How Fan Art Got Me My First Graphic Design Job
I got a job doing what I love by doing what I love.
I was seventeen and obsessed with an Australian band known as The Griswolds. They were coming to town to perform, opening for Walk The Moon, and I was beyond stoked. I had been preparing for months, and by preparing I mean I had been drawing.
My favorite member of the band, at the time, was the bass guitarist by the name of Tim John. Obviously, I had to draw him.
By the night of the concert, I had a full page rendering of Tim's face and a smaller rendering of the lead singer Chris Whitehall, and I wanted them signed by their respective subjects.
I convinced a close friend to come along with me to the show. We weren't the closest to the stage, but I didn't care.
I was seeing my favorite band live.
I jammed along to the songs, knowing all the lyrics, as one does. Their set ended and my friend and I made our way to the merchandise table, me hoping that the band members would emerge.
For the rest of the concert, my friend and I were diving in and out between the merchandise table and the Walk The Moon show. Then, Walk The Moon sang their last song for the night.
The merchandise table became crowded as people used their last moments at the venue to buy t-shirts. My friend and I stayed among the crowd by the table, waiting.
Soon, most of the commotion had cleared, a majority of the people had gone, and we were still waiting.
Then, the doors to the concert hall opened to the room with the merchandise and Chris Whitehall emerged.
Sketchbook in my hand, my star-struck-self was pushed towards him by my friend. We said our hellos and took pictures and I showed him my drawing of him. He loved it and signed it and then another fan pushed in.
I still had a mission named Tim John.
When the other fan stepped away, I was in again.
I told him the deal. I had drawn Tim and I wanted the drawing to be signed so badly. I opened my sketchbook to show the drawing.
That drawing shook the room.
Chris said that it looked exactly like Tim. Another fan asked if she could take a picture of my drawing.
One of the men that had walked out with Chris noticed the drawing and started talking to me. We were waiting for Tim and they were looking through my sketchbook and asking me questions.
But, Tim wasn't showing up.
Security came by to push people out and the man told the security officer that I was with the band.
"You are meeting Tim."
I was told that before being escorted through the empty concert venue on a search to find Tim.
We walked outside to the tour buses and there he was.
The man walked over to him and he was soon walking over to me.
I approached him and I just opened my sketchbook. I was probably blathering too, but I don't remember what I said.
He signed it.
He signed it.
He signed it.
I met him and he signed it.
I said my thank you's and my friend was telling me how late it was and that we had to go and my mom was texting asking where I was and I forgot the other members of the band even existed (sorry).
I thought the story was over.
I knew I would draw the other band members. I figured I would meet them as well, but the chapter of that night was closed.
It couldn't be the start of anything, but I didn't know who was watching me.
The tour manager of The Griswolds, Danny Carissimi, had noticed my work and eventually, he would hire me for my first paid graphics project.
Danny Carissimi has an amazing podcast called Sugar High. Sugar High is a close up view at producers, musicians, and music industry peoples as they tell their stories.