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Graphic Design: Illustration, Graphic & Web design

Wikipedia describes graphic design as the process of visual communication and problem-solving through the use of typography, photography, and illustration. 


Bird art and especially those pieces executed with scientific accuracy are often referred to as illustration rather than fine art. Even elaborate pieces with lush and complex backgrounds have been relegated to the mantle of illustration, especially when they appear in a book or field guide. Some define fine art as that created with a destination of an art show or museum (good luck striving artists) versus illustration, which is produced for commercial consumption or the pages of a book. I think most fine artists also want to make money. I believe the artist's intent is relevant - was the piece rendered to illustrate a point or does it express something more: a point of view, statement, or mood. Of course, ultimately what defines art is the response of the viewer. I'll leave it to individual choice how you delineate between fine, graphic art, or illustration.


My take: an image is created or rendered with an educational (perhaps also a commercial intent) - then it is illustration.  If to illicit an emotional response - then fine art. Of course, you use either to decorate your home.

I have done an assortment of illustration, such a simple pen and ink scientific illustrations (published in various bird journals), photography, color composites of drawings and/or photos to illustrate talks (slide shows), newsletters, popular articles, and so forth. I have included a few examples below.


As I embarked on initial edits of my digital photographs I discovered Photoshop. After a few creative tutorials by Donnie, I learned some basics so that I didn't suck at Photoshop (as much)...though admittedly I  continue to use but a fraction of its incredible power. To create layers is an amazing tool and was the gateway to my digital (fine art and/or  graphic) designs. I started with Yellow Rails and Rice Festival posters and you can see my progression: The festival also provided the opportunity to create designs for merchandise: t-shirts, mugs, koozies, coasters, pins, you name it...and I have done some of that individually as well, such as mugs and koozies for West Texas audiences.

I have produced two newsletters: since 2009, I created the Annual Newsletter for the Louisiana Bird Records Committee; and since 2016, I have been the editor of (usually) a triannual for the Louisiana Ornithological Society: LOS News. Both give me the option to play with layout and design.

After deciding Yellow Rails and Rice Festival 2009 was a viable endeavor, I was forced to create a website for the 2010 event and maintain it going forward. After tweaking that website for 10 years, in 2019,  I moved the festival off my website to its own domain and it got a needed makeover. I also had to redo my website in the process.  A lot has changed with regard to web design programs! Both of these sites have to be considered works in progress.

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