Noli Students Take on Graphic Arts Project

High schoolers learn how to create logos and business cards ◆ By Mike Hiles

Danielle Grass, art teacher at Noli Indian School at the Soboba Reservation, has her students focus on a different aspect of art each month. For October, her Art 1 students have a graphic design lesson in which they are creating business cards for their own hypothetical business, using Adobe Illustrator.

To help the students relate what they are doing to real life experiences, a guest speaker was invited to talk to both Art 1 classes on Thursday, Oct. 5.

Craig Young is the graphic designer for the Soboba Band of Luiseño Indians and spends his days creating posters, brochures, fliers and website content for the tribe's many entities. He also has his own graphic design and website development business – NFP Designs – where he has produced business cards and photo retouching as a freelance graphic artist and shared this with the high school students.

Grass thought it was a good fit to have him talk about his career since her students are getting a small taste of it with making business cards.

The students had a variety of ideas for their businesses and Grass had them follow a process plan for the project. Each one was required to use a piece of sketch paper to write out the project title, criteria and then brainstorm colors, designs, techniques and vocabulary they wanted to incorporate into their designs.

"They were asked to sketch three thumbnail size ideas to play around with the layout and composition; then they had to sketch a rough draft," Grass said. Freshman Stanley Devore used a play on his last name to create a clothing and shoe "business" named DVOR.

"I researched graffiti-style D letters for my logo and then chose to use fade-away coloring," said Stanley, 14.

Frankie Garcia created her card to promote "Frankie's Bakery" with a hand-drawn cupcake on the front with a motto of "Bake My Day."

"I just like cupcakes," Frankie, 14, said as her reason behind using this as a business model. "I like the color red but pink is associated with cupcakes so that's what I used."

Grass said Frankie had tested out different ideas before making a final decision, which is what she likes to see the students do when faced with a project like this. Lawrence Modesto, 15, is a member of the Noli Indian School Braves' football team so making cards for a football team seemed like a good idea. Utilizing the school's colors of red and black, he designed a two-feather motif. "Graphic design is new to me so it was hard at first but I'm learning a lot," said

Lawrence, a Soboba tribal member. "I didn't realize Mr. Young did all that stuff for us."

Samples of work Mr. Young presented included the Soboba Tribal Preschool yearbook, memorial programs, invitations, brochures for The Country Club at Soboba Springs and Noli's graduation program.

Young explained that he got into graphic design by accident. He had a little sister who rode horses and he used to take photos of her. Eventually, he added sponsors' names and other graphics to the photos and would send them as thank-you cards to her supporters. Other families started requesting he do the same for their children.

"I always liked the photography part but this is not what I really wanted to do – I wanted to go into law enforcement," said Young, of Moreno Valley.

He began working for the Morongo Band of Mission Indians' security department and took some Information Technology (IT) classes, eventually graduating from Crafton Hills College.

"A year later, 9/11 happened and my friend and I wanted to be proactive and do more for our country so I started working for the Department of Defense at Ontario (International) Airport," Young said.

After being injured he went through vocational rehabilitation and fell back on his IT education. He took more computer classes and became a professional graphic artist and web designer. He has been working for Soboba for almost seven years.

"Soboba has a wide range of endeavors which makes my job interesting all the time," Young said. "The tribe is very specific about what they want on the website. I love what I do and if I can help guide students in the right direction if this is what they want to do, it's great."

Young explained different Adobe Suite programs to the students and why it's important to use certain ones for different purposes. They are getting an opportunity to use a couple different software programs within their art classroom.

"My job is a lot of fun but it takes a lot of time and hard work, too," he said. "When you work for a company, it's hard to get into somebody's head when they come up with a design but it's cool when you see something you created on clothing or posters that you know will last long after you are gone."

Freshman Matthew Tewawina came up with a business card for "Tribal Tattoos."

"I did some research and then drew one on my own to use for the logo," said Matthew, 14.

Ayalkawut Boniface thought of making a global bank and Brionna Hernandez wants to be a marine biologist so her creation of a sanctuary and foundation for sea life made perfect sense.

"I'm teaching my art students that this class is not a crafts factory but that what they learn in here will prepare them for college and careers," Grass said. "Inviting Mr. Young to speak with them was a good way to show them how this project is connected to real life and to real life jobs."

Young's parting advice to the young students was to "learn the ins and outs of the industry and be better than the person next to you."

Craig Young, graphic designer for the Soboba Band of Luiseño Indians, discusses his many duties with art students at Noli Indian School at the Soboba Reservation on Oct. 5

Craig Young, graphic designer for the Soboba Band of Luiseño Indians, discusses his many duties with art students at Noli Indian School at the Soboba Reservation on Oct. 5

Noli Indian School art student Lawrence Modesto designed a business card to reflect his interest in football as part of a graphic arts project. He is in the process of computerizing his design

Noli Indian School art student Lawrence Modesto designed a business card to reflect his interest in football as part of a graphic arts project. He is in the process of computerizing his design

Matthew Tewawina shows the logo design he will incorporate for his hypothetical business, Tribal Tattoos, as part of a graphic arts project

Matthew Tewawina shows the logo design he will incorporate for his hypothetical business, Tribal Tattoos, as part of a graphic arts project

Noli Indian School art teacher, Danielle Grass, shows a student’s idea for a hypothetical business. Brionna Hernandez wants to be a marine biologist so that theme was incorporated into her graphic arts project design

Noli Indian School art teacher, Danielle Grass, shows a student’s idea for a hypothetical business. Brionna Hernandez wants to be a marine biologist so that theme was incorporated into her graphic arts project design