National Student Show 13
Senior Portfolio Star Hopper in Campaign and Packaging Mateo's Salsa in Packaging
Hi, I'm Ian Andersen, I'm a designer and cartoonist currently studying Visual Communication Design at the Univeristy of North Texas planning to graduate in May of 2017.
I came to visual communication design through comics and illustration, but quickly realized that there's more in common than I initially thought. Planning and creating multipage documents requires the same attention to maintaining readers interest by varying pacing and visual content. Creating identity systems is also similar to creating characters for comics, at a glance they should convey some sense of their role and identity, but it's through application that their true essence becomes evident.
My interest in comics came from my desire to draw and create stories. Before drawing comics I was a compulsive sketchbook drawer, but I was never very interested in making single finished images, I liked creating short series of related loose drawings. I made my first twelve page mini-comic in 2009 and realized that comics were the ideal medium for what I wanted to do and began making more comics.
My initial interest in design came from it seeming tangentally related to comics and illustration, but overtime I've grown to love doing design work and the unique challenges and possibilities.
I started in the University of North Texas Visual Communication Design program in the Fall of 2013, having heard about the program's good reputation. Initially I was wondering if maybe I should have gone into drawing and painting instead, but as I learned more I realized design was more interesting to me.
At first I was much more interested in the image-making aspects of communication design, but as I learned more about typographic layout both in practice and in the history of visual communication, I realized it could be just as compelling as making a drawing. I've been especially drawn to the more experimental moments like Kurt Schwitters Merz publications, Laszlo Moholy-Nagy's various projects at the Bauhaus, and Wolfgang Weingart's pre-post-modern typographic experiments. I'm also personally interested in creating multipage layouts for magazines and books, especially for works of fiction.
I tend to think that all sorts of information can be interesting to read but in order to begin it requires effort to begin which is where good visual communication design can help develop a potential reader's interest. In a culture saturated with so many forms of readily available information it requires a delicate balance between being loud enough to be noticed but not to the point that it blends in with the rest, a sort of quiet noise. I think a little bit of confusion and difficulty can be a good way to build interest, delivering a challenge to solve, but not obfuscating the message to the point of turning people away.
My interest in cartooning developed out of a desire to draw and create stories, along with an interest in animation. Comics are a compelling versitle medium for both art and communication.
For as long as I can remember I've always been interested in drawing, especially drawing characters who I was mentally creating stories around. Although I took art courses in highschool I wasn't interested in fine art until much later, perfering animation and comic type drawing becasue of the narrative possibilites. I had drawn the first couple pages of a number of comics but had never completed any until 2009 when I drew my first complete twelve page mini-comic, a silly story about a person being zapped by a gravity-defying beam and being carried away by a balloon. After finishing that first comic I realized it was something I wanted to do more of and have been working on multiple comics projects ever since.
Learning about the daily diary comics of James Kochalka had an enormous influence on my interest in comics. I had been interested in comics before, but the idea that a great comic could come from the smallest events of everyday life was very inspiring to me. Starting doing a daily journal helped tremendously to develop both my comics writing and visual communication skills. You can learn more about these comics by clicking here.
My favorite thing about comics is how many diverse things the medium is capable of, I think it's possible to create a compelling comic about almost anything. I tend to start with a small idea, usually taken from something I've been thinking about or seen and want to draw, along with rough notions of the characters involved and jump right into creating the comic, it's interesting to me how quickly the characters develop personalities and take on lives of their own and begin to drive the narrative.
I hesitate to set forth any grand statements about what comics are; I agree with people like Scott McCloud, that comics are only limited by that they must be a deliberate sequence of images, beyond that it's open to just about anything. I personally tend to take small things from my own life or a particular scene I want to draw and expand from there letting the characters explore the world. I'm very interested in moving characters through outdoor spaces because of the opportunites to draw various imagined environments.
Although I'm currently enjoying everything I'm doing, there's a lot more I'd like to get to in the future.
I'm very interested in publication design and would like to be working on creating typographic and illustrative work for articles and short stories for both print and digital magazines. My dream project would be to be part of organizing a large format print literary magazine that featured both short prose fiction with dynamic layouts and comics by authors and cartoonists I admire.
I'd like to continue making daily journal comics for at least another four years and reach the ten year mark of creating a daily strip, and probably continue on. I'm also hoping to finish the three 200+ page comics I've written and drawn but need to decide how to publish and distribute. Eventually I'd like to make a long form fictional comic that could run indeffinetely and feature a wide cast of recurring characters.
My current non design and art interests are focused on learning French so I can read the many comics and novels that haven't been translated that I've been interested in. I'm also intersted in learning how to make different types of bread, the smell of baking bread is probably my favorite scent in the world. I'm also hoping to eventually read all of Finnegann's Wake even if all I understand is a few of the puns, the parts I've read are incredibly compelling.
National Student Show 13
CVAD Outstanding Junior Portfolio Honoree
University of North Texas
National Student Show 12
April 2016Gill Sans Type Handbook in Publication
CVAD Outstanding Sophomore Portfolio Honoree
University of North Texas
The Dog Show
Pokémon Battle Royale
Light Grey Art Lab
The Hic & Hoc Illustrated Journal of Humor Volume I: The United States
Hic & Hoc
š! #13, Life Is Live
Lainey Diamond and Emily Partridge
Secret Prison 5
Secret Prison Press