100 pixel canvas
Okay, actually it is 10,000 pixels. 100 x 100 is really tiny--you have to admit. Back in the hey day of LiveJournal being the pinnacle social media there was a society of creatives that made the profile image (or Avatars) their playground and each blog their art gallery. There were whole websites dedicated to showcasing them. Communities that developed challenges and contests to push the art form further. I was among this rag tag bunch, making 100 pixel masterpieces in Photoshop in my free time.
These artists taught me more about Photoshop tools and how to use them then my 6 month course on the subject in college. I learned about making my own brushes, typography for legibility, animating gifs, making the most of transparency, lighting effects, creative color overlays and more. Most of these new techniques I would try out on my desktop wallpapers or signature graphics to see how they translated. It was the start of my themed digital graphic phase.
With this fandom inspired community as my training ground, my designs for ads, book covers, posters and t-shirts grew more creative, innovative and compelling. Working within the 100 x 100 limited space forces you to think outside the box, encourages you to crop with purpose and inspires you to creatively place typography.
I encourage new designers to take on the challenge of limited size. Push your limits and learn something new. Your future clients with thank you for it.