Heidi Whitcomb works for Dark Horse…see more of her work at the end of the interview!
What year did you graduate?
What is your position/title, group and place of work? How long have you been working there?
I'm a graphic designer for Dark Horse Comics. I've been here since March 2005.
How did you find your current design position?
The Oregonian. It was an anonymous listing. I got lucky. I was also persistent. 😉
What projects are you working on currently?
I am working on cover designs for a series of novels presented by (not written by) Neil Gaiman. This will eventually be a series of about twenty some books. I also just finished a series of book cover designs for Lankhmar. I was lucky enough to illustrate AND design this series. Some of my other regular projects are Buffy the Vampire Slayer (comics, graphic novels and products), Vampire Hunter D novels, Aliens and Predator mass market novels, and Blood+ (manga). I also work on various ads, posters, and marketing materials. In my 'free' time I do the design work for Underland Press which is a new company that specializes in thriller/horror novels.
What do you like best about your position or projects?
Dark Horse's best attribute is the variety of projects. I could be doing anything. At one point I was designing a Ouija board AND an identity system for a local catholic church. It makes working a lot more interesting.
In what ways (faculty, program, projects, classes, etc) was PSU-GD successful in preparing you for being a professional designer?
I actually think very highly of the PSU program. I felt like I had a really well-rounded grasp of what it takes to be a designer. I think that what you take from PSU is directly related to the effort you put into your classes while you are there. Obviously you have to make certain choices. I like illustration and print media so I took classes that focussed on that.
What suggestions to have for PSU-GD to improve upon or information/content that you should have had in school but did not get?
I think mainly students should take advantage of whatever is available. Dont just do what is necessary … go to Studio walks and design presentations. Do whatever you can to learn as much as you can.
What recommendations do you have for any current students and/or students graduating?
Design is always changing and the technology is always changing. There's a new Adobe every year! I recommend taking the time to really have a good grasp of the latest technology. I had to teach myself InDesign after graduation. It was a very recent release and hadn't been incorporated into the program yet. It turned out to be one of the best things I had done. Employers frequently have the newest program and they want people who have a solid grasp of it and can work quickly within it.
Any other thoughts about being a designer that you would like to share (things you wish you had known or just any thing of interest to you?
I guess my one big thought is that if a project doesn;t look good to you then it's probably not good. I can be lazy every so often and I'll think 'I'll just see what my art director says'. It never works! LOL! I've learned to trust my gut more.
Would you share a link to a site or a book or ? that you frequent for inspiration?
deviantart.com, amazon.com (seriously)