Ryan Lynn’s NFL Art.


Illustrator Ryan Lynn, 2006, BFA, Communication Design, is doing fine, thanks. I remember covering my ears when Ryan’s punk band, The Aurora, rocked the Trexlertown Grange, around 2005. His music career may have faded, but his artistic energy certainly hasn’t waned. He just completed the biggest illustration job of his career. His slightly-retro super-graphic style is the perfect match for this project.


He writes, “I was approached by Miller Lite to create a series of illustrations for 15 NFL teams that were to appear on posters, billboards, and other materials in each NFL team’s market. These illustrations were created in the Miller Lite illustration style that I helped establish in their Summer Poster Campaign.

Ryan Lynn with his Mom, showing off  his NFL / Miller Lite Snapchat frame, see below.

As a huge NFL fan, it was awesome to get to work on this series and immerse myself in each NFL team’s colors, attitude, and traditions.

Question: How did this job come to you? 


Ryan: I’ve been working with Miller Lite’s agency of record for about a year. I got an email from them one day out of the blue asking if I could do a poster series for the summer (the dragon and octopus, plus a robot one that never got finished). After that, I kept working with them on some billboards and trade show graphics before getting the NFL series.
Q: How long did it take?
Ryan: It was a tight turnaround – 15 posters took around 5 straight months without weekends or holidays. I even had to skip a cousin’s wedding!
Q: You are an Eagles fan, but strictly from a graphics point of view, which image is your favorite? 
Ryan: I’m pretty happy with how they all turned out. If I had to pick, I like the Ravens because it has a lot of detail. The Steelers is cool, too.
Q: What size is your original art?
Ryan: They are all the same size 24” x 36”. Each poster also has a landscape version as well. The final illustrations had to be vector so their team could put them on billboards, buildings and whatever else.
Q: Have you gone to any of the Stadiums to see these?
Ryan: Not yet! I don’t know if they all are going to be in their stadiums. I know the Atlanta Falcons illustration is in their stadium bar and there was talk of the Texans putting theirs on a mural, but I don’t know.
What’s next?

Ryan: Miller Lite illustrations for Major League Baseball!

Thanks, Ryan. All I can say is “Wow!” Your artwork is solid and just right for NFL. 
Visit Ryan’s website and shop to snag listed edition sic-fi art and gig posters for as at little as $20. Ryan is still into music. Below is his poster for Cruisr, the hit band that includes two KU design grads, Andy States and Jon Van Dine.
Screen Shot 2017-09-11 at 9.47.34 AM
 All art in this post © Ryan Lynn Designs.

More Death With a Smile

I promised more images from the exhibition “TO DEATH WITH A SMILE” or in Spanish “A LA MUERTE CON UNA SONRISA.” Thanks to Prof. Vicki Meloney for sharing the files, here they are.

Save My Soul by Carlos Franqui

These Kutztown students are finalists, along with artists worldwide. The works are on display through Feb 9 in Mexico City at MUMEDI, The Mexican Museum of Design.

Breathe Breed Bury by Malichi Hall

Finalists’ artwork can be found on the MUMEDI website.

By Erika Mabus

First Prize in this contest includes a MacBook Air, a three night stay at the Museum’s boutique hotel in Mexico City and 3,000 pesos.

Dead Zone by Kristen Demilfy

Prof. Meloney writes, ” the contest challenges cultural perceptions of death and dying. When can death evoke a smile (clever, funny, emotional)? We spent weeks researching the concept of death — Cultural connotations, discussing and dissecting our beliefs and traditions (sometimes the conversations has us rolling with laughter and sometimes brought us to tears).— thousands of entries worldwide, 400 finalists, only 22 from the united states and 16 of those 22 were from our Kutztown University Graphic Design class! Way to go KUCD!”

Michael Oxendine

Some of the images are cartoon-like.

Five More Minutes! by Morgan Mahoney

Others border on the surreal.

Bliss by Kathryn Desiderio

Prof.Meloney pointed out that she Prof. Cunfer and Prof Tienken  are so proud of their junior year students. The final image, below, is by Natalie Bett, a grad student from Kenya, a student in our new MFA program.

Music Shall Carry Me Home by Natalie Bett

All images © the individual artists, students at Kutztown University of PA. For more info on the Communication Design Dept at Kutztown, including our new MFA, visit the website.

Death with a Smile

MUMEDI is the Mexican Museum of Design, near the zocalo in the center of Mexico City. They host an international poster exhibition. The theme  this year is “To Death with a Smile.”

by Sam Mickley

On Facebook, Sam Mickley posted her image (above) and this note, “Found out today that I’m a finalist for the Mumedi International Poster Contest “To Death With A Smile”!  400 finalists were chosen out of thousands of entries, 22 of which were from the US, and out of those 15 were from KUCD!  Congrats to everyone who made it!”

by Andrew Hughmanick

The 15 Kutztown students honored designed these projects in Prof. Vicki Meloney’s and Prof. Elaine Cunfer’s Graphics 1 classes. Here is a selections of their diverse images.

by Elaine Knox
by Elaine Knox

Elaine Knox’s poster above is novel. She explains that she started with the concept of nature’s food chains and decided to depict a venus fly trap.

by Jamie Hubert
by Jamie Hubert

From Punk to The Bible, students found inspiration everywhere. Below is Cambrea Roy’s poster based on Paul’s Epistle to the Corinthians.

by Cambrea Roy

Jessica Strohecker created several wonderful images. She is not sure which one MUMEDI selected. Below is just one of her educational images on the concept of sepsis. 

Germs Kill Kill Germs by Jessica Strohecker
Germs Kill Kill Germs by Jessica Strohecker

Here’s an image by Miranda Pokras; it has a Venetian vibe.

by Miranda Pokras
by Miranda Pokras

These posters will be exhibited at MUMEDI, Mexico City for several months. And at the end of 2016, the exhibit will travel to Spain and Finland. As I get more images I will post them. Congrats to all the students and profs involved. We leave with a mysterious, somewhat surreal, illustration by Patrick Coyle.

By Patrick Coyle

AdHouse at PIX

Went to the PIX 2014 this weekend. PIX is Pittsburgh’s indy press expo of creator-owned, self-published, small-press, and handmade comics. Not the biggest expo I’ve seen, but I had a blast.

Chris Pitzer manning AdHouse books table at PIX.
Chris Pitzer manning AdHouse books table at PIX.

One of the first people I met at PIX was graphic designer and publisher Chris Pitzer of AdHouse Books. Chris told me he launched his critically acclaimed press with a single title in 2002 at a similar type event called SPX in the Washington, D.C. area. This was his first PIX. He was invited by Jim Rugg, creator of Afrodisiac and SUPERMAG, and one of the Pittsburgh artists published by AdHouse.

JIm Rugg's SUPERMAG is published by Adhouse.
Jim Rugg’s SUPERMAG is published by Adhouse.

Asked why he chose the name AdHouse for his business name, Chris had two smart reasons. A.D. stands for Art Director, his full-time job, and since it begins with the letter “A,” AdHouse rises to the top of alphabetically ordered catalogs and rosters.

images-1 The press’s stylish logo looked familiar to me. The illustration is the work of my SVA classmate Doug Fraser. Chris is a longtime Fraser fan. He said each year when he got hardbound illustration annuals, he’d just rip out the Doug Fraser pages as keepers and toss the rest of the book. I was happy to learn Doug has done a graphic novella, Mort Grim, a road rage tale.  Chris pointed to the page below and noted how Fraser’s illustration style owes a debt to the landscapes of Thomas Hart Benton.

From Mort Grim © Doug Fraser, an AdHouse Book.
From Mort Grim © Doug Fraser, an AdHouse Book.

Chris told me that AdHouse did a few anthologies, but now is concentrating of single-artist books of the high artistic caliber, like Gregory Benton’s B+F. One of the cool things about the AdHouse website is that many of the books have free downloadable pdf samplers.

Oddly enough, not long after my visit to Chris’s table I found myself at the Copacetic Comics table. Pittsburgh’s Copacetic Comics is the best indy comics bookstore I know. Bill Boichel, Copacetic’s proprietor, has been a mentor to a generation of Pittsburgh comics artists and he has a truly prodigious scholarly knowledge of the field. Really. To get a sense of the elevated discussion of comics that (sometimes) occurs in Pittsburgh check this podcast at Tell Me Something I Don’t Know, where Boichel talks with artists Jason Lex and Jim Rugg.

Pope Hats #3 © Ethan Rilly
Pope Hats #3 © Ethan Rilly

I digress. At the Copacetic table, I was drawn to a book I’d never seen before called Pope Hats. Bill looks over and says to me, “You’ll love that.” Though I have only bought a handful of comics at Copacetic, he was absolutely right. Bill Boichel is like a comics preference app, the comics equivalent of Pandora radio. Pope Hats by Canadian artist Ethan Rilly is one amazing book. The drawing is fluid, the story is compelling, the characters are intriguing. And guess what? It is an AdHouse book, too.

Next week, I will post about other folks I encountered at PIX including (in alphabetical order) Theo Ellsworth and Trina Robbins.

Illustration of a Black WWI Doughboy.

My last post was on the Afro-Mexicano experience. Here is something about a little-known African American experience. The wonderful thing about being an illustrator is researching fascinating new things. -K.Mc


Chad Williams is coming to Kutztown to talk about African American soldiers in World War I. I got to illustrate the poster. First thing I did was visit Dr. Williams’ website Torchbearers of Democracy. His book of the same name has won some serious awards. I was surprised to learn 380,000 black soldiers were involved in that war. Next I did a Google image search for statues of black WWI soldiers and found Chicago’s Victory Monument. Generally, public sculptures are in the public domain. Though I am doing an unpaid project for educational event, I never want to knowingly violate another artist’s copyright.

From chigagogreys.com courtesy Jack Foley.
From http://www.chigagogreys.com courtesy Jack Foley.

I used several reference photos including some from tour guide Jack Foley’s super site on Chicago history, www.chigagogreys.com.

Victory Monument, Chicago, courtesy Jack Foley.
Victory Monument, Chicago, courtesy Jack Foley.

That gear bag on the soldier’s chest would hold his gas mask. Trench warfare in the First World War was horrific for the use of poison gases, the original weapons of mass destruction. I did a rapid india ink brush drawing of a soldier rushing forward, bayonet at ready. I simplified his uniform and ditched the gas mask pack. Then I scanned the ink drawing into Photoshop and added a sepia tone.

My india ink drawing with a digital wash of sepia tone.
India ink drawing with a “digital wash” Kevin McCloskey

Sometimes an illustrator needs a designer. Type is not my forte, so I asked another faculty member for assistance. She was swamped, but referred me to a talented design student who is interested in military history. It is my good fortune that junior John Woodward took time to design the poster below. He is a Communication Design major with concentrations in Advertising, Interactive and Graphic Design.

Poster design by KU CD student John Woodward
Poster design by KU CD student John Woodward

Thanks to John Woodward’s design for making my illustration look good. The info is clear on the poster. You are invited to hear Dr. Chad Williams if you are in the area on April 1. Should be fascinating.

Amanda & NICK win an Emmy!!!


SpongeBob© Copyright 1999 Viacom International Inc.
SpongeBob© Copyright 1999 Viacom International Inc.

I hate Facebook posts with multiple exclamation points !!!  It should be up to the reader to decide how excited to become by reading an exclamatory sentence. Yesterday Amanda Geisinger, a Kutztown grad and Interactive Designer at Nickelodeon posted: WE WONNNNNNN AN EMMMMMMMYYYYYYY!!!  OK, OK, I am willing to make an exception for major awards. Amanda has every right to be excited. She helped create the EMMY award-winning NICK App!!!

Nick app screenshot.

Amanda by Amanda
Amanda by Amanda

I last saw Amanda by chance on a Bieber bus to NYC in April. I asked her if she was still working with Spongebob. She told me yes and that she had just begun making her first app. When I heard the NICK App won an Emmy I wrote to ask for details.

Amanda writes: “Yup, this is the app I mentioned, ha! Our team is pretty big; the design team has about 20 members, and Nick Digital {which includes departments like ad sales, digital marketing, content and programming, engineering, product development, production, etc.} is maybe 130-ish in total. My team that started on the initial style guide {which has evolved dramatically} was pretty small, but the endeavor was so large that pretty much everyone has participated in the development in a significant and meaningful way. A lot of us are still involved in the daily content updates. We also enlisted the help of an outside vendor, Fantasy Interactive.”


So Nickelodeon Digital’s EMMY is for: Outstanding Creative Achievement In Interactive Media – User Experience And Visual Design. I thought EMMY awards were only for TV shows. This is the first year Emmy jurors are celebrating not just traditionally formatted content, but cutting edge “next generation” content such as apps. The EMMY site notes the Nick App goes “beyond a typical app that offers free video viewing and instead offers more interactive content, games, and video — whenever and wherever the user wants it. ”

Special Offer for readers of the illustration concentration blog: the Nick App is available FREE, Here!!! I’m kidding about the special part, the app is free everywhere. In fact, the NICK app has been ranked #1 free entertainment app for the Ipad. It is also available for Iphone, Windows 8 and X-box. Congrats, Amanda.

"Be a Rainbow" detail © Amanda Geisinger
“Be a Rainbow” detail © Amanda Geisinger

Above is a sample of Amanda’s happy illustration style. To see more of her work visit: www.amandageisinger.com

Thieves at Etsy: SpecialPrints

Picture 2

Jon Shafer is a recent KU illustration grad. He found this cute print on sale on Etsy. It seemed familiar because he drew it over a year ago. Below is Jonathan’s original art as featured on his web page.

Original wedding tree art © Jon Shafer, 2012
Original wedding tree art © Jon Shafer, 2012

Jon wrote to SpecialPrints. I asked him to keep me posted. “She said she found it on google and loved it so much she ‘redrew it by hand.” She also claimed the site she got it from did not have anything about copyright listed. She even asked Jon Shafer to send her his Library of Congress certificate of copyright.

Clearly she is in the wrong.  According to the U.S. Copyright office, “Copyright exists from the moment the work is created.” In fact, SpecialPrints went so far to claim copyright to Jon’s original image:Picture 3

My personal experience with copyright violation ended well. In the 1980’s I lived in Hoboken. I made an illustrated map of the town and included Frank Sinatra’s birthplace. I found my map in a book, The Frank Sinatra Scrapbook, published by St. Martin’s Press. I called the Society of Illustrators to ask for a lawyer referral, they suggested Harry Devlin, son of the illustrator with the same name. I remember Mr. Devlin warning me, “You aren’t going get a house out of this. ” I asked, “Can I get a refrigerator?” He said, “Frost-free!”

 Walking Around Hoboken © Kevin McCloskey
Walking Around Hoboken © Kevin McCloskey 1986

Mr. Devlin got a thousand dollars from the person who infringed on my copyright. In my case, the attorney got one-third of the payment, so I got the diabolical amount of $666. Like Jon Shafer, I had copyright at the moment of creation. If I had gone to the trouble of actually registering the copyright with the Library of Congress, then the offending party would have also been liable for Mr. Devlin’s fees.

To see more of Jon Shafer’s art visit www.jonshafer.com.

FYI: Etsy does have rules against this sort of infringement. They say, in part, “Repeat offenders will have all material removed from the system and Etsy will terminate such Members’ access to the service.

Free factual info on copyright from the U.S. Copyright Office is here.

UPDATE  8/23/13: 

Sent by Jon Shafer:  Just to follow up a little. That lady took it down. For now at least. I contacted Behance about how this link is getting to my image. After countless emails. They’ve established it’s going into their image folder and finding it. But on my end if I delete or modify it. The link still goes to it. So you might want to warn your illustrators. To water mark everything or take angled shots of work. Not perfect scans. Even on their websites unfortunately.