Drew Pocza | Blog
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shirt art

My best work tends to be character driven. I love creating characters to fit client needs and have often referred to my work as “Illustration with Character”. See what I did there? lol

About a year ago, I created a pretty fun a logo for a church youth group. Calvary Chapel Merrit Island in scenic Florida. Dan, my contact there has been a great supporter of pushing new custom art for his group. Not just relying on stock art. And hey, I do stock work as well, so I’m not totally dissing it. But with so much visual noise out there, it’s nice to know people care about putting out fun, relevant projects out.

Dan came back needing some art for his Vacation Bible School coming up this summer. There are LOTS of junky VBS packages churches can buy, but again, I’m thankful Dan likes to go big and be original. He needed a shirt design. Simple enough. After we talked about the elements he needed, I started sketching. As the process went on, I realized it was going to be VERY expensive to make shirts if I did them the way I would normally color. After brainstorming a bit, we decided on a new direction. Make the art for various applications. He let me go all out with color and textures, then as necessary, we scaled parts back. So far back, to one color for the shirts.

I build art in layers with black/outlines on top, colors on descending layers. I have always given the options for turning color layers off and supplying black and white coloring page art. This time I gave more options.

1. Single color for shirts.

2. Additional single color version was made to separate youth from leaders. I added a distress pattern to give the art a warn vintage look.

3. Full color version done with flat colors. Set in Illustrator so the art could be scaled to any size and still look great.

4. Full color with textures. This version adds a nice tone to the art that works great for smaller print and web.

So with all the same art, I was able to offer four variations. The client was very easy to work with and I’m happy he lets me do my thing.

The type is a font I created called Wonky. I use it often, but vary the letters so it looks different with each use. It really compliments the hand work I put into my illustrations.

So if you or your organization needs help, let me know!

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Communication

 

I recently had the pleasure of meeting a new client through another illustrator who is moving on in another direction. The new client is a German economics teacher who likes to publish his own books. I found it very interesting so I said I would love to help out.

The previous artist has a great style, but we have no similarities. I had my fears that the client wanted me to replicate the other work. One rule I apply to every project is to NOT imitate another artist. I’m simply not the kind of artist who can rmimic another technique with ease. It has taken me years to craft my style and so I only take on work that I can apply myself to.

The first hurdle was the language barrier. The thought process was hard for me to interpret, but I came up with a sketch based off his art order. Easy enough. The different illustration style worked out and the client was very happy with the new direction.

Once I got approval I had two visions on how this could work out. So I sent the style I wanted to push. It wasn’t what he was hoping for, but I needed to take that chance. So I went back to my signature style and redid a character for approval to do all the others. Second style for the win! I’m OK with that. Ultimately, he has to be happy with it. As much as I wanted to try the retro inky look, I think he made the best decision. Just because a client contacts me for what I do, it doesn’t always mean I am right.

One thing he really wanted was to keep the magic of the sketch. Often fun sketches get too cleaned up and it misses that “something”. He was persistent in wanting that look. So I tried hard to go line for line over the sketch. gain, good call.

Once all the outlines were done, it was off to coloring. Exploring some simplicity in colors, we opted for full color. The image was created in Adobe Illustrator and is ready for print. The brilliant thing I love about i is the flexibility in size output. He produces books in print and digital and he can engage images for his class as big as he wants!

 

Lesson learned: Communication is king. My goal is to communicate both orally and artistically to help clients get what they want. Simply put, “It is exactly what I wanted” is how I wrapped up this project for the client.

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Christmas Project

 

I work with clients that have various applications for my illustrations. Most tend to be online/video or in game, so I still only see the work on screen.

But I was pleasantly surprised to get a sample packet in the mail from a Christmas project I helped NorthPoint Ministries with! Nice printed coloring books celebrating the birth of Jesus.

The Art Director had a great vision for something other than the typical manger scene. The kids ministry wanted something different so we went with more of a camel point of view. The kids ministry and creative staff do amazing productions, so it was exciting to work with them on this. Originally I was only doing a few illustrations, but it quickly changed when the Project Manager and Art Director liked the work so much and wanted me to do the entire layout. On a normal project, I would just pass along the files, so it was very fun to work the entire book from start to finish. Graphic design is something I enjoy. Illustration is something I’m passionate about. So it was double the fun. The staff there made is really easy for me to explore the space, but stay in their design standards. From the first sketch to the final production output I was able to help bring a new look to an old story.

As much as I love seeing the work put to good use, it is even mo’ bettah to get samples in hand, with a super nice note!

If you need design, production and hopefully illustration help, don’t hesitate to ask me how I can help!