Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Featured Crafter: Jeffrey Everett {El Jefe Design}

What led you to pursue design?

I didn't really choose to become a designer or artist, I just kinda was. I can't really ever see doing something different. I can not play music, I am horrible with math and science, and besides building IKEA furniture, I am not technically inclined.

I did choose to be a designer instead of a "fine" artist and I am happy I did.

What materials do you prefer and why?

I use bond paper, my sketch book, and my swank Prismacolor Lead Holder to do all initial sketching before transferring it to the computer to finish it off, add type, etc. I am still using Adobe CS 3 - Illustrator mostly - to work the art to finish. I purchase all my fonts and so should you. I use French Paper because the quality is outstanding.

What is your process like?

For concert posters, I listen to the band a lot. I pick up lyrics and imagery to get inspired on what to draw. Little details and references go a long way to appeal to fans and make the posters mean more to buyers. People can tell if you don't know the music.

Some bands, like The Gaslight Anthem, are rich with poetry and make it easy to draw out imagery to use. Other bands are more about feelings and intent so you have to do more interpreting. Neither way is better though I will say I have around 100+ unused sketches for Gaslight Anthem that may never be made into a final product.

What do you hope to achieve with your work (professionally and personally)?

I would like to eventually support myself full-time by doing posters and illustration. Right now, I do fun things like logos, websites, and other things to help pay the bills, which isn't bad but there is nothing like doing large scale illustration for people you respect.

Do you consider yourself an "indie" artist?

I do. Mainly because I fell I work outside of the "fine" art world (though my work has occasionally been shown in galleries) and my work is not seen as important as "real" design jobs like annual reports and logos (though my work has been shown in many design magazines and books). What I do, i feel, straddles the line between "art" and "design" and thus is neither. Some people feel concert posters are about advertising the band, while others will buy a poster regardless of who it is for - they just like the art.

I get a lot of "that would be fun to do" by designers and artists who don't know how hard it is to do this.

What advice would you give to other aspiring artists/designers?

Learn how to talk about your work and don't be shy. Don't wait for people to give you assignments - be your own client - create things to do. Get a lawyer and accountant to help you build and protect your business. Pay your taxes!

Tell us something that most people don't know about you.

My son Max can draw better than me.

Visit El Jefe Design to learn more or purchase work. Jeffrey has posters for The Bouncing Souls, The Budos Band, New Medicine, Wovenhand, and The Gaslight Anthem coming out soon. Stay in touch and sign up for his e-newsletter at http://www.eljefedesign.com/ or become a fan on Facebook. You can also check out the El Jefe Design Etsy shop to purchase his new line of tees, or visit him in person at Crafty Bastards in Washington D.C. on October 2nd.


Anonymous said...

I really enjoyed reading about Jeffrey's artistic process and I love the way he uses color in his work. :)

C. said...

Thanks Paulette! Yes, his color palettes are amazing!!

Lindsey said...

All design students at the AIGA GMU Student Group loved hearing your creative process and seeing your work. So cool that you are keeping it real in the DC area!