Drawing Board – Jono Wood/CAPiTA Horrorscope

Jono Wood is an ex-professional British snowboarder who gradually made the switch from full time riding to graphic design when his first shoe designs for Gravis got put into production. Since then his unique style been seen all across the board industry with work for clients including Quicksilver, Red Bull, Burton, Nike and Habitat Skateboards. This year he designed the Horrorscope and Micro-Scope for CAPiTA Snowboards.

Photo: Ed Blomfield

How do you go about starting a snowboard graphic?
I’ve been snowboarding since ’93 so seen I’ve a lot of graphics, what works and what doesn’t and also what’s been done before – you always want to try and do something that’s new. For this year’s board I said I liked the idea of a coffin shape because it fits well on the board graphic – Ephraim [Chui – CAPiTA’s Art Director] said he wanted something a bit more playful to suit the typical Horrorscope rider and suggested a kind of frat party theme. I took that idea and ran with it and, well, here you are!

You have a pretty unique way of creating your images don’t you?
(Laughs) Yeah. Anyone who’s a digital person will think this is very strange process but I do it all on Photoshop. I’ll usually take a photo of a sketch on my phone, email it to myself before blowing it up big and going over it using a mouse. I’ll start adding more depth to it and more colours until starts becoming something more than just a flat image. Every colour is one layer so that I can change the details easily rather than changing saturations etc on an image that is already all one thing. 

Where do you draw inspiration from for your work?
The first graphic I remember seeing and really wanting to copy the style of was a 1994 Jeff Brushie – it had these guys with massive eyes and massive hats on and a green glittery top sheet and I thought yeah, that was the kind of style I wanted to go towards. My mum has always been good at helping me out – she was my art teacher at school – and I’ve tended to follow her influence. She’s always been very supportive; she let me paint whatever I wanted all over my bedroom walls! 

Were you at all apprehensive about what people would make of it?
Oh yeah, for sure. That’s why we did it as an early release, because we weren’t sure if it would go off or not. It would be our summer/autumn stoker to get the shops fired up for the next year’s product. It got questioned at first, but it was a funny idea and soon people started backing it.

What is your favourite graphic of all time?
Nowadays you can go round halls and halls full of boards at ISPO but back when I started snowboarding there wasn’t that much to choose from – graphics became iconic very quickly. The first board my brother ever bought was a Terje Haakonsen Sword and that’s still probably one of the best graphics ever. You want to create something timeless, something you can look back on in ten years time that hasn’t aged. 

Are there any advantages to working on a low price point deck like the Horroscope?
The more high end a board is the more understated the graphics have to be; you don’t want to put someone off buying a £1000 Burton Mystery because they don’t like the graphic, so it’s nearly all black. We just wanted to make it a bit more playful down here: I’m very lucky to have this line and have a bit more free reign about what I can do. It means I can go off on a tangent and try something new. 

What advice would you give to anyone who wanted to start designing snowboards?
Make sure you approach the right people and make a good portfolio. It doesn’t have to be filled with previous clients, just make your style nice and clear. Choose who you approach based on whether or not you think your style would suit them, and it makes a much bigger impact if you try and meet them face to face.

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