As we are about to leave 2011…

Phew… that was one busy year! Lots of things happening, but mostly working my but off! I’ve built and launched quite a few websites and fortunately they were well received. So it’s time for a little break during the Christmas period to catch my breath and play with a lot of things that I have not been able to play with … (hehe)

One of those is to finish a website for a friend of mine – she’s running a small yoga business and tho we’ve set her up with the default WP theme – we sure can do better! And please don’t mention my own website.. haha.. I know .. it is way overdue. But I hope that I will be able to upload some more of my illustrations and artwork and then I may switch to a portfolio type template.

Other things I am involved in…

Reviewing of a book on Inkscape. I think I am way too critical tho – so not so sure if they’re happy with me. The book is targeting the beginning Inkscape artist, the same group for whom I write Inkscape tutorials on And those that know me in person know I set pretty high standards.

I am also trying to complete some more tutorials for that same It has been way too long and I know it.

And finally I am working on vector illustrations and creating a stronger identity there. There are so many talented artists out there  and the internet provides such a nice opportunity to see what others are doing and how their styles developed over the years. I love the galleries that show earlier as well as recent work.  It also proves that it is very hard to put your own mark down and do something that is very unique. I know I am overthinking that tho 😀 – it is clear from my work that I like weird and unrealistic worlds in happy colours.

Not a nobody no more

A long time ago I wrote a post with a question.. how do people find the way to my blog (and why would they want to find my blog as it contains mostly personal stuff)? At that time I had a vague notion about search engine optimisation – SEO – but no real knowlege. I read up on a few things, saw the numerous amount of scams around that promiss top rankings within hours and I also read that in this day and age Google pagerank is less important in terms of search engine visibility than it used to be. So I mothballed my thoughts on SEO.

Then we started with our tutorial site Of course it is no fun to write tutorials if no one ever reads them. So I read up again, found some very useful pages explaining that SEO is no magic but mainly comes down to a good layout, good content and hard work. I just made sure that the template on VSD was as friendly for the human reader as for the search engine bot – I checked the generated XHTML with the text browser Lynx. As the site runs on Joomla! I enabled mod_rewrite on the server and installed the latest GPL version of sh404SEF to create search engine friendly – SEF – links to all pages.

I started to add page specific meta tags – apparently also less important these days – but I figured it takes minimum effort and won’t harm. I did *NOT* write keyword targeted articles. I absolutely see no use in luring people to a site finding a generic 250 word article that appears as a useful site in the search engine results but contains only superficial information. What I did was the otherway around – I wrote an article, a tutorial, and cherry picked a few keywords from that article and put those in the meta fields. I have not optimized my articles and keywords, which is an effort that I should start about now too.

Link building is another effort – and I can tell you that I suck at it. I am in general way to busy to go around and put my name and website in a zillion other blogs. But I do follow quite a few good blogs and where I thought comments were appropriate I added them using full details. I then also learnt about “do follow” and “no follow” links. VSD has “no follow” links by default in the comments section, so has this site. But I am contemplating in changing that. The comments on both sites are moderated and if someone with a website to cheap crap links with an unrelated comment or just “awesome” – I am free not to publish it 😀 – in the mean time it would allow me to link properly to sites that are useful and do contribute to a better web.

Anyways.. there is now a nice daily flow of visitors to This is mainly because of the Spiro Swirls tutorial for Inkscape – which has been visited over 28000 times – the site got noticed and some awesome sites linked to either the homepage or directly to the tutorial page. The Alexa ranking is going up daily, and since this week we have a Google Page Rank of 4 on the Very Simple Designs home page and quite a few tutorial pages. The index page for tutorials and other resource pages such as Photoshop Brushes got a PR of 3. And the funny thing is that this blog receives more visitors too, altho the number is quite modest and it got a PR of 2. I am not a nobody anymore (at least not according to Google’s pagerank algorithm).

Working on a Valentine themed tutorial

I wrote a tutorial on abstract designs in Inkscape, such as used for wallpapers, website banners and sigs.

Abstract Wallpaper - Australia
Abstract Wallpaper - Australia

Tutorial Series: Abstract Wallpaper

As Inkscape had many cool features for creating abstract designs without effort, I figured that just one tutorial would only show the tip of the iceberg, and that a series of tutorials would probably better. So I made a few mockups and made a first selection of techniques to be covered.

Abstract Wallpaper - Valentine
Abstract Wallpaper - Valentine

The first tutorial is published and features an abstract design of Australia in cool blues. Right now I am working on a warm hearted tutorial in red for Valentines. I expect the tutorial to available tomorrow, after some further testing by my Inkscape guinea pig.

How a simple tutorial becomes very popular

Inkscape tutorial to create flowing spiro swirls
Inkscape tutorial to create flowing spiro swirls

A while back I created a simple video tutorial on how to create Spiro Swirls in Inkscape. It is aimed at beginning Inkscape artists and even without any prior Inkscape knowledge it should be easy to follow.

Spiro curves (Cornu spirals) were introduced to the design world by Raph Levien, and the feature is included in the latest release of Inkscape, version 0.47.

Spiro curves are awesome. They were originally created to support font design, and creating smooth flowing swirls is easily done.

My tutorial demonstrates the basics of Spiro curves in Inkscape at a slow pace and use it to create smooth flowing swirls.

For some reason this tutorial is the most popular page on, and it gets more visitors than the front page. How awesome is that?