Q: Can you discuss how your promotional materials communicate your unique style and overall brand?A: My promotional materials are really all I am or at least all potential clients see of me. I need to make each piece communicate my brand, style and approach. Specific characteristics act as a hallmark of my work that identify it and separate it from others: color palette, drawing style, textures, points of view, etc. These make up my brand. But really that’s not all. I think a brand is the result of one’s values. One’s brand presents itself in many ways: how I write, what I say, how I answer the phone and the craftsmanship of my promotion pieces each communicate my brand.
Q: What advice can you give other illustrator/designers when it comes to developing successful self-promotional materials for both print and web?
A: Be yourself. Be yourself consistently. And be yourself in many places. To me this means know who you are and identify what makes you unique. Work hard and consistently. Send out promotional materials, keep mailing lists current and send specific mailings to specific targeted audiences. Lastly, get yourself out there in a variety of media, including social media. This all translates to allowing yourself to be found and seen in a variety of places.
Q:Your work has a sketchbook feel to it. How important is working in a sketchbook to you? Can you detail your approach.
A: My sketchbook is always with me: at meetings, traveling, classes, relaxing and just everywhere. It’s my fun thing, my journal, my brain dump and my bucket. My finished work comes directly from my sketchbook. In it, I try new things, I practice and I even complete my finished work. I’ve had to do some research in finding the right sketchbook for me. It actually took me years. My criteria was size, paper thickness, tooth, acidity and how it takes multimedia like pen, ink, watercolor and acrylic. I had to try different sketchbooks to see how they worked. As my style has developed, so has my sketchbook choice. I currently use the Aquabee Deluxe 11″x14″.
Q: Can you share some insights into your creation process when it comes to your illustration and hand lettering?
A: Ed Brodsky, the past director of Marywood’s MFA “Masters with the Masters” program, taught us to brainstorm. First you boil down your message to a short, succinct phrase. I write out the phrase in a single line. Then, I make a list of similar words under each word appearing in the phrase. The fun part begins by mixing and matching to create a unique direction. Sometimes solutions have a concept and drive a point home and sometimes they are a straightforward solution that rely on a unique style to carry the idea.
Q: Can you tell us a little bit about your approach to visual communications through the process, media and visual textures you employ?
A: I straddle lines. I’m an illustrator, designer, letterer, printer and artist. As far as my process goes, I prepare my designs in plates, scan them into the computer and composite them in Photoshop. My final product is digital and produced by offset lithography, serigraphy or giclee.
Q: Describe your artistic working environment and how it helps support your distinctive process and approach.
A: I strive to work regardless of my environment. I read a post Star Wars interview with Harrison Ford where the interviewer asked, “Do you believe in the Force?” Ford responded. “Yes. The Force is in you. Force yourself.” I like that. I believe we can accomplish more than we realize and that work is a key ingredient.
Q: What are your artistic and design influences and where do you look for inspiration.
A: Etchings in general are big for me as are pen-and-ink artists such as Albrecht Durer, Howard Pyle, Robert Lawson, Arthur Rackham, Edward Gorey, Maurice Sendak and others.
Q: What do you see yourself incorporating in your work as your vision evolves?
A: I’d like to push my drawings to new points of view, incorporate new textures and create new color combinations.
Marywood University’s Get Your Masters with the Masters MFA Program is a low-residency program with a sixty credit Master of Fine Arts degree in graphic design or illustration. “It’s specifically designed for working art directors, designers, illustrators, new media artists and art educators who have to budget their time and resources carefully, while continuing with their full-time occupations,” shares program director Steven Brower. “While production and technical skills are stressed, the thrust of our program is on creativity and concept.” Marywood University also offers a low-residency, twenty-four credit certificate in sequential art. “Study with the best over one year through independent studies and two weeks on campus for two summers. The end result is a graphic novel,” adds Brower.
Former MFA student Chad Hunter comments, “If you want inspiration and the opportunity to study under a list of leading industry professionals, the Marywood MFA is the program for you. I thoroughly enjoyed the study tour sessions, visiting a long list of top design and illustration studios as well as small workshop presentations created just for our class. I was inspired by my fellow classmates, many came from a broad range of disciplines from across the country. The curriculum is well thought out and offers a wide-range of advanced-level courses that are perfect for anyone seeking a challenge. The Promotional Strategies class was one of my favorite classes. It allowed me to solely focus on creating a distinct set of branding and promotional materials as a perfect resource to jump-start the new creative vision I constructed during the program. The Marywood Get Your Masters with the Masters program is an invaluable resource for working professionals.”
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