When I was little I would always draw in my free time. I had tons of "How to Draw" books and I would always draw from those. One of my favorite cartoons was "The Fairly Odd Parents." I had the "How to Draw the Fairly Odd Parents" book and I went through the whole book and drew every character and created backgrounds for them based on the characters and hung them on my bedroom wall.
When I was in third grade a friend and I created two fictional characters, Bob and Bobtina. They were happily married to each other. When we had our free "rest" time we would always grab one of the little carpet squares, find a spot on the floor, and draw them. Whenever our teacher wasn't looking or stepped out of the room for a second, we'd get up, walk by her desk, and drop the drawings there. She'd come back and be like "Guys, another Bob!" Whenever I see her now she always mentions "Bob." She says she still has them all in a box in her attic!
I realized that I wanted to be a graphic designer when I was in middle school. One of our elective classes was a generic class called Computer Techniques. We learned simple basic things in Microsoft Word and PowerPoint. No design focus at all. I remember sitting there watching someone's career PowerPoint presentation with all these fancy transitions and I thought to myself, "That's cool, I want to do that." Obviously I knew PowerPoint was in no way at all considered graphic design. But that's what originally got me interested. When we had to do our career research papers I would always choose graphic design and learn all I could about it.
In my free time I would burn mix CD’s and create printed label covers for them using a Nero design application. This is where my love for music crossed with my love for design.
In high school I took all the digital imaging classes. This is where I got my first real experience in Adobe design programs. At that time it was called Macromedia. In digital imaging we used Fireworks and Flash and created some images and animations. One of my favorite projects was an extra credit project where we created a car using a tutorial my teacher found on the internet.
When it came time to choose a college major, I decided on Digital Media Design. I chose DMD because I was able to get experience in several different areas instead of just graphic design. I had classes in marketing, business, and electronic music techniques in addition to the standard graphic design and video editing classes. This major was made for customization so I took it and steered it in the direction of graphic design. I took several design classes, including Editorial Layout and Digital Illustration, that weren't required for DMD but actually help me out a lot everyday. When I walked into Digital Illustration the first day, my professor said "Chris! Why are you in here!? You don't need this class. You're going to hate me when it's over!" And I actually really enjoyed the class and all the things I learned from it.
Currently I work for Pierce Media Productions in Follansbee, WV as the Associate Graphic Designer and Video Editor. I do everything from posters, booklets, and billboards to commercials and wedding films. Graphic design is what I focus most of my time on. I've designed several new logos and marketing materials for clients. I also do website design using Wix. I have some knowledge of HTML coding but haven't worked with it for awhile. My most recent projects include a General Orientation booklet for Trinity Health System, a Scrubs Infographic for Trinity Health System, and a website for Barium and Chemicals.
I also do freelance design projects as well. Most recently I completed a website for a non-profit based in Wintersville, OH called Women in the Word Ministries. They just launched a human trafficking safe house called Refuge 1:99, which was one of the leading factors to have the new website created.
I'm always on the lookout for new things I can try in my projects. Song lyrics are one of the easiest things for me to experiment with because I already know the words I want to use in my design. I'll get a line stuck in my head and then come up with an idea and see how it plays out as I'm designing. Sometimes it turns out great and sometimes I end up with something completely different then my original design idea. That's one of the best things about graphic design, you never know what's going to come from your blank canvas!
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