life): speak unto others as you would have them speak unto you. Refrain from yelling at your audience, talking at your audience, and commenting on a shared article without skimming it at the very least. Make the conversation as relaxed as possible – that is how you love H.E.R.


“And nothing last forever but be honest babe/It hurts but it may be the only way.” – Adam Levine, Heard ‘Em Say (Kanye West)

Originally posted by wu-bk-zu

Yes, this is Adam Levine – but it is in a Kanye West piece. Shoot us.

Being honest and transparent with your audience is important – you know this. Still, brands shy away from being their most honest selves, fearing the outcome.

Some may go back and forth as to why this has been included on the list, or how valid this list may be. Those feelings will eventually dissipate, however. If anything, it will encourage conversation – extend the lifespan and lure of this article, all of which is a part of healthy conversation. The purpose was not to be deceitful. It was to prove that ill will not last forever and honesty will always be the best policy, even in social. And look, we’re still here.


“If you are what you say you are, a superstar/Then have no fear, the crowd is here/And the lights are on and they want a show.” – Matthew Santos, Superstar (Lupe Fiasco)

Lupe touches on several elements in his sophomore album The Cool – but “Superstar” proves that with great power comes great responsibility. Maintaining a favorable perception as a principal brand is difficult when there are countless pitfalls to sink into, and more people betting on it. But a brand is only as good as its ability to recover from failure – and social is unforgiving – ask Starbucks.

If you are as good as you claim to be, then you welcome failure. It is your opportunity to prove why you are the leading branding in your industry. Social is your platform, and thousands are watching – sharing, tweeting, snapping, etc. Your audience wants to see how you will perform - so this is not the time to quiver in your corner offices. And when it is all said and done, ask yourself if you can honestly drop the mic and say you killed it. Can you really call yourself a superstar?


“No idea is original, there’s nothing new under the sun/It’s never what you do, it’s how it’s done.” – Nas, No Idea’s Original 

Hoping not to let Nas down with this. Sometimes it is not the idea itself, but how you put the idea in motion. Brands execute the same strategies – a dash of monitoring here, copywriting there, think thanking everywhere – to piece together a memorable campaign. But what makes it special is the way you sprinkle that dash, pen (type) said copy.  

No need to reinvent the social wheel – polish it, make it spin a little faster, roll a little longer in a way that only you can. 


“Remind yourself, nobody built like you, you design yourself.” – Jay Z, A Dream

Originally posted by democrips


All those hours of sleep lost in crafting the perfect mission statement, company vision and culture were not for nothing. Do not throw it all away for the sake of social relevance.

Because there is no other brand like you, within and outside of social. Period.

Further Thoughts on Lady Gaga And ArtPop That Are Too Long For Twitter

A handful of Gaga fans and others who seem to randomly enjoy theatrics have regularly misconstrued level, critical thinking as Gaga attacks. I will say, the thing I do regret is taking to Twitter once and chiding Gaga about tweeting a link that went to a playlist of her video on repeat in order to influence play counts and charts; at that moment I hadn’t yet realized it was something a few other artists were doing/had done. Nor did I fully realize that YouTube’s spam detection eliminated suspicious plays.
The truth is, I’m a fan of Lady Gaga’s. I caught her show at Radio City back in the day, and I think two different tours at the Garden. She has a strong voice, a great persona for performance and at times has demonstrated a penchant for writing viciously catchy and fun pop songs. I’ve listened to everything she’s released and generally really respect her for having the will and resolve to follow her own muse. She makes pop interesting in a way that few other stars have the cajones (or desire) to think about. And lately it has been painful to watch media big and small hyperinflate every drama, real (the album isn’t her strongest work, indecision around single choices, personnel changes in her camp) or imagined (that ridiculous, fabricated $25 million ArtPop marketing number; possibly the notion that her tour isn’t selling as well).
But just because many in media are misrepresenting details or piling on doesn’t mean I can’t honestly think - and share my opinion - that this album doesn’t represent her strongest work. You can say that she doesn’t care about her songs charting and that her fans don’t care either, and if that’s true that’s totally cool. There’s lots of different ways to have a career in music these days, and certainly, there are options besides being a globally successful pop star. But “charting” is just a scorecard of popularity, of commercial success. Her last two albums haven’t had hits the way her first two did. That doesn’t mean she won’t have albums again one day that galvanize mass audiences wherever they may be. But generally, if the hits don’t keep coming, the audiences at the shows start to dwindle. The budgets shrink. The productions shrink with the budgets, and that would be a shame, because her productions are pretty stunning usually.
Again, none of this is a forgone conclusion. Gaga still has lots of fans. And I have to believe the songwriter with a knack for delivering number one hits is still in there, and will rise again. When I Tweeted, in response to a question, that I thought maybe she should take a break, it’s partly because I’m tired of watching media pillorize her for taking the same risks that they used to cheer. And it’s partly because I don’t think the songs on this album are going to connect in a big way. And the more she keeps releasing big expensive videos and songs that don’t chart or dont chart well, the more the perception of failure grows (fair or not) and the deeper the hole is that she’ll need to dig from next time.
And of course there will be a next time. Acts like Weezer and Pink had been written off as “over” by media before returning to even greater heights. After she released “4” to middling sales and then was accused of taking too long to release another album, Beyoncé was all but pronounced as dead by a grumbling media - some just weeks before she rocked the pop universe with her surprise iTunes album. And lord knows, if Mariah could return from the Glitter era, we’ve learned anything is possible.
So yes, as I said on Twitter, if I was her manager, I’d recommend she reconsider making additional substantial expenditure on the songs on Artpop. Maybe release a new song or two, or commission some remixes if you need to generate some new excitement around the tour. Focus on creating an amazing tour. And then let people miss you for a little while, while you go find your creative muse and create a new album of your best work. That’s not me hating. That’s me pulling for Gaga. The pop world is way better with her in it.