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Brick is a Self-Described Swiss Army Knife of Illustration

Posted: Dec 14 2020
Brick is a Self-Described Swiss Army Knife of Illustration
Ben Brick is a self-described Swiss Army knife of illustration. Whatever you need, he can create it. He’s drawn his experience from a variety of sources. After graduating from BSC, he was a contributor for some pretty major names in the Bismarck area. From the Bismarck Tribune and Quality Printing to MABU.

“I’ve gotten to work at some amazing jobs, but I was always looking for my own way of doin’ things.” Ultimately it was Ben’s unique perspective that allowed him to begin working on his own as a freelance illustrator.
 
“I was going to be an architect,” Ben says of his initial plans as a student at BSC. But after taking an educational hiatus to take a job in Disney World, he realized his interests required a closer look. “I’d sit and stare at the details on the outside of all the rides and I found the decorations were more appealing to me than the actual engineering.”
 
It was a class with BSC Graphic Design professor, Sean Thorenson, that really hooked Ben. “He was just really encouraging. When he looked at my work, he was the first person to say positive things about what I was making, of course it wasn’t perfect, but it made me realize that drawing was something I could really do and I decided to dig into that part of graphic design.”
 
Hi Ben. Hey. What’s up?
 
Take me back to freshman Ben. What major did you pick? I was going to be an architect.
 
How did you switch tracts? It actually shifted after I worked at Disney World. I’d sit and stare at the details on the outside of all the rides and I found the decorations were more appealing to me than the actual engineering.
 
Then you came back to North Dakota? I actually like the weather.
 
Was there a certain class or teacher that led to that more illustration-focused path? I had a class with Sean Thorenson who teaches Graphic Design. He was really encouraging. When he looked at my work, he was the first person to say positive things about what I was making, of course it wasn’t perfect, but it made me realize that drawing was something I could really do and I decided to dig into that part of graphic design.
 
A lot of people are skeptical of “artistic” degrees. What kind of work did you find after college? I had a couple jobs while I was studying at BSC. I worked with McQuade’s and Dakota Screen Arts. Then I moved to Fargo and got humbled. I couldn’t really find good work and I moved back to Bismarck. Then I worked at Bismarck Tribune and Quality Printing and MABU. I’ve gotten to work at some amazing jobs, but I was always looking for my own way of doin’ things.
 
What’s your way of doing things? I’m the Swiss Army knife of illustration. If you want it done, I can do it.
 
What are some of your recent projects? I just did some beer labels for a brewery in Watertown, South Dakota. And I got to help Mighty Missouri with their rebranding. When I heard from Kat Socks about illustrating Pickles the Dog, I thought, “oh my gosh, I can get paid for this.”
 
So you feel like you really found your place? Oh yeah. And like, with living here, BSC started off as a stepping stone and it ended up being a complete education. I didn’t need anything else. I knew what I wanted to do.
 
Some folks might think working as an illustrator just means you make kid’s drawings. What does being an illustrator mean to you?Hey. Drawing for kids is really cool. But I get why people might think what I do is just cartoons. There’s way more to me than Ninja Turtles. I get to make the things that people can look at and think, “that’s cool. I like that.”
 
Recent projects Ben has tackled include creating beer labels for a brewery out of Watertown, South Dakota; helping local coffee roasting company, Mighty Mo., release a complete rebrand; and illustrating Pickles the Dog, a children’s book written by local author, Kat Socks.
 
“The kids book was a pretty cool deal. I remember thinking, ‘Oh my gosh, I can get paid for this.’”
 
Ben is a member of the downtown artist collaborative, The Good Kids, and is a contributor and organizer with Makewell.
 
From wall murals to stickers, Ben’s work is hard to miss at any scale. His three years at BSC provide the foundations for a colorful career. “It started as a stepping stone and ended up being a complete education. I didn’t need anything else. I knew what I wanted to do.”

Learn more about BSC Communications programs like Graphic Design & Communications.

Want to see what current BSC students are up to in the Graphic Design and Communications Program? Check out the Graphic Design and Communications blog or follow them on facebook!