You know those people who are just naturally artistic? The ones who pick up a pencil or crayon or paintbrush and out flows beauty?
Yeah, I’m not one of those people.
I always struggled with art.
My (admittedly) nerdy friends and I used to draw elaborate stick figure battlefields, but even my loving mother wouldn’t have called them art. My stick figures and crude miasmas of color in the absence of any traditional artistic ability caused me to shy away from even attempting art class beyond elementary school. This was partially because I just couldn’t draw. Or paint. Or sketch. Or, well, you get it. Even when I grew out my hair to its brown, curly afro-like state, I would never be confused with Bob Ross. But it was also because my definition of “art” was just too narrow. It included only what could be made by hand, analog renderings of the aesthetic and sublime.
Strangely, this misguided notion pervaded my youth.
Everything changed in high school when I discovered PowerPoint. It didn’t take long for me to realize that while I lacked analog talent, digital art was something within my wheelhouse. I could shape and create and pattern. Art was attainable, and that was such a profound discovery for me that it shaped my own image of myself to make me think of myself as “creative” — a necessary shift in self-concept that ultimately to the column you’re reading right now and hopefully every week.
Newly awakened as a creative, my love of graphic design spiked in college with several marketing classes, where I distinctly remember one of my favorite professors talking about presentations and saying: “Every slide should be art. It should be beautiful.”
Taking that to heart, I made my slides pretty. I began experimenting with design in the limited suite of programs available to me, honing my craft with the likes of PowerPoint, Publisher and Paint.
College came and went, and I continued taking pride in the curriculum I made and every form, booklet, poster or whatnot I designed in the course of my work.
One day, out of the blue, an idea struck me. It likely happened while I sat on the porcelain throne or in the bath — as many of my ideas do — and I couldn’t believe it took me so long to form. Instead of just writing a numerical report of my annual fishing adventures as I’d done since I began keeping records in 2004 at the ripe old age of 13, I could make infographics. Well, finfographics, since they’re about fish.
What follows is the fourth batch, my 2019 CaughtOvgard finfographics. To accommodate the visuals, this column will be shorter than normal, so feast your eyes with one final glance back at last year before you adopt 2020 vision.