This week we got together with Louisville, Kentucky based artist, Lonnie Walker, an award winning Ally Artist of over five years and owner of his own design studio, PrimoGraphics, Inc. He has won five contests with Creative Allies, and is a devoted designer, submitting to nearly every contest that becomes available. His dedication to creativity, bold, sharp designs, and to the Creative Allies community is why Lonnie is our Ally to Watch.
When do you first remember getting into illustration?
My passion for art and illustration started when I was really young, before I could read or write. Everything I liked at a young age I attempted to convey on paper, and my parents we’re shocked at the details that I would notice and include on some of the simplest things.
How do you start your process for working on a piece?
Actually, the idea comes pretty quickly, or I already have a direction that I will pursue through references and info gathering. I then work everything out ‘old school’ on paper and refine as needed until I have a tight sketch. I then scan it into computer and work it up in Illustrator, Photoshop, or both at the same time. With my illustration background, I also can complete a piece in any medium and use “as is” without the computer. As mentioned above, I can then scan that into the computer and further it in a graphic program to achieve another level of creativity, if needed.
What has been your favorite contest you’ve worked on?
They all are fun and challenging, because Creative Allies partners with a wide variety of companies that all have cool, unique needs that push designers to come up with something truly original.
How did you learn and develop your bold and graphic style?
From a young age, I liked graphics that were simple and bold that translated easily to communicate and remember on a product, person, or thing. From ad agencies and printing companies to design studios, I’ve been exposed to lots and lots of different kinds of projects and have completed work that has been used all over the world for a wide variety of clients, and I’m really proud of that.
You seem to be really great at logo designs. Is this something you specialize in or is it just a theme that you tend to gravitate towards?
It pretty much is what I specialize in, among many other advertising needs, and I have done so for a wide variety of clients. From large corporations to professional sports teams, to charities and companies of all types of businesses, I have had the luck to work on many logos and projects all over the nation, as well as the world.
Now you have submitted to almost every contest. How do you stay inspired and motivated?
Like any great athlete, you still need practice, just like anyone who is good at anything needs to constantly strive to better themselves in their field. I feel these contests are always there to inspire me to create. It’s a little different than dealing with normal day to day clients who sometimes have lots of input or restrictions on projects that sometimes limit your creativity because of a group effort. These contests are usually wide open and promote thinking out of the box, and in that regard, I can really let loose artistically!
Any suggestions for other up and coming designers?
My suggestions would be to stay on top of trends and styles, but still be original and stand out creatively. Don’t jump on the bandwagon to do similar stuff just because someone else did it that way. Do your homework with really good research and make sure you don’t ever stop trying to improve. Practice, practice, practice, and soon that becomes valuable experience.