Finding Your Style With The High Road Design
Howdy, My name is Jon Kutt, otherwise known as The High Road Design. I’m an Illustrator/Graphic Designer from Kitchener, Ontario, Canada, with an unhealthy addiction to drawing and posting humorous drawings on my instagram and working with some fantastic clients such as Netflix, Ernie Ball, Jimmy Kimmel and Naked and Famous Denim.
Notes on creation and ideation (or how I learned to love drawing and built an Instagram following while drawing testicles).
When I first started drawing in procreate it was nerve wracking. I was trying to kill two birds with one stone, learning new software with a new medium (iPad pro and Apple Pencil) and starting drawing again after a 20+ year hiatus. I had 25 years as a graphic designer and vector artist but drawing had come to a full stop after a failed year taking illustration in school.
“DRAWING HAD BECOME SCARY TO ME AND PUTTING PENCIL TO PAPER FILLED ME WITH AN EXISTENTIAL DREAD OF FAILURE AND SELF LOATHING.”
A selection of images from those early days around 2018, including one celebrating my 1,000th follower (now approaching 100,000).
I had to relearn how to approach drawing like a child, having fun and trying to put any or all ideas down on the page without fear of lack of skill or nuance. I decided the best way was to draw everyday and post on Instagram, which was also a source of much anxiety as I was struggling to find an audience and my art was not inspiring the reaction I was hoping for.
“I DECIDED THE BEST WAY WAS TO DRAW EVERYDAY AND POST ON INSTAGRAM”
Finding My Feet
It was a struggle at first, I hated my drawings and my ideas were forced and to be honest…I just wasn’t having fun. BUT the tools were there…procreate after an initial learning period, is such a joy to use and I had just purchased a set of tools that promised to give my art the look of the old comics I loved so much… True Grit’s Debaser Lo-Fi Comic Coloring Kit.
Debaser really opened up a new world of creativity for me.
Gradually I started to lose the inhibitions and just draw the shit that popped into my head and started to get better at drawing too. Debaser covered up the flaws and even made some of them seem intentional. Along the way I had developed my own creative formula that kept things very personal to me and was an endless well of stupid ideas for me to draw.
Inspiration Is Everywhere.
We all have favorite films, tv shows, books, artists and more that give us joy. Favorite t-shirts with obscure sayings our parents bought us when we were kids, weird signs we see while at a flea market, etc, etc.
Pop culture references? Hold my beer.
Coming up with an idea looks something like this… first I come up with something stupid to draw, it may be a character from a favorite movie or just a specific thing like if Robert Crumb drew an armadillo wearing a cowboy hat ( seriously… you can just get a weird category map and combine them together … famous artist+random animal+random action or accessory+famous quote from a movie… voila ART!).
Then I come up with a phrase that aligns (or doesn’t) and either typeset it in illustrator or draw it myself.
Remember, you can’t get too weird.