Drew Pocza | cartoon
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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!

kill fee

samples

All jobs have good days and bad days. There also lots of pros and cons to working full time. freelance. As a commercial artist, I try to have a thick skin. creating “art” is something personal at times, but I am in the business of making art for advertising. My work may not be the right art for the project. That’s one thing I am very aware of.

Over the years I have been able to take notice of when I feel the potential client has something else in mind. Communication is king and I try to do my best to let them know that what they see on my website is what I do. I don’t do realistic work. I don’t do highly detailed work. My strong skills are humors illustration. There are many, many talented artists out there that can do several styles on demand. I admit, I am NOT one of them. I have taken my “No style as style” approach and applied to to editorial, packaging, animation, games. From kid friendly fun to boring office work. But it is me, and that’s what I do.

I recently worked on a large project for a publisher of kids educational material. I was excited. I have worked with them in the past and they know my skill set. I confirmed what my expectations were to make sure they are on board. Moving forward I produced lots of spot illustrations. I got frantic emails saying we don’t have time for sketches, go straight to finals! WHAT? I have never done that. The other emails form others involved saying, “STOP, we need sketches”. Needless to say, the miscommunication, and eventually lack of communication was causing havoc. I resorted to simply going with my gut and sometimes I was right, others not so much. But one thing for sure, the project was going south and FAST.

I have never been so excited to get a kill fee for a project. It’s never happened under bad terms, but we simply couldn’t agree on anything. We both didn’t work well together and the project was actually taking a physical toll on me. The stress was driving in my back like a dagger I could remove. So when we reached a end game scenario, I felt relieved. The stress left and took the dagger with it.

I’m writing this not to rip the client a new one, but to say, it’s OK for a project to not work out. It’s just another reason I make sure people know what I do. I don’t try to mimic other artists and I access when a client lets me be me! All the little stuff I pack into an illustration to give it personality shows when I am happy doing my own thing. The project will turn out great now that they found an artist who meets there vision more clearly than I could. These are a few of the samples I liked and wanted to share. The others, they get tucked away deep down in folders on a external hard drive.

Cars

skagit_

I hate most commercials in general but the scourge of them are the local ones. The really low budget, unpolished ones that come on screaming at you both audibly and visually. So I was shocked when a local agency asked me to help with just such a commercial. But they had my attention since they wanted to run an animated one.

After reading the storyboards I was excited. Here was a chance that some ad crew was taking with their client. A chance to do something different, something relatively new to this market. And their client was excited as well. So I prepped all the art with little, really no alterations and sent it off to the animator. I think he knocked it lout of the park with his timing and styling. We have worked well together on lots of projects, so I knew it was gonna be great.

So, barring any compliance issues from Hyundai, the spot should be running by Friday.  Just in  Snohomish County. My hope is that it will start a creative bug that others want. And from what the agency has said, the client is already thinking of new ways to use this style of work. NICE!

So be motivated to go buy a new Hyundai.

More video

o365

I have said it before, I’ll keep saying it, I never get tired of seeing my stuff move. My work is used from logos, coloring books, games and animation but I try to use a few styles that are still very “me”. The recent trend that I am getting hired for is a rather simplistic inky look. With this style I try as much as possible to get the most out of the least lines. This was an effort in helping the motion graphics guys. There was a need for me to keep it simple and stylish. Vintage advertising from the 50-60’s is really exciting and so I try to replicate that feel but in a  modern sense.

I started this inky style to contrast the typical hard outline work I had been doing for years. I decided to make a comic strip and my main goal in style was to work in anything that wasn’t vector looking. So Pokeweed became a fun exploration in style, story boarding and writing. Slowly the process overlapped into my regular work and now I do about 90% of my work in a loose brush stroke. And now, I feel the urge to work back in the hard line style. Or no outline at  all. But that will work itself out in time.

Check out this new Office 365 video I did the art assets for. I also like the look of this one, with no outline, for Microsoft Kudos… Kudos is an internal “appreciation program” at MicroSoft.