Artist finds passion in graphic design

Artist began art journey in back of tattoo parlor, explored graphic design in college



Yaple created her LandEscapes submisision piece as a class assignment.

VICTORIA GIOMI, Evergreen reporter

Starting in the back of a tattoo shop, one WSU senior found her love of art, eventually earning a spot on the cover of a magazine.

Senior advertising major Willow Yaple first began drawing in the back of her dad’s tattoo parlor, where she would use tracing paper to trace over designs.

“My family always gave me resources to just be creative, draw, paint, whatever,” Willow said. “It was also encouraged on my mom’s side, but my dad’s side is where there’s a lot more practice done.”

Once she started middle school, Willow said she took drawing and art classes to learn more about art and discover her own style.

“I have a lot of artists in my family, so it was kind of a hobby or a talent I just kind of had, and I picked up on pretty fast after I took a break and I just started taking advantage of it now within my major,” she said.

Willow said she later found a passion for painting in her senior year of high school, painting nature scenes and references. One of her most recent paintings features a koi pond reference she had worked on since the beginning of quarantine.

“It’s always been kind of a very detail-oriented but a very long process,” said Violet Yaple, Willow’s twin sister and WSU junior biochemistry major. “She has been working on one painting, a very good painting, since March of 2020.”

Willow said she spends months on a piece of work because she pays such close attention to detail.

“People definitely point out in my work that I’m a fiend for proportions, detail, making it look perfect,” Willow said. “I become more relaxed in my stroke styles, which is the style I like to keep, where, you know, you can see the strokes are not perfectly blended.”

In college, she became interested in graphic design through her digital technology and culture minor, which allowed her to expand her art skills. Willow said she hopes her background in painting and newly learned graphic design skills will allow her to produce seamless advertisements.

“Originally I was in journalism and then I switched to advertising because, again, like art, painting, whatever, it was like a hobby, but I didn’t want to let go of that so I thought implementing it in what I was doing was better,” Willow said.

Through her experience in Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator, Willow created the piece that became the magazine cover for LandEscapes Journal.

Her winning piece for LandEscapes Journal was a collage piece she crafted on Adobe Photoshop from layering images.

“There were two of those images on top of each other. And those two when I put an overlay setting kind of gave different colors so they added more depth,” she said. “I just cut it out and played with it, to see how the shapes flow together. And then since it was mainly of red keys, I just grabbed a leaf image and overlaid that.”

Willow said the process for the picture was originally an assignment for her DTC class and took her several hours to perfect.

Willow also surprised her family with the magazine after it was published.

“Yeah, it was a surprise. I didn’t really know what was happening until she told me, and then we got a couple copies and she was giving them to other people,” Violet said.

Outside of her DTC class and graphic design, Willow said she still finds pleasure and stress relief in painting.

“There is kind of a nice flow that goes on when everything works and references are easy to absorb and paint, or your colors mix well, or the paint is not acting weird. Anything like that is definitely relaxing, and it’s also something that I can do, where my mind doesn’t have to work that hard.” Willow said.

Willow said she is still actively creating more work, both paintings and graphic designs.

For more of her work, check out her portfolio.