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Adventures in Graphic Design

Poster,

36'' × 48''

2015 - 2016

After several years of part-time freelancing and working odd jobs, I wanted a change of pace, and I looked to find a full-time design job. In order to bolster my portfolio (and my self-confidence), I decided to promote myself with an original design piece.

I designed and illustrated a poster about the process of being a graphic designer, utilizing the aesthetic of classic pulp covers. I wanted to engage designers and non-designers alike by utilizing humor and satire, all while also demonstrating my design expertise.

If you'd like a print, let me know, I'd love to send one to you.

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Detail

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Detail

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Inspiration

My initial interest was towards Science Fiction and Fantasy covers from the pulp magazine era, and later works inspired by that aesthetic such as Indiana Jones and Star Wars. Sites like Tumblr, Flickr, and Pinterest enabled me to view large collections of relevant user-curated material.

Although my research encompassed a wide breadth of genres and subjects, I found that pulp art was more striking in its similarities than its differences. I wanted to identify and express the common thread within the style—the "soul" of the aesthetic­­­—which avant-garde art tried to subvert and modern nostalgia looks to fetishize.

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The Process

The poster consists of about 30 paintings, all produced through the same process. First, I would brainstorm a concept from the available source material, which I then composed into a reference image in Photoshop. Using that reference, I would paint a watercolor painting, with the goal of producing a cohesive image and a consistent space. Some paintings required several attempts and other paintings were abandoned completely, but the process was designed to allow for the necessary amount of iteration and experimentation.

Eventually, I scanned the paintings and arranged them into a poster, and then painted watercolor washes to connect them into a single composition. Finally, I added type and graphics with Illustrator, and then masked them in Photoshop.

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Conclusions

These are scans of two revisions for the same painting, done 6 months apart (February 2015 and September 2015).

Completing the intial paintings was an experiment, meant to develop a flexible working process which emphasized refinement through iteration and aggressive quality control. While I was proficient enough to finish up to two paintings a day, the necessary cycles of research and iteration meant that the entire project took over 9 months to complete.

This project helped me understand the importance of exploration, and the cumulative effects of practice. To make truly worthwhile work I needed to leave room for experimentation, and failure.