Art Break: Studio Snapshot with Brad Towsley

Mike MeyerNovember 2018
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A look at graphic designer Brad Towsley.

At a young age, Brad Towsley knew he wanted to pursue a life in art, he just wasn’t quite sure what form of art that would be. After researching popular graphic designers and immersing himself in typography, he was hooked. It took about 13 years after graduating from Illinois State University for Towsley to settle down and work from the comfort of his own home in Phoenix, where he moved in 2001 after working for agencies in Chicago. Recently, he has been designing projects for local businesses including Hidden Track Bottle Shop in Downtown Phoenix. “I’ve started doing a lot of wine labels for them,” he says. “It is a super fun project that employs a lot of typography and a lot of illustration.” He subscribes to the “less is more” school of thought, and believes that the more simple things are, the more you can get out of them. “I just try to come up with the best way to communicate something visually,” Towsley says. “Usually the simpler it is, the better it is and the better it communicates.” Find his work at bradtowsley.com.

This illustration (on wall above computer screen) was a birthday gift from Towsley’s wife, by Taiwanese-American artist James Jean. “I’ve been following ‘JJ’s’ work for over 15 years and watching him grow as an artist.”

Towsley isn’t a guitarist, but he occasionally strums this acoustic Lotus six-string for inspiration. He’s more likely to plink away on his piano near the entrance to his studio.

Towsley starts his designs with a pencil and a sketchbook. He prefers to start on paper because it gives him more flexibility to fix or adjust any design.

He transitions to his Wacom tablet to digitize his designs in real time. “Whenever you got a sketch established, you can either start tracing over that sketch with [the Wacom tablet] or you can just freehand whatever you want.”

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