Anderson Design Group, Kenneth Crane, and a New Approach to National Park Poster Art

Anderson Design Group, Kenneth Crane, and a New Approach to National Park Poster Art

Since 2007, Anderson Design Group has brought the wonderful world of poster art and vintage illustration to thousands of travel poster fans across the globe. And while Joel Anderson (the Nashville design firm's founder) leads much of the creative efforts, (and while our in-house team of illustrators has created most of our over 1,800 poster designs), we often collaborate with other artists who catch our attention for their creative talent. Joel always has his eye out for particularly unique art styles and talented individuals who can bring something special and different to the art scene. Just last year, a chance encounter with a young man named Kenneth Crane led to a new collaboration, and a new friendship, too. This connection sparked a mission to create an entirely new series of National Park poster art. Kenneth is already one-third of the way finished with the collection, intending to complete a unique, original poster for all 62 of the National Parks!

Introducing Kenneth Crane

A rising star on the poster art scene and a true appreciator of the U.S. National Parks, Kenneth Crane has the background, the talent, and the inspiration to create fantastic, inspiring, and emotive illustrations of the Parks. Kenneth earned degrees in both graphic design and illustration, and he frequents many of the National Parks in search of inspiration for his art.

Like many artists, the beauty of Kenneth's art is born from his love for the wonders of America's natural lands. A Colorado native, Kenneth has ventured into the parks for years, hiking, backpacking, rock climbing, camping, and exploring. Every time he enters a park, he peels his eye and sharpens his mind in search of inspiration and reference imagery. And by the time he leaves a park, his mind (and his camera's memory card) are full of ideas for future designs, illustrations, and posters.

Kenneth's Style - A Unique Approach to Poster Art

Kenneth's style is one like no other. He uses a dry brush digital sketching technique to compose elegant, mysterious, and beautifully fluid, illustrated poster art. Kenneth combines 21st-century graphic design techniques with a loose, flowing, hand-rendered style that hearkens back to the vintage poster art of the early-20th century.

When Joel came across Kenneth's artwork, he knew he'd found an artist who could foster the growth of something exciting and different in the world of poster art. In Joel's words:

"His sense of composition, color, and light reminded me of the master illustrators of the early-20th century. Kenneth is a true artist. Sure, he's technically skilled at his craft, but he sees and imagines things that the average illustrator would miss. His ability to choose a subject and then illuminate what is awe-inspiring about it–his 'mind's eye' is what drew me to his work. Then when I met him, I got the added pleasure of discovering a hard-working, cheerful, humble young professional. He's got integrity and a real depth of character, which makes our collaboration all the better. I truly think he will become one of the great illustrators of this new generation."

The Artwork - A Look at Kenneth's National Park Travel Art

From the powerful paintings of N.C. Wyeth to the soft pastel plein air paintings of Charles Peer, Kenneth draws inspiration from some of the great painters of the modern era. And if we look closely, we can see many of those influences in Kenneth's artwork, from his bold colors to the ever-present use of a prominent focal point in each of his illustrations. Kenneth masters the power of light and color, creating a marriage of the two elements in a way that makes his two-dimensional imagery come alive.

When asked about his goals behind creating his own series of National Park poster art, Kenneth's reply was a powerful one:

"I think this series has a fresh take on National Parks that I haven't seen yet. I love the way light plays with color. That's what I specifically look for when I visit these parks, and I wanted to create a series that showcases that beautiful phenomenon. Whether it is the alpenglow on the Rockies or a sunrise in Arches or a sun patch in the Everglades, I am always on the search for the most dramatic light possible. I want to bring plein air paintings to 1920s poster design and illustration."

Another factor that makes Kenneth a perfect fit for an ADG collaboration is that, like our very own artists here at our Nashville art studio, Kenneth travels to the National Parks to experience the parks. We believe that the great artists always seem to find a way to experience that which they desire to create art of. It is the life experiences of artists that make the most powerful, emotive art pieces.

Kenneth combines the Golden Age of Illustration design styles with the tools of the modern age. He uses a Wacom tablet in Photoshop to hand-sketch all of his work. First, Kenneth blocks in the composition, and then he begins testing color palettes. He uses his photographs of National Park landscapes to compare colors, then he creates a unique image, hand-sketched and vibrantly colored, that portrays the magnificence of the parks in a mysterious, almost magical, other-worldly way.

Decorating with Original Art and Supporting Upcoming Artists at the Same Time

At the time of this writing, Kenneth has completed 22 poster designs for the new art collection, each one featuring a powerful representation of one of our nation's beautiful National Parks. Each one of these vintage posters can be ordered as an art print, vintage-style poster, retro metal sign, canvas, banner, notecard, postcard, or framed postcard. Our in-house fulfillment team also offers multiple size options, so you can pick and choose the size and style of art that best fits your home or office decor.

We encourage you to check out the Kenneth Crane 62 National Parks Collection, hosted at our Anderson Design Group Nashville art studio, and available right here on our online store too. Kenneth's artwork captures the beauty and untamed wildness of the parks in a way unlike any we've seen yet. His is truly a unique approach to National Park poster art, a salute to the time-honored traditions of vintage poster art combined with a mastery of 21st-century design styles.

And don't forget, when you purchase vintage poster art from Anderson Design Group, not only are you supporting local and upcoming artists, but a portion of our profits always goes back to the National Park Foundation to ensure that the Parks which have given us so much inspiration are around for future generations to enjoy.

We love the National Park posters Kenneth has illustrated so far, and we can't wait to see what he creates next! 

Special bonus: Kenneth records his rendering sessions on the computer. He speeds them up to make fascinating time-lapse videos of each creation. Here are two of his latest videos...

Here's to new art made with a vintage style,

-Ren Brabenec

Anderson Design Group Writing Staff


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