- Amerikan Made Prints
- Art Buyer Magazine
- Art Order
- Association of Illustrators
- Cartoon Art Museum
- Cartoon Brew
- Design is Kinky
- Drawn and Quarterly
- Fantagraphics Books
- HOW Design
- Hi-Fructose Magazine
- ICON The Illustration Conference
- Illustration Class
- Illustration Friday
- Illustrators Illustrated
- Juxtapoz Magazine
- Lines and Colors
- National Cartoonists Society
- Plan 59
- Project: Rooftop
- Society of Illustrators
- Sugar Frosted Goodness
- Taught by a Pro
- Today's Inspiration
- UPPERCASE Magazine
My name is David Habben and I'm an illustrator/designer living and working in Salt Lake City, UT. Currently, I work with a group of amazing creative artists at a company called Struck, where we basically make a habit of blowing people's minds. When I'm not in the office, I'm in the home office, illustrating for magazines, children's books and the occasional gallery show, or burning through a pair of running shoes on a beautiful Wasatch trail. I've been truly blessed in my life by not only being able to do what I love for a living, but also to be surrounded by family and friends who encourage my efforts.
When did you first decide to become a graphic designer/illustrator? Was there a pivotal moment?
I've always wanted to be involved with the arts, whether it be music, drama, or visual arts. As I've pursued my goals, the most success has come within visual work. Time has a way of helping you decide your dream I suppose. The combination of designer/illustrator is one of those titles that you have to absorb in order to get a paycheck, but I still just consider myself an artist. Unfortunately, that idea isn't always readily accepted as viable, so it's a toss up really. Bottom
line: I like to make stuff.
Who or what inspires you?
My greatest inspiration comes from the idea that everything can be different. If we always assume that things are the way they are because they have to be, we're limiting ourselves to what's been done. Every sunrise is inspiration to try something new. Music has been a great vehicle for new ideas and messages, while at the same time offering enough recycled sounds to make it familiar. Live concerts are especially inspiring because you can hear and see the emotion of the band. Some of my favorite work has been inspired by the faces in the crowds I been a part of. I also love to read, especially history. I just finished a book on diamonds and I can't get it out of my head.
Where does your training come from? Self-taught? College/Art School?
My "training" started at home with a box of crayons and an extremely supportive family. The crayons are long gone, but the family has been my strongest artistic foundation. We all enjoy art, music, reading, and education. I was also fortunate enough to have supportive teachers most of the time through school. I attended Boise State University and Brigham Young University and learned valuable lessons from each school. Additionally, my friends are a continual source of inspiration and support to me, especially on the down time between projects when I wonder why I started drawing in the first place. They, like my family, have been invaluable to my work and success.
How do you keep "fresh" within your industry?
"Fresh" to me just means someone started liking your work. Someone can be drawing the same stick figure for twenty years, only to be discovered as fresh. I try to be aware of what's going on in the arts through galleries and annuals. There is no shortage of amazing artists and at times it can be really daunting, but I firmly believe that if you push yourself to try new things, you'll come up with a form of unique expression. Then, one day some one will see and call you "fresh." Of course, the problem with being labeled fresh is that it comes with an expiration date…
What are some of your current projects?
I've just started working with a children's educational publisher in Virginia creating illustrations for textbook lessons. It's a wonderful feeling to know that my work is being created for the intent of education. I've also been working on putting together a small show locally and, as always, trying to get my own books written and published. Plus, I've got this great drawing in the works that would make a great poster or CD cover. It should show up on my blog soon…
Which of your projects are you the most proud of? And why?
I've been really fortunate to have been a part of some great projects and events. In high school I provided work for a march against AIDS and in college made posters for an anti-bullying program in local junior high schools. Last year, I was able to design the layout for a magazine that focuses on micro-loans to impoverished countries and as I read through the material, I was able to learn the incredible effects these loans are having. Like the educational work I do, I find the greatest satisfaction in creating work that helps people to be more aware of the world around them, and the possibilities within them.
Are there any areas, techniques, mediums, projects in your field that you have yet to try?
The day I run out of new things to try is the day I quit artwork all together. Actually, it's probably the day I quit breathing to. More specifically, I'd love to do some large sculptural work, mainly for the fun of fabricating it. That's not illustration, but it could certainly incorporate some. I'd also like to work more on different textures, i.e. rusted metal splintering wood, any surface that could interact with the imagery to produce an overall message.
Any advice to the novice designer/ illustrator?
Be yourself. Anybody can learn to copy a style or technique, so don't waste your education (however you're getting it) trying to be someone else. Even if at the end of the day you can say, "I copied this master exactly." so what? Innovate and be remembered. With that in mind, I would also say, work, work, work. Take a variety of jobs, both reelance and otherwise. Every experience will add to your skill-set and your imagination.
What makes a designed piece or illustration successful?
Fundamentals. The best idea in the world is going to fail if fundamental principles of design and craftsmanship are ignored. Even he most abstract piece of art will be successful if it applies techniques that communicate to the viewer. So often we see pieces that are designed well, or intricately drawn, but fail because they ignore some aspect of formal principles of communication. I've heard it said that we must learn the rules in order to break them. I would much rather learn the rules in order to use them effectively. Of course, I would never have said that in school…
What do you do to keep yourself motivated and avoid burn-out?
I love to run and be active. If I'm having a hard time getting my mind straight, I have to get outside, the further from the city the better. Recently, I went snowshoeing for the first time on a full-moon night in the mountains. It was incredible and I came back full of ideas. On a less active level, I keep a sketchbook. What's unique about my sketchbook, though, is that I've learned to break a rule I was always taught: I tear out useless pages. At times, my sketches are useless, lacking craft and thought, so I tear them out of the book. That way, if and when I refer to my sketchbooks, I know that what I find will be worth using. Museum visits are also very helpful, as well as, an active social life.
And finally, what is the best thing on prime time TV right now?
I'm lame or something because I haven't watched prime-time TV in a while. My TV watching usually occurs in the wee hours of the morning, post workout. So, I'd say, turn off the tube, have a chat with the fam or grab a good book.
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