A Tree Grows in Gleaner

Graphic design is much like other forms of art. It takes time, details, supplies, practice, and inspiration.

Being a form of art, graphic design begs a spot within a literary journal along side photography, poetry, and other forms of creative writing. At the beginning of the fall semester 2021 “The Gleaner” staff was brainstorming about what should be on the actual pages of the journal, not just the content on top of them. We discussed our theme, Now and Then: what it means, and how we could turn our ideas into visual representations in the journal. The words growth, life, and transformation were tossed around. Maybe it could be a child growing? What about a tree’s transformation from seed to massive plant?

I started to think about the idea of a tree and how I could personally bring it to life. Though I can’t draw or paint, I am good with other forms of art, in this case, graphic design. I pitched my idea.

Instead of growing in the usual sense of the word, I proposed that we see the tree “grow” through the editing process and that I could build the tree, saving different images of it along the way. Using Adobe Illustrator, a base image of the tree I found online, and the pen tool, I recreated and expanded the image. Using the pen tool, I carefully drew out every aspect of the tree, saving as the process continued.

The tree creation process took a few weeks. Whenever I had time to work on it I would go to the lab and add little by little until I came out with 20 different images from start to finish as I created the tree. The more and more graphics I added and the closer I came to completion, the better and fuller the tree started to look.

I just thought that adding this element to the publication was only adding another from of art, while allowing me to add my personal touch to this publication which I’ve gotten to be a part of from the beginning.

Hannah Seltzer, Gleaner Staff 2022
Media and Communication ’22

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