Archive for the ‘Graphic Design Content’ Category

Comics Legend John Porcellino Brings King-Cat Tour to Handmade & Bound

Posted on: September 9th, 2014 by Caroline Davis

As a featured event of Handmade & Bound Nashville (H&BN) on October 3-4, acclaimed comics and graphic novel author/publisher John Porcellino will bring his national tour to town in support of a documentary about his life and work, “Root Hog or Die,” a graphic memoir, The Hospital Suite, and the 25th anniversary of his influential King-Cat Comics & Stories.

Root Hog or Die posterPorcellino will appear at the H&BN book arts festival, hosted by Watkins College of Art, Design & Film, on Friday, October 3, at 7 p.m. in the Watkins Theater. A 25-minute presentation about his work will precede a 45-minute version of “Root Hog or Die,” with Q&A and book signing to follow. H&BN is the only Southern stop on the 17-city itinerary (which began September 13 in Bethesda, MD), and admission is free.

Currently living in South Beloit, Illinois, the Chicago native has been writing, drawing and publishing mini-comics, comics and graphic novels for more than 25 years. He is best known for his self-published, highly autobiographical series King-Cat Comics & Stories, a simply drawn, black & white comic/zine that investigates the essence of just being alive.

An artist committed to punk rock and DIY ethics – with a unique voice equal parts Thoreau and Hüsker Dü – Porcellino seeks to illustrate the “moments-between-moments” that make up the majority of our lives: looking at snow falling, watching a bird turn its head, looking at the moon with your parents. From its beginning in the zine revolution of the late eighties/early nineties, King-Cat has been an inspirational template for a generation of alternative comics creators.

Porcellino’s collected stories have been published by Drawn and Quarterly, and his work has appeared in McSweeney’s, The Best American Comics, Kramer’s Ergot, the Anthologies of Graphic Fiction, and countless other anthologies and collections.

Dan Stafford and John Porcellino

Dan Stafford and John Porcellino at Hollis Famous Ribs, Athens GA

“Root Hog or Die” is the culmination of a five-year project by director Dan Stafford, who also co-owns Kilgore Books & Comics. Following him on tour, on walks in the woods and through interviews with more than 20 friends and colleagues, “Root Hog or Die” illustrates how Porcellino manages, and occasionally struggles, to live and function as an uncompromising artist in 21st century America.

The film’s title comes from Porcellino’s personal motto in regards to creating King-Cat: the saying about self-reliance refers to the colonial practice of releasing hogs into the wild to fend for themselves or starve.



The Hospital Suite, to be published September 23 by Drawn and Quarterly, is a response to a series of life-threatening health concerns Porcellino experienced in the late 1990’s. Publishers Weekly praised the memoir, told through bare-bones drawings, as “a clear-eyed, penetrating book about the helplessness of illness which should bring Porcellino a wider audience beyond his cult following.”

On the second day of H&BN–Saturday, October 4–Porcellino will be a vendor in the book arts marketplace, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., with King-Cat zines, books, tee shirts and DVDs plus selections from his Spit and a Half zine and comix distribution service. (For a complete vendor listing, click here.)

In conjunction with Porcellino’s visit, H&BN is bringing back Zine-O-Rama, a call for zines that has drawn donations from around the world. Submissions (with optional artist statement or bio) should be sent by September 22 to the Watkins Library, 2298 Rosa L. Parks Blvd., Nashville, TN 37228, Attn: Lisa Williams.


The fourth annual edition of Handmade & Bound Nashville (H&BN), a two-day celebration of print, paper and book, will unfold Friday, October 3, and Saturday, October 4, at Watkins College of Art, Design & Film. The free, family-friendly event–part book convention, part literary event and part art show–is presented by the Watkins Library and the Community Education department and features a gallery exhibition, documentary screening, zine collection, marketplace with dozens of vendors, and demos and hands-on activities.

10/3: Poetry and Prints exhibition opening reception • documentary and Q&A with zine legend John Porcellino • Zine-O-Rama

H&BN2012 Zine_o_rama readersOn Friday, October 3, the festival’s exhibition, Poetry and Prints, will open in the Brownlee O. Currey, Jr. Gallery on campus with a reception from 5 to 7 p.m.

The show (which takes its name from workshops presented by Watkins Community Education and the Frist Center for the Visual Arts) will showcase handmade books inspired by Wassily Kandinsky, one of the most influential artists of the 20th century and the subject of an upcoming retrospective at the Frist (Sept. 26-Jan. 4, 2015).

Handmade and Bound: Poetry and Prints is funded in part by an Arts Access grant from the Metro Nashville Arts Commission.

The appearance by author/illustrator John Porcellino of King-Cat Comix & Stories and the screening of the “Root Hog or Die” documentary begins immediately after the gallery reception, at 7 p.m. in the Watkins Theater.

10/4: Book arts marketplace

H&BN 2012 shopper On Saturday, October 4, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., artists, indie publishers and distributors, and book aficionados will come together to sell, trade and buy handmade and affordable publications, printed matter and book-themed creations at the H&BN marketplace. The festival will also feature demonstrations and hands-on activities for children and adults, as well as food trucks. Vendor registration is open through September 22.

Handmade & Bound Nashville, Vol. 4 is presented by the Library at Watkins and Watkins Community Education and is partially funded by the William N. Rollins Fund for the Arts through the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee.

Watkins is located at 2298 Rosa L. Parks Blvd. in Metro Center; free parking is available in the campus lot.

For information on registering for the marketplace, submissions to the Poetry and Prints gallery exhibition or Zine-O-Rama, visit, HBN’s Facebook page or contact the Watkins Library at 615.277.7427.

Artober logo

The Handmade & Bound Nashville festival is an official, registered event of Artober, a broadly collaborative promotional initiative designed to highlight, inform and inspire the community’s participation in the wide range of arts activities offered in the Nashville area during the month of October (



“…perhaps no comics artist since Charles Schulz has rendered so much psychological detail with so few lines.”                                   ––Rain Taxi Review of Books

H&B2011 zine typewriter

(photo by Christina Young)

Link to “Root Hog or Die” trailer:

The Hospital Suite

Excerpt and book info:

Publishers Weekly review:


H&BN photos by Samantha Angel



TAC logo blue

Illustration Concentration

Posted on: February 7th, 2014 by Steve Wilkison

Illustration styles are as varied as the hands and minds that draw them. This fall Watkins College offers you an opportunity to develop your skills and nourish your unique style. Students majoring in Graphic Design may choose to concentrate in Illustration, enjoy courses such as Drawing I & II, Figure Study, Printmaking and Painting and graduate with a professional quality, entry-level portfolio.

Here are a few of the Illustration specific courses offered to those interested in concentrating in Illustration:

Illustration I
The class is an introductory course that provides an understanding of the illustration process and its role as an art form that reflects,serves, and advances contemporary culture. Class assignments parallel professional practice.
Required for graphic design majors. (ART 162, ART 161 or GRD 110)

Illustration II
The class will explore character development, sequential imagery, and visual storytelling as related to storyboards, picture books, game design, and animation. The class will include guest professionals and possible field trips. Graphic Design Elective; required for Illustration concentration. (GRD 321)

Illustration III – Visiting Illustrators
Students will work with visiting professionals -illustrators, designers, and animators – to benefit from distinctly different and valuable perspectives. Graphic Design Elective; required for Illustration concentration. (GRD 421)

In addition, students will be given the opportunity to take special topic classes with in the Illustration genre such as Illustration / Printmaking Camp and The Picture BookProxy-Connection.

Complete course lists can be found here. And course descriptions may be read here.

If you have questions please feel free to call (866.887.6395) or email ( the Admissions Office


Nashville native, and chair of the Watkins Graphic Design Program, Dan Brawner, creates idea-based art that reaches a wide audience through its appearance in books, magazines, and advertising campaigns. Commissioned by respected agencies, including Saatchi & Saatchi, Hal Riney & Partners, McCann-Erickson, Porter Novelli, and The Richards Group, Dan has created imagery for Children’s TV Workshop, Coca-Cola, Kellogg’s, KFC, Saturn, Simon & Schuster, Sonic, Texaco, U.S. Postal Service, WGBH/Boston, Yoo-Hoo, and Zanie’s Comedy Showplace. His character designs for BASF’s FreshStart’s campaign appeared on NBC’s The Today Show and marched in Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Among his book projects is The Prayer of Jabez for Kids, named by Publisher’s Weekly as the best-selling children’s book of 2002. Published work has garnered awards from Advertising Age, American Ad Federation, American Illustration, Association of Alternative Newsweeklies, Illustration West, Print, 3×3, Society of Illustrators, and SILA: Society of Illustrators of Los Angeles. In 2009, he received a gold medal from 3×3’s Illustration Annual 5, and was published in Illustrators 50.

Dan has exhibited his work internationally, and in 2005 received Best of Show from Huntsville Museum of Art’s Red Clay Survey. Recent work has been juried into group exhibitions at Billy Shire’s Fine Art Gallery and Gallery Nucleus in Los Angeles, Nashville’s Main Library, and the Society of Illustrators, NYC.
Visit Dan’s site and be sure to check out our news page to see some of the work his students have been creating!

Web Design Concentration

Posted on: February 7th, 2014 by Steve Wilkison

The Watkins Graphic Design department is excited to announce a new Web Design Concentration in conjunction with our current BFA In Graphic Design. Web design and development is an integral part of our curriculum and a keen understanding of current technology, along with the skills to reach people through a variety of media formats, has always been essential to the success of graphic designers. The web is not the future…it’s now. It’s exciting, challenging, constantly evolving and exceptionally rewarding. Like all aspects of graphic design (package design, logo development, corporate identity, illustration, editorial design, etc.) web design requires creative/critical thinking, excellent design, typographic craft, compelling imagery and great concepts.

Our new Web Design Concentration provides students with the knowledge, experience, skills and tools that will prepare them for successful entry into the workplace upon graduation. Students who elect to participate in the new Web Design Concentration will complete the current core Web Development courses as well as additional advanced, in-depth classes such as HTML5 & CSS3, WordPress, PHP & MySql, Flash and jQuery.


Graphic Design Internships

Posted on: February 2nd, 2014 by Steve Wilkison

The Graphic Design program does not require internships but strongly encourages them. Many opportunities are available and we encourage students to take advantage of them. An upper-division graphic design student may complete up to two internships. This is invaluable experience and many placements have led to full-time job opportunities. The following is a partial list of companies that support our program:


Anderson Design Group

Attik (New York City)

The Buntin Group


Delevante Creative


Hammock Publishing

Hatch Show Print

Isle of Printing

Nashville Lifestyles

Prosper Press (San Francisco)


Skyline Exhibits

The Tennessean

Travis Foster Illustration

Vanderbilt University Creative Services

Warner Brothers Nashville

Graphic Design Facilities And Equipment

Posted on: February 2nd, 2014 by Steve Wilkison


Graphic Design students have access to three computer labs with state-of-the-art iMac and Mac Pro computers. All of the computers are networked to the Watkins server that allows students backup and transfer capabilities. This provides them with access to all of their project files and materials, regardless of which lab they are working in. Our computer and software resources allow students to master the relevant tools and technologies needed to communicate effectively through print, web, interactive, and multimedia design.

Graphic Design Lab

Graphic Design Lab


Lab 205 is outfitted with 15 student iMac workstations featuring 27″ 16:9 widescreen LED-backlit glossy displays with 2560px by 1440px resolution, 2.7GHz quad-core processor, 4GB of memory, 1TB hard drive, and a Wacom Bamboo Pen and Touch Tablet. Software: Apple Snow Leopard 10.6.8, Adobe Creative Suite 5.5 and 4 (Photoshop, InDesign, Flash, Illustrator, Dreamweaver, Fireworks, Acrobat), Microsoft Office 2011, and Corel Painter 12. An additional iMac instructor station is connected to an Optoma 1080p high-definition overhead projector.

Lab 201 is outfitted with 15 student MacPro workstations featuring 20″ Matte LCD Cinema Display monitors with 1680px x 1050px resolution, 2.66 GHz Dual-Core Intel Xeon processors, 4GB of memory, a 250 GB hard drive, and a Wacom Bamboo Pen and Touch Tablet. Software: Apple Leopard 10.5.8, Adobe Creative Suite 5.5 and 4 (Photoshop, InDesign, Flash, Illustrator, Dreamweaver, Fireworks, Acrobat), and Microsoft Office 2004. An additional iMac instructor station is connected to an Optoma 1080p high definition overhead projector.

Lab 411A is outfitted with 15 student iMac workstations featuring 27″ 16:9 widescreen LED-backlit glossy displays with 2560px by 1440px resolution, 3.2GHz Intel Core i3, 4GB of memory, and a 1TB hard drive. Software: Adobe Creative Suite 4 (Photoshop, InDesign, Flash, Illustrator, Dreamweaver, Fireworks, Acrobat), and Microsoft Office 2004.


All graphic design students have access to two Epson Expression 10000 XL scanners with 2400px x 4800px optical resolution, 48-bit color depth, 16-bit grayscale, and 50 percent to 200 percent zoom.
Scanning surface for originals up to 12.2 by 17.2 inches. They can also use aFlextight X1 Transparency which provides negative and positive film and transparency scanning.


To make sure printed pieces look as professional as possible all students have access to a variety of printers, most of which are networked to the computers in the labs. These printers provide high-quality prints up to 36″ x 48″ (and more), resulting in professional looking mockups for student projects and portfolio pieces.

Canon ImagePress C1+, BW / Color, Letter to 13″ x 19″
Ricoh AficioMP C4501, BW / Color, Letter, Legal, and Tabloid
HP Color LaserJet 5550n, BW / Color, Tabloid
HP Color LaserJet CP4005dn, BW / Color, Letter
LaserJet 5200tn, BW, Letter and Tabloid
Ricoh Aficio MP W2400, BW, 18″ x 24″ to 36″ x 48″ or more
Epson Stylus Pro 9890, Color, Large format 44″
Epson Stylus Pro 9800, Color, Large format
Epson Stylus Pro 7800, Matte Black, Large format


Not only do the computer labs have the best and newest technologies, but they are also set up in a manner conducive to learning. Instead of setting up desks in rows, the Watkins computer labs have workstations lining the perimeter of the rooms. This makes room for worktables in the center of the rooms where students and professors can gather to discuss projects, review thumbnails and give LCD lectures. The open format rooms also make it easier for teachers to interact with each student, addressing their needs one-on-one.

All graphic design studios provide additional resources in the form of type sample books, Pantone swatch books, design annuals, stock photo books with CDs, magazines, paper samples, and paper swatch books.

Other resources include an extensive periodicals collection in the library, carrying the latest issues of such industry standard publications as Communication Arts and Print, as well as European publications like UK’s Baseline. The graphic design section of the library contains many volumes of books on everything from the history of design to current web design techniques. The library is continually updated with newly released books providing design students with a convenient, valuable resource.


Graphic Design Plan Of Study

Posted on: February 2nd, 2014 by Steve Wilkison

BFA in Graphic Design
First Year
ART 101 Art Survey I ART 102 Art Survey II
COR 101 Surface Space & Time* COR 102 Studio for Research & Practice*
ENG 101 English Composition I ENG 102 English Composition II
GRD 101 History of Graphic Design GRD 121 Fundamentals of Typography
(15 Credit Hours) (15 Credit Hours)
Second Year
GRD 230 Digital Design I GRD 210 Concept Development
GRD 232 Experimental Typography GRD 221 Digital Design II
GRD 321 Illustration I GRD 300 Portfolio Review
HIS 101 History of World Civilization I GRD 341 Intro to HTML & CSS
MAT 101 Math for the Visual Arts HIS 102 History of World Civilization II
SCI 3XX Natural Science Series
(15 Credit Hours) (15 Credit Hours)
Third Year
GRD 233 Digital Design III COM 220 Speech Communication
GRD 332 Advanced Typography GRD 310 Brand Development
GRD 342 Advanced Web Development GRD 343 Web & Interactive
Social Science Requirement Graphic Design Elective
Studio Elective: Graphic Design or Visual Art Visual Arts Elective
(15 Credit Hours) (15 Credit Hours)
Fourth Year
GRD 401 Professional Practices GRD 460 Senior Portfolio Development
GRD 410 Promotion & Packaging Graphic Design Elective
Graphic Design Elective or GRD 323 Illustration III** or GRD 344 ST in Web Development*** Upper Level Art History Elective
General Education Elective #1 General Education Elective #2
Visual Art Elective Visual Art Elective
(15 Credit Hours) (15 Credit Hours)

* 6 credit hours

** Required for the Illustration Concentration

***Required for the Web Design Concentration

Visual Arts Core or General Education courses and some Film elective courses may be taken over the summer.

Graphic Design Curriculum

Posted on: February 1st, 2014 by Steve Wilkison

Bachelor of Fine Arts in Graphic Design
Total credit hours: 120

click on any course title for a description

Core Studies Requirements 12
COR 101 Surface Space & Time 6
COR 102 Studio for Research and Practice 6
Illustration Concentration 12
GRD 322 Illustration II 3
GRD 323 Illustration III 3
GRD 324 Illustration IV 3
Various GRD Elective 3
Web Design Concentration 12
GRD 344-series Special Topics in Web Development 3
Various GRD Electives (3) 9
Graphic Design Electives 12
Only required for students without a concentration. Recommended courses include but are not limited to:
GRD 322 Illustration II 3
GRD 323 Illustration III 3
GRD 324 Illustration IV 3
GRD 344 Special Topics in Web Development 3
GRD 351 Special Topics in Graphic Design 3
GRD 361 Special Problems in Advertising 3
GRD 470 Internship I 3
Various Studio Electives 3
General Education Elective Explorations 9
Various Art or Design History Elective (200 level and above) 3
Various General Education Electives (2) 6
Visual Arts Elective Explorations (Select Three) 9
All Graphic Design majors must take three studio courses from a department outside of their major. Recommended courses for Graphic Design majors:
PHO 121 Photography I 3
ART 261 Printmaking I 3
Various Studio Electives 3