jenniferkoliver: (Wolves | Blah Blah Blah)
Since the relaunch of my web & graphic design business J. Oliver Designs, I've been working on a couple of personal, non-profit projects so I can build a fresh portfolio with new shiny things. Two of these projects are promo posters for my short stories. I thought I'd share them here in case anyone is interested in promo material for their own stories or novels (all images are high-res and can be printed for posters, flyers, or used online).

Story promo posters for Shuffle and Death Car Alley )

Like I said in an earlier blog, I'm really keen to make web and graphic designs for other writers and artistic types, so drop me a line if you're interested or if you want something made spiffy for promotion. These were fun to make and I'd like to make more. :)

Leaving Town Blues, by Rory Gallagher, John Cook, Rich Newman, & Spoon.
jenniferkoliver: (Stock | Butterfly Hat)
Howdy folks. I've recently relaunched my web & graphic design business so if you're looking for a spiffy website or branding to help you promote yourself or your product, check out J. Oliver Designs.

On offer: websites, logos, Twitter headers and avatars, flyers, posters, business cards. All custom-made to fit your aesthetic and catch the eye of your target audience. There are a couple of examples of my work up there right now, with more to be added soon.

I'm particularly interested in designing for writers, so drop me a line at if you're interested. :)

Hopeless (SoundNet Remix), by Luke Cusato.
jenniferkoliver: (Stock | Butterfly Hat)
Finally updated my website with a brand-spanking new layout to match my LJ. This is something I've been meaning to do for ages, but I kept putting it off because I didn't know enough about Wordpress design. Well, I got fed up of sucking at Wordpress, and so I've opted for a much simpler site--no plugins or databases, no extravagant bells and whistles, just easily accessible links and info. Oh, but I did find a sweet CSS Twitter widget solution, which is on the sidebar. For all intents and purposes, it looks like it could be on Wordpress. But it isn't. So there.

And this is a good time to mention again that I can be hired to make a website for any individuals or small businesses.

I linked to the latest John Lewis TV Christmas advert on Twitter, but there wasn't room to express how much I adore it. It's possibly my favourite ad all year. Check it out: The Journey. Isn't that just the loveliest thing ever? Ah! Epic snowmen! (Part of me hopes the snow-woman went out and got him an Xbox or something.)

[ profile] seanan_mcguire recently posted the 47th essay in her fifty thoughts on writing series and it stuck with me because I often hear people telling other people that what they like is lame. I used to be a bit of a music snob when I was 20 and at uni. I had Big Opinions About Everything and anyone who liked stuff that I didn't was off their rocker. If you take a look at the varied music I listen to today, you can see I've grown up a lot and am well over that phase. ;) Anyway, this is my roundabout way of saying it's a neat essay and makes a fine point, and while the series is predominantly about writing it can be applied to anything. I try not to scoff at anyone for liking or doing the things they like and do, and I would hope that people will do me the same courtesy.

Tomorrow, by Silverchair.
jenniferkoliver: (X-Men First Class | Charles & Erik)
I've got 1k words of my new short story (the one about facial web design) and over 4k of the novel draft #2, so I'm taking a break with a caffeine-free diet Coke (yeah, I know how to live it up) to celebrate writing actual words, and post about the numerous bits & bobs I couldn't fit into my previous entry. Hoorah.

I try not to get cranky about movies. If a movie is based on a book or comic that I know, it's kind of like watching a live-action fan fiction. If it's not based on a book or comic that I know, I'm unlikely to have an emotional investment beforehand anyway. But there's something that's been bugging me more and more lately. It's hard to explain, 'cause here's the thing: I love a good movie score. I've been buying scores for more years than I can remember. I have scores from movies I haven't even seen, simply because I love the composer and know I'm going to love the music. However, I can think of instances in the last few years where I've come out of a cinema feeling highly emotional, but later realised it was mostly because John Williams or James Newton Howard or Hans Zimmer was bashing me over the head with a symphony orchestra for two and a half hours. I do love those composers, but I'd be interested to watch certain films with the soundtracks removed, see how it changes their effectiveness. I bet it'd be quite the eye-opener (or ear-opener).

Anyway, always absurdly late to these things, I finally saw X-Men First Class, which I avoided when it came out because I was worried it wouldn't be as good as it looked, pretty much the same reason why I avoided X-Men Origins: Wolverine for so long. Well, I was pleasantly surprised and should have had more faith! )

I didn't mention that I picked up a copy of Skyrim for the PS3 a few months ago, probably because, once I started playing, I faded from the land of the living and entered the strange, hi-res Otherworld that is Gamer Mode. I seriously don't know where the month of April went. Did it even happen? I have no proof that it did. Some nerdy Skyrim stuff under here )

Oh, and the web design life is hopping at the moment, too. I've been working on two commissions as well as that on-going branding revamp for my own site, and there are a couple more projects on the horizon. It's seriously the best work ever when in a writing slump, because I still get to engage the creative, thinky part of my brain.

That's all for now, as this post is already rather long and rambly! I'll leave with this:

We Are Young, by Fun. They keep playing this catchy tune on Radio 1, and I think I might just love it.
jenniferkoliver: (Stock | Kitty Love)
This past week's been exhausting but in a positive and productive way. I'm still behind on all things LJ and I'm sorry if I've missed anything important. I hope everyone is well!

The Dorset Writers' Network publishing day went swimmingly. Me and Jennifer Bell gave a talk on e-zines and online publishing, and amazingly I wasn't all that nervous, even though it was my first time addressing a (small, but big to me) crowd on a Topic of Interest. At one or two points we thought we were losing them, but the feedback was good and a few people asked if they could send follow-up emails if they had any problems. We also got to see a real, live Agent—in the flesh!—which helped demystify them a great deal. She was extremely nice, and after finding out she represents the genres I write in, I took her business card.

Then yesterday I skipped over to Bath with Becky Bye, Beth Stewart, and Jennifer Bell for a speculative fiction workshop held at Roscoff Deli and lead by a lovely group of post-grad creative writing students. It was so nice to connect with more local writers, and we've since swapped Twitter handles so we can stay in touch.

On Sunday I finally got to type "The End" in my steampunk novel document! It's a first draft that's sparse in places, and a draft that's full of plot holes big and small, but I am aware of those plot holes and I know they can be fixed. I'm letting it settle for a few days before I begin any editing, and in the meantime I'm going to write the outline (yeah, backwards!) and shuffle things around for maximum impact. My little first draft is woefully broken right now, but I do love it. ♥

And at last, I'm slowly cobbling together my very own custom layout for It'll run on Wordpress, using the Thematic Framework (which is brilliant, btw) , and I'm really excited about it, but man it's a slog figuring out some of the code. The design hints at the Victorian era and is light and fun and whimsical, which will work nicely alongside my current projects (and a few on the distant horizon). I've also been itching to change my LJ shoe layout for a while, so I think I might adapt the new layout for this blog, too. Anyway, once I'm down with the WP theming, I should be able to switch it up now and then to keep everything feeling fresh. On top of that, I've got a couple of small web design commissions on the go. All in all, good times!

Deathcar, by Fightstar.
jenniferkoliver: (Spirited Away | Chihiro & Haku)
This is what I've been up to lately: a total revamp of my web design website! The older version was out of date and a few things had changed, plus some of links had died and I needed to decrease the amount of pages, so it was time to shake things up a bit. I got to implement a couple of new features on the site—namely an integrated Twitter feed on the footer, and a basic contact form on the contact page.

I should also note that I'm currently open to commissions, so if you're looking for an awesome, affordable website, drop me a line! But please remember to check the Services page first, as that's where I list everything available. Note, I'm still shady on WordPress design. It's something I'm gradually learning, but because of other work obligations it's a slower process.

I also design bespoke LiveJournal layouts for a reasonable fee!

Ok, enough with the shameless pimpage. I want to talk about a couple of shows and PS3 games I've caught up with recently. Will cut this for length: in which I nerd about Downton Abbey, Ouran High School Host Club , Supernatural, Red Dead Redemption, Dragon Age Origins, Dragon Age 2 and Heavy Rain )

Phew! That is a lot of nerdstuffs. I need a sandwich.
jenniferkoliver: (Vintage | Stressed is Desserts)
This week I've been art and craft shopping like crazy, searching for interesting materials with which to make promotional stuff for the arts festival. And I must say, my wanderings have been extremely fruitful! I've got multi-coloured card and paper, stencils and stickers, as well as some beautiful calligraphy pens in silver and gold ink that are perfect for writing and drawing on dark backgrounds. I'm gradually transforming my spare back room (that also serves as my cat's bedroom) into a studio. Not sure how Harry the cat feels about this!

I'll be showcasing three separate pieces, two of them printed on large postcards, and an A5 folded booklet for a slightly longer piece that was written for one of the writing group's prompts. See a sample here )

More indulgently, I've also discovered a little craft shop in a nearby town that sells Paperblanks notebooks. Do check out their website, if only for the pictures of their books. They're exquisite. I'd eventually like to get a notebook from their Fabulous Footwear collection (no major surprises there, eh?). Their magnetic wrap closures are a dream, as you don't get frayed or rumpled page edges and it keeps the paper clean. So far I've bought their Filigree Floral Ebony book and the smaller, extremely cute Swirling Peacock Ivory. ♥

I've also just started a new website design commission for a local picture framing business. It's always nice designing for people who are arty, as they generally know what they want in terms of style/texture/etc.

The writing front has been dominated by research lately, but that's ok—I have a gazillion notes, and it's enjoyable work. I'm almost ready to tackle the first draft of my steampunk story, which needs a rewrite and some TLC.
jenniferkoliver: (Buffy the Vampire Slayer)
Here are some places where you can offer help toward the Japan earthquake appeal: this list (US) and here or here (UK).

There's been some discussion about whether people should continue posting to their blogs and social sites as normal, and I think yes, yes you should post about your day, your cat, your writing, whatever is going on at the moment. If we all stopped posting every time something terrible happened in the world, we'd never post again. We post to keep each other informed, offer support, communicate. Without communication, nobody would be able to support anyone else during times of great sadness or happiness.

Of course, it works both ways, and nobody should feel they have to post (or donate) because other people are. We all deal with stuff differently.


Accessible websites with clear links and information make the Internet a less frustrating place, to be sure. But I wish some website owners would keep in mind that the more widgets they use, the longer the pages may take to load, and the more visitors they could be losing. I see this a lot in writing blogs and websites—you know the ones, jam-packed with about every social slider, widget, and gadget out there, plus animated ads, buttons and banners. I rarely wait more than 10 seconds for a page to load (and I'm not even on dial-up here), especially if it's simply to post a comment reply on a blog. Ideally it should take no more than five seconds, but even then you could be losing visitors and valuable commenters.

/random web design thought for the day.


Usually I ignore the Oscars buzz each year (well, except for the red carpet dresses and shoes, which I'm always interested in seeing!) because by and large I find the films that don't win anything just as deserving as the ones that do, but having recently seen The King's Speech I have to hand it to them: they picked a corker. Such amazing acting and writing, right there. If you haven't seen it yet, and you don't think it would be your cup of tea, go see it anyway. I wasn't entirely sold beforehand, but it was excellently done, poignant, and very funny in places. Plus, what a cast! :)
jenniferkoliver: (True Blood | Eric)
HAPPY NEW YEAR, EVERYONE! I hope you all had a lovely evening, and here's to an awesome 2011!

I'm kicking off my New Year with a custom LJ layout which you can see here. Took about four hours to make overall (I haven't made any blog layouts for over a year, so I was a little rusty). It's nice to have a theme that's completely mine and reflects my interests and fun side, and really, I've been wanting to make a personal layout since I got this journal because I write about a lot of personal stuff here. It's kind of like interior design; you put your stamp on a place. So, yeah! Shooooooes. The layout has been tested in the recent versions of FireFox, IE, and Safari, but if anyone sees anything wonky, do let me know.

I was also thinking of maybe opening up LiveJournal layout requests, just for you lovely friends list folk. It would be a great opportunity for me to do some more blog designs for my portfolio, and it means you get a free, personalised layout that's uniquely yours. Right now, I only work with the S2 styles Smooth Sailing and Flexible Squares, so you would need to switch your base layout to one of those if you don't use them already. Drop a comment here if you're interested, and we can discuss ideas.

Also, consider this post open indefinitely for the time being, something you can always come back to later if you're not sure or don't have time to discuss a layout.
jenniferkoliver: (Foo Fighters | Learn to Fly)
Holy crap, it's been nearly a month since my last update. Crazy how time flies, ain't it?

I may have said it before, but it needs to be said again: the Playstation3 is evil. Evil, I tell you! I started playing Dragon Age: Origins one night and six hours later I couldn't remember my own name. [ profile] erastes, have you played DAO? I just... oh, God. It's so addictive. I have an arcane warrior elf mage (no kidding, new heights of nerditude have been reached in my house) who is now tanked with a multitude of kickass spells and armour. It's easy to see how people become gamers. What I like about DAO is how thought through the characters are, all of them different, both hilarious and tragic, and with their own ambiguous motivations. It's like a little soap opera, but one you can run around in and interact with. There's so much angst, but at times it makes me laugh, and there are many gorgeous poignant moments that leave me feeling throat lumpy. D'aw.

So lots of stuff to catch up on, not least of which is you guys. I hope everyone has been keeping themselves well and as happy as possible! I've been having fun designing a logo for the lovely [ profile] honeybean. It's always great working with people I know, and makes bouncing ideas back and forth an enriching experience while giving us the chance to catch up with each other. We're nearing completion on the project now, and I don't know what I'm going to do when it's finished.

Just about up to date with True Blood season 3. I keep waiting for it to peter out like a lot of these shows, but it just keeps getting better and better. Good times. Though damn, where has that hot werewolf gone?

But the best thing that's happened recently was me and a friend procuring Foo Fighters tickets for next year, in Milton Keynes on July 2nd – anyone else going to that? I CANNOT CONTAIN THE SQUEE! It's been 10 years since I last saw them live, they're my favourite band in the universe, and now I'll get to see their newer stuff in all its rocking glory. And I'll also get to worship at the Altar of Grohl once again. Eee! *runs around*

That's it for now. Wishing everyone well! Maybe soon I will be able to update about writing. It's been hard balancing everything lately, but I want to get that second short story re-written and polished before Xmas.
jenniferkoliver: (South Park)
Yo! I hope everyone is doing well. I've got a couple of things to chat about today, so here goes...

Web design news: I've recently added some extras to my web design business, and I thought I'd let people here know since a lot of you run websites and social networking pages. I'm now offering custom-made Twitter page background designs. Having a unique, eye-catching, informative Twitter background can be helpful in many ways. If you run a website or business, you can add extra information or images, as well as capture the look and feel of your site or product. It's also handy if you simply run a Twitter page and are looking for something a little more personal to reflect your style and interests.

I've already made a few designs for Twitter, which you can see here.

Please email me or drop a comment here if you're interested, and we can discuss what you'd like and how much it's likely to cost. I'm very reasonable!

On the writing front: I'm still plugging away at my second short story. I recently completed the first draft and one round of edits, but something was still nagging me about the whole thing. After sending it to a beta reader and getting some handy feedback from her (awesome chick that she is!), I've realised the problem: because I wrote it in fits and bursts, it's lacking a smooth flow and natural sound. My next move is to re-write the story using the material I already have, but making sure I do it in more condensed writing sessions so I can maintain the atmosphere. I know I have a decent story there, it's just a case of shuffle, expand, spit, and polish. *g*

Other stuff: Also, it's nice to see Merlin back on the BBC. Here are my thoughts on series 3 so far. Spoiler alert! )
jenniferkoliver: (Wolves | Wouldn't Like Me)
I put together all my own icons (for LiveJournal) and edits/graphics (for Tumblr), and I often use textures, brushes, and tutorials made by other people. If I've used one of your resources and I've missed you off this list, my apologies. I've amassed a huge collection of textures and sometimes I lose the names of those who make them, or the makers leave LJ/DA/Tumblr or create new accounts. Feel free to drop a comment here and I will add you or edit your name ASAP.

Textures made by me
Vibrant Grunge, 59 icon-sized and 3 large textures.
In Dreams, 52 icon-sized and 4 large textures.

Brushes, textures, patterns
9 Litres of Art
So Ghislaine
[ profile] kaien_kun
Crazy Kira
[ profile] tragic_icons
Coffee For Closer
[ profile] aoi_sama896
[ profile] aube_des_arts
[ profile] soaked
[ profile] absolucion
Planets Bend Between Us
[ profile] cooloring
[ profile] crazydelight
[ profile] erniemay
[ profile] eveningwalk
[ profile] xloliconsx
[ profile] yunhe
[ profile] padabee

Tutorials & PSDs
[ profile] psychedelicats
Mellarkboxers @ Tumblr
Callmebrandon @ Tumblr (animations)
[ profile] good_tutorial

[ profile] midnight_road
We Heart It
South Park Studios UK
Google Images
Screencap Paradise

Malionette Tiny Icons
Icon Table Generator

If you see an icon or graphic I've made and you like it, feel free to use it on your own blog. Credit would be lovely, though I'm not going to chase you down if you don't. This is how you credit:

And here are a couple of banners from icon contests:


jenniferkoliver: (Default)
Jennifer K. Oliver

March 2017

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