It All Starts With A Single Pebble

As I update my life’s bio, I gotta give a big shoutout to William Hanford Lee Jr. In the summer of 1983 or 84 (I can never remember), we were all standing in the parking lot of Hiram Johnson High School in Sacramento, CA, just after performing in The Best of Broadway for a couple’a weeks. Billy (as he was known at the time) asked me if I wanted a job doing production layout at his family’s newspaper, The Observer.

Since I didn’t know anything about newspaper production layout, Billy taught me everything from the ground up: Rubylith, Amberlith, double-truck layouts, positioning copy, proper margins, border tape, cutting proper 90-degree-angle border corners (which I always sucked at), pica pole rulers, X-ACTO knives, waxing machine, enlarging photos, fixer and stop-bath in the darkroom. EVERYTHING!

This exposure to layout, graphics, and photo enlarging equipment would carry me on to eventually lead a 7-person team for The PennySaver’s art department a few years later in Rancho Cordova, CA.

In 1988, I was able to easily step into the role of designing t-shirt art for Sunrise Sales in Spark, NV, with all the same skills that Billy first taught me at The Observer.

From there my brother-in-law at the time, Jim Minor, asked if I’d be interested in replacing his advertising agency’s retiring art director. “Sure”, I said. It was here that I first transitioned from doing graphic design manually to using a Macintosh, Adobe Photoshop, and Adobe Illustrator.

Today I design my own t-shirts using Affinity Designer, and sell them online at reidwalley.com.

Thanks, Billy Lee, for throwing a single pebble into the water that continues to ripple across my life.

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