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Bethel Creatives, no. 8: John Smarich

Interview conducted by Henry Linville in the The Crossings’s series on creativity and diversity within Bethel University’s student body. The heart behind this series is to explore creativity in a broader sense and to be encouraged and inspired by the creatives on our campus and the things that they are doing.

John Samarich is a sophomore at Bethel, majoring in Graphic Design. He got into drawing at a young age, and transitioned to using a digital format to refine his work. He is an avid enjoyer of video games, especially the Sonic the Hedgehog franchise, and much of his work is inspired by that and other series. His ideal employment, though he admits it is a slim possibility, would be an illustrator for the Sonic comic series, and he also aspires to do cover illustrations for fantasy novels.


What kind of creative work are you specifically interested in?

If I were to say I am in any specific field for like, art, it’d probably be drawing.

Do you usually use paper and pen, or a tablet or some digital form for your work?

Usually I would draw first on paper, then I would go onto my computer, and open Illustrator, and I’d kinda just enhance the drawing. After I upload it to the computer, I’d give it some color, try to make it have more of a 3D feel, and then to finish that project I’d go back to my sketchbook and make a background for it, go back into Illustrator on a different window, and enhance the background, make it more three-dimensional, and after I’m done I apply it to the Lobject.

Do you usually have a specific plan going into a work, or just do whatever you feel like that day?

I kind of have a specific plan. A lot of it is probably gaming things.

I know you’ve shown me some of your Sonic stuff. Is it all like that or is there some variation?

Lately its been a lot of Sonic stuff. I also like to do a lot of Pokemon, some Mario. I also like to make illustrations for a book I’m writing, and draw like dragons and swords and stuff.

What do you want to do as a graphic design major? Illustration or something else?

Yeah, that would be cool! I think it would be awesome to draw for Sonic comics, not going to lie. But I mean I’m not aiming for that specifically, cause like, fat chance. But that would be like the ideal. I would like to be able to do article editorials and stuff, or magazine editorials, maybe do billboards. I would love to do the cover of a book though.

When did you sort of decide this is what you want to do full time?

In my senior year of high school. I’ve always been into drawing, But I didn’t think that drawing alone would be able to make a career, until I found out about graphic design, and I was like, let's go, let’s take my art abilities to, you know, the full level. Just knowing that there are a lot of things outside billboards and articles that I can do is pretty cool. Will I get to that point, who knows, but yeah!

What inspires you for drawing?

If anything, I would probably say that God and my family help inspire me with my creativity.

How would you define creativity?

I would say that creativity is when you start a project and explore a variety of details within it that makes it bring glory to God, and makes it stand out from everyone else’s work.

How have you grown in your art?

It’s a journey. When I was very little, I would try to use Painton the Windows XP and make images of Mario, Sonic, and my own characters. As I got older I started making comics for Mario and Sonic. At about fourteen years old, I learned how to use the 3D paint application. When I got to Bethel, I learned how to use Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop, and InDesign, bringing my artistic skills to the fullest they can be. There’s a lot more I could say that describes my journey, but that’s the basics.

Awesome, thanks John!


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