illustration

grab bag blog

This is where I talk about my work, my discoveries, my creative process, and the ins and outs of marketing in the arts.

How Well Do You Know Your Audience?

November 3, 2015

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art & sketches, branding, wisdom

Wedding Photo BoothWhether you create artistic experiences or pieces of furniture or you run a restaurant, your audience is the primary reason why you create what you create. How we speak to our audiences— through marketing, during their experiences with us, and in the things we make for them— can influence whether your business is one they love and rave about to their friends or just an afterthought. So you’d better know your audiences wants and needs really well. How well do you know your audience?

These ideas were front and center in my mind over the last few month as I was planning a wedding. My wedding. I got married about two weeks ago, and the process of putting the event together was an amazing example of learning about and speaking to multiple audiences.

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Research & Collaboration: The Making of BoHo’s Dogfight Poster

October 20, 2015

Out of all of the stuff I create for my clients, posters are my favorite. A poster is an opportunity to tell a story with a single image. It can communicate a lot or a little, depending on what you want. It can be bold and simple or complex, with overlapping ideas. But most of all, posters tend to be the projects that are most collaborative. A marketing or artistic director tells me the story and themes, I create some visuals, and then we evaluate what’s hitting the mark in the right way, and then we continue to brainstorm and refine.

Boho Theatre's Dogfight ad

This summer I created the poster for BoHo Theatre’s Dogfight, a musical about a squad of soldiers who use their last night before getting shipping over to Vietnam to stage a contest to find the ugliest date. This kind of contest was a real thing back in the 60s, and was called a dogfight. It’s a show full of powerful emotion and deep themes, and it was the anchor of BoHo’s 2015 season.

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Everybody Looks Up To Somebody

May 27, 2015

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wisdom

Pay attention to what you like to do when no one is playing you.One of the first things I noticed after a few of the seminars at this year’s How Design Live conference was how many of the presenters used quotes in their presentations. Sometimes these were quotes from way back when, from cool important people. A lot of them were from keynote speakers and other presenters at this very conference. And that made me realize how much we, as designers and artists, look to each other for inspiration. Even the most successful people look up to someone else.

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You’ll Get Better Design If You Don’t Rush

May 21, 2015

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wisdom

Why do you hire a graphic designer? Is it because you need a thing made– a brochure, a website, a logo– and you just need somebody with the technical skills to execute it? If so, you’ve been short changing yourself.

Moving Too Fast

Impatient ArtistFor the past several months, I’ve been working on the second volume of my comic strip (I published the first volume last year). This involves more than just taking the old comic strips and putting them in page layouts and getting the book printed. To make the transition from daily internet strip to a book that stands on its own, I’ve had to add content to help the narrative flow correctly. I know what the strips need to be, but when I’ve sat down to make them, I’ve felt impatient with myself. I’m working on a big book and these comics have a small role to fulfill, so I just want them done now so I can get back to the big-picture work. Taking several hours to plan, draw, scan, and finish the strips makes me crazy impatient and I give up.

I didn’t understand this feeling. Back when I was drawing the strips regularly, I would spend hours on them, no problem. So what is so different now that I can’t find the joy and patience in creation?

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Three Reasons Not To Buy Stock Theater Art

May 1, 2015

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branding, wisdom

So you have a theatre company and you’re producing a play. Fantastic! Now you need some marketing to get people into your seats. And to create marketing, you need imagery! But where does that imagery come from?

When you produce a large, well-known play or musical, the licensing company of that show often has ready-made publicity art that you can use for a small fee. This art is usually from the original Broadway or similar big-venue production. This option can be very appealing for cash-strapped theaters because licensing that art is much cheaper and easier than hiring an illustrator or designer to create custom-made marketing artwork. But I’m here to tell you why it’s a TERRIBLE idea!

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