In the sketchbook

Something different. Something me. As my life and career have evolved, I seemingly have dabbled more and more into graphic design.

It is truly a hobby. I am by no means classically trained. I don’t have the best or biggest or most efficient tools at my disposal, either. After reading somewhere how some designers use graphing paper, I use just so my doodling is a little more concise. Before that, I used some paper I had in the house. Thankfully, my kids needed some graphing paper for their math classes, so I could use it too.

I draw from inspiration in a variety of places. Sure, I am influenced by the design work published. Some of it I like, some I don’t.

Years ago, I bought several Sunday newspapers – from the New York Times to the papers in Minneapolis, Milwaukee and Madison – as I drew inspiration on page design, photos and writing.

I don’t have that kind of access to funds any more nor a lot of different papers. What also hurts is the continued use of a universal design desk for not just one newspaper but several. They are becoming more and more carbon copies of each other with little to no variation. And it squelches local creativity.

I don’t design my own newspaper with a ton of flair but just try to make sure I hit the basics. I want to make it solid. I do that for a variety of reasons.

It is here, and really through my designs and photos, where I can experiment and try things. I can tinker and refine my craft.

As my wife and I were having a discussion recently, craftsmanship  is something I truly respect. That doesn’t mean that my respect means what was crafted aligns with my personal style. That is up to the eye of the beholder.

While my wife, and a few others, have encouraged me to make sports cards for others, I am reluctant. I don’t want other people to try and tinker and change my designs. It goes back to the respect for the craftsmanship.

As a writer, photographer and designer, I am a craftsman. It is what I really am passionate about at my core.

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