Just give me a piece of paper and some crayons,
and I’ll make you something neat.
My earliest designs were just that, paper and crayons. A prized possession was my box of 64 Crayola Crayons with the sharpener built into the back. I was compelled to sit or sprawl on the floor, and create/draw/color and repeat.
As a young boy growing up in NYC, I saw The Beatles on The Ed Sullivan show. Afterward, I rendered what I’d look like as a teenage (at left, performing on-stage with requisite haircut). Because I’d learned that chicks dig a guy who plays in a band. This began my love affair with musical instruments. I had determined that being a rock star would be part of my future. And hoped that the piano instruction I endured during my elementary school years would give way to new lessons that featured an electric guitar and amplifier.
Additionally, I developed an affinity for collegiate and professional sports — specifically logo and uniform design.
I would spend hours with tracing paper and pencil, copying and modifying identifiers and team jerseys.
I participated in organized athletics like little league baseball, but ice hockey was the sport that captivated
my competitive imagination. Photo favorite here is from summer camp on Long Island.
Needless to say, my school projects always contained some sort of creative support, either a poster, or diorama, or similar graphic aids. It was never a chore to design a cover for a book report, and I relished the chance to present these creations to my teacher and classmates.
While attending high school, I became involved with the yearbook staff, holding a few key titles while learning
all about graphic design and the publishing business. This was a major milestone in my development, and it ultimately helped bring the possibilities of a professional career into sharper focus. My first part-time job was similarly related — delivering typesetting to local advertising agencies/design studios/department stores. I was determined to be part of that creative process as I began charting my vocational path.
Opportunity knocked when I relocated to Los Angeles. I began my artistic career as an in-house layout coordinator for a financial services company. Here, I started on the journey of becoming a graphic designer, continually refining my skill set while learning the various facets of four-color design and the nuts and bolts of
print production. I also dabbled in performing and recording original music around this time.
I enjoyed a dozen years of working in an environment that promoted career growth and the nurturing of young talent. I migrated from spec’ing type and cleaning the stat camera to operating a desktop publishing system and using a high-resolution scanner. Around that time, my spouse and I decided to start our family, and moved east — continuing my creative career within the information technology trade show sector. Here, I was teamed with talented creative directors, copywriters and designers — and I took great pride in being named the studio manager for this successful and well-regarded in-house design group.
During our decade in New England, I rekindled my love of ice hockey, and became involved in recreational sports management. But California called, and we relocated back to the southland for another tour of duty.
After an additional foray into regional face-to-face events, I joined a very busy in-house design and production department, creating literature, magazines, directories and ancillary print materials for the construction and architecture trades.
Finally, some of my favorite designs have been pro bono offerings for friends, family and charitable organizations.
Please contact me if I can assist with art direction and marketing strategies for your visual communications.
E-mail me at: JKroog513@gmail.com