My first design internship (which led to my first design job) was at Thomas-Bradley Illustration and Design. My daily commute through the cornfields of Illinois led me to a small, unassuming firm in Gridley where some of the best photo-realist illustrators in the country were working. Most of us came from traditional drawing/painting backgrounds with little or no practical Adobe Illustrator experience.
My first summer was an Illustrator boot camp consisting of hundreds of line drawings of John Deere tractors. In three months I went from a novice Freehand user (who had never touched Illustrator) to an Illustrator expert producing multiple drawings in a singe day.
Eurkea Vacuum cleaners was my first photo-realist project and my real introduction to the power of Illustrator. At the time we were using Illustrator 8, before transparency was added to the application, so all of the transparency in these images was created using the blend tool. In fact, all of the shading, color and transparency was done with the blend tool. I ended up completing Illustrations for John Deere, Nascar, Disney, Eureka, Scuba Diving Magazine, Skil and Bosch, and American Tool while employed by Thomas-Bradley.
After a chance meeting with Adobe engineers who didn’t believe we could create our work using only Illustrator the entire company of Thomas-Bradley became beta testers for Adobe. I entered my first beta program at 20, and began a long standing relationship with Adobe that continues to this day.