CHADRON – Seven Chadron State College art students and Professor Mary Donahue attended a workshop with Portland, Oregon, graphic designer Aaron Draplin Sept. 26 south of Rapid City, South Dakota, at the Barn Event Center. The CSC students were: Rylie Cole of Minden, Neb., Riley Ellis of Harrison, Neb., Mia MacDonald of Cheyenne, Wyo., Jessica Rawlings of Chadron, Kayla Reinke of Pierce, Neb., Abigail Swanson of Grand Island, Neb., and Chris Wright of Gering, Neb.
Draplin has created designs for Nike, Patagonia, Target, Woolrich, and Princess Tours. He has worked for “Snowboarder” magazine and designed graphics for several snowboard companies as well as bands and musicians. His work has appeared in “Field & Stream,” “The New York Times,” “Outdoor Life,” and “Wired” magazine.
Ellis was inspired by Draplin’s advice and enjoyed his relaxed demeanor.
“He doesn’t look at graphic design as a job and has fun with it. For me, he taught me to use free thinking to sketch and put whatever I have in mind down on paper and see what comes out of it,” Ellis said. “The biggest inspiration I got from the workshop was simply to create. Create things that you like, things that your buddies like, have fun with it. The more you create, the more you are going to find solutions to problems, different ways of doing things, and ways to make you faster at your craft.”
Reinke echoed Ellis’ realization that it is important to have fun while designing.
“Sometimes graphic design can be intimidating, but after that short workshop, I've learned to have fun with intimidating projects. Part of the workshop was Aaron showing us his process. I've never had that kind of opportunity to watch another graphic designer do their thing. The most helpful tip I took away from the workshop is to build up your portfolio with whatever you want. The more projects you do, the better you'll get,” Reinke said.
Following the workshop, Reinke developed a poster series that will be part of her senior art show in December.
Swanson said she appreciated the chance to consider graphic design as a possible career path and meet with the owner of Hot Pink Inc., Bill Fleming, to review her portfolio.
“He helped me realize graphic design is a fun and interesting tool to have in my toolbox,” she said. “He helped me see that my portfolio, like any art, is not a finished product, but a work in progress and can always be adapted and improved.”
Draplin autographed copies of his book, “Pretty Much Everything,” for students. Donahue said it is a detailed survey of his life and work, including case-studies, inspiration, road stories, lists, maps, advice and examples of his posters, record covers, and logos. In it, he shares the process behind his projects like Field Notes and the “Things We Love” state posters.
Donahue said Draplin was humorous and approachable.
“He shared what inspires him, like going junking to secondhand stores and finding typography on old objects and packaging. He showed the students how to create multiple logo variations in a short amount of time. He also gave tips for being more efficient in the work process and how to deal with clients,” Donahue said.
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