Editor's Note: This is one of a continuing series of interviews with notables in the creative industry. This week, we talk with the immensely talented Von Glitschka – Creative Director/Designer/Artist.
Von Glitschka AKA Vonster
#1 What is your primary job title?
Creative Director, Illustrative Designer, Author, Snarky Twitter User
#2 Who or what inspires you?
I can get lost looking through curated archives of deep space photography. All the incredibly colorful interstellar clouds of dust, the “Pillars of Creation” from the Eagle nebula is pretty cool. But just looking at these and realizing how expansive the universe is puts things into perspective quickly.
#3 What do you think about when alone in your car?
I’m usually having a conversation with myself. Thinking through what I’m going to say to a client in regards to a creative pitch or responding to design feedback. I find myself carrying on an imaginary conversations to work out dialogue for a story I’m developing. Today while driving I figured out how to phrase something I’m going to record for my Lynda.com design course I’ll be recording.
#4 Share a life lesson you learned?
I love creating art and design. But I realize in the grand scheme of things it’s not that important. Life is too short not to use your talent to help improve the lives of others. Giving legs to empathy if you will. This can be as simple as working with a smaller budget to help a small business get on their feet, or donating your time to create promotions for a local good cause like a food bank or feeding the homeless.
My buddy Justin Ahrens would be a good example of this. He inspires me with his servant’s heart.
#5 Favorite period of history?
This is hard. I love reading historical non-fiction. One of my favorite authors is David McCullough, his book 1776 made me really enjoy studying the colonial period and the American Revolutionary war. Another great book was The Pirate Coast by Richard Zacks, this fundamentally changed my understanding of geopolitics. It was an incredible story and would make a great movie. It also made me realize the history I had learned in school is far too idealistic and simplified for the complexity that is history.
#6 What projects are you working on right now?
Me and my daughter who works with me have been developing sticker sets for Apple Messages that are now available on the iTunes store. You can view two sets on our web site here.
#7 Describe your personal style.
Chameleon. I’m adaptive to whatever the project needs or requires. One of the first decisions I have to make when approaching a design be it a logo, brand character, or illustration is the style that will drive the aesthetic.
That said I have my personal favorites in terms of style. One new style I discovered this year through some experimentation is vector painting. That is a fun one to work in. This snake illustration is completely vector based. You can see more at my site and get the vector brushes I used here.
#8 What tech tools do you use in your work?
My main tools are my pencil, Adobe Illustrator, and Adobe Photoshop. For me analog facilitates digital. And I think every designer should be drawing regardless if they ever want to become an illustrator. Drawing is designs best friend and helps facilitate ideation and cognitive processes.
#9 When did you know you'd found your calling?
When I was a little kid I saw an ad in MAD magazine saying you could make a living drawing cartoons. So I figured I’d do something like that. I’ve always been drawn to visuals and artwork since I was little.
#10 What's your super power?
Maybe teaching? I like sharing my creative process and how to approach and solve design oriented problems. Not sure I’d call it a super power though? I wrote a whole book about my creative process that can empower other designers to achieve their creative goals. That said, I’d much rather be able to turn invisible though, that would be cool.
#11 Peanut Butter: Creamy or Chunky?
On an english muffin, creamy. On a peanut butter and honey sandwich, chunky.
#12 What makes you happy?
My two daughters, a good book, BBQ, and sci-fi stories that have a time machine in the plot.
#13 What do you do to relax?
#14 Your place of birth?
Land of the Green Mermaid, Seattle.
#15 Favorite artist or art movement?
Jim Flora, 1950’s art director for RCA records. I have all his albums hanging outside my studio.
#16 Share a funny moment from your career?
A Korean beverage company stole my art and used it on their soda cans. I contacted the company showed them my copyright registration of the design and they in turn contacted the designer who had done the work for them and told him he had to pay my usage fee. I was paid, but I told them I was retaining ownership to the copyright. They agreed.
A year goes by and they ask me if they can buy the copyright, I said they could buy it for use in Korea but I was going to keep it state side. They agreed and bought the artwork.
Another eight months goes by and they contact me saying they can’t register the design with their copyright office because another Korean company had ripped off the same artwork of mine and had already registered it before them.
I contacted the new company now infringing and they were a lot bigger and their lawyers basically told me to go pound sand and dared me to go after them. I talked to my copyright lawyer and he said “If you were Apple, or Google you could. But this isn’t worth the amount you’d have to pay and there is no guarantee.”
Last month a company in London stole the same art and is using it as the identity for a high-end condo owned by a lawyer. Moral of the story, lawyers are weasels.
#17 Color of the car you drive?
#18 Any new skills you'd like to learn?
Grammar. I drew too much in English class so I kind of suck at grammar. Thank god for good editors. I have a course I ordered on writing but haven’t cracked it open yet. I need to do that.
#19 How do you get your news?
I’m an RSS junkie. I subscribe to an insane amount of RSS feeds and wade through those and discover stories and articles that mainstream ignore. I also love podcasts and one of the best for deconstructing news is No Agenda Podcast hosted by Adam Curry and John C. Dvorak.
#20 Advice to other creatives?
Never stop drawing!