Although the Rocky Mountains of Alberta mark the boundary of Cascadia, I wanted to share this free texture collection from our midwest neighboring region. The ten textures include bark from the conifer forests of the Rockies, lichen-covered rocks from the alpine scree, water calm and rough, and stone worn by water.
Enjoy these textures of the Teanaway area of the Eastern Cascade Mountains of Washington State, free for artists and graphic designers to use in your commercial and personal creative projects (with attribution, see bottom of post).
The arid Ponderosa forests of the eastern Cascade Mountains remind this California transplant of the High Eastern Sierras. My first introduction to the Teanaway area was on a plant sketching expedition, through a Mountaineers native plants class, and I was bewitched. That day, we stayed at low elevation, but I ventured up the steeper path of Bean Creek Basin the day I took these texture images. We climbed through a lush creek ravine, up a sparsely wooded Ponderosa pine forest, then broke out into a more sub-alpine community with lupine carpeting the ground.
Enjoy these textures of the Washington State coast, free for artists and graphic designers to use in your commercial and personal creative projects (with attribution, see bottom of post).
Washington’s Pacific coastline has sandy beaches, uncommon for those of us based in Seattle. The lapping, rising and falling water of the Pacific Ocean wears the sand into innumerable patterns: stripes, diamonds, ridges, ripples, triangles. Sand is dark, light, or mottled. Grains of different weights settle separately, forming patches of color and tone.
No one is self-made. Everyone benefits from the help of others, whether simply being inspired by their work or creations or getting direct assistance from them. There’s a risk to self-improvement, that we could become so focused on ourselves that we forget about improving the world for others. As I realize more and more clearly the privileges I’ve had in developing my career and life, I think about how I can give back to the people and places that have brought me to the happy space I am now. I’m not formally-trained in graphic design, aside from a few no-credit community college classes – I’m community-trained. What can I do to give back to my fellow creatives?
As a graphic designer, I owe other creatives for their inspiring work, generous free textures and stock photos and typefaces, and helpful tutorials. As a writer, I’m learning from writers who share wisdom about the craft as well as business advice.
Giving back is an active form of gratitude, a way to make my appreciation public. Staying silent about the help I’ve had shaping my skills and lifestyle devalues those contributions. It might go without saying, but don’t make it go without doing.
Place directly influences both ecology and culture – even people, much as we resist admitting it, are shaped by where we live. Land masses affect climate, leading to rain shadows where the oceanward side of mountain ranges are much wetter than the landward side; oceans moderate temperature. Resources like minerals and plants depend on appropriate geology and climate. Americans traditionally fence our properties because we came to a vast country where wood is easily accessible (whereas Europe logged their forests far earlier). Tribes from Western Washington have cultures far different from Native Americans in the midwest, southwest, and east coast, based on varied climates and resources.
Drawing conclusions from the real world – past and present – helps writers and artists create more realistic science fiction and fantasy universes. I attended Norwescon for the first time this year, and spent the weekend immersed in panels that shared lots of insights about creating realistic worlds.