Javier Garcia Interview
I was first introduced to Javier Garcia through his intoxicating blog, No Barcode, where he posts his latest vintage finds. It was here that I discovered that he is an accomplished illustrator and designer in addition to having an amazing collection of design related ephemera. A resident of the Bay Area via Mexico he has developed an audience for his highly expressive and colorful illustrations. In today’s interview, the 4th part of our ongoing design in process series, Javier speaks on his passions outside of design, his workflow and more. Enjoy!
Lets start off with a little bit about your background. Where are you from originally? When and how did you become interested in design?
I was born and raised in México. I grew up drawing since I can remember so my three options when I was going to college were architecture, industrial design or graphic design. I was a bit indecisive and went for a combined industrial and graphic design major back in México. That made me realize that what I wanted to do was more graphic and so I came to the US to go to school.
Could you walk us through one of your projects? Please describe your workflow, including the tools, from pen and paper to software and devices.
I’m going to walk you through my Hail to the King illustration. First I think about what I want to say with the piece even if it’s subjective. In this case, the princes represents power which is something that both evil and good wants. I started by drawing small sketches of the general idea. Since it was a collage of illustrations, I rearranged them multiple times in sketch form until I found the right placement for them. I proceeded to drawing each character multiple times until I got the desired look keeping in mind it’s placement. Then I scan those drawings and trace them in Illustrator. In this phase I play with the scale of the characters and just moving things around. Once I got this down I proceeded to play with a bit of texture which I have created my own photoshop brushes from actual hand inked textures that I drew and scanned myself. For this piece since there wasn’t much texture I converted that to vectors but I usually work with a lot of bitmaps. I used illustrator, photoshop and a wacom tablet to do this. And that’s it!
Early sketches for Hail to the King!
Hail to the King Poster
How has your process evolved since you first started designing?
As far as designing logos, packaging and print it’s been about the same. The drawing tablet replaced my mouse at some point but it’s all been the same process which starts on sketch form in the initial stage and then it’s all computer work from there. But as far as illustration, I have been going a bit backwards. My work is turning more into the hand drawn/inked direction. I use a lot more india ink and brushes now.
Album cover for Mr. Ho’s Orchestrotica’s
Are you a creature of habit or do you like to try new technologies, applications, and features?
I’m not that much of a techie, I mostly use illustrator and photoshop to edit everything I do. Even when working with hand inked drawings I take it into photoshop and clean up/edit my files quite a bit. I try to mimmic old design and illustration techniques like inking by hand and creating textures by hand as close as possible. I feel that modern technology is not the same when it comes to translating that into the screen. I work in digital mediums but at least there’s a hand done quality to it. I can usually tell when someone used the computer to brush something. Some people are very good at it but I really enjoy the hand done process. So I think technology really speeds up my process but I don’t like to skip that human aspect phase of design.
Herb Lester Maps
What are your passions and interests outside of design and why?
This is very tough as I spend most of my time looking at design in one form or another. Architecture, pottery, furniture, interior design, and things of that sort are always on my mind. But outside design I really enjoy listening to music, surfing and being with my little boy and wife.
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