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Creative Inspirations: Stefan G. Bucher, Designer, Illustrator, and Writer
Illustration by John Hersey

Finding a challenge at Art Center College of Design


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Creative Inspirations: Stefan G. Bucher, Designer, Illustrator, and Writer

with Stefan G. Bucher

Video: Finding a challenge at Art Center College of Design

(music playing) Stefan G. Bucher: After being kind of, you know, the designated school weirdo, to come here where all the other school weirdos ended up too, and to be in a building with 1,500 people that all cared about the same stuff I cared about is a pretty mind-bending concept.

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Creative Inspirations: Stefan G. Bucher, Designer, Illustrator, and Writer
2h 15m Appropriate for all Jun 24, 2011 Updated Aug 25, 2011

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Meet a truly monster graphic designer, Stefan G. Bucher. Stefan's projects range from his Daily Monsters, to the Daily Letter on the PBS television show, The Electric Company, to CD designs for Sting and Whitney Houston, products for the Echo Park Time Travel Mart (featuring canned mammoth chunks), to writing and illustrating his latest book, You Deserve A Medal: Honors on the Path to True Love. Stefan is a prolific artist who is seemingly obsessed with finding impressive new ways to put ink on paper. Follow his journey from his first illustrations for The Donaldist (a magazine dedicated to the exploration of Donald Duck comics), through Art Center College, Portland agency Wieden+Kennedy, Madonna's Maverick Records, and finally his own company, 344 Design.

Bonus Feature: Join us at Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, CA, where Stefan is interviewed by writer and creative strategist Terry Lee Stone after a screening of his film.

Subjects:
Design Illustration Creative Inspirations Documentaries
Author:
Stefan G. Bucher

Finding a challenge at Art Center College of Design

(music playing) Stefan G. Bucher: After being kind of, you know, the designated school weirdo, to come here where all the other school weirdos ended up too, and to be in a building with 1,500 people that all cared about the same stuff I cared about is a pretty mind-bending concept.

(music playing) This is just some foundation work, and you know, this is basics of photography. It's just gorgeous.

I mean look at the lighting on that, and look at how that sits in the frame. Whenever I come into the Illustration Department, it just blows my mind. It just, I just love it. I want to have all of them. I want have them on my wall. I covet. I went to interview at two schools in Germany because I thought, "Well I am a German student. I live in Germany. I should go to college in Germany." And then I interviewed with them and I they were like, "Oh yeah, this is great stuff. Yeah, you are accepted. Sure, no problem." And I thought, "Okay, that was too easy." Then I came here and I thought--you know I was kind of looking eye level, and then it was like, oh! I see! And that's what I wanted.

Like I wanted--I wanted that. I didn't want this. I wanted that. And I think that's still, I mean that's certainly still how I pick the jobs that I do, or the things that I get excited about, is 'oh!' And this space definitely had that. (music playing) You take a lot of foundation classes, and you take all those sorts of great classes that are high in fiber and good for you.

You take, you know, lots and lots of live drawing and perspective and basic typography and basic lettering. And I think looking back those are some of the classes that I enjoyed the most. Just seeing people do that level of work was unbelievable because I was doing lettering at home and I just thought, "Well, this is as good as you can do it if you don't have a computer," or "This is as good as you can do it you know without being a professional lettering person." I just never thought it was possible. And as soon as somebody said, well, you can do that, I was like, "Oh! Well, if you say so, I guess then I can, and I guess then I have to reach that level.

If you are telling me that I can then just show me how." I just want to immediately sit down and copy ten of these things. Ah, man! I've got to learn how to do that. Lieblich, which means lovely in German, and truly it is lovely. Look at that. One of the drawing rooms. I would spend a lot of time in here just sitting here and drawing from a model.

I am okay at it when I practice, because it was like going to the gym, and I just haven't gone to the gym in a while. But also, it would seem not polite to stare, and so that's why I never learned how to draw faces or to draw a person really well. So this was sort of my one chance to do that, and it was so intimidating, and it was so hard, but it was fantastic. And it was probably the period when I learned the most in my work, improved the most in shortest amount of time, just because it was emersion learning. It was just 24x7. All day every day was doing this and just really teaching my hand to do things.

Because before, I was just working on my own, and I was measuring myself against really kind of remedial stuff, and here all of a sudden I was measuring myself against people that really knew what they were doing. So I was kind of scared out of my mind the entire time, but I also loved it. I keep switching into new areas of design and illustration and art because I want to recapture that experience of learning so much in such a short amount of time, because you get addicted to that thrill of improving that much in such a short amount of time.

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