What does happy look like

Posted on Nov 28, 2015 in Art

Rainy days were making me a little down last week, so I decided I wanted to make some art around ‘what happy looks like’ so that I could look at it when I felt down.

This is the first drawing of that series. Because sometimes holding a hand means so much more than just holding a hand. :)

I smudged the marker when I attempted to erase the pencil drawing before it has dried. I could have photoshopped it to clean it up, but I kinda like it that way. Happy is ‘unexpected’.

amanda and faisal what does happy look like

Steal more

Posted on Nov 26, 2015 in Thoughts


Good artists copy, great artists steal.

When I first heard of this from my partner (who’s also a designer), I didn’t understand what he meant. After a bit of a conversation I started to come around to the idea that designers copy designs to a T all of the time. And while they produced something that may be good, they didn’t produce anything that the world didn’t already have. A great designer goes out into the world and cherry picks all of the good design they see and they adapt it to fit their needs. They tweak it, change it and make it better for their application.

I’m currently designing a conference site and noticing a trend that conferences are playing up the city they’re being held in. I could find something that looks nice and swap out our city and our text for theirs and call it a day. Or I can figure out how that trend works to our advantage and then devise a design that leverages advertising the city.

Mix work and play. Attend the conference by day and explore the city by night. Or book the hotel a couple of extra days so you can take your time. Always wanted to see that sports team play live? Here’s your chance. Saw that greasy diner on your favourite reality TV show? Now’s your chance to check it out.

While I don’t think anybody would book a conference primarily for the added benefits, they may be swayed to book mine over someone else’s because of them. I may not have realized that without looking at the trends in other sites. Sometimes trends are just trends. Other times it’s a glimpse into what users want and a way to market to their needs.

The moral of the story: steal from others so you can cut back on the research that you need to do. But don’t copy them, because really, that’s not why we became designers.

Getting back into the sketch of things

Posted on Oct 22, 2015 in Art

It’s been a while since I had a sketchbook with more sketches than text. But I’m aiming to change that.

I’ve recently been inspired by my (purposeful) lack of side projects and my talented cousin Emily who’s currently taking illustration in Ottawa. I’m saving up for a set of fancy alcohol based markers, but in the meantime I thought I’d get back into things with some quick pencil sketches.

I’m happy to report, just like riding a bike (ok, not like me riding a bike) I’m pretty much at the same skill level as I was however long ago that I used to do this. This isn’t my own composition and design, but rather a sketch from a watercolour I found online. I’m not going to show it to you here, only link to it, because mine pales in comparison. But let it be a benchmark here on in!

Pencil sketch by Amanda Healey

a little bit of magic

Posted on Oct 10, 2015 in Photography

While I don’t remember the scene exactly like this, I like this version a little better. All it needs is a little fairy resting on the edge.
mushrooms on a fallen log


Posted on Jul 15, 2015 in Thoughts, UX

I’m not into labels. People are people. I’m a people too. People do things and I like to make it easier for them to do the things they do.

I like to solve problems. You can call me a problem solver. Some people call me a UX designer. Some interaction designer, web designer, project manager, front-end magic creator, graphic designer, artist or jack of all trades.

My friends and family call me Amanda.

I’ll probably call you a user if you use my products, but that’s just for ease of conversation. Sometimes you just need to categorize people into groups and generalizations so you can build better stuff for them, you know?

Losing to gain

Posted on Jun 21, 2015 in Thoughts

Sometimes you need to make space for something new.

My original intention during highschool was to be a fashion designer. I backed out before classes started only losing my deposit on residence.

My next move was to take a fast pace 2 year computer programming course because that was the way of the future. I dropped out after a semester and lost a four year scholarship.

I finally settled on a graphic design program the following year which I successfully completed and worked in the industry for four years. Nothing lost here other than my patience for passionless people tied up in internal politics.

I headed back to school at VFS because I wanted to be a motion designer. I lost that idea half way through the program and decided I liked flash programming better. Yeah, I kinda lost my mind at this point.

I was hired at Microsoft for a game design job after sincerely trying to convince them I was an entry level programmer. I had a kick ass time here, but lost my health as a result of pushing myself too hard.

I learned how to heal myself while working as an interaction designer at ICBC. Now that I’m feeling better, I’ve lost that need for a safe place to work and I’m currently exploring new opportunities. (I’m looking in Victoria, BC if you know of anything, hook a sister up)

While I’ve been perfectly happy the bulk of my life, the point is that sometimes you have to give yourself 100% to an idea, only to lose it later so that there’s room for the next to take hold. Kinda makes the failure rate on startups seem a little more palatable.

I can’t wait to see what I lose next.


double zipped pouch

Posted on Jun 7, 2015 in Fashion

I dropped by Dressew this morning to pick up some needles and bobbins and emerged a couple of hours later with three new projects in my bag. The first one is this cute double zipped pouch that I plan on using as a (temporary?) replacement for the heavy wallet I’ve been lugging around. I removed the cash and cards that I use most often and have been carrying them around in a pocket for the last three weeks and haven’t missed the extra stuff or weight at all.

While I’ll take credit for the sewing, I won’t take credit for the pattern. If you’d like to put your own double zipped pouch, you can find great details on how to do that at japanesesewingbooks.com.

double zipped pouch

Work/work balance

Posted on May 15, 2015 in Thoughts

I ran across this interesting blog post a while back. It’s short, sweet, and exactly to my point. It’s written much more concisely than I could have written it, so go ahead and take a look yourself.

A couple of months ago I worked with Frosty Pops Corp to create a game trailer for their game Ten Large. I had a great time getting the ol’ motion muscles limber and offered my services for future games.

Fast forward to the present and I’ve created a second trailer for their biggest hit yet, High Dive. It’s already hit over a million downloads and hasn’t been even a week yet. After the trailer’s lured you in, you can download the game for free from the Apple App Store.

Bee and honey comb

Posted on May 12, 2015 in Photography

I went home for a visit over Mother’s Day weekend and was helping my mom with a few home reno’s while I was there. I was up a ladder switching out a light fixture when I saw this little guy and climbed back down for my camera. I’m sure she thinks I’m pretty nuts, but when she’s afraid of heights, she takes the help she can get 😉

bee and little honey comb