After more than a decade, I soon will be leaving my role as Creative Director with Tucker Publishing Group for a new adventure in food media. While I’m excited for the future, these last days are filled with bittersweet moments as I reflect on the many accomplishments, opportunities, and connections I’ve made by working on stories for Evansville Living magazine. Remember that time I turned a cake into a cover? Or had my cat child Captain model for us? I’ll never forget photographing red pandas on my birthday, or carefully stacking burgers for the perfect shot.
But, producing features always has been the most gratifying — and challenging — part of my job. It wasn’t easy, but here I’ve taken the nearly 50 Evansville Living features I’ve designed and narrowed it down to my five favorites:
I probably ate at least two pounds of tortilla chips during the making of this cover story. My love of Spanish tiles influenced the design, and I created colorful custom illustrations throughout the piece. However, its success is a testament to the collaboration and innovation of my talented co-workers. Our editorial team put together such a comprehensive look at the “Midwestern Mexican experience.” And Photographer Zach Straw is always a joy, especially since he tolerates my odd requests and fussy food styling.
Okay, it’s more food! I’ll never deny that dining features are a lot of fun. I mean, I consider myself a pizza aficionado, so it was natural for me to take point on this saucy story. I sampled pizza at 13 local restaurants for “research,” put together some “pie charts,” and loved introducing our readers to the many ways you can snag a slice in the city.
This will always be one of my very cherished projects, as I was able to combine my love of art, design, writing, and travel. Early on, we came up with the visual concept of looking inside an actual travel journal. Due to this detailed style, with my custom watercolor illustrations and hand-drawn elements, these layouts have the most individual elements of any feature I’ve ever designed!
The opening spread of this nostalgic feature is on the wall of my office opposite my desk, allowing me to gaze up at the many props that came from my own childhood — the diary was my great-grandmother’s, the bracelet contains my baby photo, and the doll was mine as a child (See the drool marks?). I arranged the items and took the photo directly on the painted concrete floor of our former storeroom. Most people know I’m an ephemera lover, and it was a blast going through local contributions to produce a story that remains popular with our readers today.
I’m always thrilled anytime I can design around history, and this feature was no exception. We partnered with Haunted Historic Evansville and Evansville Vanderburgh Paranormal Investigations to find the truth behind our city’s spookiest tales. I arranged local actors to play the parts of “ghosts,” and once again, the talents of Photographer Zach Straw shine in the creepy-cool photography. Combining old and new elements produced an intriguing layout and chills worthy of Unsolved Mysteries.
So thank you, readers, for allowing little pieces of myself into your homes each month. It’s been a wonderful experience showcasing the best of our city. And hey, Evansville Living team — I’ll be eternally grateful for the talent, support, and laughs we’ve shared over the years. Be happy and keep producing outstanding work.