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UNT student embraces graphic design with BeAnimated

UNT student embraces graphic design with BeAnimated

UNT student embraces graphic design with BeAnimated
October 09
20:32 2019

Tablet plugged into a nearby outlet and stylus in hand, deep in concentration, new media arts junior Brendan Walters works on a new logo design for a client.

Walters is efficient when it comes to graphic design and displays his craft through his brand and website, BeAnimated Animations. Walters designed the website himself, which he said took “a matter of days to perfect.”

The Grand Prairie native recently became more engaged in graphic design in December but said having the freedom to create has appealed to him since childhood.

“I was a kid, I was always doing something either musical, drawing, creative writing, something along those lines. So always bouncing from creative activity to creative activity,” Walters said.

BeAnimated includes logos, GIFs, flyers, custom portraits, wall and music art for UNT students who he also said inspire him.

“The students around campus have heavily inspired me, just because I see them doing [graphic design],” Walters said. “That really inspired me to get my foot in the door and say there’s something I can do. This is something I’m willing to do and want to do for the rest of my career.”

Aside from designing the still and GIF graphics displayed on the BeAnimated website, Walters said he aspires to bring more motion to his still work and create animations.

“I want to really get into animation,” Walters said. “I really haven’t had the time because of my school schedule.”

Brendan Walters poses for a portrait with his newest project in the UNT Union Starbucks on Oct 4, 2019. Image by Veronica Rosas

The designs found on BeAnimated Animations draw from African American pop culture. The site features art from modern musical artists like H.E.R, Travis Scott and Bryson Tiller, as well as students, with bright and eye-catching backgrounds. The 20-year-old artist said he enjoys putting a spin on the people he illustrates, especially with the background.

“Basically, what I’ve been doing is making the posters and the canvases, thinking of things I can put into the background,” Walters said. “Like, this cartoon is nice, but how can we put something in the background to make it something that will stand out?”

Walters looks to other images for inspiration for what to combine in his vision of the person he’s designing. He showed an example on his tablet with rapper Travis Scott and a darker background of “Astroworld”, one of Scott’s albums.

A Ferris wheel, rollercoasters, fireworks and Earth in the top corner are on a night-themed landscape. Shadows of cactuses and crows can also be seen in the back, with a digitally-designed Scott the central focus of the image.

“I was like ‘What is Travis Scott, what embodies Travis?'” Walters said. “When you look at his discography, what feeling do they give you? Just like a spooky, ominous vibe. You have to know who you’re drawing and what their style is and make it as cohesive as possible.”

Walters works on all his designs from his tablet using Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop.

“This tablet was not cheap, but thankfully my uncle came through and helped provide it,” Walters said. “So whenever I have a sliver of opportunity, whenever I’m sitting at the desk, this [designing] is what I’m doing.”

Junior marketing major Khorey Henderson, a friend of Walters since Black Student Experience (BSE) 2017, said Walters is always using that tablet.

“I remember when he first got it for Christmas, and the next day he was turning around putting out content,” Henderson said.

In addition to BeAnimated, Walters does graphic design for several organizations, including UNT’s NAACP chapter, where he is press and publicity chair.

“When I joined NAACP, it was with the mindset that yes, I love to help the African American community, but at the same time, I can use what I have here and make it better and stronger,” Walters said. “It may not be a cartoon, but at least it’s something that gets out to the public.”

Walters also met current NAACP president and senior Jameriya Owens last year. Owens said Walters’ role as press and publicity chair for NAACP has been valuable to the organization.

“Brendan is extremely helpful in our organization, seeing as though publicity is a major part of attracting students to come and participate in our meetings,” Owens said. “Brendan has full creative control of our flyers and we trust his vision.”

Henderson has witnessed the entrepreneurial approach Walters has taken with BeAnimated.

“I’m that friend that encourages entrepreneurship, so seeing that, I mean, he’s taking a lot of the right steps,” Henderson said. “When he first started, he did a giveaway, doing a bunch of drawing contests. He started branding himself.”

The most rewarding part of BeAnimated, Walters said, has been the appreciation from clients when they receive his designs. He said he recently did a BeAnimated giveaway for two designs and seeing the recipients proud of his creations was satisfying.

“With the giveaway I did, seeing them being excited and then telling me they have it hung up on their wall, it’s something like, ‘I did that,’” Walters said.

Walters remains motivated to produce new content for BeAnimated. He said he looks to continue expanding the BeAnimated brand going forward and offers advice to other aspiring designers to keep learning.

“When I started, it was not pretty, but you just learn and you learn and you get better over time,” Walters said.

Featured ImageBrendan Walters works on his newest project at the UNT Union Starbucks. Image by Veronica Rosas

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Raven Jordan

Raven Jordan

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