Back in July I had someone email me asking me questions about what I do and how I got there and so on. I answered all the questions, but when I sent the email, it bounced back so I thought, after a few long months ;), that maybe others might be interested in a little Q & A (?). Ok, so interested or not, here it is:
Hey PersonWhoEmailedMeOriginally, Thanks for contacting me! Thanks for the props. That was a fun project to do for Dana (referring the the skate deck I did for Dana Jacobson of ESPN).
Did you always want to be a graphic designer, or did it start as something else (Like me, I wanted to be a Disney Animator until I found out about the slave labor conditions)?
I always wanted to work for George Lucas on a Star Wars related project. Then when I found out how much detail and extensive, tedious work went into the computer stuff, I was kind of turned off. But the props and posters are totally where it's at for me. So yeah, I'd still like to do something related to that. I'm the kinda guy who doesn't like to do long intensive projects. I'd rather do a bunch of smaller quick projects. That's why gigposters are so fun, not big campaigns.
What are some of the biggest challenges you face everyday?
My schedule. I work a full-time gig as a graphic designer at the College of Cont. Ed at the U of M. I get home, help out with my two kids, dinner, bedtime, stuff like that, then start doing the freelance stuff. Fortunately my full-time gig is very flexible with me and I don't work long hours or weekends, so it gives me time to do my other "fun" work.
Where did you go for Schooling?
U of M, College of Human Ecology, Graphic Design
How much do you think it helped prepare you for "the working world"?
Not that much. I learned more in my first year out than I did my last 3 years of school in my actual major. There's nothing like actual real-world experience, especially when you are dealing with "real" stuff like business and money. Money is what's driving your project if you are getting paid for it.
Did you find that you learned more outside or inside of school?
Out of school. However, I tried to make the most of school when I was there. I studied the competition (MCAD, CVA) and looked at what they were doing and tried to take what I could from them.
With age, comes wisdom. Not that I'm super smart or anything, but I've found the older I get, the more experiences I've had to learn from. I've learned a lot in school. Even more in less time out of school, and an absolute ton since I've been focusing more on my freelance career since 2003. I've learned a lot more about the business side of things and how to keep the creative side and the business side both cool and happy. It's hard, challenging, but awesome at the same time.
When did you first develop your style? What artists helped inspire you? Do you still seek to develop your style, or do you want to keep your style the same for consistency (because, honestly, I'm freakin' jealous!!!)?
I don't really know. I've always had a bold graphic style. It probably started once I started designing T-shirt designs in junior high. Thick bold lines print a lot better than small spindly lines for screenprinting.
Other artists inspire me all the time. Look at my blog and check out the list of artists that are there. However, there's way, way more that I have so much admiration for it's incredible. Also, I don't even know what I'm missing, ya know? There's tons of stuff out there, that's brilliant.
My style is working for me, and I don't think I'll ever totally loose it. But as an illustrator, I'm always trying to develop it. I don't quite know where it's going, but if you look at some of my older stuff, you can see it's gotten more defined over time. For better or worse ;)
Do you have any affiliations to groups or businesses (other artists, guilds, printers)? If so, how did you get those contacts (School Chums, Networking, Random Chance Encounters, Recommendations)?
Online forum: Gigposters.com
I keep in touch with friends from college, and my local design nerd buddies.
For posters, I'm really tight with the local crew. There's probably about 12 or so (??) of us (Amy Jo, Lonny Unitus, Tooth, DWITT, Squad 19, Steve Tenebrini, Aesthetic Apparatus, Burlesque, WithRemote, etc.) and we all hang out, are friends, and collab and toss ideas back and forth with each other. It's great. Having friends and a community to be a part of is a huge motivator for a person who's into something. At least that's what I've found. I'm part of a biking forum too. That keeps me even more motivated to ride my bike for commuting.
PersonWhoEmailedMeOriginally you're not annoying. It's cool you're asking questions. You wouldn't be asking questions if you didn't care, so that's totally cool I'm happy to answer them, and it's fun for me to remember why I'm into doing this stuff.