A vector illustration created by Joel Mertz of a brightly colored city. There are many buildings, cars and other miscellaneous details.
A vector illustration created by Joel Mertz of a brightly colored city. There are many buildings, cars and other miscellaneous details.
A vector illustration created by Joel Mertz of a brightly colored city. There are many buildings, cars and other miscellaneous details.

In August 2007, I had the privileged and opportunity to study design in Beijing, China. Collaborating with digital artists on the other side of the world was an enlightening, unforgettable experience. It was an adventure that helped me to better understand just how universal the discipline of digital creation really is. I was taken aback by the level of dedication to craft, and was inspired by many of the artist’s modern interpretations of ancient Chinese traditions.

Sure, I couldn’t really understand anything my fellow designers were saying (charades became a popular form of communication). And yes, Adobe Illustrator is a lot more difficult when the interface is written entirely in Chinese. Overcoming these obstacles however, led to a sense of accomplishment and empathy that has stuck with me over the years.

Work on the above illustration began while I was attending the Shandong University of Design, and early drawings were showcased at an exhibit held by the University. The final illustration, inspired by my photos of Beijing, Shanghai and Jinan, was completed upon returning home to the University of Oregon.

  • Medium: Illustration
  • Year: 2008
  • Skills: Adobe Illustrator, Acrylic Paint, Adobe Photoshop

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