Hey Ray, for those who are unaware would you care to introduce yourself?
Thanks for having me! I'm Ray Urena, an undergrad illustrator at Rowan University.
Tell us about New Jersey, what is the design scene like over there?
There isn't much to see as far as design. Most designers will show their work in cities like Philadelphia and New York. For most designers in Jersey that is the best alternative.
How do you find your Illustration course? Do they keep up with current design trends and technologies?
They do! I mean we're the only building on campus using apple products, doesn't get better than that, right? We don't praise trends too much at Rowan. There's a unique bunch here! I think that's something I look forward to everyday.
What has been your favourite project you've worked on this year?
I was fortunate to do an internship at 160over90 in the beginning of the year. I was asked to create a mini project while interning there. I decided to make a series of illustrations based on different music genres. Doug Richard, a designer and intern mentor at 160over90 helped me develop the project. Besides working on the illustration, I was able to experience first-hand how designers/ art directors/ account managers, all work together on a project. Double win!!
When starting a new project what is the first thing you do?
Get ideas out, fast! I usually do this with a newsprint pad. Like the really big ones, the bigger the better. I love to get everything out. Once I get something that works, I'll begin to build and refine.
Where do you go for inspiration when starting a new piece of work?
The web is a common place, but I also enjoy reading and taking long walks. To me, inspiration doesn't have to be just a visual thing. The lyrics of a song can be just as inspiring as any oil painting or photograph. It's usually the little things, the unnoticed that inspire me most.
Designers you would recommend checking out?
Too many to name but here's some who come to mind... Brent Couchman, Scotty Reifsynder, Michael Cina, Charlie/ TheIssland, Kerem Suer, Lydia Nichols, Tad Carpenter, Ty Wilkins, Lotta Nieminen, Claire Coullon, Riley Cran, Rogie
Design essentials? (e.g. hardware, software)
Illustrator, iMac, mechanical pencils, sketch journal, large newsprint, charcoal