I have no memory of a time in my life when I didn’t enjoy drawing or creating images.
I remember sitting in my elementary school library drawing Garfield’s face over and over again to commit the lines to memory (my tastes later changed to prefer Calvin and Hobbes). A few years later, my sister masterminded a hustle in which I drew characters from the Ghostbusters cartoon that she would sell to children on our school bus. As a teenager, I would pencil and my brother would ink a posterboard covered in Marvel and Image superheroes (sorry, DC) with a long white cardboard box full of comics at our feet and an epic poster of all the X-characters by Jim Lee and Scott Williams on our wall. I hated working at my parents’ wig store on the weekends and summer vacations, but it was there that I would cover the back of invoices and business-related scrap paper with drawings of Dragon Ball characters and my own personal comics. My class notes from high school through college are littered with sketches and drawings and trace amounts of academic information.
As the story goes, after graduating with a degree in illustration, my jobs of scanning legal documents, finding customers’ dry cleaning, and teaching English to children in South Korea had little to do with image creation (other than the Pokemon drawings for my students). However, during these years when I did other work to pay my bills, I created several webtoons, started a Patreon where I drew fan art, illustrated a children’s book, did freelance illustration gigs, and created all of the art assets and animations for a mobile game I made with a friend (featured on the App Store!).
I continue to create because I love to.
I am careful and thorough with my decisions. When my wife and I decided to buy a used car, I made a spreadsheet gathering car models, year, mileage, dealership where sold, distance to dealership, and links to reviews on two different sites. When I created a mobile game with my friend, I played levels over and over and over and made a spreadsheet gathering my scores to determine score rankings for each level. When I wasted a couple months of my life playing the Simpsons: Tapped Out, I made a spreadsheet listing in-game items with their description, cost, and a calculated number to determine the value they added to my town’s “Tree-hugging” or “Vanity” scores. Was it worth it? For the game, sure. For life, not as much. I like collecting, compiling, and analyzing data. It helps me make informed decisions.
Being a visual artist / problem solver / researcher might sound like an unusual combination, but people like me exist. And a lot of us have found a happy place where our skills and natural tendencies overlap in User Experience Design. As UX designers, we are given problems to solve that require research and visual solutions. What more could we ask for? Ice cream! Contact me via the links below to talk about design (or anything else) or offer to buy me ice cream (or anything else).