Greeting fellow TeeHunters. I know you’re here for your weekly dose of awesome interviews with amazing designers from all around the world so here it is – Creative Outpouring! Joshua Ketchen aka Creative Outpouring has been designing for over eight years and has been illustrating and drawing since he was able to hold a pencil. You’ll love his art and you might even learn a thing or two. Check out our little chat and let us know what you think.
1. Who hides behind the name Creative Outpouring?
My name is Josh Ketchen and I run a design/illustration station known as Creative Outpouring. I love a good cup of coffee, a long RPG and memes.
2. When and how did you first start getting into design?
It started when I was really little, I used to draw my own superheroes and make these comics (with hardly any text) and just a ton of fighting. One of my earliest memories was all the kids in my second grade class wanted me to draw X-Men on these little manila folders we used to put our work in. It was a HUGE distraction in class!
3. Do you have any formal background in graphic design or are you a self-taught artist?
I have some formal training. I went to school for Graphic Design and we had to have a lot of drawing classes etc. but I’ve been drawing well before that.
4. What does it take to be a good designer? Do you recommend going to school to learn art and graphic design?
Any form of education in art is great and can be really helpful to anyone. I never took art lessons, but I do love art books and researching new techniques. It’s been a huge help in crafting my own style and honing in on my strengths and helps me work on some weaknesses. I don’t feel it takes much to be a good designer. As long as you’re doing it for the right reasons. If you go into any industry for the sole purpose of making money, then you’ve already lost. It takes passion and a willingness to learn, mess up and fail. Know you’re not going to be the best, but always strive to be.
5. How long did it take to start getting noticed and actually selling your artwork?
It took a little while. Before I started CO I was submitting designs to places like Woot and Threadless for about 8 months prior. I then took a break and focused on other endeavors. Once I started CO, it still took a while. I would say it was six months or so before my first shirt a day print and about a year before I started making a decent living through it.
6. Do you design full time or do you have a day job?
I have a full-time design job at a Community College. I design all the marketing and posters and everything you can think of. Freelance art has consumed a lot of my spare time though and feels like a second full-time job. It’s a good outlet for doing something outside of what I do in my day job, which tends to lean more on the corporate side of design.
7. If you were to pick a favorite design you have created, which one would it be and why? ( show us some pics )
My favorite design is one of my more odd ones. I mad a He-Man/ Finn the Human mash up just so I could make the pun of HU-MAN and the Masters of the Oooniverse. I loved the colors and how it came out. Although it’s not one of my most popular designs, I feel it’s probably one of my favorites.
8. How do you get inspiration for your t-shirt designs?
I usually tend to stay in the realm of the things I like or discover I like. I usually design based off games,movies, comics etc. I’ve grown up with and I like to mash together different styles and approaches when I reference them. I love trying to bring in a certain style or era of design into each piece I make.
9. Describe the general process you go through to design and realize a piece of work?
I usually get woken up by an idea at about 2 in the morning. I scribble it down on a notepad, then wake up later and barely have a clue as to what the idea is. Then, I do a TON of research for the topic I’m trying to reference: what weapon does the character use? If so, what hand do they use it in? What colors should I use for this piece? What era and style do I think this art will benefit most from for telling the joke effectively? Then I start to rough up some composition thumbnails. I pick one or two that seem most striking then I finally rough up some mock ups. Whatever one flows better on a shirt is the one I go with and continue with. I then proceed to look up references if I want to make a more realistic style etc. after that I do the more clean, final lines. Followed by the base colors. THIS PART IS IMPORTANT: I make sure my flat color layers are in the right order and aid each other before I do any detail/painting layers. That helps immensely in the final stages of color separation etc.
10. When you aren’t designing T-Shirts, what are you up to?
I’m currently working on a board game/RPG board game that’s been a huuuuge part of my free time. Also, I write and record my own music, which is a nice change of pace from drawing.
11. Do you have any wisdom you’ve learned along the way you’d like to share with other aspiring artists?
Have fun! Don’t worry so much about trying to get successful overnight. Lastly, always show passion and excitement in everything you do. Nothing is more important than being happy and passionate about your art.