A small company with big ideas
Herron Designs grew out of a craft business carving little people out of wooden close-pins. I needed to make a catalog to sell my crafts in a magazine and decided to go to a local commercial art school the Professional Institute of Commercial Art. After graduating I was offered a job teaching at the school and talked the owner Mary Wise into starting an animation course. So Mary bought the equipment needed and hired a professional animator to teach us. It all sort of worked and we made a cartoon for the school based on one of Mary's fat cats that lived in the art school. We managed to finish hand animating and inking and painting the cels. You ink lines on the front and when dry blob the special cel paint on the back. Took forever and we had most of the students helping out. It was a great learning experience that made me want to do animated movies. But not by hand with painted cels, it was just too slow.
I kept busy as a package designer; drawing maps for the State Highway Admin.; technical artist for Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Lab; working at a commercial art studio in Glen Burnie, MD, back to SHA making slides and other art. Over the years I started doing sketch art and caricatures at festivals and was often making a weeks salary at my state job doing Caricatures over the weekend. I quit my job at the state and moved to California to do sketch art. Oddly the people of California have little interest in caricatures and sketch art. So it was back to the east coast after six months.
I kept at the caricatures for the next ten or so years making plenty of money working only half the year. I was able to travel to Europe several times, and also went on a photo safari to Kenya, Africa. One day a good friend of mine Mike Wooten, told me that "yeah I was making good money but not growing artistically". After that I started to cut down the caricatures and develop a display business, this turned into the mural and faux finish business, which was augmented by a return to the display business this time designing and painting murals and holiday displays for large malls with Aardvark Concepts.
I bought a Mac computer around 1990 and started using it for graphics and print work as well as for limited design. Computer animation began to show up mostly as TV commercials and then offered expensive software at MacWorld. It took another ten years for the equipment and software to come almost in range. In 2003 our first short animation/live action A Fall From The Clouds won Best animation at the first ever Red Bull Film Festival, was picked up by Film Movement, appeared on PBS Independent Lens hosted by Joan Jett, and played at the Maryland Film Festival. A good start. Since then we have done more animation, visual effects for live action, won many more awards and worked on twenty or so independent features and shorts.