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The Info-Graphics of...
Mike Johnson

You may remember our WebDesign & Review article about the LasVegas Review Journal, where we mentioned Mike Johnson. Well, it gives us great pleasure to introduce you to Mike today...

PST&T: What forces do you feel have influenced your style?

Info Graphics with Mike Johnson | Photoshop Tips & TricksJohnson: I've drawn from the time I could grasp a crayon tight enough to scrawl a line. As a kid, I'd watch episodes of "Bewitched" where Darin would always be working on some trick campaign for McMann & Tate, driving a Corvette and coming home to a beautiful wife. That glamourized the field for me. Most of my influence came from the early 70's.
_____ I was intriqued by the commercial design and illustration being created for publications of that era, National Lampoon, Rolling Stone, Peter Max etc. I've always had a knack for technical design and alot of that stuff was technical and colorful. I've always liked stuff from the 30's-50's, movie posters, advertisements.

PST&T: What kind of background prepared you for the Las Vegas staff?

Johnson: I never pursued a college degree in art, but finished Wolfe Art academy in Tampa, Florida and taking various courses. I'm mostly self-taught with Macintosh programs.

I've been working graphics positions in the Las Vegas area steadily for about twenty years. I worked with U2's manager, Paul McGuinness last March when U2 started their tour in Las Vegas, putting together a graphic for media use and Island Records UK's web site. I worked on the "Flying Elvis" bit for "Honeymoon in Vegas" as Air/Ground Coordinator and was a team member with 225 skydives.

PST&T: Mike, how do you start? What steps do you take when faced with a new assignment?

Info Graphics with Mike Johnson | Photoshop Tips & TricksJohnson: I first come up with a concept through rough sketches and brainstorming. Then I'll research the topic (library card a must) to get a grasp of all the technical aspects of the subject.

Public libraries are free and packed with information and resources.

PST&T: Of your favorite piece, could you briefly relate the specific major steps in its creation?

Johnson: The stratosphere Tower.

  1. The concept was tough, it was a tall awkward structure and all the detail was at the top.
  2. Rough sketches until I created a perspective everyone liked.
  3. I obtained a set if exterior blueprints from the architect.
  4. I decided on all of the features of the tower that needed to be shown.
  5. Creating the framework, I used a second false vanishing point to fish-eye the top tower so it would seem to hit you in the eye.
  6. I the went in and filled in all of the detail.
  7. I wanted a photo of eye ride from the riders perspective, so we sent a photographer out to the top.

Info Graphics with Mike Johnson | Photoshop Tips & TricksPST&T: Many of our readers will dream about having the opportunity of gaining a position (like yours) to create such art... any advice for those who chasing the dream?

Johnson: Even if you're a great fine artist, learn the computer side of the trade. They're here to stay. Always have a fresh portfolio armed and ready to go. Knowing Photoshop, Illustratior, Freehand and Quark fluently will get you in the door.

PST&T: We want to thank you, Mike for joining us today, and for sharing your wonderful works of art. Can we call you again?

Johnson: Sure!

Folks, Mike Johnson does accept a limited number of freelance assignments, so if you'd like to have this kind of expertise on a project for you just feel free to contact Mike at:

Now enjoy a tour of some of
Mike's outstand works...

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