my friends are (also) geeks

by schteff.design
December 18, 2017

Anyone who spends more than 10 minutes around me will learn quickly that I am a massive geek. Like, MASSIVE.

My brain always has a soundtrack playing in the background filled with movie, TV, and book references. I am also usually wearing a graphic t-shirt with one of my fandoms or some sort of mashup. It’s a problem, really. I’m running out of room to store all of my geek shirts.

I have a serious love of good sci-fi fan art, and so do some of my closest friends. Our fandoms overlap in several areas (Star Wars, Star Trek, anything by Joss Whedon), but if there is one thing we all appreciate equally, it’s quality fan art and collectibles. Not some cheap t-shirt or low-resolution print. I’m talking about the good stuff. Fan art we’d be willing to shell out our hard-earned money for and display on the wall in our home.

I personally have a collection of travel posters for fictional places spanning books, TV shows, and movies. It started at Motor City Comic Con (MCCC) when I spotted a travel poster for Arrakis, the key planet in the book/movie/TV movie series “Dune” by Frank Herbert. I had to have it. After scouring the vendor racks, I ended up leaving MCCC with no fewer than five travel posters for my fandoms, all designed in a similar layout. This started a trend. As of today, I have a total of nine posters, two of which I designed and printed myself as I couldn’t find them online (Rivendell and Goblin City).

But back to my friends.

My good friend, Bryan, has a collection of fictional maps. With the heavy release of Stephen King material in 2017 — his #1 fandom — he was looking for some new fan art for The Dark Tower and IT. Neither of these books/movies had any quality art available for purchase at MCCC or online… until I did some digging. I was able to find him a map of Mid-World forThe Dark Tower over at RedBubble. IT was more difficult to find. Yes, there are some maps of Derry, Maine out there, but the quality is either not great or the style is completely off. And so began my project to design him his ideal map of Derry, Maine. After about a month of edits, using Bryan as my go-to proofreader, story checker, and design tweaker, the map was finished, printed and framed in his home.

Update: Due to Warner Bros. being bought by Disney, they cracked down on all relevant properties and asked that I remove this item from my RedBubble shop (despite there being no logos or trademarked content). I am legally prohibited from distributing the original files – so don’t bother asking!

A solemn farewell

My geeky design adventure does not stop there. After opening day of The Last Jedi, my friend Ann mentioned that she wanted a side-by-side mashup of Young Luke and Old Luke looking off into the binary sunset. This immediately sent my creative brain into overdrive. I could see it in my head. I knew exactly the style of illustration I wanted, and I literally spent the next eight hours creating it. By the next morning, not only was the illustration done, but it was available for sale on RedBubble. I wanted to play on the symmetry of Luke Skywalker’s story. Anyone who has taken a creative writing class knows of the Hero’s Journey. Luke Skywalker’s tale is Hero’s Journey 101. Using the contrasts of young/old, hopeful/jaded, and sand/water, I created a semi-flat silhouetted illustration. To be honest, I am most in love with the colors in the sunset and subtle halftone texture. It was the perfect way to say a solemn farewell to one of my favorite characters of all time.

A satisfying experiment

My creative process for these designs has been surprisingly satisfying. I have experimented with different techniques, created art for my friends, but ultimately chose a subject that other like-minded geeks will hopefully love. Making a few dollars from my efforts doesn’t hurt, either. I have some ideas on how I can keep this momentum going, but the idea of opening up a shop is rather daunting. I need more time to think and research. I may need to team up with someone.

Final note: Dune is my favorite book series of all time — I saw the movie when it was released in theaters in 1984 and the impact it had on me cannot be understated. Yes, there was space travel and action and a really good-looking lead actor (I’m looking at you, Kyle MacLachlan). But the epic saga with interwoven threads of religion, politics, greed, ambition, and power really struck a chord. I was hooked. I immediately headed out to the nearest used book store and bought my first paperback copy, followed by the rest of the series. I’d like to thank my Uncle Bob for not only taking me to see the movie, but indulging my 10-year-old fangirl self at the used book store.

Portfolio and blog of Stephanie Tortomasi,
Graphic Designer in Metro Detroit, USA

Portfolio and blog of Stephanie Tortomasi, Graphic Designer in Metro Detroit, USA

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