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News Bites: Illustration Alum Designs Label for Special ArtPrize Brew from Founders Brewing Co.

Posted September 23, 2016 in AlumniNews BitesIllustration

Kendall College of Art and Design of Ferris State University (KCAD) alumnus Aaron Rossell (’07, BFA Illustration) recently had the opportunity to merge his creative talents with his passion for craft beer, illustrating the label for a special beer Founders Brewing Co. recently released to benefit ArtPrize.

Dubbed Pale Joe, the beer is a pale ale brewed with coffee roasted in Grand Rapids at Ferris Coffee & Nut. Rossell, who works as Founders’ lead cellar operator in addition to running his own freelance illustration business, jumped at the rare opportunity to merge his two fields of work.

Pale Joe beer label from Founders Brewing Co. Pale Joe label designed by Aaron Rossell (image courtesy of Founders Brewing Co.) 

“It feels pretty cool. I've already had lots of people tell me how well they like it, which feels good because I like it too,” he says. “It also makes me proud because my crew and I put a ton of work into making this awesome beer and I'm glad I got to participate in another aspect of a fantastic product.”

Rossell began by experimenting with different concepts until he and the Founders team had decided on a direction. He then gathered some reference photos and put together a sketch which he would ultimately evolve into the final imagery for the label.

“I don’t like to attempt to reproduce a sketch, because that leads to a stiff-looking image, so I loosely draw and use broad washes to keep it fresh,” he says. “From there I work pretty quickly because I already know how I want the image to look. This is why the Pale Joe label looks a bit sketchy, revealing the process and texture of paper, but has a solid structure and composition due to the preliminary work.”

Pale Joe will be the fourth beer Founders has released to benefit ArtPrize. Look for it in stores and on tap beginning September 13.


Learn more about KCAD’s Illustration program at kcad.edu/illustration