Photo Credit: el-lobo,

Hello there! If you’re a reader of this blog, please don’t worry, I haven’t quit or got hit by a truck, I’d continue to write because spilling part of me in reflective writing is one my enduring passion, and it’s my hope to inspire someone through my written words even we’re technically stranger to each other.

Why the long absence of new post? Well, I’ve been busy and practically obsessed in attaining a goal for the past few weeks. If you remember what I’ve written in this post, I’ve been passing items to GraphicRiver to improve my design skills and because I’m teaching visual graphics design to my students. Also, I love the challenge of the “River” – only the world-class designs are approved. Risky? Yes. Hard work required? Yes. Disappointing when got rejected? Yes. Worth it? Yes.

I’ve received so many rejections and I still receive until now (I’ve received two rejections yesterday), but I now have 63 items on my portfolio. Comparing my previous design works to my newer ones, I believe that my design aesthetics have been improving considerably. My ignorance on typography, layout and hierarchy are now partly gone. And it’s a satisfaction to realize that 70% of my submissions are passing the standard of GraphicRiver.

“Hard work pays,” I’ve heard that line ten thousand times but its meaning have been illuminated for me after reviewing my monthly earnings on GraphicRiver - it now equals the monthly salary of a call center agent here in the Philippines. It’s a sure blessing to receive that extra earnings because I’m the one that primarily supports my younger brother’s college education. Hard work really pays, literally in dollars.

Also, I can’t be more proud of the improvement of the design skills of my students. At first, it seems a miracle when few of their submitted items have been approved by the GraphicRiver reviewers. But now, items from them are approved almost every day. Almost half of them are already passers on GraphicRiver and they’re earning quite sum of income every week. A smile forming in my face is inevitable when I see the dollars they’re earning, many of them came from an impoverished family, unemployment of their parents or sibling is a common theme on their story, so knowing that they can help their family financially while they’re still studying always hits me with joy.

Sometimes, I cannot stop myself from wishing that my teacher on graphic design also did this teaching strategy to me and my classmates while we’re still learning Photoshop back in our college days. But I cannot actually blame anyone, it’s a childish thing to do, and this all-designs-are-to-be-passed-to-graphicriver-and-let’s-earn-some-bucks teaching strategy seems absurd and unrealistic for me when I first considered it last July. On that time, I have zero item on GraphicRiver and I’m still recovering from my hard rejection from ThemeForest. But now, after considerable hard work and late nights fixing the leading and tracking of our typography, I’m quite happy with the results we’re receiving.

I still remember that night vividly, I refreshed my browser and a new mail on my Gmail account added up. The words are bold and I’ve already received it for 29 times, “Unfortunately your submission [Item Name] isn't ready for GraphicRiver and cannot be resubmitted as it did not meet our minimum requirements for quality and/or Envato Market policies.” It made me squint with disappointment and grabbed my computer mouse a little harder than normal. But after about a minute of reflection, something flared in me, I opened my Evernote and I wrote these words in my Journal notebook, “#I’llBeatYouGraphicRiver.”

I know that “beating GraphicRiver” seems a wrong phrase, the site is a sure friend because it offers a marvelous opportunity for graphic designers to create art and earn real bucks. Reviewers reject items because they want the designers to improve. If you’re a designer on GraphicRiver or an aspiring one, vanish your fears and doubts by just starting anyway. If you just recently receive the dreaded rejection, get on with it and open up Illustrator/Photoshop/InDesign once again and start a new blank canvas. Create and make art, we’re the modern Picassos and Michaelangelos, let’s make the world a more beautiful place one design at a time.

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