Howdy, my name is Jon Flaming (pronounced Fleming) and I am from Texas. I am a dad, a husband, and a guy who loves to draw, paint, design, illustrate, build, create. My wife Kathy and I have 3 kiddos – Hannah who just got married, Jake who is in college and Mary who is finishing up high school. We have 2 dogs – Honey and Duke. – We live in a 60’s suburban ranch style house that we’ve styled to look like something that would fit well in the Texas Hill Country.
When did you first decide to become a graphic designer/ illustrator? Was there a pivotal moment?
Officially when I was in college – unofficially, when I was 5 years old. There was a kid sitting next to me in Sunday School class who could draw the coolest fighter jet airplanes. I’ve been trying to draw cool fighter jet airplanes for the past 44 years.
Who do you look up to? Who are your heroes in the industry?
Saul Bass, Hans Schleger, Paul Rand, Robin & Lucienne Day, Picasso, Cezanne, Stuart Davis, Leonard Weisgard, Jim Flora, Chuck Jones.
Where does your training come from? Self-taught? College/Art School?
I studied graphic design at Texas State University in San Marcos, Texas. My design instructor was Chris Hill of Hill Design in Houston – he was and is an awesome teacher. I interned with him during my junior/senior year of college. It was a great experience. After college, I went to work for a great design studio in Dallas – Sullivan Perkins. I really learned the business from Ron Sullivan and Mark Perkins – they were great “teachers”. My fine art is mostly a self-taught effort.
How do you keep "fresh" within your industry?
I paint. And I study artists of all kinds – musicians, sculptors, painters, folk artists, primitive artists, etc. – This helps inspire me for the project at hand.
What are some of your current projects?
I am currently working on some branding materials for our church, preparing for a fine art show in Houston, and creating a new logo/brand for a client in Napa who promotes and markets boutique wineries.
Which of your projects are you the most proud of? And why?
Don’t have one that I am most proud of, but I love the work I’ve created for Watermark Community Church in Dallas and for other charitable organizations.
Are there any areas, techniques, mediums, projects in your field that you have yet to try?
Film. I’ve always wanted to make a short film about small town Texas and the people that live there - Maybe someday.
Any advice to the novice designer/ illustrator?
Perseverance. Keep learning, keep growing, keep asking questions. Work on creating your own unique style/look. Study the great artists/illustrators. See how they work and then go do something even better.
What makes a design or illustration successful?
Its ability to communicate effectively & creatively the message the client is trying to convey.
What do you do to keep yourself motivated and avoid burn-out?
Hang out with my family, play the piano, paint, build, go look for cool stuff in people’s trash – you’d be surprised at what you can find.
Finish this sentence. "If I weren't an illustrator I would have been a..."
I would have been a cattle rancher like my grandpa, but I would have had a really cool art studio in the barn. I also would be a filmmaker & musician.
And finally, what is the best thing on prime-time TV right now?
Nothing good on primetime TV in my opinion, but Andy Griffith reruns always work for me.
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