Original Art Works.

Apr 24

How important is it that an Art Director knows how to draw?

Scott Hull Associates should art directors know how to draw

This past month Scott Hull Associates was involved in a LinkedIn discussion that posed the question, “How important is it that an Art Director knows how to draw?” Scott Hull has this to say about the idea, “Is it the pencil or your ability to communicate an idea? It all comes down to evoking an emotion. Anyone who can harness creativity and innovative ideas will be the power brokers well into the future.  That’s one rule that will never change. At Scott Hull Associates with live by three words. Originality: Doing what you love not only makes art more fun to create, it also delivers results that intrigue and engage customers. Collaboration: To be truly effective in today’s media-saturated environment it takes many people communicating together, with a shared set of values and objectives, to achieve visual results that truly make an impact. And lastly, results: Our job is to harness these trends into viable visuals that move markets.
 The means of communication, technology and speed will change. But it will always be a pair of eyes, connected to a brain, which we process and make decisions by. So to answer the question, I would rather have someone who can communicate clearly and quickly with a few lines or just an idea. It doesn’t really matter either way, as long as you have clear communication creativity. ”

Here are a few of the other comments on the discussion board that caught our attention as poignant and insightful:

The best art directors I worked for had the ability to sketch their ideas out so one of the designers who answered to him/her could take the layout to completion. I also can’t imagine an art director giving instructions to an illustrator or photographer without a basic sketch. The drawings don’t have to be tight renderings but should be clear as to communicate the art director’s intent.

It makes absolutely no difference whether you can draw or not.

The hands aren’t the only means of delivering expression. Contrary to popular opinion.

In fact the rhythm of the hands can often dilute and distort the magnificence and authenticity of the expression.

Hands can be such primitive, clumsy, frustrating things.

If drawing becomes that important to direction, I’d say that there is too much prescription going on. Your artists should be alive to your direction on so many more levels than one.

Depends whether you consider drawing as part of a creative, expressive process, just like another form of writing – and thinking – which in fact it is or merely see it like a skill to present & execute ideas. In both cases being able to draw can be valuable – but the value will be very different.

How about the notion that drawing actually stimulates the brain in a way our computers can’t and helps unlock our creativity and enhances the flow of good ideas?

As Danny Gregory put it so eloquently in an article titled “Just Draw”, responding to the question of why we should pick up the pencil: “Simple: Because our jobs, our happiness, our lives depend on it. Because our goal is not to produce slick comps; it’s to lead a creatively fertile life. Designers, art directors… get paid to be creative problem-solvers. We need to tap back into the wild mind we had when we held crayons instead of computer mice.”

Working as an academic director at Art Institute, we still (require) our graphic design and advertising students to learn basic drawing skills. We’re not training them to be illustrators, but to draw well enough to convey the visual message. I tell them some of the best concept sketches still happen on a cocktail napkin! We teach them rapid visualization, have them do thumbnails and roughs (with a pencil or Sharpie…gasp!) before they go the computer. They work better and more efficiently when their ideas are sketched out first. When I worked at Imagineering the dozens of graphic designers could all draw…and draw well. Art Director of Graphic Designer, it certainly is an added plus if you can render.

Apr 21

199C: Where Baseball and Creativity Meet Opening Day

Andy Hayes interview with Scott Hull

Andy Hayes from Scott Hull Associates poster for 199C in drying rack

“Opening Day 2015.” Someone says this and almost instinctively, I know what they mean. Baseball, Cracker Jacks, you get the gist. For BLDG, a hip trendy group in Covington, Kentucky it means a gallery opening.

Andy Hayes was one of fifty artists invited to participate in the “199c” show celebrating this amazing day. He told me about how this honor reminded him of his childhood and his love of art.

Scott: So Andy, in one sentence, can you tell me what you think makes a great poster or graphic?

Andy: A strong poster is arresting, succinct, and memorable.

Scott: Where does the name 199c come from?

Andy: 199c draws its name from the Pantone color for the Cincinnati Reds.

Scott: What were your thoughts when you were given the chance to participate in 199c?

Andy: When I was asked to participate in the 199c (a show across the river from Cincinnati celebrating opening day for Major League Baseball) I automatically thought about how I could incorporate Red’s great Pete Rose. I’ve always loved the shot of Pete pointing with his hat off after hitting his record setting 4192nd hit so I pulled that as the silhouette. His ban from baseball was a gut punch when I was a kid. I still remember hearing the news. Today he’s controversial to say the least with many campaigning to get him back in the game while others are happy to see him continue to remain an outsider.

Andy Hayes from Scott Hull Associates 199C poster stamp

Andy Hayes from Scott Hull Associates 199C final poster

Apr 15

Bettering Lettering: Goes Way Beyond Comic Sans

Scott Hull Associates artists share how an infinite variety of feelings can come out of 26 measly characters.

“Type has always been my passion. When I was a senior in high school, I used to steal my older sister’s type specimen catalogs (she was a graphic design student) and use it to draw posters mimicking the endless styles of type. Our local Kroger store even had me painting their front windows and mirrors in the meat department with ad specials and holiday messages. When I went to college, I was introduced to the craft of typesetting and ligature design, so when I graduated as a designer, I treated type in a more formal, classic Bauhaus style.
- Lisa Ballard

Lisa Ballard from Scott Hull Associates lettering

“Few things can brand a product, business or service like a custom hand-lettered logotype. Illustrative lettering is the perfect balance between design sensibilities and illustration. A unique personality and identity can be imbued from illustrated letterforms that a standard typeface could never achieve.” – Von Glitschka

Von Glitschka from Scott Hull Associates lettering

“I always feel like the odd man out in illustration cause I never planned on being an illustrator. In college, I wanted to make logos, brochures and even brand guidelines. So, when I stumbled into the world of illustration, I still approach things with the mindset of a graphic designer. Type is second nature to me, so I always want to fine excuses to use it in my illustration. It might not always be lettering, but even some smart selections of a few classic typefaces can really make an illustration sing.”  – Mikey Burton

Mikey Burton from Scott Hull Associates lettering “I love the natural visual play that exists between words and images. Reading and writing was my gateway to drawing. Some of the first images I ever drew were inspired by pictures that formed in my mind while reading a story that I loved. I respect the power of and relationship between words and images. It only makes sense that in my work one of my favorite things to do is visually interpret the mood or amalgamate the literal meaning of a word into unique illustrative lettering.” – Dani Crosby

Dani Crosby from Scott Hull Associates lettering

My type designer friends would laugh if I called myself a letterer, though being an illustrator who is also a designer it is natural that I apply the two. There’s a running joke with Sagmeister alumni that if the type is made from something else it’s too “Sagmeistery.” These visual trends come and go but what remains a playful tribute to our ability to customize, experiment and create.- Mark Pernice

Mark Pernice Lettering from Scott Hull Associates http://scotthull.com/artists/mark-pernice

“I’ve always been drawn to design, typography and art. My years spent as a designer and art director allowed me to explore the connection between them on many levels and ultimately informed my approach to illustration. I love to return to the play between the shapes and forms of type and the organic nature of illustration. Their combination offers up never ending possibilities.” – Lorraine Tuson


Lorraine Tuson from Scott Hull Associates lettering

What the illustrative lettering artist brings to the table is the recognition of type as art. Once upon a time, all letterforms were created by people who could draw. So rather than assembling and contorting computer generated fonts, as the modern designer does, we approach the lettering design with type’s history in our DNA and the drawing ability to create a unique piece of lettering art.
- Mark Riedy

Mark Riedy from Scott Hull Associates lettering

It never ceases to amaze me how many possibilities there are with hand-lettering. It’s just 26 characters, but you can get such a different feeling from a bold, quick stroke versus a thin, tidy one. Illustration doesn’t have to stop with an image. – Penelope Dullaghan

Penelope Dullaghan from Scott Hull Associates lettering

Lettering has always held a certain kind of hidden magic for me. Being a bookworm from an early age, I’ve devoured countless books, letting type subtly mingle together to create stories and ideas on the page. The ideas and pictures that combined in my head were more important than the type on the page. But now as an illustrator my role with words has evolved. Word and image don’t need to co-exist like an arranged marriage or fight for dominance– the lines are blurred and personality can also shine in letterforms and images alike. My voice becomes stronger the more I play with both, and realize the countless possibilities. – Meg Hunt

Meg Hunt from Scott Hull Associates lettering

“Typography is making language visible. I love being able to amplify a concept and pay off the content with letterforms. I see illustration and typography as being completely intertwined.” – Andy Hayes

Andy Hayes from Scott Hull Associates featured lettering

Apr 10

Von Glitschka Tags the Term “TypeFace” Illustration

Von Glitschka from Scott Hull Associates Alfred Hitchcock TypeFace

Believe it or not, it’s no longer what is your elevator speech but what is your elevator image.

Von Glitschka was challenged with just that, when asked to illustrate a portrait of Nikola Tesla using hand-drawn type and keywords to express a “TypeFace” Illustration of the inventor.

Now comes the fun part. Watch as Von creates his “TypeFace” portrait of director Alfred Hitchcock, armed only with an iPad and Adobe Draw for sketches. He then moves the artwork into Adobe Illustrator building the color and shading until the unveiling in its final vector form.

Want to learn more about creating hand-drawn letterform “TypeFace” with Von?

Click here

Apr 3

Lisa Ballard: My Year of Creating Inspiration

Inspiration from Lisa Ballard

Lisa Ballard from Scott Hull Associates with Kokomo ScuptedMOD

At the beginning of 2015, I declared (to myself), that this would be my year of → C R E A T I N G.

So, here is a style exploration that I really had fun creating! Kokomo is my very fluffy cat that falls into all of the cat stereotypes when it comes to attitude. Lately, I have been doing a lot of Sculpey prototypes and was in that mode. I am intrigued by the idea of illustrating in 3d and like the idea of using my fabric patterns as backgrounds. Combining illustration with photography is very on trend with everything you see on social media. The MOD style of this 3d illustration also falls into my L I S A Lounge brand. This would make a really cute shadowbox framed gift product. My next step will be incorporating more sculpted elements to create a visual story.

Stay tuned for more of this style. Oh, and here is the real Kokomo ↓

Lisa Ballard from Scott Hull Associates with Kokomo portrait