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Author: Jason Watson

The Most Creative Thing I’ve Ever Seen: Jason Watson

There’s a place in the mountains of Colorado that my wife and I visit every summer. I’m always somewhat overtaken by the grandeur surrounding me, and it’s easy to get swept up in it all. In those moments I can’t help but think that the creativity on exhibition here is unsurpassed. There’s a painting hanging in the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art of the Virgin Mary holding newborn Jesus in her arms. The serene gaze of unfathomable affection between mother and son, between Theotokos and Theanthropos is breathtaking, and every time I visit I am enraptured by this work of...

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5 Elements of Great Font Selection

The other day I was looking into getting some font management software to help organize my burgeoning font collection. In looking through the folder that houses my fonts, I was aghast at how many I’ve accumulated over the years. Is it possible to drown in fonts? Choosing the right font can be what makes or breaks a design. It can take it from meh to amazing. But with so many to choose from, how do you find the right one? 1. Mood When I first started in design, I honestly had no idea what I was doing. I had...

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Things You Can Learn from Old School Design

When I was a newbie motion designer, I had a project I was excited to do something fun and creative with. I racked my brain for any spark of inspiration, and then one day I happened upon an old comic book that I thought had some really interesting illustration techniques. Immediately, the wheels in my head started spinning, and I thought, “Hey, I know! I’ll make my video look like an old comic book!” Keep in mind that at the time I was just starting out, so my plan was to use a comic style video filter on some...

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When You’re Asked to Steal

When I was kid, I was a thief. 
Okay, that might be a little dramatic, so let’s back up. Here’s what happened. I was probably around 5 years old and lived in a really small town. So I was able to run around without a whole lot of supervision. I was given an allowance, and one of my favorite things to do was to go down to the corner drug store and buy really cheap candy. One day I went in and was in the mood for Jolly Ranchers, so I immediately went to that aisle. Looking at the...

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Jason Watson: My One Thing

For this month’s Sunday| Mag articles, we asked some of our favorite writers this one question: What’s one thing you’ve been learning all year long that you’d like to share with Sunday| Mag’s readers? In this article, Jason Watson talks about what it takes to develop a mastery of graphic/video design skills. I think it’s something you don’t realize at first, when the euphoria of any new undertaking sweeps aside the doubts or the struggles like dust under the rug. Out of sight and out of mind can certainly work for a time, but then in the stillness of the...

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Creativity Within Liturgy

The loss of transcendence is often the price of relevance, and the converse may also hold true. The familiar can wedge us into oppressive ditches, and usually in ways that catch us unaware. One might be lying facedown, oblivious as the drainage runs over with unanticipated fury. After all, the stigma of ritualism is no respecter of persons. It’s no respecter of liturgies. Is it possible to embrace liturgy and creativity at the same time? Or are we doomed to have one without the other? We often think robes and candles and chants are the stuff of stuffy ritualism,...

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10 Things Graphic Designers Love

When I started in graphic design I really had no clue what I was doing. I know there are funny horror stories on Clients From Hell about people using MS Paint or something like it. I don’t think I ever used Paint for design, but I’m pretty sure I started off with something just about as bad. If I remember correctly, it was called Picture It! (And yes, it had the exclamation point.) Like Paint it was some pre-installed software that came with Windows XP, and like Paint it is something no one should have ever used for design....

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Adding Your Signature

I have always had kind of blurry vision, but I never wanted to admit it. Admittedly, it wasn’t that bad; I could still function without any challenges. In fact, it wasn’t until I actually got my first pair of glasses that I realized how bad my vision had been, and how much I had missed out on. My adolescence was spent in the great state of Wyoming, which makes up for in open space what it lacks in people. One of my favorite things to do was to drive up near the mountains and stare up into the sky...

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The End of Obvious

There is an interstate that runs in pretty much a straight line all the way across South Dakota—Interstate 90. It is as unending as it is uninteresting, at least if you are interested in scenery beyond vast tracts of farmland. This half-day trip is only slightly superior to driving across Kansas, punctuated by the occasional farmhouse or small out of the way town. However, there is one curiously ubiquitous sight along I-90 that seems to accent the passing time like the mile markers whizzing by: billboards for a place called Wall Drug. Wall Drug is really just a tiny...

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Putting Skin on Your Idea

It happens every time. I’m getting ready to start on a new design, gathering together all my ideas, notes, musings…you know the drill. But then I open up a new document, set all the sizes and resolutions, and then… Oh crap! I actually have to make this idea work. Don’t get me wrong. I am usually pretty excited about the idea. After all, by this time it has probably been churning around in my mind for at least a week, slowly marinating in my succulent thought juices like a delectable roast in a slow cooker on a lazy Sunday...

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Swapping Cartridges

I used to be a Joust freak. If you don’t immediately know what Joust is, I can only pity either your clearly deprived childhood or inelegant timing in being born. The premise, while somewhat implausible, was pretty simple – you are a gladiator riding a flying ostrich, and you try to kill the other gladiators on their flying ostriches. Every time you pounce on them they drop an ostrich egg, and you can collect these to get points. But the best part of Joust was playing with a friend. The two of you could help or hinder each other,...

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Beyond Eye Candy

I commissioned an icon of St. Joseph for my wife this past Christmas. I had to go through a lengthy process of finding an iconographer, deciding on a subject, and determining the aesthetic. Icons, after all, have a particular style. But woven within that style is a deep meaning in every color and line. The process of iconography becomes as much about prayer as about painting. Every great work of art has some masterful technique. But even that is wholly wrapped up in an even deeper meaning, for the enduring pieces have a depth which gives them a certain...

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