Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Q/A: Up & Coming Graphic Artists

This come from a previous blog of Q/A's I posted a year ago today on myspace celebrating my 200th Blog at the time. This is from a friend & fellow Graphic Designer, Jay Millionaire. It was actually a reply that I wish I would've blogged back then, but here it is... one year, 135 additional slept-on blogs later. Hopefully it'll inspire other artists. Peace!!

What advice I'd give to a young graphic designer just starting in the field?

Learn as much as you can as far as media & software. The more you learn & get familiar with programs & different media, the easier it'll be to find a good job. Becuz, being an artist is hard, & being Black just makes it even harder. So you want to absorb as much as you can & make sure your shit is tight, regardless. Because you want strong pieces for your portfolio & diversity.

Also, too. Something I had to learn, never allow yourself to get settled on one particular style or catering to one particular audience. Because the more versatile you are, the better. And wherever your job or career takes you, you might have to dumb down a little to cater to a certain audience. But don't let that interfere & dumb down your own creativity. That's why I keep a sketch pad on me. Whenever I feel an urge or get an idea, even if I don't have plans for it now, you'll never know if it might be good for you in the long run. Even if it doesn't get used, it keeps your creativity sharp.

Example.. My Black history blogs started off as a simple calendar I designed to teach myself. It almost went to print at my job. Unfortunately, it fell through, cuz they didn't try to sell enough advertising, nor did they promote it. So instead, they did a spread page ad for it. I designed that, but I didn't put any of the content of my calendar or any of the other stuff I researched, b/c I plan to take it with me & use it for myself.

Another word of advice, whatever media you work with, as for instance Magazines, look at other magazines with a similar target audience for inspirations as far as colors & style. Sometimes art, photos & print magazines can be inspirations, too. Everything I look at from album covers to package designing, even picturing images I see in real life can spark ideas. In other words, being observant is something very useful from the little things ppl take for granted.

And don't be afraid to think outside the box or jot down something that may seem weird or stupid. And never throw away failed projects becuz what might not work for one client or job.... might work for another.


Muhammad the Harlem Sk8rboi said...

Great advice George! I think that much of it could be of importance to any artist even in an alternative art form. When I read this the first time one of my childhood acquaintances came to mind. His name was DeVaughn, and he was a video game maniac. At 15 years old back in 1991 he sketched out a detailed 3-dimensional view of a gaming system he wanted to create with controllers. I remember looking at it, and shooting it down b/c it had like 16 buttons on the controllers, and the system didn't use a cartridge but a disc. I swear that when Playstation II came out a decade later it looked EXACTLY like his sketch. That dude was dead on with the technology of video games, and to this day I wonder what happened & what hampered him from putting out his sketches before Sony released theirs so he could sue their asses? I'm guessing that he believed the criticism more than he believed in himself, but that may be up for debate.

Phellah G said...

What up Muhammad? Damn. I'm sure he probably kicked himself in the ass when that came out. I remember in school we had to do an advertising project in art class. And I came up with the Super Mac or something like that.... where McDonald's used the Quarter Pound burgers in the Bag Mac rather than the regular ones. And my teacher & one particular know-it-all student hated on it. Then years later, Burger King came with the Big King, which was pretty much the Big Mac with their much bigger, broiled beef patties & those shits were good. I felt like Burger King stole my idea & kicked McDonald's ass for brief period with that. LOL.

But that's nothing compared to that video game idea. Wow. You better not ever bring that up to him if you see him. LMAO. Then again, he might be doing something related to it. hmmm.

Cham said...

Thanks Phellah. This came right on time for me because I'm actually starting to take my work to the next level. I've found a name that i'm comfortable branding my work under.

I like the part you stated about staying diverse and not settling on one style. I always said i would be versitle but hearing it from a veteran confirms the idea. Thanks alot fam because you're definately one of my role models in this field.

Phellah G said...

What up Cham?

Can't wait to see what you're working with. Branding yourself is hard. I'm starting over from scratch b/c my original brand was 13 years ago. I've grown since then, so my new identity has to show that growth & show I'm more that just a Black artist with a sketch pad, but a business man with a gift.

My worst interview out of college came from a woman that only saw my black face & not my creativity. It hurt my confidence at the time, but it was a learning experience. I realize a lot of these businesses are automatically gonna shoot you down if you're Black. And if most of your work market Blacks, they're gonna pass. Sad, but true. That's why my working experience was a blessing. Although I wish it did target Blacks, it taught me how to market to anyone outside of what I'm used to.

Diversity is very important, especially for Blacks since we're already stereotyped as monolithic.