Monday, March 14, 2011

Richard Russell Creative Process Interview on

I just finished posting an interview with Atlanta-based collage artist Richard Russell. You can find the entire text here.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Gary Baseman Sketchbook Album on Facebook

Here's a link a Facebook photo album of the sketchbooks of one of my favorite illustrators and fine artists: Gary Baseman.

Friday, January 7, 2011

A Little Wisdom

"Knowledge without wisdom is a clear and present danger."
Dr. Sherwin B. Nuland

(photo courtesy of

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Three New Print Editions and the Shop is Now Open

Nobody Sends Me Flowers: The Song of Colonel Beauchamp II
Heroes of the Air II
Misfortune and Repast
2011 is shaping up to be a good year for accomplishing goals.
I’ve finally succeeded in having editions made of three linoleum blocks I carved last year, as well as opening a humble online shop to sell my artwork.
Two of the editions, “Nobody Sends Me Flowers: The Song of Colonel Beauchamp II” and “Heroes of the Air II” are from the series called “Impossible Highway, Volume I: Duty Before Roses.” The third edition, called “Misfortune and Repast,” is from the series “Impossible Highway Volume II: Perfidy’s Rainbow.”
Stephanie Smith at the Atlanta Printmakers Studio printed the blocks on 100% cotton rag Rives BFK paper using a Vandercook 215 cylinder proof press. Each was run in a small edition of 20 and there a some Artist Proofs for each image.
To see the prints in the sketchbob shop at Big Cartel, go to

Monday, December 20, 2010

New Artist Statement

Today I submitted my work for consideration by Artist a Day, a gallery site which showcases one artist's work each day. Since 2007, the site has attracted 800,000 subscribers to its iGoogle gadget and shows some pretty nifty artwork.

Part of the application process was writing a new artist statement, which was a helpful exercise in thinking about why I do what I do and how my work is different. I will undoubtedly continue to explore these issues through writing.

Here is what I submitted:

Sketchbooks are often relegated to a preliminary role in creating art, which is understandable: for hundreds of years they have played an important role in capturing, incubating, and developing inspiration and ideas. Artists used sketchbooks to record and develop ideas that formed the foundation of finished pieces in other media. This perception is unfortunate because it ignores the potential of sketchbooks to be an independent, valid, and rich vehicle for finished work.

My view and approach are different. I see sketchbooks as a unique medium that combines finished work with the traditional repository of raw and unformed ideas. Every page in my books contains the entire history of an idea, from its origin to final expression, simultaneously occupying the entire continuum of the creative process.

I use my sketchbooks in part for traditional purposes: as a repository of ideas and inspiring words and images; as a laboratory for experimenting with materials, techniques, and styles; and as a incubator for nurturing, exploring, and developing creative ideas. But I also see my sketchbooks as finished pieces and give page spreads the same consideration, attention, and care afforded a finished piece.

I’m attracted to books because they offer us a uniquely intimate experience. They are small and tactile; we hold them in our hands. The experience of reading a book is solitary, absorbing us even if we are sitting in a crowded room. Written or visual journals are places in which we often reveal our most private selves.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

1,000 Journals: the Movie

Despite my deep love of sketchbooks, I couldn’t envision them as the subject of a movie. At least not an interesting one. Despite long odds, filmmaker Andrea Kreuzhage accomplished that very unlikely task with 1000 Journals.

The movie tells the story of the 1000 Journals Project, an experiment in which a San Francisco-based graphic designer named Someguy released 1000 blank journals into the world, hoping that people would add to them and return them. Since it began in 2000, the project has involved hundreds (if not thousands) of participants in more than 40 countries and all 50 of the United States, as well as yielded a 212-page book and an exhibition through SFMOMA.

Kreuzhage began work on the film in December 2003, spending the next five years traveling the globe to interview nearly 500 contributors to the 1000 Journals Project. According to the film’s website, the crew shot about 165 hours of film, took well over 7,000 still photos, and made about 2,400 high resolution scans of about 80 journals.

The stories Krezhage collected, while engaging on their own, have even more power when taken together. In that sense, the movie is much like a sketchbook; the individual parts are given greater meaning and depth when taken as a whole. The film showed perfectly the power of the 1,000 Journals Project, capturing the spirit of collective creativity that has driven thousands to participate.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Creative Process Interviews: Scott Tredeau

Scott Tredeau is a curious mix of the type of person who chooses to live in any American small town, and the type of person who desperately needs to leave. He is a devoted family man and former car mechanic who loves camping, his four-wheeler, and living in the country. He also runs the Atlanta-based graphic consultancy TredeauDesign, Inc., plays guitar, and has a lifelong passion for riding and designing skateboards.

As a teenager in Ossian, Indiana, Scott sought refuge from the more stultifying aspects of small-town life. Skateboarding provided an outlet for his creative energy, opened up a new view of the world, and gave him an urge to experience more.

That desire led him to study design at The Creative Circus in Atlanta. After graduation in 2002, he founded TredeauDesign and built a specialty in graphic communication for non-profits. For many years he also owned and operated Boulevard Skateboards a skateboard design and fabrication company.

Scott and his wife Meredith now live in Social Circle, Georgia, with their two small children. I caught up with Scott between guitar practice and working on brochure layouts to talk about his design work, creative process, and how skateboarding helped get it all started.

What part did skateboarding play in your life as a teen in small-town Indiana?
Skateboarding was my life. It was to me what Little League Baseball was to some kids. Skateboarding influenced what I wore, how I thought, and how I looked at things. Back then, skateboarding wasn’t as mainstream and common or accepted as it is today, especially in the cornfields of small town Indiana. We were considered outsiders, different than the “norm.”

Did skateboarding play any role in your interest in art or design?
To me, skateboarding is a creative outlet in that you are forced to view your surroundings in a different, creative way, while in search of places to skate. For example, a parking lot is not just a place to park your car. When on your skateboard, you look at it for ways you can incorporate it and its elements into what you want to do on your board. With design, the same process comes into effect, when I use things from my surroundings as different ways to communicate the artistic vision in my head. Design has become my new creative outlet since I’m too old and tired to skateboard anymore.

How would you describe your creative process? What are the steps you go through in creating graphics for clients or your skateboards?
The first step in a new project for a client is usually a kick-off meeting with the client to talk about the project’s scope, purpose, message, audience, medium, etc.

My creative process generally begins with a trip to the bookstore to research creative books and books related to the type of project for ideas and inspiration. I make notes and sketch layouts, which help guide me once I sit down at the computer.

I typically provide clients with three different design directions/comps. Based on client feedback, I move forward with the chosen design direction and complete the final product.

The creative process for my personal work, such as skateboard graphics, usually begins when I get an idea for something or some message I want to communicate visually, while trying to fall asleep at night.

I then start looking for images or ways to create the look/idea in a hands-on way, such as tracing, stenciling, painting, making textures with spray paint, bushes, found items. Then I start putting all the pieces together to communicate the message or vision.

As I begin including everything – all the thoughts and ideas – I realize there is too much going on, and I start editing/removing elements. It’s usually the simplicity that says the message best. The piece usually ends up much different than it starts, always evolving as it goes.

What is the difference in how you approach client work versus personal work, like a logo versus skateboard graphic?
Client work is structured, and done according to established schedules, budgets, and client needs; it’s a collaborative effort to design something that communicates the client’s vision. Personal projects are sporadic, with no structure or schedule; it’s personal and individual, and the only considerations are my ideas and messages.

You mentioned that your skateboard graphics ideas come as you're falling asleep. What do you think it is about that time or that state of being that brings about ideas?
It’s the time where my mind is free to wander where it will. Whereas during the day, I have to stay focused on my to-do list and daily priorities.

You seem to use to use a lot of non-digital media in your skateboard graphics. Why?
I think that because I use the computer and digital media so much for work, it’s when I’m not working or sitting in front of the computer that I get ideas for the graphics and inspiration from my surroundings. I want the skateboard graphics to come from what I create, not the computer.

How do your skateboard and design work influence one another?
The only way they really influence one another is that I want them to be different than one another. I really enjoy my design work and the projects I get to work on, and feel lucky that my business involves something I’m passionate about (art and design), but at the end of the day, it’s a job, it’s work. My skateboard art is a form of escape, and I want it to be everything my design work is not, and vice versa.

What’s next for TredeauDesign and your skateboard design work?
I’m in the process of a total over haul of the website, (, adding a lot of work to the portfolio, trying to tailor it to my current client base, which has evolved over the last couple years, since my last re-design of the site. My work has also expanded geographically recently, to include west coast clients and markets, and I want to take that even further. My skateboard art has had to move to the back burner for a while, because I just don’t have the extra time to spend on it. I’m focused on growing TredeauDesign right now, which is the priority. My skateboard art will always be a part of my life, just not a large part at the moment.