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Introduce yourself

Hello! My name is Jarod Octon and I'm an illustrator and designer based in sunny San Diego, California. Yup, the same city Ron Burgundy hails from. By day, I work as the Senior Graphic Artist for a San Diego based candy company. At night, I work freelance with a variety of clients. When I'm not working on sci-fi or fantasy themed passion projects, I enjoy stomping through Disneyland and dining out at popular foodie destinations alongside my wife. I'm always excited about the potential of an unforeseen project, so please reach out if you'd like to collaborate on something well-matched.

What's your background?

Much of my early design experience was acquired working for a local sign shop. That's where I learnt practical design. Afterwards, I studied a variety of creative disciplines at an art school by the name of Platt College San Diego. It was during this time that I realized my full creative and professional potential. My studies led to freelance and full-time opportunities that have catapulted my career as an illustrator and designer.

Explain your creative process?

From sketch to screen, I enjoy juggling analog techniques with digital tools. Every project starts with pencil and paper. Once I have the idea, I import the rough concept sketch into Adobe Illustrator for refinement. Some illustrations are completed using solely Illustrator. Some works develop further utilizing programs such as Photoshop, After Effects or Lightroom. It all depends on the desired aesthetic.

What does your future look like?

My future involves a whole lotta illustration! I like to dream big, especially knowing that I'm in this industry for the long haul. So nothing is off the table! A couple bucket list clients that I would love to work with would be the Walt Disney Company and NASA. I love to share value and give back when possible, so I'd like to participate in more events and eventually speak at a creative conference or two.

What tools can you not live without and why?

Adobe Illustrator - It's the foundation for all of my work. I feel like a wizard working within that program. There isn't much I can't accomplish with it's aid.

Adobe Photoshop - There's so much illustration greatness that can be achieved with the assistance of Photoshop. The filters, larger color gamut and textured brushes can really help push the pixels into a realm of awesomeness.

Automatic Pencil - There's nothing like digging graphite into paper for conceptualizing. It's a reliable tool that has always proven therapeutic when in hand.

Tuff Stuff - If you're gonna draw with pencil and paper, you're gonna need an eraser. This eraser stick has been my go-to since day one.

Spotify: I like to whistle when I work. A good playlist can help me narrow into a particular zone that might compliment the theme of a project. Maybe something from the 50's for a kid friendly piece or maybe synthwave for some futuristic space vibes. Whatever's clever.

Any other resources you find useful?

A great book for any creative to read would be 'Steal Like An Artist' by Austin Kleon. I don't recommend stealing in the literal sense, but that book has a plentiful amount of gems to help inspire. For those that are seeking freelance work, I highly recommend the Graphic Artists Guild Handbook (Pricing & Ethical Guidelines). Consider it somewhat like a compass when in doubt during negotiations.

Any advice you would like to share?

Create, share, analyze and pivot. Then repeat. Create, wether it's for others or for your own passion project. Push your work wherever humanly possible. Don't wait for someone else to shine a flashlight within your "creative cave." Venture out of the woods and network with others. Recognize your strengths and re-align your strategy when you miss the mark. Keep on keeping on and don't let up! Welcome the mistakes. It only gets better.

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