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Jonathon Rose

Artist | Photographer | Designer | Retoucher

Jonathon Rose is an award winning artist, designer and photographer who's passion has always focused on art, writing and creativity.  He's won awards for illustration, and has hundreds of designs in the community and nationwide.  Jonathon has been featured not once, but twice in Photoshop User Magazine for his photography.  Jonathon has also worked with the Hampton Inn, Marriott Hotels, and Candlewood Suites for their commercial photographs.  He has designed entire buildings of art and signs, from facilities at Westminster Village, the Inn at St. Mary's, to the University of Notre Dame.  Jonathon also has experience in recreational vehicle design (RV) and vehicle wraps.  He has also digitally illustrated a children's book that was sold on Amazon.  

At an early age, he started drawing superheroes, by studying their appearances in comic books.  He would spend hours trying to perfect their anatomy and come up with new ways to pose them to make them appear more striking, or hero-like.

"My first comic book was Captain America Volume 1, #168.  Cap and Falcon had to fight this guy Zemo and Cap ends up getting captured.
I would try to draw all the comic pages that had Cap on them.  I must've read that book a thousand times."

In 1987, Jonathon started in a new school and met others who were interested in drawing as much as he was.  He would later expand his reach to still life drawings and portraits.  Jonathon was awarded Honorable Mention in the Scholastic Art Awards in 1992, for a still life drawing he made in art class.

"Mrs. Hales was my art teacher at the time.  She urged me to submit the drawing for the awards.  Initially, I refused because I hated it.  Didn't matter though.
She stayed after me about it.  Eventually I gave in, and it won. That was an interesting learning experience about art, in that, it's subjective.  Like, a favorite color." 

By 1993, Jonathon was sharing classes with close friends who's work was already being published nationwide in comic books.  Matt Martin's Vortex and Trent Kanuiga's Deadbolt to name a few.  Trent went on to publish Creed while Matt went on to publish Snowman.  Matt and Jonathon still work on projects together from time to time.

"Those were such great times.  I was extremely proud to know them and to just be sharing a drawing table with them was enough for me.  There was one day I remember when I specifically called out my buddy Trent as an 'artist.'  He told me, 'I'm not an artist...I'm just one who can express his inter-most thoughts on paper.'  I'll never forget that."

In 1994, Jonathon was introduced to Photoshop for first time.  His parents even brought home a Macintosh (Apple) for him to practice on.
Eventually, he got a scanner and began planting the seeds of what would later become a blossoming career.  In 1996, he was offered the chance to draw the cover for the Elkhart Airshow's Program magazine.  The cover was to feature women in aviation.

"When you think of women in aviation, one name comes to mind right away - Amelia Earhart.  The idea was to use her portrait on the cover, and if possible, her plane.
That was my first experience in trying to capture someone's likeness in a drawing.  It was extremely difficult at the time, but I came away happy with the result."    

As time went on, Jonathon took on side projects, including business cards, logos, tattoos and family portrait drawings.  By the year 2000, he had met Katie, who would later become his wife.  She too, was an artist who spent time drawing and painting.  She was a Texas girl, with midwestern roots, who also played piano.

In Fall of 2004, Jonathon decided it was time for a career change.  He had earned all of this knowledge about drawing, graphic design and web design, but was not utilizing it professionally.  A position for a graphic designer had opened at the University of Notre Dame.  He applied for it, interviewed, and was later offered the position.  A few months later, in March of 2005, he and Katie were married.

"2004 was a crazy year for us.  We built a house together, both of us got new jobs that Fall, and we were planning for a wedding.
I look back and wonder sometimes how we got through it." 

 In 2009, life threw both of them a curveball.  That January, Jonathon was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia, or ALL for short.  From that day forward, everything changed.

"You always think, those are things that happen to other people.  Not me.
They told me if I didn't get treatment soon, I wouldn't live to see Summer."

It was harrowing and toll-taking journey.  But after months of chemotherapy, radiation and a bone marrow transplant, Jonathon survived and has been in remission ever since.  He was off work for 9 months and finally returned to work in September of that same year.

"Getting cancer will teach you two things: 1) How strong you are.  2) Who your real friends are and who's willing to step up and help."  

By the time holidays came in 2009, Jonathon still hadn't regained full dexterity in his hands, and had experienced a significant reduction in muscle mass.  That entire year he had to re-learn how to write, draw and play guitar.  He decided that photography was a new skill he could learn to complete his creative, mental toolkit, yet wouldn't require such fine use of his hands as drawing would.  For Christmas, Katie got him a new Nikon Camera.  In the months that followed, he attended seminars on photography, read books and learned from others in the field.  

"I felt like learning photography made me more whole in terms of an artist. I knew drawing and illustration. I knew design. I could retouch photos all day long and blend that with design. I wanted to learn how to make a photo. It was just the next logical step."

In late 2010, Jonathon was approached to digitally ink a children's book using Adobe Illustrator.  The book was called An Ant, Learn to Read, and took roughly 11 months to complete.

"That project was a lot of fun.  The publisher had a sketch artist already, so once the sketches were complete, she would send them to me, usually 3-4 pages at a time. I would then draw my black inks over the sketches for a more finished look in Adobe Illustrator.  After I finished, the pages were then sent to a colorist.  It was a well-oiled machine."

His earlier, digital inking videos using Illustrator have garnered more than 740,000 views on Youtube.  Since then, Jonathon has started a new video learning series called JR Design Sessions.

"I enjoy teaching, and I love being creative and using the tools we have available to help us do that.
If I can help someone else learn who shares the same passion I do, to me, that's win-win."  

 More recently, Jonathon has started to hone his skills at being a filmmaker.  Like photography once was, video is once again the next logical step.

"JR Design Sessions whole premise is built off of 3 words: Learn. Create. Evolve.  In my opinion, perfection is unattainable.  We improve and evolve.  We're always in a state of learning.  I have tried to surround myself with people who are better and smarter than me, because I can learn from them.  And that's allowed me to be a better
creator, which, in turn, allows me to evolve.  I love not being an expert.  Think of it, if you achieved the expertness, all-knowing, best person out there who's a master at that one thing...where do you go from there?  Wouldn't that be an awfully boring place to be?"

-Jonathon Rose
Janurary 2018