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Student Profile of Julie Bradford, Artist and Designer of the Third and Fourth Annual City Tech Science Fiction Symposium Posters

Julie Bradford, a Graphic Design Intern in City Tech’s Faculty Commons, designed the posters for this year’s and last year’s Annual City Tech Science Fiction Symposium. Prof. Jason Ellis asked her the following questions about the process and tools that she uses to create her art, and he asked her about her relationship to Science Fiction in general.

(1) Julie, you designed the posters for the third and fourth City Tech Science Fiction Symposia. Considering the Frankenstein-themed poster for last year’s symposium, what inspired you to make the poster artwork for the third symposium? What was your design process like to create this poster recognizing the 200th anniversary of Mary Shelley’s groundbreaking novel?

Third Annual Symposium Poster

The Third Annual City Tech Symposium on Science Fiction poster designed by Julie Bradford.

The main inspiration came from wanting to present a scene everyone familiar with Dr. Frankenstein’s monster know about: the moment he comes to life. I spent some time analyzing the good Doctor’s lab from the 1931 film and sketching up a few designs that would best convey the scene. I wanted to use as few colors as possible with a dark overtone to really set that feeling of terror.

(2) This year, you designed a very different kind of poster for the 4th Annual City Tech Science Fiction Symposium celebrating the 90th anniversary of Analog Science Fiction and Fact magazine. What inspired you to design this poster? What was your design process like on this poster? Did this poster encourage your development as an artist, and if so, how? What, if any, movies, video games, music, or stories provide you with ideas that you incorporated and transformed into this poster?

I had ZERO ideas even though I was excited to design another poster for an anniversary event! All I knew was wanting the poster to resemble an Analog cover. The concept ideas didn’t start to formulate until after I received all the Analog references from you. After reading a few of the provided works, mocking up a few designs and going back-and-forth with you, the final concept came through— which is what we see now! This poster was very different from what I made for last year’s symposium, and even my own current works. The concept pushed me to try new things, one of them was to tell a visual story in one go, no panels with dialogue to help.

Fourth City Tech Science Fiction Symposium Poster by Julie Bradford.

The Fourth City Tech Science Fiction Symposium Poster by Julie Bradford.

(3) More generally, what is your design workflow? From generating ideas to drafting to finalizing, how do you create your art and what tools do you use?

First is always the research, from any physical to digital items, movies, shows, written works, etc. What helps the most is talking the idea over with others, especially those who asked for the poster be made. I start off with analog tools: pencil and paper. Once the sketch is approved and solid, I move onto digital with my trusty iPad and the Procreate app. Once the illustration is complete, I import it over to Illustrator where the overall design has been laid out.

(4) Turning to thinking about your relationship to the tools that you use as an artist, do you think of yourself as a cyborg–a being whose existence is mediated by technology? How about being a cyborg in a larger sense thanks to modern digital technologies, such as smartphones, email, social media, streaming, etc.?

Funnily enough, I was thinking of this concept recently about how dependent I am on my digital tools, from my tablet to my desktop to even my video game consoles. There was once a time when I needed none of that but now I can’t imagine going a day without using them. I do not think of myself as a cyborg per se— at least not like Cyborg from DC comics. Perhaps more of a cyborg-lite?

(5) Finally, as a science fiction fan, what do you recommend folks check out? It can be anything SF-related: movies, video games, tv shows, literature, music, apps, etc.

BLACK MIRROR! And the original Twilight Zone. Classics are classics for a reason!

Julie Bradford is a BFA in Communication Design Management student at City Tech who has a strong background in illustration. When she is not distracted by cute and shiny things or busy drawing up comic adventures with her Pokemon Go buddies, she is focused on her schoolwork and catching up on her shows. While completing her BFA, she is working as a graphic design intern for City Tech’s Faculty Commons. See her in-progress work online here: https://www.instagram.com/_saltyjules/.