Bonus Episode: Alison Harshbarger

If you’ve listened to Overtime before, you know that it’s Dribbble’s audio companion—where we talk to Dribbble community members about how they got started, their process, and about a few of their favorite shots. Today we’re doing something a little bit different and sharing a bonus episode—a quick discussion with Dribbble team members. They’ll pick a favorite shot of their own or by a community member and give us a few reasons why they love it. They’ll also tell us a bit about their role at Dribbble. And have no fear, we’ve got some new full length episodes coming your way soon!

In this bonus episode, Dan sits down for a quick chat with Dribbble’s very own Alison Harshbarger. She’s Dribbble’s community manager, which means she helps community members with support, makes sure Dribbble Meetup organizers have the resources they need, and she features community members here on Courtside. They discuss her role at Dribbble, the awesome food and design scene in Austin, Texas, a fantastic recent shot from Bushra Mahmood, and more.

Alison’s Dribbble Shot pick:



by Bushra Mahmood

Process work here https://www.instagram.com/p/BLKlZpEAZbV/?taken-by=bushram

View on Dribbble

Subscribe on iTunes or Download the episode via Simplecast


Dan: Hey, everybody. Welcome to Overtime. This is Dribbble’s audio companion. I’m your host Dan Cederholm, and today is a special bonus episode of Overtime. We’re going to do these occasionally between our normal interviews. We’re going to talk to each of the Dribbble team members. Get a little info on them, but also have them choose some favorite work from Dribbble, either of theirs or somebody else’s to talk about. It’s going to be fun, and they’re going to be shorter episodes. Today we’re going to talk to Alison Harshbarger, our community manager. She hails from Austin, Texas. Enjoy this talk with Alison. Welcome to Overtime, Alison Harshbarger.

Alison: Hello, thanks for having me.

Dan: Welcome. This is a special episode because we’re going to be talking to as many team members as we can force to do this. We thought it would be cool, because we’ve been talking to community members so far in our little podcast journey, and now we’re going to talk to the Dribbble team itself, get a little background on you and what you do here at Dribbble. But also, we’re going to choose a shot to talk about, a favorite shot of yours, maybe with some backstory. That will help us talk about cool things that are happening on Dribbble.

Alison: I’m excited.

Dan: I’m excited too. I’m always excited. Let’s start this off and get the lowdown on what Alison does here at Dribbble. You do a lot, and a very integral member of the team. Let everyone know what you do.

Alison: Thanks. I’m community manager at Dribbble. That means a bunch of different things. I work with Dribbble members on support, helping them with technical support and answering any questions they have. Also work on Dribbble meetups, so making sure people who are having meetups have the resources they need, and make it the best event they can. I also feature Dribbble members on our blog, which is called Courtside. That’s a really fun part of the job, being able to feature all the amazing work, and everybody’s cool stories on the blog.

Dan: That’s a ton of stuff. We got you wearing a lot of hats, which is kind of crazy. But it’s been wonderful having you on the team because you’ve helped grow all those things you just mentioned, like meetups, which kind of started by people just self-organizing them all over the place, without much help from us initially.

Alison: They do all the work themselves. We set them up with a meetup kit. Set them up with a way to collect RSVP’s, so a site to get all the details out there. One of the cool things about Dribbble Meetups is to promote the meetup, people do these incredible meetup shots. Doing a shot with all the information on the meetup and putting it on Dribbble is incredible.

Dan: That’s become like a tradition. And it’s usually really good work from somebody, something creative with a spin on Dribbble and the city they’re in.

Alison: I live in Austin, and the Dribbble community here is amazing, and has been doing it since the existence of Dribbble I think. One cool thing about their Dribbble Meetup shots is it’s by a different person each time. It’s this collection of shots by all different designers in Austin.

Dan: There’s so much talent in Austin.

Alison: There really is.

Dan: It’s crazy. We do a lot of internally on Slack. We have a highlights channel. If anybody from the team finds something we throw it in there. Oftentimes they’re from Austin. It’s like oh, yeah, this person is incredible. Oh, yeah, they’re from Austin, just like the last one.

Alison: It’s true.

Dan: Why is Austin so amazing hotbed of graphic design?

Alison: I think designers love tacos. I don’t know. It’s cool and it’s a really cool community. I think they’re really welcoming too, so maybe that helps.

Dan: I think it definitely does. I’ve only been down there for SXSW, which is kind of a different vibe than it normally is. The Austin community for Dribbble was there from the very start. Folks like Perivale, other awesome people that I’m blanking on now.

Alison: We have a ton.

Dan: Early members I’m thinking of. Curtis Jenkins. 

Alison: I was going to say there’s so many important tech companies, like IBM and IBM Design, so they have a ton of people posting stuff.

Dan: Frog Design has a big thing there. Then the SXSW conference itself, that’s grown so huge that it’s created businesses downtown. It’s gotten creative people more interested in the city, maybe.

Alison: I think that’s true. I think that’s one of the reasons so many tech companies have moved to Austin. We usually have a Dribbble Austin Meetup during SXSW. I’ve been to two of those now, and it always draws a really big crowd. They like to keep it homegrown, too. This community of designers that live in Austin is welcoming people from all over.

Dan: That’s true. I love that about it. It’s always this separate thing from the main conference, first of all, and with a preference of getting the local people in there first. Big shout out to Sophie Shepherd and Greg Storey and Alison and you and Hallie who will be on the show, hopefully soon.

All those people are really super helpful in creating the meetups. I guess it’s a testament to the community down there, that Dribbble aside, there’s a lot of good people down there, and good tacos. Who are the best tacos?

Alison: I have a bunch of different places for different types of tacos I like. Breakfast tacos, I love Taco Deli, and if I want a little queso with my tacos, I’m definitely going to Torchy’s.

Dan: I love Torchy’s.

Alison: If I’m going for lunch tacos, I go where I took you when you came to town, which is Veracruz.

Dan: Oh, man, those were good. I think I ate probably two too many that day.

Alison: You had like three, which they’re pretty big tacos.

Dan: Which was too many. Torchy’s is incredible. And then it’s funny because this goes along with the community too; there’s several places in Austin that have amazing branding. A lot of the restaurants, whether it be tacos or barbecue, they have really good branding. Places like Frank and Banger’s, they have this design aesthetic for these places is always really good. It seems like that’s a requirement for a successful Austin food establishment, is really good design.

Alison: I think that’s true, and I also think all the coffee shops have really good branding too, and very Instagrammable also. Since I work remotely, I think a lot of people in Austin also take advantage of working remotely, or working in a city that’s fun to play in. They get their work done and then they play. All the coffee shops I go to have amazing branding too.

Dan: You’re right about Instagrammable, that’s a really good reason to have good branding.

Alison: I think it’s the reason. People Instagram their place and then you want to go there.

Dan: Especially in a city like Austin where you’ve got a lot of tourism, or people visiting. I want to go to Radio, because that place is awesome. They also have taco trucks on the parking lot, but that helps. So you work remote. Our team is remote at Dribbble. You work in Austin, and Haley our support assistant is also in Austin. That’s okay. It’s been all right.

Alison: I definitely like being remote, being able to do your own thing, but it’s really nice to have Hallie in town because we’ll meet up at one of those coffee shops, like we did this morning, and make sure we’re all on the same page.

Dan: Face time, nothing beats it. Luckily, with technology the way it is, we can fake it. Slack and video chat and stuff. So a bit more about you. How long have you been in Austin?

Alison: I’m originally from North Carolina. I also lived in Philadelphia for a time. And then I moved to Austin three years ago.

Dan: I think you picked a good city.

Alison: I like it.

Dan: It’s awesome. I don’t know if I’d be able to handle the heat in the summer, but other than that, I think it’s a pretty amazing place.

Alison: It’s got everything you could want  good food, good music, a lot of good nature stuff.

Dan: The Grand Canyon ☺. Cool, so we’re going to talk about a shot. You’ve chosen a shot to talk about, and we’re going to do this with all the team members. It could be a favorite shot or just something you wanted to talk about so we can get behind the pixels more and talk. Why don’t you share with our amazing audience your shot pick?

Alison: I’m picking a brand new shot, just posted. It’s by Bushra Mahmood, called “Flwrs”.

Dan: Oh, yes, this is great.

Alison: Bushra is a form Austinite, but recently moved to San Francisco to be a senior product designer at Adobe. I’m sure she’s doing really cool stuff there. I picked this shot because it’s awesome, and it’s a 3D shot. I don’t know anything about 3D stuff. I’ve drawn, sketched, worked in Photoshop but have no experience with Cinema 4D.

Dan: That’s what she used to create this.

Alison: Yeah.

Dan: I don’t either. I’m always fascinated by it. Thankfully, there’s a lot of Dribbble members that do a lot of interesting 3D work. A lot of them have come from a 2D world and transitioned into 3D, or motion.

Alison: If you search Dribbble for the tag “C4D” there’s so many examples.

Dan: I’m going to do that now. People at home, you’ve got to do this. This is insane. There’s some incredible work going on. Holy crap! So you like this shot.

Alison: Back to her shot, it’s flowers. It’s beautiful. It’s super texturized.

Dan: That’s what I like about it. It doesn’t look 3D. Some of the 3D shots you see in search results  this one you said it’s 3D, and I didn’t get that when I first looked at it. It almost looks like an illustration because of the texture and colors.

Alison: I almost think it looks like paper, like it was created in paper or some sculptural way.

Dan: I agree. That’s cool. It’s using tools a lot of people are using, but it looks very different. It has its own style, which I think is really cool.

Alison: You can see it on her profile. She has some other shots that kind of work in a series.

Dan: The “Log” on, oh, my gosh. This is amazing.

Alison: The other cool thing is she’s linked to Instagram where she’s sharing her process on making this shot. It’s incredible to look at this shot, but it’s also amazing to see how it was done. It’s so foreign to me.

Dan: I’m looking at the link from that shot you mentioned. The video of how it’s constructed in Cinema 4D is pretty mind-blowing.

Alison: It’s really cool to see where she starts from, and where she ends up. She’s creating each petal and constructing it.

Dan: And sort of multiplying the pieces, and then laying them out, and adding texture. This is crazy. Now I see why you picked this one. It’s awesome, and like I said, I think my favorite part about it is it doesn’t look like it was created  it’s great when it’s not obvious what the tool is that created it. I think that’s a sign of mastery of a tool, maybe.

Alison: Yeah. Since I’m interested in this 3D work, it also made me think back to the Overtime episode we did with Allison House. She talked about how she transitioned from 2D to 3D, and how she teaches people to do 3D work. It’s really interesting.

Dan: I love that. It’s inspiring because there’s a lot of traditional designers on Dribbble or just out in the world in general, and I’m one of those people. I would love to do motion and 3D, and some of it seems really daunting. And you kind of wonder how to get into it. To hear some stories like Allison’s and Bushra, and just seeing their embracing of this new thing, and showing the process along the way, or seeing their progress along the way has been really cool. Watching their Dribbble profiles, I remember with Allison’s one of her first 3D motion experiments is incredible. Then you realize it’s her first attempt.

Alison: Yeah.

Dan: It’s depressing, actually.

Alison: That’s what I liked in her episode, is that she wanted to try it, and she tried it, and then she did it every day. Putting in the time and putting in the effort is going to 

Dan: She committed.

Alison: Right.

Dan: And then did a video for Tweedy right off the bat, which is cool. And you said Bushra is a former Austinite, of course, because everything cool comes from Austin apparently.

Alison: I think she’s originally from Canada, but I could have that wrong.

Dan: I think you’re right. Her bio says hockey and stuff, so I think that’s very possible she’s originally from Canada. This is cool. People should check out Bushra’s profile and this Cinema 4D tag results, which we’ll put in the show notes. This was fun.

Alison: Yeah, this was fun.

Dan: Thanks, Alison, for being the first bonus episode of Overtime. I think that’s pretty special.

Alison: I’m glad to be the first.

Dan: Awesome, see you on Slack.

Alison: All right, see you on Slack.

Find more Overtime stories on our blog Courtside. Have a suggestion? Contact stories@dribbble.com.

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