A Conversation with Pomme Roi Creative (Joshua Pomeroy)

DG: Hey Joshua, how are you doing? Tell us something about you.
PRC: Hi, Darshan. I’m doing well! Thank you for contacting me and providing this opportunity.
My name is Joshua Pomeroy and I live in Howell, Michigan with my wonderful family and two dogs. My wife and I share many creative interests and passions. Together, we started Pomme Roi Creative LLC in November, 2014. We do graphic design and visual art with a focus on uniquely artistic design and illustration.

DG: For how long have you been making illustrations?
PRC: I have been drawing and sketching as long as I can remember. I remember watching my mom draw and I would try my best to draw exactly what she did on my little tablet. My older brother was also a big influence – always drawing castles and ships from pictures in books we got from the library. I was always fascinated with the way a few lines of pencil lead on the paper would somehow turn into something recognizable and even look alive. It was like magic!

DG: Tell us about the thought process that goes behind making those masterpieces?
PRC: It’s pretty simple really. I have a tidy folder structure in my Google Drive to help me stay organized and more efficient. Google has great search functions in Drive, but I like to create folders and know where things are as much as possible.
I start with a reference photo. It doesn’t even have to be that great of quality. Most of the portraits I’ve done so far have been from images from Facebook profile pictures. I usually copy the image, create a new Google Drawings document in another tab, set the page size to 10in x 10in, (I like to work with a square for the portraits) and paste it. From there, I might crop the image to focus on just the area of the subject I want. Then, it’s straight to the PolyLine Tool.

PRC's Beautiful Illustrations made in Google Drawings
PRC’s Beautiful Illustrations made in Google Drawings

DG: What technologies, gadgets & tools do you use for creating those awesome graphics?
PRC: I use a MacBook Pro or my wife’s ChromeBook. The great thing is that I have the same set of tools available to me on a $1200 machine that I do on a $250 machine. And the results are the same! Other than that, I use a simple (cheap) USB wireless mouse. I find it much easier to maneuver that the trackpad.
Once I finish the artwork in Google Drawings, I will download it as a PNG and use something like Pixlr Touch Up to add filters, overlays, and color adjustments. At this point I’m just treating the artwork as if it was a photo – trying to get a nice overall tone, color balance, and mood.
Part of the appeal of using Google Drawings is the simplicity and access. So, I try to keep my approach and toolset in line with that as well. Even though I work mostly on a MacBook, I will intentionally use tools that are available via chrome extensions or web apps. Pen and paper are still my go-to mobile tools for capturing ideas and often sit closely to my hands while working on the computer.

DG: When you got into designing, how was the market for Illustrations & Graphics back then?
PRC: I don’t think I had any idea what the market was like when I started realizing that I could get paid to make art. I still don’t feel like I have a very comprehensive grasp of it, but I’m focusing more on finding creative ways of making an income regardless of what the market might be now or in the future. I believe a big part of that is committing to creating things that I love, things that I would buy, and things I would be proud of.

DG: How has the market for the same changed by now?
PRC: I think overall I’ve noticed an incredible lack of understanding and/or appreciation for what people like me do. I see design being sold much like a fast food menu or a cell phone plan. I don’t know if that’s good or bad, but I want to be the guy who always appreciates, elevates, and contributes to  the craft and the people.

DG: The illustrations you made using mere Google Drawings dragged a lot of attention on the internet. What suggested you to use Google Drawings in place of other heavy designing tools?
PRC: I was doing a lot of thinking right around the same time I started experimenting with Google Drawings. Simplifying my graphic design workflow and need for tools was part of it. I had kind of come up with an ethos for myself as far as what I considered to be a good design job and what elements should be present. Everything around me just seemed too complex, too “Photoshopped.” I love Photoshop and use it, but only when I need to. I realized that, with some creative thinking, Google Drawings had all the tools I needed for almost every project: Import photos and crop and resize them, create big blocks of color, rearrange every piece on the page at any time, and access to a large selection of Google Web Fonts. Also, being able to download as SVG and PDF gave me the confidence to use it and get crisp vector output of all my shapes and fonts.

Joshua's Google Drawings
Joshua’s Google Drawings

I’m sure you could achieve the same kind of results and more in other software packages, but not without having to make sure you have enough computing power to run the latest versions then purchase/subscribe, install, and run. Most of these applications are also only for PC or MAC and I wanted to see what I could do with an app that runs in a web browser on any machine. So, a lot of it started as a personal challenge to see how much I could do with something free and available to anyone.

DG: How much time does it take for you to make a Celebrity Illustration in Google Drawings? And how much time a newbie would take to make the same?
PRC: The first portrait I did in Google Drawings was a tribute to Leonard Nimoy after his passing. It took me about 3 hours from start to finish. Recent ones I’ve done in about 45 minutes.

DG: Do you intend to sell your illustrations made in Google Drawings?
PRC: Yes! I already have sold several. When I realized what I could achieve and established a style, I ran a limited time offer of $50 for a profile picture. This was really a way to begin creating and earn a little cash along the way. My goal has been to become known for a particular style and personality in my illustrations. I am currently taking commissions for $99. I use Google Wallet and you can contact me if you are interested on Facebook or Google+.

DG: Have you tried reaching out Google & make them aware of your beautiful illustrations completely made in Google Drive? They would feel so proud about it.
PRC: I’ve been posting on several Chrome and Google Drive communities on Google+ and I’m also an active contributor on the Google Docs Help Forum. Before asking Google for attention, I thought it was important to interact and become invested in the tools that Google already offers for free to help people get stuff done. I’ve very thankful for the work that I’m sure has taken many minds, hands, and hours to make available. I would love to showcase what these tools are capable of and help spread the word and the knowledge so others could take advantage them and create some beautiful things too. If you are reading this, Google, I’d love to see what else we could do together! 🙂

DG: On what basis do you choose a character for making an illustration of it? Once I know the criteria, I’ll definitely try to fit in. After all, you make them look so awesome in your illustrations. 😛
PRC: Basically, I like to spend time on things I enjoy. I love drawing people and faces, especially eyes, so portraits seemed like a good place to start. Other than that, I just love to see how the final piece comes together no matter what the subject.

DG: Where do you drive the inspiration from?
PRC: Inspiration comes from everywhere! The typography at the supermarket, the texture or the driveway or trees, posters at the movie theater, and old vintage things at the antique mall. I love the literal organic-ness or nature and the perfect imperfections I see all around me. I try to work those visuals and feelings into a lot of my art.

DG: How do you relax your mind?
PRC: I love being with my wife. If I had to pick one thing to spend my time doing it would be just being around her. She is my muse and my joy. One of the things I love about doing what I love is that I love it. 🙂 I know that’s a bit silly, but to me art is a personal therapy. There have been times that I hated it, but that’s because of the way I was doing it. (Usually involving a lot of client edits, red tape and bureaucracy that left me drained and uninspired.)

DG: Any piece of advice for the budding designers?
PRC: Think bigger than the project you are currently working on. Make sure you are becoming a person you would love being around. Engage with people who think differently than you and will tell you the truth. Work to be able to take care of someone else. There’s always someone you can learn from and someone you can teach. Practice good communication, both verbal and written. Always be kind and honest!

Rapid Fire Round:

Best Designer?
Andy Warhol.

I wish I could visit _____.
Ireland.

If not Designer, I would be ______.
A Teacher or Minister.

Love is _____.
Preferring others seeking to meet their needs above your own.

Life is ______.
The tangible substance through which Love finds expression.

Creativity is _____.
The byproduct of joy and the instrument of problem solving.

Darshan is ______.
My new friend!

Joshua didn’t just have this thoughtful conversation with me, he also made an illustration for me. I’m honored to be drawn by the Master himself.
Darshan Gajara's IllustrationJust look at the detailing he has given to this portrait illustration. This guy is inspirational & totally awesome, isn’t he?
Now that we’ve realized the power of Google Drawings, trying it ourselves & making something cooler like this is worth a shot. Follow Joshua on YouTubeFacebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+ & check his website www.joshuapomeroy.com to stay inspired.

Also, let me know if you come up with something creative using Google Drawings. Joshua & I would love to see it.

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